Legacy: Business Lessons from My Father
The role of a father is vital to the growth of a child. As the oldest of six, I am blessed to have a father who continues to make a big impact on the lives of his children and grandchildren. Some of the earliest memories of my dad include spending time at his office on Saturdays when I was 6 years old.
I loved going to my dad’s office and looking through all the drawers and browsing the office supply catalog. My curiosity got me into trouble several times, but never hindered my spirit. I love learning through observation and hands-on-work. I know the office supply catalog is what influences my love of calendars and planners to this day.
I learned a lot about business from my father and it impacted my decision to become a small business owner. Although if you ask him, it wasn’t his first choice for me. He knew first hand the sacrifice and challenges entrepreneurship brings. Like him, I’m persistent and I always knew someday I would have my own business.
My dream of having my own business started very early. When I was 8 and 9 years old, I sold my knick-knacks to my brothers and sister for their allowance. I would find the items I no longer wanted (ex: posters from the book fair) and then arrange them on my bed with prices. When I was 10 and 11, I would bake cookies and sell them to my neighbors. My brothers, sister, and I would also have lemonade stands at the end of the driveway. The best sales came when a semi-truck driver would buy out our stand. To this day, I’m still sentimental to kids selling lemonade.
I was always looking for ways to do something and earn money. My first business cards were when I was 12. Thanks to my dad being a computer consultant he had access to the software and printing supplies. Thus my first business, Ingenuity, was born. It lasted maybe a couple months, but I had my first business card.
In high school, I was able to work at my dad’s office during the summer. It was during this time I learned a lot of valuable lessons I still use to this day. I’m sharing two business lessons with you today in honor of Father’s Day.
Business Lesson 1: Everything has a place
Before there were digital files there were manila file folders with green hanging file folders. There were files for clients, vendors, etc. I was responsible for filing invoices, receipts, packing slips, order forms, correspondence, etc.
- Alphabetical order (Last Name, First Name
- Chronological order (Most Recent to Oldest)
Documents filed with the header on the left facing forward and staples in the top left corner.
“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”Benjamin Franklin
I’ve been complimented over the years on my organization skills, but the foundation was laid while working for my dad. The habits he taught me are now reflected in many aspects of my business including digital folders, blog categories and tags, and the Academy topics. Everything has a place.
“A place for everything, and everything in its place.”Mrs Beeton
Business Lesson 2: Attention to Detail
How you communicate on the phone is an important part of relationship building in your business.
- Identify yourself when calling, include your name, business, and who you want to speak with. This makes it easier for the receiver to direct your call and help you.
- When taking a message, confirm the spelling of the name, repeat the phone number back to them, include the date, time, and a detailed message.
In 2019, most people email instead of leaving a message with an assistant. However this practice is still helpful when taking notes during a coaching call, client meetings, etc. The details provide context, history, and assist with serving clients, partners, and team members well.
“Believe passionately in what you do, and never knowingly compromise your standards and values. Act like a true professional, aiming for true excellence, and the money will follow.”David Maister
These business lessons laid the foundation for my career. They helped me excel in the various roles I held while serving clients and team members. My success wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance and training of my father.
I’m one of six children, but the business lessons, work ethic, and values my father taught are carried on in each of our careers and families. We strive to make our father proud and to continue his legacy of excellence!