the photo blog about travel, history, and business
I COME BY MY ENTREPRENEURIAL chops honestly, in a time honored way. I inherited them.
And then I worked for decades to hone the few skills I started with by working with the leaders of hundreds of growing businesses as they faced the thousands of challenges that stand in the way of growing something new and important. I also went to law school and partnered with some great lawyers with over the years. But I learned the most from working with talented business leaders as they grew their businesses.
I am an unabashed fan of people who grow and sustain profitable businesses. I have advised them, invested in them, and served on their boards. I know what a challenging and all consuming task business building can be. I know the creativity and courage involved. And I know how starting and growing a business can change a person's life and make them more alive.
I know this from watching my father's transformation from executive employee to business owner and operator when he opened his first carpet mill in 1967. I was in high school then and moved with the family from the cozy suburbs of the North to the unfamiliar small town South. Northwest Georgia, the center of the country's floor covering industry at the time, became our new home.
I learned what a "southern breakfast" was from the crew on the loading dock of my father's plant while working there weekends and during the summer. It's an RC Cola and a Moon Pie, at least on the shipping dock of a certain carpet mill. I worked that shipping dock and the sample room. I swept floors, washed trucks, drove forklifts, moved rolls of carpet, made deliveries and did whatever I was asked.
At home over the kitchen table my father would suffer through my many questions about the business. How was he handling this? Why he was doing that? Always, he handled them with grace and insight. And over time, he took to sharing financial statements with me so I could get a better picture of what was going on.
In the end, I chose the legal profession instead of a career in business. My dad was an enthusiastic supporter. I started in litigation but quickly gravitated towards business and deal making. I took to heart the old adage that the qualities necessary to start and grow new businesses skip generations and decided, instead, to work with entrepreneurs and help them accomplish their objectives.
It's been a great run with some entrepreneurial activities to supplement my legal practice. In these blogs, I will reflect back on a lifetime in the trenches and, hopefully, continue to be a constructive contributor to the American entrepreneurial experience through these blog entries.
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Travel, business and history with original photos.
Clinton Richardson - author, photographer, business advisor and traveler.
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