Editorial: A Solution at Last!

For the past few years, Bob and I have spent a lot of time running shop vacs. Water found its way into our basement, causing us to cringe every time the weatherman said the word “rain”. In addition to causing sore backs and general crankiness, the encroaching wetness ruined our carpet, two bookcases, and the paneling.

We tried a number of fixes that worked temporarily, but water is a persistent foe. Finally, however, we got to the root of the problem—literally. The water had created a path that followed the roots of a 40-year-old azalea bush. I loved that azalea and its spring shower of white blooms, but it had to go for the greater good. And I felt much better about its demise after the first big rains came and our basement remained snug and dry.

Digging that azalea out was hard work, but that’s what was required. In this respect, maintaining a home isn’t that different from running a business. A company has an infrastructure that must be constantly tended.

Preserving your healthy infrastructure means more than just regular upkeep of the physical plant, although that is certainly part of it. It also requires routine equipment maintenance and keeping consumables stocked. It means keeping your software up to date; upgrading to the latest versions as early as you can. In this month’s Digital Original, John Giles tells us that that task may become easier as software companies move toward cloud-based subscription services.

It also means paying attention to your employees. Regular performance reviews will help you and your staff to understand where progress is being made and which areas require attention. You may find that you need to make changes to some proceedures to streamline your workflow. If so, be aware that people have a natural tendency to resist change. Debra Thompson’s column can help you find an effective method to overcome that resistance with minimum stress to all concerned.

While you’re at it, contact your customers to make sure you can effectively meet their changing needs. Businesses are finding new ways to communicate their messages. Adding cross-media marketing, Web-based services, social media management and the like can perk up your bottom line while building customer loyalty.

You have a lot of irons in the fire. Some jobs can be delegated, but as the owner, the final responsibility rests with you.