5 Business Lessons You (Unwittingly) Learned From Your Parents
Teaching you how to fly in business… probably
When we were kids, our parents were often full of advice. Admittedly, some of this was probably a little bit useless. For example:
“Because I said so” – Is that really a valid answer to our childhood questioning?
“Your face will stick like that” – Will it, really?
“Money doesn’t grow on trees” – Well, technically it does, so…
Still, it’s important to cut out some of our parent’s nonsensical babble, and focus on the important life lessons they probably taught us as well. Especially when it comes to running a business, you may be surprised at the advice your parents have already given you. Consider the following as examples.
“Play nice with others”
Of course you played nice with others as a child. Until they grossly offended you with witty jokes about your mom, and you taught them what dirt tastes like! Still, you always knew there were advantages to playing nicely with other kids. Making friends was a start, but remember that kid who had that thing that you really wanted? You didn’t really like him, but buddying up was the only way you were going to get it.
And so it is with business. You aren’t going to get anywhere by being a bully, so getting the best out of people – staff, customers, business clients – is to play nice with them, being kind, offering a good deal, and earning their respect. They may never become your best friends, but as a business leader, you don’t want any of these people deserting you and joining the nearest childhood gang (business rival).
“Stop wasting your money”
Sometimes your parents didn’t get it. There were things you needed as a child, so how could it be called a waste of money. You were hungry, so that giant bar of chocolate was a necessity. You were bored, so the latest video game was perfect for your console. You had to look good in front of your mates (and that girl you had an eye on), so you just had to have the latest pair of sneakers. A waste of money indeed… pfft!
Of course, you didn’t ‘need’ any of those items, and your parents were probably frustrated when you constantly drained their financial resources on things they knew weren’t important. Well, not important to them at least. Still, we can all waste money, and in business, this is particularly true. This includes buying the latest tech when you don’t have the funds or spending too much money on high street ink when you could easily shop online at 123inkjets and buy the same for cheaper. Saving money is important, and unlike your childhood, you won’t always have your mom and dad to bail you out when you incur terrible financial losses.
“Don’t go out looking like that”
Parents can be so rude. You have spent hours (minutes) getting ready, and they criticise your fashion choices. They probably made you wear your very best stuff when you were going to church as well, or on those occasions when you were forced to visit Great Aunt (insert name here) to endure her minty kisses. Why can’t you wear what you want to? “It’s not fair,” you probably shouted at your folks as you slammed the front door in your tatty denims.
Thankfully, you don’t have to let other people dictate what you wear as a grown up. Still, you do need to take some responsibility for your outfit. You won’t get your head into ‘work mode’ if you turn up to work in clothes that are clearly unsuitable. Other people won’t take you seriously, either, so you do need to be more than a little fashion conscious when it comes to impressing others. Wear your pajamas or slacks at home, and succumb to wearing your best suit when you’re at work.
“Don’t give up”
As children, giving up was often the easiest solution. Can’t tie your shoelaces? Fine, taking a health and safety risk is better than spending the day fiddling with your shoes. Struggling with your homework? Better to incur the wrath of the teacher than waste time doing something you can’t handle. Still, you knew in your heart you would never get anywhere by giving up, and your parent’s constant reminder was hopefully more a blessing than a curse.
Childhood can be tough, but the world of the grownup is often tougher. Especially in business, there will be days when you think life can’t get any harder. The accounts are a mess, your staff team are full of complaints, and another project lands on your desk that is worse than any homework you had to endure. However, you need to persevere. If you can’t do something, seek the advice of another professional. If your skill level is low, consider extra training. If your staff get on your nerves, get to the heart of the problem. Giving up is easy, but your business will suffer because of it. There are challenges ahead, but you can overcome them.
As kids, we were always looking to conform to others. Fitting in was important, especially if we wanted to make friends or avoid bullying. Still, this could cause problems. Taking part in activities that were dangerous to our health – drinking, smoking, etc. – was probably due to peer pressure. Then there was the expense. No wonder our pocket money dwindled quickly whenever we tried to keep up with fashion the rest of the kids at school were wearing. Be yourself? Finding our identity as a child was hard enough, without the pressure we put on ourselves to be like everybody else.
Possibly the most important lesson in business, in so many ways. For starters, you aren’t going to succeed if you are doing something that everybody else in your business does. You need to stand out to set yourself apart from the competition. You shouldn’t let the bad practices of others distract you, either. To maintain your reputation, you do need to stick to your personal morals and code of ethics. When you bend yourself to the will of others, you will lose respect for yourself, and from those around you. So be yourself. Know your strengths and stick to them. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Set yourself apart from the crowd and pave your own way forward in business. You will feel better for it, and you will receive the respect you deserve.
So, there we have it. Five business lessons you probably learned from your mom and dad. We bet you didn’t realise it at the time, but the advice they gave you was invaluable. Now, turn your computer off before you get square eyes, and go and play out in the fresh air. Why? Because I said so!