As I reflect on my career accomplishments of 2016, I realize that the entrepreneurial spirit has been passed to me from my mother. Earlier this year, my mom celebrated 22 years in business. I remember when we first went to check out the the building she planned to convert into a hair salon. It had been an insurance office, and there was a lot of work to be done to transform the traditional business office space into a stylish salon. I thought it would be cool to be the daughter of a hair shop owner; what I didn’t know then was the impact my mother’s entrepreneurship would have on my development.
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Through observing my mom operate her salon, I have learned the greatest business lesson of my life. Here are a few things that I learned from her entrepreneurial side:
1) The value of knowing your network and their resources
My great grandfather built each custom styling station for the salon. Her salon, from day one, has been a relaxing atmosphere in part due to the uniqueness of the decor.
2) How to Conduct Business Calls
She trained me and my sisters on the proper way to answer the phone. I knew the proper way to speak and handle business before I actually knew the definition of business.
3) How to Delegate Tasks
My mom taught me how to give instructions. It didn’t take many times for me to learn how to sweep hair off the floor. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t her tone, it was the way she used words to provide instructions.
4) How to Keep Clients Coming Back
She demonstrated how to provide excellent customer service day after day. I grew up in front of the eyes of clients who to this day still go to the salon for their beauty needs.
5) How to Lead
One of the most important lessons I learned from my mom is that I could be a leader. While I was in college, my mom had a medical procedure and was forced to take time off from work. During this period, she trusted me to run the salon. The confidence I gained from being an interim manager of her salon was the impetus for me to pursue an MBA.
During this holiday season, I’m expressing gratitude for the lessons my mom taught me. The holidays are not about long lines in the mall and free shipping offers; they’re about the cherished memories with our loved ones. Over 20 years in business has come with highs and lows, and my mother has continued to conquer each challenge while maintaining her honesty and integrity and, most importantly, keeping her clients happy. I am so proud of her and all that she has accomplished. My gift to her is my sincerest gratitude for teaching me how to be a business woman.