Yesterday in a networking group I am vested in, the educational moment usually reserved for tips on one’s elevator pitch or 30 second commercial, strategies on networking and getting most out of your time prospecting; was instead more reflective, allowing members to learn about and from each other. The subject was “What 2-3 people have been most influential to your business/company”?
Being on the educational committee I began the go around and started something that our therapist of the group who was unable to attend and my companion on the committee could have had a field day with. I started with my father who returned to his creator 18 1/2 years ago. As we went around the room many of us reflected on family and friends that had an impact on our lives. The interesting thing was that most of them were personal influences, rather than solely from a professional stand point. It made me realize that our personal experiences have a grand effect on us professionally and we need to harness that as it is who we are as a person and professional.
It made me think what is important to me, really important? And much of that was influenced by the following:
A tremendously diligent worker that spent time at the IRS and then privately as a CPA, my father lived his life and worked in his profession with only one way to do things, the right way. There wasn’t any “loopholes” or “variances”, when it came down to it, was it the right thing or not? It is this straightness that led me in one way to the name of the Litigation Services Company that I am a partner in. “Yashar” (Litigation Services) in Hebrew means straight, fair. (Look out for great things from the “The Yashar Group” for years to come.) If there was one thing I could pass on to his grandchildren it is:
“When you are going to do something, whatever it is, do it right the first time or better not to do it at all” – M. Grossbard
Second on my condensed list has to be my big brother and he knows who he is. I learned how to go beyond being a salesperson and become a man of the people, a networker. I sat down with David years ago and asked, well really grilled him on how goes about being a resource for the community at large and how he networks and sells. What he told me is the biggest piece of advice I would give any entrepreneur. ” I am looking to help people. If I meet with someone I want to know about them, their business, and how I can help them. If after connecting them with one of my contacts or helping them otherwise there is reciprocation, then that is just great! If not then I am no worse off as I have helped a person out.” Mind you this is only successful if you are sincere in going about this. But this philosophy has literally changed my life and the way I go about business. David has been a close friend and confidant of mine going back almost 20 years since moving to Miami and I am forever grateful to have him as a close friend.
Each new job or position should be one to look at as a move up. Learn something new, make more money, take on new projects etc. One position for me was when I transitioned from selling something intangible such as stocks or training to something tangible such as a piece of furniture. I was a sales rep for a company based in NJ that sold commercial furniture, specializing in the educational market. I did this for about 2 years before being given the opportunity to open up my own division in Florida and hire sales people to manage. I was concerned that I would be missing the rush and accomplishment felt when dealing directly to customers as now this was a management position and expressed this to my manager at the time, oddly enough also named David. “Just wait and you will see, the feeling will be ten-fold”. Trusting this advice I went forward and hired salespeople and set up my own little company per se within the company.
He was so right like a sniper hitting his target. The rush and feeling of accomplishment was so much greater seeing the interaction and sales done by my sales reps. Helping them get through projects, deals, prospecting and letting them learn from my mistakes and successes was so much better than doing it myself. I was living vicariously through my reps and helping them in their career along the way. David has always been one in my corner, appreciating what I bring to the table, knowing what my make up is internally and appreciating me. His confidence more than anything has been the greatest gift. David and I are still very close as well as our families sending and receiving family invitations. I still consider him an integral part of my “personal advisory board”.
As I continue to grow my office supply company SupplyMart to be the company that I want it to be, to be proud of, to have my children grow in to if they choose, these are some of the people that have instilled in me the core values that SupplyMart is founded on. Here are a few others:
- “The customer IS our business” – Without the customer we HAVE no business. Anyone who does not understand this will eventually fail.
- “Stop Selling and Start Helping” – This is taped to my white board in my office. We are here to help our customers at SupplyMart, not sell them. At times that takes discovery on “how” we can help them and we care and spend the time to do so. Need someone to lease a car from? I got someone to help you. Need a hard worker to learn the ropes in your company? I might no someone for you.
- “Customers are not accounts, they are relationships” – We do our homework to understand the type of business our customers are in. We are always on the search for ways to help you even if it isn’t through purchasing office supplies.
- Ask yourself, “would you want to be talked to, handled, or serviced by someone the same you way are?
So what are the things that are important, REALLY important to you and your business?