Last Saturday, November 3rd, my daughter Jordyn turned fifteen. It marks a major milestone, as I will accumulate a few more gray hairs teaching her to drive.
Jordyn really wanted an iPhone for her birthday. I explained the phone was cheap relative to the hundred plus dollars a month for the plan. When I pulled out a bag from the Apple store, she thought I had changed my mind. She was jumping up and down shouting, “It’s an iPhone! It’s an iPhone!”
She quickly realized it was one of the new iTouch’s. Thankfully, she has the grateful gene and was equally surprised and pleased with her new iTouch.
I let her know the new iTouch was just like the new iPhone, without the phone. If she wanted an iPhone, she could duct tape her phone to the iTouch.
Most of her birthday was spent at the State Cross Country Meet. Though she won’t be getting a cross country scholarship to college, she has greatly improved her time. I’m proud she has managed to keep good grades, run cross country, dance, participate in youth group and maintain a really good attitude.
I brought her entire team cupcakes for a post-race birthday celebration.
We started her birthday in the parking lot of a closed mall. It was our first father-daughter driving experience. I tried to channel the wisdom and patience of my high school driver’s ed teacher, Coach Raefield.
We started with the basic adjustments of seats and mirrors and the starting of the car. I was shocked when Jordyn asked me, “Which is the gas and which is the brake?”
Good thing she asked, because I assumed everyone knew that. When I was her age, I think I knew everything about a car through osmosis.
For her first time out, she did a great job. I would love to hire a retiree to teach her to preserve our relationship.
That outing did remind me of a valuable lesson I learn repeatedly; never assume others know what you know…especially employees.
As entrepreneurs, we live in “Ready. Fire. Aim.” mode; making course corrections as we go. That skill set serves us well in growing companies, but hinders us when training.
Who on your team could use a little one-on-one coaching or training? We’re all guilty of spending more time reading the paper than mentoring our team.
Another birthday lesson courtesy of Jordyn is the value of a birthday database.
Take all the restaurants I frequent and add retailers to the mix, and I get a big fat zero acknowledgement of my birthday (or my kids).
It takes so little effort to build a database with birthdays. Why do so few do it? I guess it’s what the press would term the one percenters.
I am convinced in this country, opportunities abound. You just need to be a little better than your competition.
Tomorrow night I will take Jordyn, her brother and her mother out to dinner to celebrate her birthday, as I did last year. If the restaurant had signed her up for a birthday program, we would be returning. The free meal would be a cherished gift and trigger memories of a great dinner last year.
This year Jordyn will be picking a restaurant without the influence of marketing.
Make it difficult for your customers to not celebrate with you. I promise you’ll end with the best birthday gift of all.