Distractions are everywhere. Plain and simple. Everyone has them. Whether it be issues in our personal lives, constantly reading through the barrage of emails, hiring and on-boarding that new hire or finding the perfect office space. We like to think that these distractions are minimal, but often, they are much more than we ever anticipated. Distractions alone cost the US economy hundreds of millions of dollars. Imagine if you could get a piece of that pie back. That could have a huge impact on your business!

One of the more common distractions that I’ve seen recently with some of our small to mid-sized businesses is getting caught up in the day-to-day work. It is not uncommon in these businesses that the main person responsible for sales, also gets dragged into production when things get busy. While this may be the most natural solution it is, by far, the least effective.

Once the person responsible for sales gets caught up in the day to day, maintaining the sales pipeline becomes an afterthought. You cannot afford to let this happen. I understand that paying contract labor is expensive so it’s easy to switch focus. However, the cost of contract labor to get you through the busy time is much less than the future months’ revenue that you miss out on because you aren’t selling now. Let’s say that this extra busy period lasted one month. That is one month of sales activity that is nowhere near its full potential. Sales cycles can already be long enough with full effort, let alone letting distractions take over. You are potentially sacrificing a month’s worth of sales activity for the cost of paying contract labor.

When you look at it this way, it doesn’t sound like the best decision, does it? Yet almost every business has found itself making that sacrifice at some point in the business’s life. There are always opportunity costs and some of them are hard to quantify. It is always difficult to put a number on the impact that distractions like these cause in your business. You must move from a reactive decision-making mode and start being more proactive. Ask yourself: What is this really costing me? Is this part of my core responsibilities? If not, what responsibilities am I sacrificing? What impacts does that have on the business?

Map out the impact of these questions above and ask yourself if it’s worth it. My guess is that it isn’t. Stop distractions before you lose focus. This is a key step in continuing your journey to prosperity.