My dad owned a small business for about 10 years. One day his largest customer phoned informing it was going out of business and would be unable to pay what it owed. Ultimately, it put my dad out of business. For the next decade or so, my dad didn’t talk much about his business. At the time, outside of his family, it was the light of his life. Losing it hurt him, it embarrassed him, and I’m sure on some level it shamed him. My dad is a good man – always has been. That was a life lesson for me. Bad things happen to good people all the time.
Eventually my dad opened up about things he would have done differently. There were quite a few, but one really stuck with me. He said he learned admitting you don’t have all the answers is a sign of strength rather than weakness. So if he had to do it all over again, he would ask for more advice.
I do wonder what would have become of my dad’s business if he had done more to seek the advice of others. What if he had a good banker or CPA or mentor? Paid or unpaid, what if he had someone that was available to answer questions or provided access to knowledge he didn’t have? What if he had an advisor that could point out pitfalls or help develop strategy; someone who knew his goals and had his best interests in mind; someone who could advocate on his behalf.
Would it have made a difference? Who really knows for certain? But, according a 74-year-old veteran, 49-year husband, father of three, and the most honest, hardest working man I’ve ever known, he’d “do things differently.”
What does “doing things differently” mean for your business?