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.

It’s been said that the strength of America is its entrepreneurs. But, the statistics of those starting new businesses is downright disappointing. Have we lost our entrepreneurial spirit?  Are we not paying enough attention to our young people and helping them develop the skills they need?

When comes to what is important to small business different sources come up with different answers. They are all valid, just different. When the National Small Business Association asked small business owners about the number one concern the response was taxes followed by access to capital.

Holidays are great but after a long weekend it is hard to get back into the rhythm of doing business. If you planned ahead then you probably have a list of things to tackle. But, in case you did not here are a few things that you might want to consider while you are fresh from a few days off.

Clean Up Electronic Communications

I try to do this before I go back to work after a holiday. But, if you completely unplugged you need to get this done and see what “fires” may need to be put out. Believe it or not, I often find that over a holiday something suddenly becomes a priority to my customer and now it needs attention. I also find lots of newsletters, recurring communications or promotional items that are filling my e-mail box. Now is a good time to unsubscribe and simplify. It makes the important e-mails stand out and not get lost in all the clutter.

Get a Handle on Sneaky Expenditures

It’s easy to go along and not realize that you might be costing your company money. These are dollars that might be better used elsewhere. Examples include the golf outing, etc. that you get hit up to sponsor or the subscriptions that you really don’t need. The phone plan that might have been good last year but now could be renegotiated. Do you have service contracts that you really don’t need? Look at all your recurring charges and make changes.

Do Some People Planning

If you have gotten out of the habit of regular meetings this is a good time get back in the swing. Do you have good plans in place for people to be productive? Should you be thinking about moving people around, getting them trained up in new areas? Should you be delegating things that you have been doing that you really need to stop doing? After a holiday break is a good time to make changes because it’s like getting a new start.

Stop Procrastinating

We all have things we just don’t want to do. You need to have a conversation with a supplier that is not performing. A customer has been making unreasonable demands. An employee is not happy and it is affecting their work. The time right after a break is ideal for dealing with issues. You had a little time off and now you have some perspective. Don’t delay any longer. Whatever it is that you have been avoiding, you need to jump in and fix it. In fact, put a time limit on when the task needs to be done.

Get Your Physical Space Back in Order

Think of it as spring cleaning for the business. One of the reasons employees are not as productive as they could be is the lack of organization in the workplace. Are tools always put away where they can be easily accessed? Does everyone know where to find them? Are files, both printed and electronic, in order? Are supplies kept in a convenient location… is it obvious when they need to be reordered?

I always feel a little better when I have some of these things under control. Then I can tackle the big projects with a clearer mind.

It’s the week that we celebrate small business, but something about it is bittersweet for me. Business owners are expressing more confidence in the economy. Small businesses are creating jobs. And we are even getting credit from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen who said it was our small businesses that powered our recovery after the Great Recession. A recent Gallop Poll showed that the trend is positive for current small business owners.

It seems that the constant push and pull between large and small businesses is alive and well. I call it a love-hate relationship. I was quoting some recent job figures during a speech and noted that small business created 86% of all new jobs in the country in March when the representative of a large business rolled his eyes. I didn’t even need to ask why. I knew the reason.

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