Is your business on a sugar high? Important lessons imparted by a gigantic doughnut.

by | Mar 27, 2016 | Business Strategy

I went to the food trucks with a friend on Friday night

In San Francisco, you can just say that. Everybody knows what you mean. You go to an event hosted by Off The Grid, eat too much, and eventually succumb to the complimentary air conditioning provided by the Pacific Ocean.

An evening that starts in the mid 60’s can quickly dip to a wind-aided 53. When you’re digesting, that’s cold.



I normally eat pretty healthy

When your favorite hobby is running, it helps to have a relatively healthy diet. I find it to help me run better. So after downing a Sriracha-mayonnaise cheesesteak, I decided that “anything was on the table”. 

So I opted for a giant doughnut

Gigantic. That’s the only way to describe it. I think it weighed almost a pound. At least it felt that way after I ate it. Walking up the hill towards my apartment, I realized the consequences of my poor life-choice. A cheesesteak serving as the base-layer for a gigantic doughnut was clearly more appropriate had I planned on taking a Lyft rather than a nice walk before “calling it a week”.

Even worse, I was scheduled to run the next day . . .


I didn’t run the next morning. I felt too full.

We all know that too much sugar has unhealthy effects on your system.

The simple reality is that we get a lot of sugar in the “everyday” foods that we eat. Fruits, starches and milk products nearly all contain sugar. Those naturally-occurring sugars can be healthy (even necessary) for our bodies to live, function and thrive.

But “added sugar” is a silent killer. Sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and grain-based desserts all contain hefty amounts of sugar — any way you look at it.

To make matters worse, too much sugar reduces the production of an important chemical called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). That stuff’s important. It’s responsible for our ability to form memories. It helps us store information that we deem important.

A lack of it can lead to memory loss, poor reasoning, dementia . . . even depression.

Simply put, too much sugar leads to a loss of information. 


Everybody seems to talk about diabetes. I haven’t met many people talking about Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. I get it . . .

Is your business on a sugar high?

I think a lot of small businesses are perpetually on a sugar high. And I think, like the human body, the excess sugar leads to a loss of information.

Business owners constantly find themselves running around like a mad(wo)man fighting fires, dealing with business issues, and spending most of their time working inside of the business rather than on the business. That puts the business on a sugar high.

It seems that serving customers, working with clients, dealing with employees, hiring, invoicing, making sure the quality is right, and countless other tasks take priority over actually running the business. Sugar supplants proper nutrition.

That’s a problem.

As a business owner (or manager), you create the most value when you’re the brains of the company. The more you work inside of the business, assuming the role of the most talented person on the frontline, the more you deprive your business of the nutrition it needs. It’s like your feeding your business junk food.

That leads to a loss of information

Your business needs brains, not just brawn. And you’re the brains. You founded it. You run it. You manage it. You live and die by it. 

Keep it healthy. Keep it fed with the brain food it needs to thrive, grow, flourish.

Spend a dedicated amount of time each week. Brainstorm, plan, strategize, envision. That’s the only way your business is going to get to the next level.


Constantly going through the day-to-day, as intense as that might be, is synonymous with filling your business with a belly-full of doughnuts, candy bars, and Ho Ho’s. It’s too much sugar. Information gets lost. Progress isn’t made. It won’t run well. It’s just more of the same.

Why not take some time and just think?

Rather than fuel your business with coffee and a doughnut, how about you fuel it with some coffee and forethought?

Sit back this morning. Take some time. Plan. Think. Reflect. Imagine.

Happy Monday.

Get thinking. You deserve it.

Your business needs it . . .

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Christopher Catapano, Bridgesphere Strategic Planning

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