My Business

Share Your Knowledge | Use Your Mentors

It’s a new year. Your older, your wiser, so share your knowledge. And if you have a problem to solve, let others share theirs too. Everyone (and I mean everyone) likes to be asked for advice. It is the highest compliment to their self-worth.

This week I did just that and called a friend of mine’s father. He is a very successful, and now retried, entrepreneur. Now, mind you, we are not best friends…merely long-time acquaintances that I visit rarely. I say that because your mentor does not have to be your grandmother, cast your net wider.

I surprised my mentor with a call. When he answered, I asked, “Can you talk?” He said, “Not really. I’m riding in a cab in Boston.” I quickly said, “Are you coming to town for Christmas? I would like some advice.” To which he replied, “Yes, I’ll text you later.” Boom! That was it. The ball was rolling.

We met after Christmas at FlagandBanner.com’s office downtown. I did little preparation for the meeting. Mentors don’t usually need it. I explained the problem I was trying to solve, then sat back and let him expound. We talked for 2 hours, I took notes and tried to say as little as possible. I wanted to hear all the knowledge he had to share. After all his years in business it is second nature to him.

He reviewed FlagandBanner.com’s financials, nothing interesting there. Then he began to explain and diagram a method for valuing and buying another business, if I so choose. We both shared how we outsource or manage our digital marketing partners, our inventory overages, our direct mail experiences and our product line expansions and selections. Business talk is creative talk, to us.

Through all this conversation I am reminded that with each passing year, we all grow a little bit wiser and brighter. And to that is why, I’ve started a radio show to share my growing experience and that of others. I have weekly meetings with my staff to use some of that experiential wisdom as a guide for their department’s decision making. And I have a sleep over every Saturday night with my grandchildren, to lovingly coax them down life’s right path, dare I say poetically, “the path of righteousness”.

Let’s face it, you never stop learning or having problems to solve…and neither does anyone else! If you’re the one with a quandary, don’t forget to widen your knowledge net. Look for a mentor in your life you can reach out to. You may make their day and maybe you’ll make your whole new year.

And if the shoe is on the other foot and someone is seeking your advice, remember that another year has passed and you’re a little smarter and wiser too. So, share what you know! But leave the lecturing to the professors.