Five Business Lessons From my Daughter’s First Birthday Party

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Somewhere in between my mother-in-law taking her eleventh vertical phone video and me eating way too many cookies, a party was held yesterday to celebrate my daughter turning one. As I watched family mingling and chowing down on bagels, lox, coffee, and an amazing cake from Robicelli’s bakery, it dawned on me that throwing this party was very similar to what I do for a living. Thus:

Five rules of business gleaned from my daughter’s first birthday party

5) Always assume things won’t work, and have a plan for when they don’t. Things aren’t always going to go the way you want. Showing up at the “party room” in my building, someone had had a party there the previous night and decided to steal the remote control. Not a problem unless you wanted to show a video – Which I did. A quick Google search led me to the right codes to reprogram an old remote I had lying around with the new TV codes. TV worked again. 

4) Demand accountability from those who work for you. The cake arrived early, but the bagels, lox, and the like, scheduled to arrive at 10am, didn’t. At 10:15am, no food. A quick call determined that our food was nine blocks away, sitting in traffic. While it arrived in time, I shouldn’t have been the one to make the call. I should have been informed of the problem before I realized it was one. Make sure the people who work for you realize that accountability is key – Without it, you’ve got nothing. Trust has to be the baseline of every interaction and engagement you have – otherwise you have nothing else. Next party, I’ll be using a different caterer.

3) Bring the right tools for the job. This was my kid’s first birthday – This won’t happen again. I pulled out the big guns, my Canon 5D3. I wasn’t going to document this occasion on a camera-phone. I also made sure that every photo taken off my camera was backed up onto the card in the camera, and also wirelessly in real-time. End result? I documented the hell out of that party, and the photos will be there for my daughter to show her kids, decades from now.

2)  Be early. Timing is everything. The simple act of getting up 30 minutes earlier can change your life. I got down to the party room early, was able to deal with the remote issue, find the food, and avoid having more last minute stress. I can’t express enough how arriving anywhere 15 minutes earlier than scheduled can make life so much easier. I used to have a friend who was in the Navy – He lived by the phrase “If you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late.” I live by that phrase too, and so should you.

1) Finally, have fun. In between running around, I had cake, I played with the children, I made small talk with the relatives, and I got to smile as my daughter discovered her first sugar-high. If it’s not fun, why do it?

Bonus: Have a strong support staff. Between my parents, my wife’s parents, my assistant, and of course, my wife, I never felt like I was producing this thing alone. Never underestimate the power of a good support staff.

What did I miss? Tell me below. And lastly, if you want more tips like this, the second ShankMinds: NYC Business Mastermind is taking place this Wednesday, and we’ve got two seats still left! Join us!

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