Growing up at a flea market certainly taught me some lessons about life, people, and business. One of those lessons is that the foundation of a great business is built on great relationships. I learned so much from my dad on this topic that when Marnie Pehrson asked me to contribute a chapter to her next book on the subject, I excitedly said “Yes”.
And I also jump at any excuse to tell a good flea market story!
The book is called Trust Your Heart: Building Relationships That Build Your Business. 25 entrepreneurs- all very different, but sharing the same values around people, relationships, and business- contributed chapters. Some are funny stories (do check out my Flea Market Wedding story and the PR event it became), others touching and heartwarming, yet others strategic and instructional.
My story revolves around my formative years at the AC Flea Market in Hayward, California. My dad was the owner and for a few years (before the state built a freeway through the site) the place was a goldmine. I tie it back into the present with modern day equivalents of social media, branding, and PR.
If you need a visual think 1970?s outlaws, eclectics, collectors, cowboys, cholos… and the people who love them.
My dad, who had a sprinkling of PT Barnum bravado in him, sealed deals over a drink and a handshake. This was old school at its best, all based on trust, a person’s word, and…. THE RELATIONSHIP.
Of course my dad didn’t use words like RELATIONSHIP, but his outrageous success was entirely based on that network he built and nurtured.
Let me share a passage from my chapter… and of course to read the rest, I encourage you to buy the book and get the other gems from 24 authors.
“My upbringing in this colorful family business was ALL about relationships. We couldn’t survive without the connections made with our customers, vendors, the local businesses, and yes, even our competition. Despite the changes in technology, the basics of success in business haven’t changed. The real money is in the connections you have and the opportunities those usher in. Focus on people first and your business will stay on top.”
Action steps for you to take:
1. Buy the book
2. What do you do to build relationships that build your business? What tools do you use? What advice would you give?
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