Earlier this year I had the opportunity to spend some time with a man who I would consider to be one of the South’s finest business coaches. He has achieved some incredible goals in his life and now has committed the rest of his life to helping others do the same. In our meeting he asked me to summarize my strategy in achieving the successes that I have experienced thus far in my life. I have seldom been asked this question and was hesitant to respond, because my strategy didn’t come from Harvard or Wall Street. My response was “the reputation of the king is the prosperity of the citizens.” After a long pause and stare, he shook his head and responded, “You are going to be a wealthy man.” He shared with me some incredible success stories of people who operated from a like mentality. I left the conversation humbled and challenged. Because of the response I received from this honorable businessman, I want to elaborate this key thought for you to consider as you pursue your business endeavors.
Often times as a sense of power and influence come to those who are successful in business, the desire dwindles to recognize and reward those whose sweat contributed to their achievement. As I have shared before, I don’t believe that anyone is a self made man. People, whether patrons or personnel, contribute to your success. In the early years of rapid organization of the City of Belmont, there was an entrepreneur by the name of Robert Lee Stowe who invested all of the resources that he could gather to build a strong economic future for our area. His vision was pretty incredible for that day and time. He planted large mills to provide employment for area citizens and created small desirable communities to provide them housing. But beyond this, he developed large areas for recreation and hosted many incredible events throughout the life of his business to honor his employees and create and uncommon sense of community. His contribution to the early lives of those whom he employed, made them very grateful and proud to be associated with him and his company. My great- grandfather moved his family here from the coast of North Carolina just to be a part of this incredible opportunity and way of life. Needless to say, RL Stowe Mills over the years developed into a lucrative investment for Mr. Stowe, as well as his family for generations following him. However, I don’t believe he would have achieved such tremendous success had he not recognized his associates and employees value and invested in the lives of those he employed. Our current generation may have little knowledge or appreciation of his achievements, yet they are still reaping the benefits of his hard work and vision as they attend the RL Stowe Jr. YMCA, enjoy movies and fireworks in Stowe Park, observe the beauty of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, or attend parties and events at the Stowe Manor. His success, wealth, and legacy has long outlived him, because he chose to support those who followed his leadership and push them into prosperity with him rather than allowing them to nibble from random crumbs from the table of achievement.
Concern yourself with the prosperity of those who are contributing to your success. Honor your employees as you meet your quota. Recognize and reward your customers as they continue to patronize and support your business. The extra expense and effort that you put forth will cause your business growth and longevity to exceed your expectations, because of the reputation that you develop. Consider this perspective and you will contribute not only to your personal success, but you will have a positive influence on the economic future of our region.