Lessons Learned from Mom, the Entrepreneur
As we get closer to Mother’s Day, I realized that this column could not be more fitting. If you have been one of the lucky people in the past 30 years to meet my mom, Pam Baumann, then you know her as a warm and positive business owner, wife, mother and friend. As the original owner of Career Options staffing firm, she passed the baton to me in 2008. It has been a fantastic ride along the way for us both. Now, also the proud owner of PAMCO Executive Office Suites, she is looking forward to retirement in later 2017.
I have learned tremendous things from my parents, both are very hardworking, ethical and good people. Despite not working internally for our companies, dad has been an integral part of the PAMCO’s success. While working full time at the Neenah Foundry for 40 years, we relied on him (Gary) for everything maintenance and mechanically related. He spent many nights and weekends painting, doing repairs, moving furniture and even shoveling at 5am. What did he ask in return? Snickers. Yes, that is right – he is the biggest fan ever of those candy bars and I joke that even though he retired as a pattern maker, we are keeping him on the PAMCO Snicker payroll until he is 95.
So, with one official retirement in the family down, there is one yet to occur. My mom. She has talked about it for a few years but as a true entrepreneur, it is not an easy final decision. Don’t worry though, she will still be around at the helm for a bit yet, but in the meantime, I am in PAMCO training mode.
So, what have I learned? Hmmm… it is hard to narrow it down to a column, but I will do my best.
First, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. There can be a lot of decisions, fires to put out and stresses of running a business. You have to make the best decision you can at a given time and move on. Save your energy for the big stuff!
Work Hard and be Willing to Dig the Trenches with the Crew. This creates loyalty and trust in your staff where they offer to pitch in during busy times, work overtime or take on new duties to lessen your load.
Smile. Be Kind. Have Strong Customer Service. Staff and clients like to be around positive people. She has the strength of a lion but the heart of a saint. People genuinely like mom and she really has loved being part of the business community.
Hire the Right People – We are truly blessed with the staff of our 2 PAMCO’s and Career Options. They are valued, respected and part of our family. Running 3 businesses certainly means even more time on my end and I simply couldn’t do it without our entire staff. They are all part of this on-going transition.
Make Tough Decisions and Learn Quickly from Mistakes – Sometimes, it is tough being a business owner. But that is part of life and mom taught me that we can’t bury our heads in the sand and hope for better results.
Family. Friends. Health… They are all part of our happiness. I have a good support system with mom and dad, family and friends. I also have an amazing hubby Dan who understands my long hours, waits to eat until I get home (and even grills pork chops), and is truly proud that I am part of a family business.
We are excited to embark on this new transition with PAMCO. If you see my dad, tell him I bought extra Snickers this week. When you see my mom, be sure to congratulate her on her upcoming retirement!