'All In'

By Dawn Lospaluto
In March 7, 2013

Two years ago we adopted a “dachsle”—a mixed breed rescue puppy, part dachshund, part beagle. Her copper color earned her the name Penny and she settled in with her older sibling, Belle, a shepherd-collie mix. Penny was our first non-herding breed, with Belle and our previous dogs, Bandit and Daisy, all part shepherd. (That’s Penny at right and with big sister Belle, below)

We soon learned the true meaning of the verb, “to hound,” because this little dog is the most single-minded and tenacious tracker you could imagine. In the morning, if she picks up the scent of a cat, possum, or raccoon that may have crossed the back yard overnight, she goes into full hound dog mode—tail moving in a brisk metronome-like side-to-side arc perfectly parallel to the ground, nose likewise sweeping side to side along the grass, persistent (and piercing) loud guttural bark to alert all hunters in the area to a possible catch.

And once on scent, she cannot be distracted from the task at hand (at paw?) in any way. She is the only puppy we’ve ever had that could not be enticed in from the yard with the words “cookie” or “treat.” In short, when it comes to her determination to get the job done, she is, to use the current sports phrase, “all in.”

In an age of expected multi-tasking and unrelenting electronic distractions, how many of us can say we are “all in” when it comes to our own work? Are you “all in” when running your business or is your attention so fractionated and diffused that you feel you are never able to give it 100% of your attention?

Even though you may feel you are spending every waking hour—and maybe some sleepless nights—working on your business, you are still not “all in” if those hours are used to put out today’s flare-ups or deal with immediate concerns rather than looking at the big picture, the long-range prospects, and the strategies that will keep you successful not just in the months, but in the years to come.

Being “all in” means taking the time and effort to understand industry trends and how they can affect your profitability prospects. It means not just counting on employees’ current skills, but helping them develop the new capabilities that will keep your company competitive in response to changing customer demands and new technology options and opportunities.

How can you find a way to be “all in” while still putting out those fires nipping at your heels? NAPL can help. If you are an owner-operator or run a shop with as many as 20-25 employees, you can spend three days this fall at the NAQP Owners Conference and join with other committed owners who know that staying abreast of trends, opportunities, and threats is the only way to remain viable in a rapidly changing industry. It will be an affordable, enjoyable, and ultimately profitable experience.

You can’t be “all in” if you’re not 100% aware of what your customers value and whether your company measures up to your competitors in delivering what those clients want and need. Within a few weeks, a customizable NAPL eKG Competitive Edge Profile can provide you with the most relevant and complete customer data in the industry. When it comes to grooming your employees for new and expanded responsibilities, the unique NAPL NexGen Leaders program provides the kind of one-on-one instruction and peer group setting that offers not just education and training, but a lifelong resource network.

“All in” owners stay up to date with industry trends and understand both the possibilities and potential pitfalls of new service areas. NAPL studies, publications, and webinars provide an introduction to new technologies and service areas, proven business strategies, and sales/customer service approaches that work. The webinars are free, and each month NAPL offers a new, heavily discounted deal on great industry resources. Just watch your email for notices about all these programs or check the NAPL home page at www.napl.org.

After all, the future belongs not just to those who keep their nose to the grindstone (or the ground), but to those who still find a way to look up and see what lies ahead and how they can make the most of it. How are you staying “all in” these days?

Dawn Lospaluto

Epicomm Senior Director of Communications, Dawn has been the editor of Epicomm 's "Bottom Line" magazine and its predecessor publications, "NAPL Business Review," Printing Manager," and "The Journal of Graphic Communications Management," for 20 years. She also writes and edits several Epicomm member print and electronic newsletters, including [Re]View, Management Bulletin, Highlights, and Discover; press releases; and various marketing materials; and oversees Epicomm 's book publishing program. Dawn previously served as corporate managing editor for Allied (now Honeywell) Corporation and as a reporter and editor for New Jersey's largest evening newspaper. She is a graduate of Douglass College (Rutgers University) and holds an M.A. degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she has served on the adjunct faculty.

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