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What Dad Taught Me Lessons From Being in Business With Dad
W hen I joined MicroTech Systems in 1998, my dad and his business partner had let the technology industry pass by them. Together, they had done a wonderful job of establishing a successful tech company in Boise, Idaho, and since 1970, they had been offering their customers valuable services. However, in a time when Microsoft was booming and the dot- com world was on the verge of explosion, the company was still focused on printer repair and typewriters. So, after my dad’s business partner retired, I began looking at my next steps. I was in my mid-20s, and I had been working at a marketing research firm for the past three years since graduating from Boise State University (BSU). I had little to no management experience, and compared to my father and his business partner, I knew nothing when it came to running a team, much less a company. Still, I decided to step in and began the process of taking over what my dad had built. At the time, MicroTech had about five employees who were all in their 50s, so you can imagine what it was like for the boss’ 26-year-old son to walk in and make some changes. It wasn’t easy, but I knew I had to be firm in the direction we were headed. Part of the credit for this transition working the way it did goes to my dad. Despite his 30 years of expertise, he knew it was time to take a back seat. I can imagine how hard it was for him— especially since he has never shied away from sharing his opinion — but I will always be grateful for the way he let me take the reins on his company. Dad agreed to stay on the sidelines, guiding me the best he could during this transition.
wanted to take that momentum and purchase a company that was similar to ours. It’s always a gamble to purchase a company, but after we made significant strides, I knew it could be a big gain. Meanwhile, my dad wasn’t so sure. He didn’t think acquiring a company was the best idea for us just yet, so we decided to sit down and hash out our points. After listening to his concerns, we came to an agreement to move forward with the purchase of the company. When it came time to make a new business decision, my father knew when it was appropriate for him to step back and let a transformation happen. I was appreciative of his thoughts and concerns, but ultimately, we made a decision that would benefit our entire operation. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the drive to push forward and consistently improve came frommy father. He was always motivating me to be better, especially when it came to athletics. His drive and determination can’t be matched, and seeing the kind of flexibility and freedom he had as a business owner drove me to want to become my own boss. But my dad’s career has also shown me the value of striving to improve. Dad and his business partner did a fantastic job building this business, but near the end, the drive to do more stalled. When he stepped aside to allow me to move us forward, I saw just how big of a man he could be. I worked with Dad for about 11 years before he retired in 2010. I always value the time we spent together and the way he let us grow. He helped lay the foundation for this business, and I’m proud to continue building a new legacy with a dedicated team of experts.
One of the greatest examples of the working relationship I shared with my dad came in 2006. We had been riding a bit of a high at this point, and I
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