We happen to love those articles floating around the Internet titled, “the advice I’d give my twenty-year-old self.” If only we knew then what we know now, right?! One of those articles made us think: what advice would a non-retired 70-year-old businesswoman give us? So we walked over to ask our founder, Carol Goldman, who still works in our bakery at age 70, what she thinks the keys to success are in business. Here’s her advice:
1. Be patient and have a sense of humor about your work. It is only work.
2. Be generous and treat your employees like family. Bring in lunch every now and then, put a little gift card with their paycheck. It’s the little things that add up to years of loyal service.
3. Have an ambitious family member help you grow the business into a force to be reckoned with. Their passion brings energy and opportunity at every corner.
4. Make the work environment fun and a happy place to be. I play my saxophone for everyone’s birthday…I’m not very good at it, but it always lightens the mood.
5. Stay organized. As a business owner, you wear a lot of different hats and juggle a lot of balls at the same time. Keep notes, and make a daily list so you make sure you get what needs to get done each day.
6. Customers always come first, no matter what business you’re in. Treat your customers as you want to be treated, and they’ll stay loyal to you and your business for it.
7. Be actively involved with the business…answer phones, take in a delivery, help pack an order. Be a participant, not just an observer.
8. Always remember where you came from. I still support the first store that carried my cookies…I shop there, I tell others how great they are, I still call those stores personally for orders, etc. They may not be the biggest account, but they are the most important because without them, you may not be where you are today.
9. Be charitable. It’s not just about sitting on boards or writing checks. It’s about getting involved with your community, volunteering for events to help raise money and it’s as simple as giving a sad child a cookie. Roll your sleeves up and pitch in…there is no better therapy.
10. Don’t change the quality of your product or service. Stay true to your roots and don’t cut corners. You got to the dance for a reason, so don’t sacrifice quality for a few pennies.
Which piece of Carol’s advice do you think is most powerful? What do you hope to look back on your career and say?