For Father's Day, Entrepreneurs Share Dad's Most Important Business Lessons

Staff writer. Frequently covers franchise news and food trends.

Dad, papa, papi, father, vader, baba, padre, babbo -- no matter how you say it, the word has the same meaning around the world.

For many, their fathers have had a significant impact on their outlook and perspective of life. They taught them the difference between right and wrong, how to treat others and the values they choose to live by. And for some, their dads played an even bigger role: They inspired them in their business practices.  

With Father’s Day just around the corner, we asked several founders the lessons they learned from their dad on how to be an entrepreneur.

Read their stories here and share your own with us on Facebook or Twitter.

1 / 16

If you don’t know it, learn it.

Name: Jessica Dilullo Herrin 

Company: Stella & Dot

He taught me how to self teach and crack open a book and learn something. You shouldn’t expect other people to show up and instruct you. Information is widely available, you just have to go get it and cultivate them.

I’ve always been a student of life, and I get that voracious appetite for learning and that spirit of “you don’t like it, go change it” from him.  

2 / 16

Measure twice and cut once.

Name: Melissa Bushnell

Company: Baked By Melissa

Measure twice and cut once reminds me that it's important to think before you react. Being Melissa of Baked by Melissa, I'm so passionate about what we do and there are naturally times when something happens at work that triggers an emotional response. It's during those times that I measure twice or give extra thought, before responding. You only have one chance to respond so it's important to take two beats before you do.

3 / 16

Be obsessed with perfection in your craft.

Name: Tom Harari

Company: Cleanly

My father is a home painter and has been self-employed since we moved to the U.S. He never built a scalable business and is not wealthy, but he always taught me to be obsessed with perfection in your craft. It's what he became known for amongst his clients.Perfection is impossible but striving towards that can help you create impressive and beautiful work.

4 / 16

It’s okay to be vulnerable.

Name: Ryan Fey

Company: Omelet agency

He taught me how to be 100 percent vulnerable -- to just be me and to be fearless about showing it.  I’ve really applied this type of vulnerable thinking to our client relationships. I will never say that I know how to do something if that means I’d be lying. I’m also not afraid to show them when I’m sad, upset, happy or scared. Being able to share your true emotions and thoughts with people you work with and for is a powerful thing.

In business, some might see a vulnerable leader as a weak leader but my dad taught me it’s the one trait that actually makes a leader strong.

5 / 16

Act with integrity.

Name: Ariel Kaye

Company:  Parachute

My father’s unconditional love and support has given me the confidence to pursue big dreams and to take risks – and, at times, to make what many thought were unconventional career choices.

As an entrepreneur, the biggest lesson my dad has taught me is to value and act with integrity. This is a key tenet of our business, from the relationships we build with our customers to how we design our home essentials.
6 / 16

Follow your passion.

Name: Christina d'Avignon 

Company: Ringly

My dad has a background in engineering but then chose to go to medical school and become a cardiologist. He's always had an entrepreneurial spirit and when I was growing up he started a side business out of our basement creating educational training products online for the medical field. Seeing him juggle his career in medicine along with his second business completely inspired me. I now realize that the only way someone could handle doing both of those things is through hard work and a lot of passion.

7 / 16

Start planning.

Name: Chris Covelli

Company:  #Getfried

One memorable lesson my father taught me at a young age that turned out to be an important lesson in becoming an entrepreneur was to "plan your work, then work your plan.”

He taped this slogan to my desk when I was in middle school, and I have always used this lesson in all aspects of my life. Once I became an entrepreneur the importance of this lesson really came to light.

8 / 16

Teach your kids how to be successful in life through business.

Name: Brian Bodenski 

Company: Snip-its

One of the most important lesson I learned from my father on entrepreneurism is to teach your kids how to be successful in life through business. When people ask me what my burning desire is, I say that it is to make my kids better and more successful than I am. So like my father, I take both my young kids into our business and instill in them that they are owners, too.

9 / 16

Maintain resilience and a positive attitude.

Name: Michael Barnett 

Company: Romp n’ Roll

The biggest thing my father taught me in business is the importance of maintaining resilience and a positive attitude. As a business owner, you will often be faced with challenges, but the details always have a way of working themselves out, so long as you stay resilient in finding those solution and stay positive, you will ensure continued success despite any obstacle thrown your way.

10 / 16

Lead by example.

Name: Howard Berkowitz 

Company: British Swim School

The lesson I learned from my father is to have a work ethic that I can be proud of and that others can learn from and replicate. As the leader of any business it is important to lead by example. My father taught me to be the first one at work and the last one to leave. He always said good work ethic is contagious and that’s definitely proven true in my business today.

11 / 16

Be honest.

Name: Dheeraj Pandey

Company: Nutanix

The biggest lesson from my father is how integrity and success go hand in hand. What's right for the long term is what's always right. Morally ambiguous decisions test you on a daily basis, and yet you realize that shortcuts always show up as hacks in the overall business design. Integrity is about that attention to detail that keeps the ambition honest.

12 / 16

Do the right thing.

Name: Jerrod Blandino 

Company: Too Faced

You must do the right thing. That’s the end of everything, at all costs. It doesn’t matter how much it may hurt or the risk, you have to do the right thing. Otherwise, you could still be a billionaire but be miserable and have a horrible life.

13 / 16

Value hard work.

Name: Damien Patton 

Company: Banjo

My dad was an entrepreneur. He built his own company from scratch and taught me the value of hard work and learning the pros and cons as you watch your father go through . through building a business and applying that experience later on in life.

14 / 16

Never give up or let go.

Name: Vincent Claessens

Company: Claessens’ Kids

 My father, who was also an entrepreneur, taught me to stay close enough to my business that I knew every angle, every in, every out, so that, like with a family member, I would never want to give up or let go. At the same time, he taught me to take a step back (and a deep breath!) when I need to, so that I could live with my business as long as it took to be successful. And he was right!

15 / 16

Take risks.

Name: Giuseppe Veneziano

Company: Infanttech

“If you know what you are making every month then you will never move up in life.” These are words my grandfather passed down to my father, and my father, in turn, passed on to me. And these are the words that drove me to become an entrepreneur, rather than an employee. My father has been an entrepreneur all his life and was able to put two children through private school (while battling cancer on three difference occasions!) with his earnings. I consider these words to live by as I venture to build my own businesses and provide for my own family; words that drive me to constantly think about what’s new, what’s next, what’s coming, and not just rely on what I’ve already done.

16 / 16

Respect for an honest day's work

Name: Josh Reeves

Company: Gusto 

The biggest thing I learned from my father was respect for an honest day's work -- following your passion but living each moment in a way you’re proud of. My father was a teacher, and he taught the same subjects every day. He put himself through a Master's program and doctorates on nights and weekends while working full time, because he wanted to grow and develop himself.


For Father's Day, Entrepreneurs Share Dad's Most Important Business Lessons

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