Chronicles i COUNCIL
ALesson in Business Acumen
WHEN I FIRST STARTED HELPING OUT AT THE CAR LOT AROUND THE AGE OF
E ducation comes in many forms. With back-to-school season in full swing, I have to acknowledge the incredible impact teachers and educators have on the lives of our young people. I would not be where I am today without the guidance and mentorship teachers have offered me over the years. Today, however, I want to talk about a different kind of education, one that I’ve grown to appreciate more and more over the years. 14, IT WAS MOSTLY AS FREE LABOR DOING MENIAL TASKS. EVENTUALLY, MY GRANDFATHER BEGAN TO KICK ME A FEW BUCKS HERE AND THERE. THE REAL VALUE, THOUGH, CAME IN THE FORM OF SKILLS I LEARNED FROM WATCHING HIM WORK.”
FROM A GRANDFATHER WHO KNEW HOW TO TREAT PEOPLE
grandfather began to kick me a few bucks here and there. The real value, though, came in the form of skills I learned from watching him work. He taught me how to deal with invoices, billing, and other important business operations. He took me to car auctions and showed me how to assess the value of a deal. He wasn’t operating on a huge budget, so he needed to invest wisely. Most of all, he demonstrated to me what good customer service looked like. My grandfather didn’t have the fanciest shop
I didn’t realize it at the time, but those lessons from the car lot are some of the best I’ve ever learned. Many attorneys struggle with the nonlegal aspects of running a firm. They don’t teach this stuff in law school, after all. You can be the best lawyer in the world, but it won’t matter much if you stink at running a business. Lucky for me, I had a great education in both the law and business aspects of running a practice. The former came from school, but the latter was more of a family affair. Oh, and knowing a bit about cars definitely doesn’t hurt when you are working with clients who’ve been in an auto accident. In honor of all the teachers out there, both official and unofficial, I want to encourage you to never stop learning. Education doesn’t have to happen in a classroom, and you’re never too old to do some studying.
In the late 1950s, my maternal grandparents owned and ran a local social club in Rimini, South Carolina, called Cozy Corner. Although I wasn’t around to experience Cozy Corner firsthand, I’ve heard numerous stories about how it was definitely a special
on the block, but people trusted him and he delivered on his promises. He was friendly, welcoming, helpful, and diplomatic, even in the toughest of times. His fleets of vehicles were always of good value, and people appreciated his honesty and dependability. In a world where used car salesmen are a cliche
place. My grandfather, Merrit Conyers, later opened a car lot. It was there I got my first on-the- ground training in entrepreneurship.
of dubious business practices, my grandfather stood out as an example of how to do things right. People didn’t even really think of him as a business owner; he was just “Mr. Merrit,” the charming man who could help with your auto needs.
–Lashonda Council- Rogers, Esq.
When I first started helping out at the car lot around the age of 14, it was mostly as free labor doing menial tasks. Eventually, my
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