Colorado Springs is a wonderful place to live. We have beauty all around us, weather that is fantastic and residents who never want to live elsewhere. As business owners, what more could we ask for as a foundation of the local economy?
While we love Colorado Springs, we have all felt the impact (literally) of potholes on our streets. Having lived in the pothole capital of the U.S. — Boston — for many years, I never thought I would say Boston roads are in better shape than those in Colorado Springs. Yet they are.
As a community, we have not taken care of our infrastructure (roads, stormwater drainage, etc.). There are many excuses. Yes, I did say excuses. Regardless of the reasons, the beauty of the local area is compromised by the effects of neglecting its physical foundation.
This concept also is true of business owners. We want to live here, start businesses here and retire here. Yet what have we learned from the lack of attention to the foundational infrastructure in the community that we can apply to our businesses? In other words, what potholes do you have in your business? How will those potholes affect you when business challenges storm against them?
Investment in our business is critical. Investment in our city is critical. Yes, it will cost us money. Yes, I expect the taxes will go up. To be clear, I don’t like to spend money. I am, however, willing to invest money in building a stronger local business environment that reaches outside our wonderful city. Investing is very different than spending. We must invest. Investing creates wealth; spending creates little.
Is the local business community investing in the creation of solid companies that can build wealth? Or are we building something that will fall apart the minute we as business owners stop propping it up? The terms “wealth,” “creating” and “building” are not dirty words.
Business owners have a responsibility to build a strong foundation in our companies, investing in the infrastructure of the company so it can withstand the storms of changing competition and economic uncertainty.
Building wealth is not just about more money, but also includes the riches of having qualified employees and true leaders in our companies. It is a diverse business environment that makes other businesses want to move to Colorado Springs, not just for our natural beauty, but because the business community has learned how to build true wealth that comes from strong and resilient organizations, people, education and leadership.
Business owners, what are you truly doing with your time? Yes, you are busy, but are you busy doing the right things for your business? Too many business owners are spending too much time working on things that keep the business afloat. The business owner needs to stop doing the $20- and $30- and $50-per-hour jobs and start doing the jobs that few in the company can accomplish.
What innovations, new technology or new ways of looking at old problems can you generate? One idea from the owner can often generate tens of thousands of dollars for the company and the community. Those new ideas do not come when you are working 10-hour days on bookkeeping, purchasing or customer service.
True wealth comes from leveraging your time to actually make new ideas happen. This doesn’t necessarily mean revolutionizing your business the way Cirque Du Soleil did the circus, but key results can come from continually stepping away, learning new concepts, implementing new ideas and strengthening the foundation of the business you have created.
Potholes come from harsh weather conditions, poor road maintenance and improper road foundations. Potholes in business come from harsh economic conditions, poor investment in our business infrastructure and inadequate business foundations.
What are you ready to invest in your business infrastructure to ensure potholes don’t have a lasting effect on your business?
Janna Hoiberg is an executive and leadership business coach, author of “The Family Business: How to Be in Business With People You Love … Without Hating Them.” Find more at jannahoiberg.com.