by Antonio Arias
In honor of my mother today being Mother’s Day, let me share some of the things she taught me about business. I was very fortunate to be her first-born as she often shared with me her working days even when I was a kid.
1. Respect other people’s money
Your business will grow as long as you are delivering your customers’ needs. When you grow, you will need other partners or investors to keep delivering more of what your customers need. Your investors become your customers too. Respect them by investing their money to what you said you will do. If you have to change your direction, ask them permission or return their money. Return their money plus the profit they expected to gain.
2. Give generously but wise about giving your time
Building relationships is sharing the most important finite resource that you will never get back – time. The only way to be wise about who to give your time to is to get better at knowing people. The only way to know people is to keep investing at them by understanding their motives and their values. So giving time is a form of investment. Not all will yield a positive return. Diversify your investment in the kind of people you deal with. Once you know the people you can trust, no contract will be strong enough to protect your interests.
3. We are in business to serve
Customers’ needs always come first. Never chase money for the sake of money. It always comes as a result of delivering results. Spend enough time to understand the changing needs of your customers. Know your competition as that is the only way you can deliver something better that your customers will buy.
4. Negotiate hard but make everyone win
To deliver results mean recruiting partners or suppliers. We are all playing to win. Sometimes, you have to defer your rewards to make others win first. Understand the motivation of your partners. Winning does not come from hard cash alone. Offer something else to compensate so that all of you achieve your respective goals.
5. Maintain balance
Life has to be fun. Mom always had a happy disposition. I remember mostly happy moments with her, probably because she was always talking with other people. She gave out energy as much as she took in. If she was not working in business, she was playing the piano or doing some cooking for all of us to enjoy. For me balance meant using both the left and right side of the brain. Spending time being creative as opposed to analysing data, or simply exercising to get the rusty parts of our mind and body functioning. My Mom taught me to work hard and play hard.