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March Madness, Business Edition

Last week, employers lost $175 million to distracted workers during the NCAA tournament. How much did March Madness cost your company?

With any luck, your employees remained productive throughout the first two days of the tournament. But even with the cost of the tournament, many employers also feel that the games can be a way to heighten employee morale. According to a recent poll by OfficeTeam, 68 percent of employers say that tournament games are either welcome or acceptable in moderation in the office. Perhaps these happy employees will return to work more productive than ever on Monday.

Whether or not you are a fan of watching basketball games in the office, there is at least one thing gases and welding distributors (and other businesses) can learn from the NCAA tournament.

Cinderella stories are a staple of the tournament. The last few years, there has been a 12- or 13-seed to make it through several rounds, with unheralded programs like Butler and VCU in the Final Four, or even the championship game. March Madness is a reminder that the little guys can win, and sometimes it’s the team that plays harder that comes out on top.

This brings me to an interesting conundrum:

I read a comment that said, in referring to small distributors in the gases and welding industry, that the niche for small players will always lie in supplying welding equipment. The commenter went on to say that small distributors will always struggle to grow in the gases side of the business due to the need for capital and a larger infrastructure required for delivery and production systems.

What do you think? Can a small distributor excel in the gas business, or does the need for capital limit the small operator to a hardgoods focus?

Then again, when it comes to the NCAA tournament, who would have thought that teams like Butler, VCU and Gonzaga would develop into more than Cinderella stories, but perennial threats?

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