THE BLOG
07/08/2014 01:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Clean Your Plate!: Things My Mom Taught Me About Small Business

"Clean your plate! There are starving children in Biafra!" This is what my mother would bark as my sister and I stared at our partially finished meal. Although I didn't know where Biafra was located - or how clearing my plate would help their hungry children - I reluctantly obeyed. I didn't recognize it at the time but my mom was my very first small business coach.

My mom was a hardworking farm girl. Growing up in the rough and tumble fields of the North Dakota wheat farms, her mother, famously known around the area as "Ma", taught her the big value in small things. She, in turn, taught them to me.

In the course of an entrepreneurial journey, there are likely a number of people who influence your slant on business. Have you ever considered the pivotal role your mom played in shaping your approach to running your small business? Here is some of what my mom instilled in me that influenced my entrepreneurial experience.

1. Clean your plate. Learning the importance of eating all you put on your plate scores the significance of not taking on more than can be completed in a day in order to sensibly manage your expectations and those of others.

Realistically measure your daily expectations so your plate is spotless at the conclusion of each business day. Start each day fresh. It's invigorating.

2. Don't chew with your mouth full. Like "clean your plate", learning to gauge the size of one's mouth accurately hones your project management skills.

Truthfully assessing your small business capability and capacity promotes good customer service, ensures on-time delivery on commitments, and builds trust with your clients. What could be better?

3. Wear clean underwear. In case you're in an accident, those who provide emergency treatment won't think badly of you. Frankly, I thought this was a little over the top but I understand the meaning behind the message. We never have a second chance to make a first impression.

Present yourself and your business in a way that makes others glad they met you. You'll never regret what you said, how you acted, or what you did in your business.

4. Say "please" and "thank you". Such a simple thing yet it carries great value in forming two important business concepts essential for success: respect and appreciation.

Express respect and appreciation for those who cross your business doorstep, often and sincerely. It's the right thing to do.

5. Be polite on the phone. These included properly answering the phone, not hanging up first if the other party initiated the call and, most importantly, return all phone calls!

Appropriate and timely communication can't be over emphasized. Whether it's by email, phone, or social networking, proper communication manners open doors to opportunities for your small business.

There are many teachers in the life of a small business owner, none more influential than one's Mom. What did your Mom teach you about running your small business? Would she be proud of how you run your business?

This article first appeared on Synnovatia. Let's connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+