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Advice from the business trenches

The North Saskatoon Business Association (NSBA) hosts an annual event called Lessons I’ve Learned...

The North Saskatoon Business Association (NSBA) hosts an annual event called Lessons I’ve Learned to which they invite local business leaders to share their journeys.

There are takeaways every time I attend. Sometimes the ones that resonate the most with me come from unlikely folks.

Business growth is often so focused on the bottom line that we miss the forest for the trees as the saying goes. Trevor Thiessen of Redekop Manufacturing spent a few moments on the dais outlining his “a-ha” moment.

He realized the growth of his career was coming at an expense to his family life. He was missing out more than he was really benefiting from his work success.

Upon pause, Thiessen resolved to assess how his time would be best spent, assessing his decisions by whether they were meaningful or meaningless. It’s a concept that certainly can’t be measured in dollars or cents, he pointed out.

For me, that equates to not working so hard that you forget what you’re working for.

“I ask myself . . .”

Don Flaman shared some of the advice he’s given himself during his family business trajectory at Flaman Sales.

He qualifies his decision-making by asking himself: “Am I making money doing this?” Or “am I enjoying myself spending my time this way?” If all else fails, “am I at least helping someone else?”

If it doesn’t meet one of those parameters, Flaman said he reconsiders the initial decision and how much effort he’s putting into action.

I’ve used a variation of these questions myself when I required a nudge to shift gears.

“Hard work is the strongest lesson learned”

I’m always amazed by the perspective a female business leader brings to a discussion.

Colleen Mah left her government job to enter the business world with her husband at North Ridge Development Corp.

Mah has weathered highs and lows in the residential real estate market with some timely luck, she offered, but mostly hard work. No amount of good fortune can replace getting the job done the old-fashioned way.

Mah’s story of managing work and family commitments really hit home for me.

“It’s a more interesting zoo when the animals aren’t all the same”

Office oddballs are part of the team and they should be embraced, Tony Zuck shared. Zuck is one of two partners in the Zu Communications firm.

Variety is the spice of life and office culture. Encouraging and celebrating individuality can make for a better, brighter workforce, Zuck added.

We can each bring something special to the table based on our previous experiences.

This is my third legitimate career. Who thought my background in journalism or teaching would set me up for a career in real estate?

But here I am.

Business success rarely follows a straight line and taking advice from those who have been there before can save a few missteps.

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