Sign & Digital Graphics

November '18

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28 • November 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RUNNING THE BUSINESS Business Lessons from My Italian Mother A.K.A.: All I really need to know about running a sign shop Vince DiCecco is a business training and development consultant and owner of the Acworth, Georgia-based business, Your Personal Business Trainer, Inc. He has been sculpting his sales, marketing and training techniques since 1979, and he has shared innovative and practical ideas on business management excellence for two Fortune 200 companies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and in seminars at past NBM Shows. Since 2003, he has been serving small- to mid-sized com- panies in their efforts to strive for sustained growth and market dominance. Contact him via email at vince@ypbt. com or visit his company website, www.ypbt.com. B Y V I N C E D I C E C C O Make it Your Business this day, I still don't know how she ever became so smart about the workings of the business world. She has always worked "for the man"—first as a seamstress in a children's clothing factory that could best be described as a sweat shop and, up until her retirement at age 74, on an assembly line packaging pills for a pharmaceutical company. Yet I suspect she knew more about how to run a business successfully than many of her employers. And I would like to share some of her classic pearls of wisdom with you. Sit Still, Shut Your Mouth and EAT! Ah, those words rolled so trippingly off her tongue. I still can't quite figure how I'm supposed to shut my mouth and put food into it at the same time, but it was great advice nonetheless. In today's hectic world, we don't just sit still and observe things around us enough. We are forever rushing here and there, try- ing to do too much, and not taking the time to do any one thing to the best of our ability. Many times we miss the subtle clues that could make all the difference and win us a customer's or an employee's delight and respect. The "shut your mouth" part taught me to stifle and listen more often. Anyone who knows me, though, will tell you this is still something of a work-in-progress. If I only listen for certain things I want others to say, I'll miss the big picture. I find I serve my customers and colleagues much better when I ask more questions than offer opinions, confirm my understanding of what was said by paraphrasing back, and express empathy for others, when appropriate. As for the eating part… well, naturally, the Italian meals prepared and served at our dinner table were both appealing and nutritious. Earning a client's trust and business, or gaining an employee's respect and loyalty, can be as tempting and delicious as a dish of homemade manicotti—my Mom's specialty—and a big bowl of meatballs, sausage and braci- ole. It's that type of nourishment that can sustain a business for a long, long time. Work Like You Will Never Die... ...and think you'll die tomorrow. This is an old Italian expression that is first cousin to "plan for the worst and hope I was born into a blue-collar, middle-class Italian family in New Joisey. And I consider myself the luckiest person in the world on account of the support and guidance I received from my parents. For as long as I could remember, Dad worked two jobs to provide a roof over our heads and food on the table. He wasn't much for conversation… except when I would screw up and deserved a lecture. Oh, but he did believe in two-way communications: he spoke and I listened. It worked for him. But, my mother, she was different. I would hang around while she cooked or ironed, and she would share her "old coun- try" wisdom. She was born in a small mountainside village in Southern Italy and came to this country in her mid-teens. To

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