Aug 31, 2017

What Is the Best Small Business Advice Your Father Gave You?

Image result for nfib logo

NFIB: Author: Abby Thorpe Date: June 19, 2015

Sometimes Father does know best. Here are the secrets to success dads shared with their sons.

RM Zalatimo
Advice: There are no small business decisions.

“He always encouraged me to work for myself,” says RM Zalatimo of his father, Marwan, an entrepreneur from Jordan who started in the textile business and then became a real estate developer. “I understood at a very young age that being independent would maximize my potential and allow me to control my destiny.”

Zalatimo bases much of his career on three main points of advice his father instilled in him:

1. Work for yourself. No one will manage your future better than you.

2. Dream—but have a sensible plan you can execute.

3. You may be in a small business, but there are no small business decisions.

An essential part of any entrepreneur’s success is access to a good mentor. “My father fills that role and remains a huge driving force,” says Zalatimo. “Even today, I rely on his insight to shape my decision-making skills.”


Andrew Reese
Vice president of sales, Unishippers franchise
Austin, Texas
Advice: It’s a marathon—not a sprint.

About a month ago, Andrew Reese’s career took a turn. He moved away from the startup world to become the owner of his own Unishippers franchise. “It’s exciting but overwhelming,” he says. “It’s up to me to make this work.”

Reese’s move to a business owner is supported by the advice of his father, who taught him, “Entrepreneurship is finding the [customer’s] pain and figuring out how to alleviate it.” Figure out what you want to do and where there is a need, and then figure out how to make it happen, he says.

His father further emphasized: “It’s a marathon—not a sprint.” Owning a business takes a lot of time and work, and there will be bad weeks and months, but it’s about the long-term and continuing to move forward despite the obstacles.

Reese’s father, COO at Envirogen Technologies, also taught his son the importance of remembering people’s names and using them as much as possible. Acknowledging a person by his or her name will go a long way in fostering relationships and showing people they are more than just a passing face in your day, he says.


Tore Steen
Founder and CEO, CrowdStreet
Portland, Oregon
Advice: You can’t lead from behind a desk.

When Tore Steen graduated from college in 1991 and entered the workforce, his father shared some simple advice that has stayed with him throughout his career: “You can’t lead from behind a desk.”

Steen, now founder and CEO of CrowdStreet, a commercial real estate marketplace solutions provider, applies this advice and his father’s hard work ethic to his daily life as a business owner. “To be a great leader you need to lead by example, and the best way to do this is with and around your teams—not behind a simple communication vehicle,” says Steen.

Steen’s father, a financial services executive and small business owner and advisor, followed his own advice. “I don’t know anybody else that works as hard as he does and in such a streamlined and organized manner,” Steen says. “Bringing these traits to a startup company is critical.”


Author Profile

R M Zalatimo
R M Zalatimo
Inspire. Empower. Transform. Those are the words that NYC Wealth Innovator, Russ Zalatimo, lives by. From tips on leadership, self-help, and growing entrepreneurship Zalatimo provides the trade secrets to leading a well-rounded life.