Staffing, time management challenge small business owners

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Staffing, time management challenge small business owners

By Blair Potter | May 26, 2022

MaryAnne P. Bobrow, CAE, CMP, CMM, of Bobrow Associates Inc. will co-lead the session “Survival of the Solutionists” at MPI’s World Education Congress, June 21-23 in San Francisco. The session will offer independent and small business owners (SBOs) the opportunity to discuss situations requiring new approaches and formulate and share best practices.

Bobrow says the session will be valuable to anyone in the meeting industry, beyond just SBOs, and we asked her about current challenges facing SBOs.

Can you tell us about a particular challenge independent/small business owners are facing right now?

I would say right now that the biggest challenge is time management. Various factors enter into this:

1.     COVID is again rearing its ugly head, and there is concern as to whether we will backward spiral. Small businesses have suffered greatly over the past two years or so and are trying to move forward while cautiously managing their businesses while trying not to enlarge staff beyond capacity.

2.     Many small business owners on both the planner and supplier sides of the equation reduced or eliminated staff during COVID and are now trying to balance surviving with demands for additional work. During COVID, many qualified people left this industry out of a need to survive, and those who replaced them have far less experience than their predecessors. It takes time to train people to return to prior levels of active projects—again, true for both planners and suppliers.

3.     For many who had adequate staffing prior to COVID and thus had more time to volunteer for organizations like MPI, time management between the day job and volunteerism can be problematic. This is especially true for small business owners, and our SBO community is making accommodations for those who find business and volunteer times conflicting.

“Survival of the Solutionists” at WEC San Francisco. Learn more about this and other timely sessions.

How can meeting professionals better engage their colleagues/community in order to address problems on an ongoing basis?

All communities should keep a pulse on what is happening in and impacting their communities and collectively communicate regularly on challenges that are happening, how they are being worked on and eventually resolved. This is SBO’s promise to its community. We know MPI excels at education targeting meetings and events. We participate in that, but we drive business making education and knowledge for our community.

“Many small business owners on both the planner and supplier sides of the equation reduced or eliminated staff during COVID and are now trying to balance surviving with demands for additional work.”

What do you hope attendees will take away from this session?

Attendees don’t have to be members of SBO to attend this session. There are takeaways for everyone. We also strongly believe that while people are in this industry, they don’t necessarily identify themselves as small business owners. If you work for yourself, you are a small business owner—from one dollar on up. Our session will be interactive, with open discussion among all attendees on ways in which to more effectively deal with downturns, be they driven by economic situations or other sources. As a community, we are stronger together.

Independent & Small Business Owners Community sponsored by:
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Author

Blair Potter
Blair Potter

Blair Potter is managing editor for The Meeting Professional. He likes toys and collects cats (or is it the other way around?).