Pick and choose business opportunities

Author Keith Jennings
October 23, 2019 - 11:30am

October is usually a hectic month in both business and personal life. In the business world, an increase in trade shows, equipment dealing, employee training opportunities, community activities and various other functions presents lots of matters to manage, most of which seem slower in summer months. Among the many options and considerations, choosing which are most beneficial to your shop can strain your brain cells a bit more than in other months. Then add a very busy season for families, and you have a full plate of duties all the way around. Every weekend seemingly has a wedding, a school festival, a sports event, a community fundraiser or other such activity. It is a busy time indeed.

As an owner or a manager of a machine shop, taking advantage of abundant opportunities always should be considered and utilized when possible. Maybe it is the right time to attend a demonstration out of town, find better deals and upgrade that machine. Many opportunities are worth the time and effort. However, trying to handle it all, along with your normal managerial duties, sometimes can add stress and become overwhelming.

When we relocated our shop from a city to our local town, I was eager to meet people, be involved in the business community, help at my kids’ schools and sponsor teams and events—whatever was needed. I still do those things to a degree. But I’ve learned a method for dealing with this intense combination of business and personal life. It’s OK to select only a few activities. Instead of trying to be everywhere all the time, sometimes say no, which is a simple, concise word that can improve your life.

My kids are older now, but we remain in the community, our business is still here, and we continue to love and support the place. The difference between the past and present is I’ve understood and come to terms with the fact that it’s bad to say yes to everything, which makes managing a machine shop more difficult. The increased events and duties can take away valuable time from an already hectic work schedule, not to mention potentially resulting in less family time, something already in short supply.

I’ve known many shops and owners who were very quiet and didn’t care to engage with the community or business world. If that approach works for you, that’s certainly fine too. We chose to take a more visible approach as it reflects our company personality. But as the wise saying goes, all things in moderation.

You can’t attend every trade show, see every equipment demo and sponsor every vendor fundraiser. It’s refreshing to accept that idea and apply it without worry. Make your best choices, say no to the rest, and move forward. It’ll likely be a more enjoyable season.    


Manager's Desk Columnist

Keith Jennings is president of Crow Corp., Tomball, Texas, a family-owned company focusing on machining, metal fabrication and metal stamping.