This past week the world lost a great man. A patriot, father, husband, Christian, and a small business owner. He was many things to many people, but he was so much to so many because of what he was able to do through his small business.
I met Bob a few years ago when I, a first time “sales manager” who knew everything that needed to be known about a small business (not). I went to meet Bob and learn how I could help him – and left there already a better sales manager just for spending an hour in his office.
In reflecting on my relationship with Bob while making my way to his memorial service, I could not help but recall how my few interactions with him taught me more about being a successful business owner than hours of reading or classroom experience.
I thought I pay homage to Bob with a few of the highlights of how he impacted me and how I mentor and coach other small business owner/operators.
1. Never pass up a learning opportunity.
Bob attended every class he was offered, always finding a way to prioritize continued self development, both formal (from the class facilitator) and from his peers (positive interactions with his fellow business people). Bob worked hard to have systems in his Agency and among his staff that allowed him to be away from the office to focus on development.
2. Respect your employees.
Despite sales cycles and economic factors and so many other influences, Bob never had a problem with staff turnover. He worked hard on building and developing a staff of quality and committed people that all rowed the boat in the direction he was piloting (and I hope the Air Force flyboy forgives a nautical reference!).
3. Keep your chin up, despite (insert every complaint here).
Bob faced personal, professional, and environmental challenges with only a positive attitude. While his peers would find reasons to NOT engage the challenges but rather hide behind them and throw out excuses, Bob would face the issues with a happy heart, knowing his priorities were his faith, his family, his country, and his business. No excuse in the world would supersede his goals. He owned his results and, because of that, he solved issues every day that held his peers back.
Thank you Bob for being a positive influence in my development and for being the man you were to so many that needed you. Rest in peace.