When I was 10 years old, I had my first retail job: buying and selling greeting cards to friends and family. My mother who taught me all the basic working skills (like learning to type when I was 12) used this method to teach me the value of earning, spending, and saving money, and operating at a profit. Since then, life took me down different paths but somehow business and retail always played major roles even though my talents were in the fine arts field. In 1984 I opened my own interior design practice in San Francisco and consequently worked on residential and commercial projects there, in N.Y. and in Southern Spain.
But bad economic times come and go, and in 1992 interior design was not a necessary service so I entered the world of the major retail store, working for the next 20 years in large department store environments in N.Y. and Germany. During this period I learned what a cutthroat business it was but what a challenging “high” being the “Boss” was (including being a Human Resource Manager for over 500 employees), so much so that I knew having my own business again - and soon - was inevitable. Consequently I had the opportunity to manage a medium-sized home furnishings store in New York so the days of large department store-style management were over, but running a million dollar operation was no easy task either. This time spent was another chapter in retail observation and experience that involved business practices at a different level.
Then due to family considerations, my husband and I moved to the Tropical Coast of Spain in 2001, opening up our own small internet/computer and business assistance shop in a town of 25,000 residents. We both spoke Spanish very well and knew the Mediterranean culture as well. But being a relatively unspoiled-by-outsiders town, many of the local people told us our business was doomed because we were foreigners and were located on a not-heavily-travelled pedestrian street. But because we believed and lived our “Formula 1”© concept (explained in the final chapter of Volume 2's book), none of their admonitions came true. Since then, more than a decade later, our business has diversified and grown successfully, by us not only understanding the local people, adhering to their culture and way of doing things, staying abreast of the times, responding to our local and international clients' needs, and ALWAYS thinking ahead.
Looking back at this working journey, I had met so many people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds who yearned to do what we had done: live an independent life, doing what we wanted to do, not what we were TOLD to do. To boot, we had accomplished this in a foreign country! That in itself became the pivotal reason for writing the “S.M.A.RT” Business books and offering our workshops. Talent is in everyone, should be drawn out and employed and above all, one should love and enjoy their work…otherwise life becomes a drudgery.
Passion + good instincts + experience + research can yield incredibly successful results. Then apply our “Formula 1”© principle and you have a winner.
If you want a real, hands-on course on developing and sustaining your own small retail or service business – taught in simple, every day terms – then join us for one of our workshops. We have purposefully kept the maximum number of attendees to 8 persons in order to give each one the personalized attention they deserve. And wait til you hear what the final assignment is…it's a good challenge! And because these workshops are offered in a delightful Mediterranean location, you can combine your vacation with your studies and return home mentally and physically refreshed and enlightened, ready to set your business wheels into motion!
"There is no "snooze" alarm on our clock."