Cynthia Kay

Cynthia Kay is a passionate spokesperson for small business- speaking, teaching and coaching … all while running an award-winning company. Cynthia Kay and Company produces high-quality communications that are used on the national and international scene.

I am a frequent flyer on Delta Airlines. Fortunately I did not travel this week and avoided the system outage that resulted in hundreds of cancelled flights. Everyone is talking about how the disruption of service affected travelers and there is no doubt that the impact was significant. Others are speculating how this incident, and a similar one at Southwest, will impact these companies in the long-term.

I grew up in a family business so as you might imagine business was personal. It was also pretty casual. There were no agreements in place. There were no job descriptions and no real understanding about how the partnership would work. It just did.

Today business is much more complicated and would-be entrepreneurs are much smarter about operating agreements and other legal documents needed. But they often miss one of the key elements of success- the personal relationship.

You might think that the numbers say it all but I believe we need to look deeper. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), there are 27.9 million small businesses in the United States and they make up 99.7% of U.S. employer firms. These businesses employ about 50% of the country’s private sector workforce. For a time, small business was one of the few bright spots in the economy –growing and creating jobs. But recently the positioning of small business as the “little engine that can pull us out of the economic downturn” has stalled.

I have always prided myself on being a great multi-tasker. I have been known to work on writing a script while listening to an employee tell me about a day out in the field. I have worked on invoices while listening to a webinar. I am writing this as I sit on an airplane traveling to a business meeting.

Most of us have been taught that it is important to get as much done as possible, to be efficient and the best way to accomplish that is to do several things at a time. In short, to multi-task.

Over the past few weeks I have had the chance to talk to the owners of two relatively new businesses in different parts of the country. One is a commercial cleaning company and the other is a manufacturer of specialty ice cream.  The passion that these owners possess is very common among small business owners. They have invested most of what they own and decided to bet on themselves to start the business. While these two businesses could not be more different their problems were remarkably similar.

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