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Success in Business: Lessons I Learned from Mom and Dad

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 9:00 AM

Expert Advice, The BSM Way

Written by: Bruce Maller

Editor’s note: With Sept. 1 marking BSM Consulting’s 39th anniversary, company President and CEO Bruce Maller reflects on the business principles that have led to BSM’s longevity and success.   

Bruce Maller
President and CEO

Several years ago, a friend asked me what factors have contributed to the success of BSM. My answer: luck.

This, perhaps, was not what she thought I would say, but honestly, it’s the truth. I was lucky to have outstanding parents. My parents were wonderful role models and taught me valuable lifelong lessons! 

Growing up in New York, Dad owned and operated a grocery store. By today’s standards, I would describe the store as a small boutique operation that focused on high-quality service along with fresh meats and produce. Surrounding my dad’s store were no less than five larger supermarket chains. Despite the intense competition, Dad managed to differentiate his brand and compete effectively.

Of course, as a young pup, I never appreciated that Dad’s success was in no way accidental. He had a strong work ethic, leaving the house every day around 5:30 a.m. and pulling back into the driveway around 6:30 p.m. He also invested time into building personal relationships with each employee and customer. It always struck me how employees seemed to work for my dad forever.

As I reflect on the summers spent working with Dad (and of course all those early morning wake-up calls), it is clear now that I “borrowed” many of his work habits and his personal commitment to his employees and clients. Without ever knowing it, Dad provided me with a vision of “what good looks like” when it comes to delivering an exceptional customer experience while creating a culture of engaged, dedicated team members.

For me, however, parental influence did not stop there. My mom, a registered nurse who never “worked” in terms of earning a paycheck, was an amazing volunteer her entire adult life. As a child, I remember tagging along with her to a senior citizen center where I kept busy until Mom was done and then moving on to yet another volunteer commitment. Everyone loved Mom! She was kind, gracious, patient, caring, and supportive.

These qualities were on full display in one of my most vivid memories of Mom. After Mom was diagnosed with ALS, we attended a support group meeting, and within minutes of the meeting starting, I sat back in amazement as Mom offered up her support to a young family whose father had recently been diagnosed with this awful disease. It is a scene I will never forget.

Mom and Dad were genuine, authentic leaders who demonstrated a selfless attitude toward others, appreciated the value of hard work, and strived to make a difference in the lives of each person they met. I think you would agree that I was indeed lucky! All I needed to do was follow the path laid out by Mom and Dad.

BSM’s success is a testament to that, and it goes back to the most basic lesson Dad taught me: If you focus on each person and encounter, and consistently treat everyone with decency and respect, success will be a natural outcome. 

YOUR TURN: What valuable lessons — business or otherwise — have you learned from your parents? Leave your response in the comment section below.

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