My dad (Bob Reynolds, CEO of Net Solutions) and I have shared an office since August of 2009. Not a big office, probably 12′ x 12′. At first this annoyed the crap out of me. He eavesdrops on my phone calls, he types loudly and we definitely operate with two different internal thermostats. After I got over the initial minor annoyances of sharing an office, I started to realize that there could be some real benefits to this new situation.
Bob has been in business forever. As far back as I can remember he and my mom have owned and operated their own business. As a kid, I saw first hand the dedication, hard work, and tenacity that it took to be a small business owner. Sharing an office with someone who has 30 + more years of experience than I do has taught me a lot of things.
- Before you know why John Smith buys what John Smith buys you have to see the world through John Smiths eyes. – As I now eavesdrop on Bob’s conversations with people, I hear that he has an uncanny ability to relate to people about their business. Within a matter of minutes, he knows who their clients are, what their clients are afraid of and what that means to the business owner. To the business owner, this brings great peace of mind. It gives them the feeling that this guy actually understands my problems and my issues. Translating those pain points into marketing plans, website content, and new processes has allowed NSNA to help many small business owners.
- Take sales calls – I am a 20-something and rarely take calls from people that are obvious sales calls. My theory? If I needed your service I would have sought you out. Bob’s opinion is totally different. He’ll listen to your sales pitch but it had better be good. Many young salesmen have cut their teeth talking to Bob. I am sure many of them quit after they get off the phone with him, but others became better because of the conversation with Bob. We also now have access to many products and applications that we wouldn’t have if Bob had not taken these calls.
- Think through all the possibilities – we had a recent phone call with a large potential partner that could mean many changes for the growth pattern of NSNA. In preparation for the phone call, I had one scenario that I played out time and time again. To me, this partnership would only work one way. That is, until I talked to Bob. Bob then gave me a litany of other possibilities that could come from this partnership. On the call, we were able to mention a number of ways we could work together which made the partner very excited.
- You can do it – above all, I am learning the power of saying yes and feeling super confident that we can deliver on whatever I say yes to. With proper planning, a thorough understanding, a large heap of good sense, and persistence anything is possible.
So while I may miss my private office, the lessons I am learning by eavesdropping on my dad’s conversations have actually catapulted my understanding of general business operations. Plus it is fun teaching him about the new ways of doing business. Showing him Twitter and Facebook and explaining why people care what I had for lunch is quite entertaining. Also showing him the real time feedback that we get when I post a question on the various social media outlets is pretty great. The combination of the tried and true business methods mixed with the latest and greatest trends of our time have created a nice symbiotic environment in our little office.