UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center

Spinning Plates

Entrepreneurs, small business owners, support organization leaders, we have something in common: We are all plate spinners.

At any given time, we’ve got a whole bunch of plates spinning, and we have to make sure they don’t fall to the ground. No one tells us to go home at 5 o’clock. No one tells us the priorities for the week. There is always more to do. We have to figure out how to keep the plates spinning.

Early in my career, a wise woman told me something very important about plate spinning: not all plates are alike. Some plates are china: we have to make sure they spin all the time because if they fall they will break into a million pieces. Some plates are metal. If they fall it will make a huge noise, but we can get them spinning again. And the paper plates are no big deal. The trick is to figure out which plates are which.

So every day I make sure my fine china is humming along. I give the metal plates a quick flip to keep them spinning. And if I have time I pay attention to the paper plates. And practically every day a new plate presents itself, and I have to decide whether to pick it up and start it spinning.

How do we keep all the plates spinning? Take a break. I know that’s counterintuitive, but sometimes not working helps me work harder. Maybe it’s a quick walk around the building. Maybe it’s a five minute conversation about the last movies you saw. Maybe it’s checking out a funny website. One of my colleagues chose to go to a lunchtime yoga class, even though she’d been out of the office and was buried in emails. Afterward, her comment: “That was such a good call to go. I feel like I can face my desk again.”

Which plates will you spin today?

Image credit: Flickr user Antony Stanley

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