The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It is true in landscaping and it is surely the case when I think of my father and how he affected my outlook toward business.
Dad recently passed and during the emotional and practical upheavals that his passing brought after a long and full life, I found myself reminiscing about his career and some of the things he taught me.
As a career-man at Crane Wholesale Plumbing and Heating Supply Company Dad was successful at sales because he was not only trustworthy, which he was but he knew the value of that trust.
“What do we need today, Jim,…” was a oft-heard refrain in the shops when Dad would emerge from the store rooms, trusted to take his own inventory. His honest straightforward manner served him well. When you dealt with Jim Knighton you knew you were dealing with an honourable man.
It makes me happy to think of him now in the context of what he left me. Not in the material sense but in a business sense. I was raised old-school. That means to have respect for everyone you meet and to behave with honesty and dignity toward each of them.
Dad taught me, “You never want to have to look over your shoulder” - the right way is never to lie or be dishonest. Never deceiving a client was to ensure that they would never come after you. In today’s world, one bad review on Yelp or Google can scuttle a business opportunity before you even know it was there.
When performing your task or service, “do it right, or not at all” was drilled into me from a very young age. As a matter of course, once I learned that I was encouraged to always do more than expected and to leave everything better than I found it.
It may have been dad’s military service that built his character, and I like to think that he was always true to his ideals but being human, perfection is always out of reach. That is why I cherish the lesson that “when you screw up you have to woman-up and be big enough to accept your errors, apologise for them if they adversely affected anyone around you and find out, before you move on, if the situation has been made better.
From his first job delivering fruits and vegetables from the basket on his bike to finding a new career as a renowned landscape painter in retirement, Dad always knew the value of a relationship. He taught me a lot about life and a lot of how we, at Earth Angel Landscaping operate is de to those life-lessons.
I miss you, Dad. But you are never far from my thoughts.