Some Business Advice My Mom Would Be Proud Of
My mom, Raemonda Perry, was never a “business person”. She never owned a business. But she worked—hard. And she sure as heck ran easily half of the companies she worked for in her lifetime.
She ran those places just like she operated our home; with lots of attention to detail, tireless effort, and unquestionable character. Literally, beyond reproach.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t add this too: great personal sacrifice.
My mom’s gone now.
But lately I’ve been seeing my mom’s face. In my daughter’s prom picture. In my brand new niece Layla Rae’s chubby cheeks. And in the face of my other niece, Jessie, a college sophomore.
Since Mother’s Day is upon us, I hope you’ll indulge me this remembrance of my mom and the lessons she taught me by the example of her life.
On the shoulders of a giant.
Although my mom never owned a business, her mom, Selma Graham, was an entrepreneur and business owner.
My grandmother operated a nursing home out of her family home. She took care of elderly women who were wards of the State, no longer able to care for themselves.
She prepared for and passed those State inspections. But beyond that, she really cared for her customers, the women who literally depended on her to survive and thrive. At one time my Grandma Graham was the oldest person in her home.
My mom honored and respected her mom. Her mom probably had more influence on her life and personality than any single person on earth. A lifetime of habits, rituals, guidelines, and practices could easily be seen by the most casual observer to be attributes of her very successful mother.
Your business and personal success almost certainly did not come from nothing. Like my mom, we all stand on the shoulders of giants, people and institutions that paved the way for us. Let’s honor them, appropriately, by remembering and imitating the things that really make a difference.
Give what you have.
My mom’s social media channel was her church. I know it doesn’t work like this anymore, but maybe it should.
Our house buzzed with activities as my mom pitched in to help the young women in our church. She gave what she could…and it was a lot.
She helped them sew their brides maids’ dresses. She decorated cakes for their special occasions. She did hundreds of perms at our kitchen table.
She led by example. She showed them that they could make a life, a great life, out of what they had.
Be like my mom and see the abundance of your business and your life; and give back.
Humor, a sign of proper perspective.
My mom had a gazillion nicknames. Monie. Monda. Mandy. Monique. And on and on.
I think these pet names were an abiding sign that people were comfortable around her and felt connected, mostly because she was cheerful and had an ever-present sense of humor.
We could always count on her to drop a “Monie-ism” at just the right time, like:
“Something I ate ruined my appetite,” or
“He was more nervous than long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”
I think my mom had just the right perspective on things. Some things are deadly serious. But not everything. So let’s enjoy it and get a laugh. Not everything is a five-alarm fire.
Spending, under control.
I never asked her about this, but I suspect my mom lived through some pretty tough times.
Whatever the reason, whatever the motivation, one of the reasons our family succeeded was that my mom refused to participate in any frivolous spending. None.
I didn’t inherit that trait. I wish I had.
I have been so fortunate in business and in my work, had I followed my mom on this one, I’d be quite wealthy. But I’m not.
That money, and all the good that could be done with it, is gone.
Keep it together.
My mom saw the rich value that could be delivered in keeping our family together, even after she was gone. So near the very end of her time, she extracted a promise. She asked someone in our family to promise to do what was necessary to ensure that the essential traditions that kept us working together would remain.
A brilliant insight, in my opinion. She had a vision for the future and a means to carry it out, even in her absence.
How about you?
Does your business have the plans in place to keep doing good even when you’re not around? What will your family do when you’re not here? You can make those plans today.
Happy Mothers Day.
I’m so impressed by and proud of my mom. I’m sure you can tell. And I miss her. Her absence is a gaping hole in our “family business.”
But as trite as it may be, she lives on.
Thank you, Mom. And thank you to everyone, they are many, who keeps her memory alive.
What has your mom taught you that makes you a success today?
Happy Mother’s Day to moms everywhere.