10 Things Dad Taught Us About Running a Small Business


Recently, I wrote about the things I learned from my Mom that make me a better small business entrepreneur. Although I seldom post business information on my personal Facebook page, I felt this was appropriate to share. Hence, my sister, Denice, began thinking of all that Dad taught us through running his small business. Now, in her own words, is Denice’s contribution to our blog, Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom:

Yesterday, Jackie wrote a Synnovatia blog about Mom teachings as they relate to small business. I have attached the link, in case you missed it. It made my mind whirl, or was it the snow and wind that was hitting my bedroom windows? It definitely made me very nostalgic. Thanks, Jackie.

I thought, “What are 10 things that Dad taught us that he also used in running his small business, Johnny’s Repair?” Here are my thoughts….

  1. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When the shop where Dad worked was closing in the early 1970’s, he didn’t sit around with his Lucky Strikes and Walker’s bourbon collecting an unemployment check. He built his own small business including a building. Build it and they will come, and they did.
  2. Sometimes you can’t do everything yourself, you have to enlist help. Call Mom on the phone and have her come down to help you split that tractor.
  3. Keep things neat and orderly. Put your tools away after use. You can see where they are supposed to hang because there is an outline drawn in that location on the pegboard.
  4. There are times that you have to leave your comfort zone. You may have to leave the shop and travel out to the field to fix that baler.
  5. “If you don’t have time for me to do it right the first time, how much time do you have for me to do it over.” Positive words by customers are invaluable and you won’t have to run an ad in the Glen Ullin Times.
  6. Evaluate and follow your budget. Sponsoring a women’s bowling team with shirts displaying the Johnny’s Repair name is money well spent. It is inevitable that you will have to do that when your wife is bowling on that team.
  7. Conduct yourself in a respectful manner at all times. Especially if you are wearing your coveralls with “Johnny’s Repair” on the back and “Johnny” on the front pocket.
  8. Take care of yourself. Go home for lunch each day, put your feet up and take a 15-minute nap.
  9. Make sure you have some money reserved for the unforeseen expenses. Keep a Mason jar with cash in the freezer.
  10. Take time to smell the roses. Life is way too short!

The business was sold in 1982.

Note: I realize that I really didn’t know much about his thoughts on running his business…I was busy living MY life.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Denice!

What did your Dad teach you about running your small business?

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Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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