One of the most profound impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the loss of connection with others. For a group of small business coaches working in coal transition communities in Central and Eastern Alberta, the sudden end of in-person business visits and close connection with entrepreneurs was an early sign that many new startups and seasoned business owners were beginning to struggle with some of the invisible and often unspoken costs of the global health crisis.
“Recognizing that business owners can experience grief or loss was a crucial step to moving forward,” says Louise Jones, a Community Futures Small Business Advisor in East Central Alberta.
Louise and her colleagues described how small businesses were becoming fragmented and paralyzed. Business planning came to a halt, clients withdrew and stopped wanting to manage their next steps.