The humble beginnings of many important personalities have become an inspiration for many entrepreneurs who are starting small. We must admit that the hardest place to hold on to hope is when at the small beginnings.
In an interview with the Founder and CEO of Act-1 Group, Janice Bryant Howroyd, it became easier to understand the importance of tenacity and hard work. Howroyd was raised up in eastern North Carolina by exemplary parents, John and Elretha K. Bryant, who taught her the basic principles of success. She grew up to become the first African-American woman to put together a billion-dollar business. Talking to Roz A. Gee, Howroyd shared tips on how to nurture small businesses into becoming powerhouses. Howroyd learned some lessons early in her life and these have played a great role in helping her rise to where she is today. Her parents taught her and her 10 siblings the basic survival and success skills. The billion-dollar business owner talks passionately about the impact her parents have had in her success and general management skills. Of her mother, the billionaire said, “She was the most dynamic COO (chief operating officer) that I’ve ever seen. She taught us that 13 people on any given day needed to have a cooperative spirit, as well as a formula (system).”
According to Bryant Howroyd, her mother did everything with utmost administration, quality and organization. She operated the house as though it was an enterprise and Bryant says, “The important thing that I learned from my Mom was that she could create cooperative spirit by being clear about what the guidelines and rules were. I learned these principles in how they led (guided) my family, helped me to grow my business, and work currently with my executives. I could not have had a finer start in life.”
Another important small business tip she shared was the need for respect in any institution. She says her father was a very supportive man. And she admired how both parents genuinely love and respected one another. She talks of the importance of respecting all your employees as you start small and all the way to the top. Respect becomes essential in guaranteeing the steady growth of any business. “I got to see a Mom and Dad who truly loved each other, respected each other and led the family in the spirit of cooperation. Their genuine care and respect for each other was evident until the day my Dad died,” Bryant Howroyd said of her parents.
The founder of Act-1 Group mentioned the need to start small, in other words – be patient. She looks back at where she started, simply helping out at her brother-in-law’s office. And in an effort to convince her to help him, Tom Sandy, Howroyd’s brother-in-law, told her, “You owe it to yourself to give it a shot here,” and she did. That first step became the beginning of her journey to who she is today. She started small and discovered her gift in the process. Today what started out small has grown to become a multi-billion company.