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Finding Solutions

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Quick question: What is the No. 1 problem in your business today, the issue that plagues you and your team more than any other? I’m guessing you thought of that pretty quickly, right?

Now, think of the solution.

Need a minute?

OK, well, I’ll share first then: 10 Missions Media is a relatively (and, probably, surprisingly) small company; we have 26 full-time people on the team as of writing this, seven of which work in editorial. But we have three monthly, national print publications; two live events (shameless plug No. 1: That includes our Ratchet+Wrench Management Conference in the fall!); websites that include online-only content; a slew of daily and monthly email newsletters; survey research products; podcasts; videos; mobile apps; and a whole list of print and digital supplements to our magazines.

I feel I can safely say our biggest obstacle internally is capacity (or a lack thereof), and how that can lead to the possibility of neglecting a specific segment of the work we produce.

What are the solutions? Well, there are many—and we’ve worked to implement a number in recent months (I alluded to that in a previous letter). But, I’ll give one simple example. If you look back up at that list of items we produce, there was one I mentioned that, among the others, likely didn’t jump out at you: our websites. We went through a full website redesign that launched at the beginning of this year, but in terms of content, there have been few new additions, aside from our podcast. At the end of June, we “revealed” our first three online-only columnists for Ratchet+Wrench: Aaron Stokes, Brian Sump and Rissy Sutherland—three true superstars in this industry that we’re lucky enough to add to our team. (All three also will play large roles at our conference this fall; that was shameless plug No. 2, by the way.) If you haven’t had a chance to read their first columns, please be sure to check them out.

That’s just one example, though. An overall solution to a large problem or obstacle is never a simple fix; it requires incremental, everyday adjustments. Eventually, all those small ideas, changes and improvements add up to something far greater.

So, let’s get back to your business. I’m going to take a stab and guess that for many of you, your largest obstacle falls in line with the topic of our cover story this month, “Forging a Connection,” which looks at the employee shortage in the auto industry—and what a handful of you are doing to correct it. There are multiple solutions discussed, both on a micro and macro level.

I don’t want give away too much of it here, but a quote from Arkansas shop operator Mike Davidson really gets to the heart of it: “At the end of the story, we are the ones that will fix this.” Some issues can seem so insurmountable that it’s difficult to know where to start. But no matter how stretched thin we might feel, we can each still make these changes, little by little to build toward a solution, just as Davidson and others in this story have.

So, another quick question: Why wait?

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