I talked Dad into writing two posts for me over the years, both having to do with business. He was 91 when he wrote the post below. As sophisticated as we all think we are with the way we communicate, social media, business practices, marketing and living in an era of almost instant fulfillment, nothing has changed regarding the fundamentals of good business: customer service, integrity, and a firm handshake.
My Dad was in commercial and industrial real estate in Ohio for many years, before he retired. Much of this post is based on his experiences in not only his own business but growing up in his father's business as well. This post is like a fine wine - it's getting better with age and what better time to share it again than on Father's Day.
I pulled his post out of the SCU archives, and as I reread it, it made me smile. Nothing has changed since Dad started out in business seventy+ years ago. And, seventy years from now success in business will still be firmly rooted in trust, integrity, and relationships.
Wishing all you Dads out there a terrific Father's Day, and time filled with the people most important in your life, the ones that make you smile and your heart skip a beat whenever they walk through the door. Go for those eleven-second hugs and don't forget that without Mom you'd never be a Dad.
And to my own Dad who's been my best buddy my entire life - I love ya Pop, and while I miss you, I know you're watching over us.
Happy Father's Day!
One of the biggest factors of success, for me, was the rapport with some of my competitors. With friendly competition, on many occasions we were of considerable help to each other.
Another must of success is visibility and the necessity of going public. You've got to be involved in your community. As personal contacts multiply, the rewards will come in the form of your expanding clientele and potential new customers.
Today you guys call it networking and it's everything from attending conventions and local events to social media. For me it was Exchange Club's monthly luncheons, business cards, a little advertising, even golf now and then, but there was and still is no substitute for word-of-mouth testimonials.
Then there's trust, another critical building block. The trust you build will be the result of the honesty and integrity you employ. It's all part of what drives word-of-mouth advertising, especially in a service based industry like photography. Always cherish that trust! In turn, don't forget that confidentiality is part of that trust. It's so important to retain confidentiality with every client.
Occasionally you may find as I did, competitors bragging about a deal they had just closed. I used to be able to sit down in a booth at the Kenny Kings Restaurant on just about any morning and hear salesmen bragging about the deals they'd put together. The fact was, the transactions had died, along with the confidentiality factor, leaving the vultures to play with the bones that were left!
Ralph Cohen, Founder and 1/2 the Creators of Skip Cohen!
Photo Credit: Cantrell Portrait Design