By Gladys Edmunds

Recently someone asked me to name just one vital tip to keep a business healthy and steadily growing.

Of course, a myriad of things have to be dealt with to keep a business running smoothly. However, because many of us entrepreneurs start out in business doing every chore and detail ourselves, it's easy to lose sight of how we are spending our time. This can morph into many things, from draining our energy to draining the life and energy from our business.

We have to learn to recognize and minimize distractions so we can focus on the larger things that make a business work, like building relationships, developing and expanding new services and products, and being available for the opportunities that can push our companies forward.

To do this we must be prepared to hire skilled and competent people we can trust to handle the details while we focus on the larger things that can only be handled by the head of the company. And yet, it is so easy for a small businessperson to get caught up in minor details.

Shortly after I left the travel business, I was shopping at a Home Depot when I ran into a former colleague who was still in the industry. We chatted briefly about all of the ups and downs of the travel business and other minor things. The Home Depot store was only five minutes from my house but 30 minutes from his downtown office. So I asked him what brought him to the neighborhood. He told me he was buying cleaning supplies and a can of WD-40 to oil a squeaky door at the office. We talked a few minutes more and parted ways, promising to keep in touch.

A couple weeks later I was downtown near his office and stopped in to say hello. He said he had been a little down in the dumps for a couple of weeks. He went on to say he had always wanted to be interviewed by a national magazine or newspaper to bring more visibility to his company. He had even spent money with a consultant to help him get featured with major media, but nothing had happened.

But, according to him, that day he was busy buying cleaning supplies and WD-40 a national newspaper was doing a story on seasonal travel trends and someone had suggested the reporter call him for an interview. However, as it is in the newspaper business, time is of the essence, and when he wasn't available the reporter had to move on to the next person.

This is an example of what can happen when we take on tasks best left to others and focus on bigger pictures. I am not suggesting you sit around your office or store waiting for the media's phone call. But I am suggesting you take a close look at how you use your time.

Hopefully, my colleague learned that day the price of doing something that someone else could have done just as well, so he could be available to do the thing no one but him could do.

At age 15 Gladys developed a travel service that would prosper for more than 30 years. She is a national award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and columnist.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank or its affiliates.