Welcome to Small Business Week.  Well, belated welcome since we are already halfway through it.  I suppose that it’s a convenient lead in to my point in this post, addressing the delay in writing this.

I wanted to get this posted on Monday but, unfortunately, other tasks had to come first.  Like employees at small businesses around the world, I wear many hats.  My title itself summarizes the responsibilities I have here.  I am a Catalyst at Centryco, charged to investigate, instigate and evaluate change to our operations in support of our corporate strategy and goals.  While that might seem like a position more suited for a large company with enough excess capital to invest in broad spectrum improvements, the reality is that continual improvement to operational efficiency and company culture is an inherent mandate for survival.  Still, having a full-time employee solely dedicated to that purpose doesn’t present a desirable ROI on a consistent basis, so I must take on other tasks to earn my keep.

Today I am writing this, performing some basic efficiency analysis, handling the disposal of old machinery, and assisting in some strategic planning regarding some foreseeable concerns with production capacity.  In the past weeks, I have designed and machined parts to fix an underperforming machine, coordinated the search for new software, handled issues with our phone system and ordered coffee for the office.  That schedule might look odd if you only have experience at larger companies but it is a reality for employees at smaller organizations.

I am not the exception, rather the rule.  Our machine programmer also serves as facility manager.  Members of our busy sales team sometimes augment our production staff when necessary.  Our engineers mainly focus on ensuring that products meet your needs; they also are developing new products and analyzing process efficiency.

The need to learn new skills and step out of your routine frequently is sometimes daunting but I see it as a blessing.  My job is less likely to become boring and rote, my day isn’t always spent sitting in front of a screen, and I get to try my hand at new things; all with the aim of bettering this company.  It truly is a beautiful phenomenon in small businesses.  When you have a small stage, every role played is large.  Small businesses always talk about a family or team environment because you feel the shared pride and it’s impossible to miss the impact you have.

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