"Think like grandpa?" That may sound like backward advice. Times have changed. What could our grandparents possibly have to say about running a business today? Well, I think they have plenty to say.
Our grandparents could see a better tomorrow, but knew it was up to them to realize it. They put everything, body and soul, into building something that would endure for generations.
Isidore Manpearl was one of those hard-working entrepreneurs. I tell his story in my new book about building a business people love, "Lovability." He was also my great-grandfather. Grandpa Isidore emigrated from Poland to the U.S. in the early 1900's. He walked the streets of New York looking for work, finally convincing a garment factory owner to hire him. It was the start he needed.
He worked hard and paid attention to what people desired: fashionable hats. Over time, he built multiple hat factories between the 1930's and 1950's. That was no small feat, considering he came to the U.S. with nothing but his dreams and the name and address of a distant family member.
He retired at 50, after selling his hat empire, and moved out west. He became a writer and lived another 46 years — almost another lifetime. In many ways, Grandpa Isidore is a classic American success story. But none of it would have been possible without exceptional hard work, sacrifice and self-reliance, and not one ounce of hype.
For our grandparents and their grandparents' generations, dreams were built on their own backs and their own savings.