Anna Verghese and Chloe Leibowitz

This month, we’ve been introducing you to Tabono’s signature C.A.L.M. approach to supporting small business owners: Community, Accountability, Learning and Mentoring. But not only does this approach provide practical support to our clients – it’s also a key method of reducing stress, because keeping calm is crucial when you run a small business.

Why is keeping calm so important?

There’s no denying how stressful it can be to run a small business. You have to throw yourself out of your comfort zone. Learn things that are completely new to you and try your best to master them. In the early days at least, you have to do those things on your own, and that can prove very stressful. Did you know, for example, that according to research by Gallup, 38% of female small business owners reported daily feelings of stress prior to Covid-19? But during the pandemic, this figure has risen to 60%? The same survey also reports that 29% of female business owners were worried about financial hardship as a result. Consequently, when we start to feel stressed, our productivity reduces. We get distracted. The feelings of overwhelm increase and we find it harder to make decisions.

There really has never been a more important time to keep calm when you run a small business.

So where does our CALM approach come in?

C: Community

The ‘C’ in our CALM approach stands for Community. No man is an island, said the writer John Donne, and the same is true of entrepreneurship. Nobody can run a small business, completely on their own. We all need people to help and advise us. To champion us and to cheerlead our efforts. And we all need someone to pick us up when we’re down.

So whatever you want to call it – a tribe, a team or a community – having people around you is a great way to keep calm when you run a small business. You’re able to tackle each day, knowing that there are people out there who have your back. In our case, whether people choose to work with us on an individual basis or join our thriving community, we make sure that our clients know that they always have a place to go, and someone to talk to. Whatever their business throws at them.

A: Accountability

On the surface, the concept of the ‘A’ in our CALM approach – accountability – might seem more daunting than calming. For some, it conjures images of formality, being watched or analysed, or a fear of consequences if you don’t deliver on your commitments. But our approach to accountability is different. We encourage you to set goals and make plans to achieve them. We check in to see how you’re getting on and help out when you get stuck. If you don’t achieve what you’re hoping for within your deadlines, we look at why, and we work with you to understand what’s happened. Then we get you back on track.

So, an accountability mechanism really does help you to keep calm when you run a small business. You can remain focussed and move you forward. You plan and commit to getting things done. And when accountability is done properly, you’re better equipped to navigate around any barriers that come your way.

L: Learning

When it comes to keeping calm when you run a small business, Learning is an obvious one. Learning allows us to be better informed. And when we are better informed, we make better decisions. And better decisions that are made based on learning, evidence and experience make for a stronger business. As the poet WB Yeats so eloquently said:

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighing of a fire.

WB Yeats

Our approach to learning is simply that it should never stop. As small business owners, we should always try to learn and develop. At Tabono, we work hard to facilitate this, whether that be through questions we pose in our Facebook group, our programme of workshops or through our coaching and mentoring practice.

M: Mentoring

The final way in which our CALM methodology helps you keep calm when running your small business is through the M – mentoring. Where the C (Community) focuses on the value that a team can create, the M (Mentoring) is more of an individual activity. Our mentoring programme focuses entirely on you and what you feel you need to work on in order to help your business grow. You know that your mentors have your back, and that they have taken the time to do a deep-dive into your business. You know that you can access highly targeted support to help you work through any challenges that come your way. And this level of bespoke support can only bring a sense of calm and security.

To find out more about how Tabono can help you to keep calm in running your small business, get in touch. We offer a free, no obligation chat to any female entrepreneur, and we’d love to hear more about your plans for your business.