Distractions can be deadly to a business. In this edition of Tough Things First, Ray Zinn and guest host Rob Artigo discuss the chief distractions effecting your business today and how they are impacting your bottom line.
Rob Artigo: Welcome back to another edition of the Tough Things First podcast, I’m your guest host, Rob Artigo, writer and entrepreneur in California. Hi, Ray.
Ray Zinn: Hello, Rob.
Rob Artigo: Well, Ray, as with driving, distractions can be fatal to a business. What are some of the ways business operators can get distracted?
Ray Zinn: Primarily is the raising of money. Once you’ve raised your money in the very beginning of your business, that should be enough to hold you over until your business is up and running and you’re profitable, but if you only raise enough money to kind of get yourself started, then you’re gonna be back to raising money again once your business gets underway. I liken this to a scuba diver who goes down and he has about an hour’s worth of air, and then he’s gotta come back up again and either get another tank or refill his tank, so you’re limited on how much air you can have if you’re scuba diving, but in business, unless you have a scuba diving type business, you don’t wanna have to keep having to refill your tank, and so that’s the issue that I see faces a lot of entrepreneurs and startups, is the amount of time and energy it takes to raise money for your business.
Rob Artigo: Is a new market that you’re operating in, can that be a distraction for a business?
Ray Zinn: Sure, in fact, I remember talking to someone a month or so ago regarding these people that have these in-home businesses, and they say they fill their front room up with product, but they don’t sell it. So in other words, they get with the product and with the opportunity but then they say, “Well, what now, how do I get rid of this stuff out of my front room?”, and that’s the big challenge that a lot of these companies face, is they keep building and buying more inventory, but they don’t know how to move it, how to get it out of their inventories, or out of their stock room. So yes, that’s another issue, is distraction, is that having to worry about how to dispose of your inventory.
Rob Artigo: You might remain the same at your company as you did with [inaudible 00:02:51] for 37 years, but I’m sure you had changes occasionally with company leadership and that kind of thing can be a distraction.
Ray Zinn: Yup. If you don’t have a loyal base of your employees, that turnover will drive you nuts. In other words, you’d keep having to train new people. I remember a few weeks ago, I was trying to get a new fence built around my certain part of my ranch in Montana, and the contractor, he said he can’t keep people, and he’s constantly having to train new ones, and I said, “Well, what’s the problem?” He says, he’s trying to figure that out, and I said, “Well, possibly, you’re not paying them enough.”, and he said, “Well, I can only afford so much or I’m not [inaudible 00:03:35] anyone on all of his excuses.” But certainly, that is a challenge, is trying to retain employees and keep them motivated.
Rob Artigo: What are some of the results of distraction for a business? We’ve mentioned the fact that if you’re a distracted driver in a car, you could crash the car. Is that essentially the kind of thing that you can do, is essentially run off the business road?
Ray Zinn: Absolutely. Getting distracted in your business can cause you to run off the road or crash, and certainly that is the challenge that all new businesses face is staying on the road or staying on the path, or in your plan in the case of a business, so absolutely. Getting distracted by a number of things. I remember this one fellow that I knew who was distracted by his receptionist and they got kind of involved and that really ruined his business. He actually ended up going bankrupt, and his receptionist ended up suing him, so there’s all kinds of distractions that can come about. Family distractions, personal distractions, but being distracted is a thing you have to avoid if you’re gonna be successful while running a business.
Rob Artigo: Yeah, I think about this. Again, driving off the road is really a great way of thinking of losing sight of what made the company successful in the first place, so if you’re distracted, you veer off that path and you become something that you didn’t intend to become.
Ray Zinn: Yeah, and it’s easier said than done. We talk about don’t be distracted, but there’s certainly distractions out there that avoiding them is a challenge, and something you have to work diligently to do so I would caution anybody listening to this podcast, don’t be deluded. Simple, small things can become a distraction. Might be your car having problems or it might be an issue in your home. Something simple as having to replace a water heater. So there’s lots of things that can distract you. What you wanna do is find out how do you deal with distractions so that they don’t become such an issue that you run your business off the road, as you said.
Rob Artigo: Well, what are some of the remedies for distraction?
Ray Zinn: Overcoming distractions?
Rob Artigo: Yeah, think running your business and having to overcome those distractions, what are some of the ways that we might be able to accomplish that?
Ray Zinn: By staying focused on the goals that are primary parts of your business. Don’t let the little things, ’cause little things become big things. Don’t let the little things get in your way. We talk about learning to do the tough things first and so what I recommended is in my book, Tough Things First, which you can find on Amazon or any other major book retailer, is to make a list of the things you don’t want to do or the tough things you have to deal with that day, get them out of the way and the rest of the day becomes much smoother and easier to do. So tough task, or really, ones that you don’t wanna do are your major distracters, and those are the ones you wanna get rid of first, first thing every day.
Rob Artigo: Thanks for your time, Ray.
Ray Zinn: You’re welcome. Thanks for the pod.
Rob Artigo: And you mentioned it, you can check out Tough Things First for more information on the Tough Things First book, and you can also find links to Facebook, LinkedIn and your Twitter page.
Ray Zinn: Thanks, Rob.