By Karla Tucker Adams
The stories of struggling businesses have become more and more prevalent amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. Every day, there’s a new story about a company going out of business. With the stress of the ever-changing landscape and rules related to COVID-19, trying to manage kids during virtual learning and the demands of keeping a business afloat, many business owners are feeling the mental and emotional weight of all they are carrying.
In fact, the CDC director recently shared that there are more deaths from suicide and overdoses than COVID-19. Many of these deaths and suicides can be compounded by business owners feeling like they have failed themselves, their families, their employees and their communities when they have to close the doors of their business.
As part of their COVID-19 Business Resiliency Program, LiftFund Dallas/Ft. Worth Women’s Business Center recently rolled out a free emotional wellness program for female entrepreneurs to help them cope with the stress and transitions related to the current global pandemic.
Led by emotional wellness doctor, Dr. Lawana Gladney, the WBC’s Emotional Wellness Program teaches business owners tips and techniques on how to maintain emotionally healthy business practices through the pandemic so they can thrive post-pandemic. “The majority of the time, women are juggling home, family and business which alone, stretches the bounds of emotional health and self-care,” said Dr. Gladney.
“Now, we have the added challenges of a global pandemic that has reshaped all of our lives and challenged us to the core of our emotional being. It is critical during these unprecedented times that women are given strategies that will encourage, empower, and energize them to move forward in the midst of this uncertainty. I am determined to help women to manage their emotions and stress in this chaotic time and come through with more strength, determination and peace.”
The Emotional Wellness Coaching Program on How to Cope with COVID is a coaching program designed to support female entrepreneurs as they manage through crisis and lead their businesses into recovery. Many women business owners in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex are already being helped by this program, including Tracee Holloway, CEO of T. Jackson PR. “There is lots of anxiety as we all try to adjust to this new way of life,” said Holloway. “The Women’s Business Center’s emotional wellness program with Dr. Gladney has added more wellness tools to my belt. I don’t know of any other program like WBC’s that supports business owners in every aspect needed, including mental and emotional wellness. It has helped me increase the amount of self-care time I carve out for myself when business, family, husband or even dinner is calling my name and pulling me in different directions. I’ve enjoyed meeting other businesswomen who also wear many hats and share a common goal of staying focused on our goals, not the pandemic challenges we all face.”
The Emotional Wellness program is part of the COVID-19 Business Resiliency Program created by LiftFund DFW Women’s Business Center. “With 60 percent of our clients unable to pay their debts, it’s imperative that business owners are prepared for the many emotional challenges and issues they will be working through in this unprecedented pandemic,” said Tarsha Polk, director of LiftFund DFW Women’s Business Center. “Our goal is to equip women with tools to enable them to deal with stress management, emotional security, mindfulness, as well as providing them with methods to prevent any mental health crisis by creating an emotional wellness plan to ensure a thriving and healthy business and workforce.”
Funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration through the CARES Act, the COVID-19 Business Resiliency Program is designed to help businesses navigate through the pandemic, recover quickly, and thrive post-pandemic. The program is offered free of charge but North Texas business owners must apply at covid19reliefsupport.com. To qualify, businesses had to close due to safety mandates, had to operate remotely and suffered a loss of 15 percent or more revenue or are struggling to reopen. From one-on-one business assessments and recommendations to help securing funding, the WBC’s Business Resiliency program addresses all the pressing concerns of business owners during this uncertain time. They have helped more than 200 business owners of North Texas businesses stay afloat with these resources.
Other program offerings include:
COVID-19 Business Assessments and Recommendations where participants receive free business assessments by subject matter experts in supply chain and distribution, cyber security, remote telework, remote customer service solutions and general business strategies to mitigate the risks of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Business Continuity Planning, which provides guidance and coaching to help businesses recover from COVID-19.
Participants will receive three months of coaching to guide them through developing their business plan, plus review and feedback from a customized business plan writing company made up of full-time, in-house writers and analysts who have credible experience in investment banking, venture capital, private equity, Fortune 500 and start up and entrepreneurial experience.
Industry-Specific Training and Educational Resources, by industry experts focusing on industries hit the hardest, such as day care centers, beauty/hair salons, retailers and food services.
Recovery, Resiliency, Restarting Survival Guide, to teach entrepreneurs how to rebuild and recover, prepare for a future crisis, become a resilient business owner, find a new normal, as well as address common concerns for small business owners.
To date, LiftFund DFW Women’s Business Center has served more than 1055 clients and helped them gain access to more than $3 million dollars in funding. In addition to its DFW location, LiftFund serves the entire state of Texas and is the host of the San Antonio Women’s Business Center. For more information or to enroll for any of these services, visit covid19reliefsupport.com.