Valuable Business Lessons my Daddy Taught Me
There is a special kind of bond that exists between most fathers and daughters. I’ll admit, I’m no exception as I’m the quintessential daddy’s little girl. There are many reasons I love my dad, but one of the things I admire most about him is how he runs a business. It’s not that he’s the Warren Buffett of my hometown of Mount Pleasant, PA or anything. It’s simply about the way he goes about running his business. In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d share a few of the things I have learned from my dad about business.
1. Take customer service to the next level. At an early age, I learned that it’s important to do what it takes to make your customer happy. I remember Christmases in which my dad would come home worried or upset that an order might not come in, meaning a customer would not have that special gift of jewelry for a loved one. He’d go in early and call the manufacturer or he would drive 50 miles to another store to get it from another jewelry store. And while he isn’t always successful, customers realize he did his best and they typically bought more in the future.
2. Always have an entrepreneurial spirit. As a wedding present, my grandfather (who was also a very successful businessman) put my dad in charge of a new IGA Super Dollar grocery store he was opening in the rural town of Mount Pleasant. My dad was always coming up with new ways to help the store remain competitive in his role as store manager. When my grandfather decided to close all the stores upon retirement, my dad decided to reinvent his career and bought the jewelry business. He continues to always be curious and try new things – whether it’s adding new product or trying an off-the-wall promotion – pushing himself out of his comfort zone. The business has grown as a result, so don’t be afraid to learn or try new things!
3. Care about others. It’s true. Both customers and employees can tell if you truly care about them and their needs. Sometimes it’s just a matter of listening when someone needs to talk. Other times it’s a helping hand. My dad always takes the time to listen and speak with his customers and employees on a personal level as opposed to just getting straight down to business. Your customers remember those types of things. For example, I remember when I went to high school and the custodian, Vinny, came up to me on the first day. Vinny said that my dad ensured he had milk to take home to his kids one night when he didn’t have enough money and for that reason he would always send customers to my dad’s new business.
4. Serve your community. Focusing on growing a business or your career can be time consuming. However, giving back to your community not only makes you more complete as a person, but it also builds awareness and valuable relationships. As far as I can remember, my dad has served on local economic development committees to being involved with Rotary. Through these, people know his business but also know that he acts with integrity. The result has been many referrals and loyal customers.
5. Don’t forget to have some fun. Growing and promoting your business can be hard. That’s why it’s important to take a few minutes every day to laugh and not take things so seriously. My dad always finds a silly joke or does something funny in the course of the day to make an employee or customer smile. You can do this too by taking a few moments with your team to have an ice cream break or sending a fun “just because” campaign to show a customer you care.
Thanks Dad for all those great lessons! And, Happy Father’s Day to all of those great dads out there! Has your dad taught you any valuable lessons you use in business? Please tell us!
Stacy W. • June 13, 2014
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