Vail Daily column: Back to school, back to work — seriously? | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Back to school, back to work — seriously?

Larry Cavanaugh
Vail Chamber

Larry Cavanaugh

Yes, seriously. It is easy to get caught up in the summer fun and excitement that happens here in our wonderful mountain playground. We all know there is something fun to do just about every day. Actually, there is something fun to do every day. Whether you like concerts or shopping, biking or fishing, hiking or rafting … OK, I'll stop there before I start sounding like a commercial for a tourism bureau. But the truth is we all know how much fun the summers are here in Eagle County.

The return of school buses and quiet whimpers of parents sending their last child off to college mark the return of fall. Unlike spring, whose connotations invoke thoughts of rebirth and rejuvenation, fall carries overtones of seriousness — at least it does for me. I'm not saying it is time to abandon all of the recreation and merriment that summer offers. Those activities are good for us all year round. But I am saying it is time to take an earnest look at ourselves and our businesses.

We all have Businesses

Before you turn the page thinking this article is not for me because I don't own a business, let me propose this premise. We all have businesses. That's right; every one of us has a business. So you don't have a store front on Bridge Street or a website or even a business card. You are still a business owner.

Consider joining a group where you can bounce ideas off of others. It could be a moms group, an investment group or a trade group. Take advantage of the economies of scale through your local business association for advertising, promotions and networking. These are all ideas that can help your business cut costs.

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If you are a school teacher, then you have the business of managing a classroom. If you are a stay-at-home parent, then you have the business of managing a household. If you are retired, then you have the business of managing your nest egg. And yes, if you sell food, clothing, bicycles or hardware, then you have a business. If you are employed by anyone, then you have a business. So let's get serious and go back to school.

Business 101

Business 101: More income and lower expenses equals greater profits.

Are you maximizing your income? Are you putting everything you can into your business? Are your investments maximizing today's markets? Does your marketing plan bring new customers in the door? If the answer to any of these questions is no or I don't know, then consider getting some serious help. Consult your peers. Consult your investment advisor. If you don't have one, then get one. Review your marketing plan with a professional. Join a trade organization or your local Chamber.

What about expenses? Here is where you can have an immediate effect on your business's health. Take a serious look at each and every expense you have. Are you spending too much on a fancy pen when all you really need is a No. 2 pencil? Are you buying and preparing wild caught sockeye salmon four nights a week when you could have fresh caught Colorado trout one of those nights? Are you buying the softest toilet paper ever made when … OK, I'll stop there but I'm sure you get the point. Take a serious hard look at all your expenses.

Network and Brainstorm

Consider joining a group where you can bounce ideas off of others. It could be a moms group, an investment group or a trade group. Take advantage of the economies of scale through your local business association for advertising, promotions and networking. These are all ideas that can help your business cut costs.

So as we all prepare to head into fall, I challenge everyone to take a serious look at your business and do something that will make an improvement to the bottom line. Just remember to have fun doing it. Because we all know the fun never ends here in our wonderful mountain playground.

About THE Vail Chamber & Business Association

Stay involved and stay informed. If you are not already receiving the Vail Chamber and Business Association's weekly enewsletter, then email us at info@vailchamber.org to start receiving it.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Vail Chamber & Business Association and what we have to offer to businesses in and that do business in Vail, then call 970-477-0075 or email info@vailchamber.org. Based in Vail Village, our office is located on the top level of the Vail Transportation Center, so stop by and say "hello."

Larry Cavanaugh is the president of Centennial Bank in Vail. He is a board member of the Vail Chamber & Business Association.