5 Business Lessons Learned While Working for my Dad

Happy Father’s Day and happy work-day to everyone.  Here is some of the business etiquette I learned from my father while working at The Staley Concern, a marketing firm in the central valley of California in 1995.

Ed Staley 1978 Ed Staley, Fisher Graphics, 1978

1. The client is first:  As a small business owner you are concerned with overhead, payroll and administration duties to name a few.  Your client has to know that you are just as concerned with the inner workings of their office as you are with yours.  This leaves your office work to the after-hours.  Monday through Friday is for your customers not for a small business owner.

2. Meeting face-to-face:  When my father needed something signed I or USPS could easily handle the task, but when his business needed to shine, impress or show the work, he was on his way over.  His clients ranged from Sacramento to Los Angeles.  It meant a lot of time in the car but now I was his co-pilot. Today, with Skype and cell phones (existed since the 1950′s), staying connected is easier but there is nothing like the shake of a hand and doing business face-to-face to truly understand your client’s needs.

3. No one can go it alone:  My father started his own business with a marketing degree and wanting more then to work for a large corporation.  He wanted to downsize and specialize but still needed graphic artists, production, market research and staff.  He went from being a cog to the engine itself.

His network was just as important as the work he created.  The central valley is a small network so he made sure to not undercut competition to be successful but to provide high-end professional work.  Over the years his competition would soon need his expertise and they would become clients because of good work not because of cut corners.

4. Good Customer Service is a rarity:  When picking up a out-of-house serviced computer I noticed the cover was bent and the screws didn’t line up. I mentioned this to the clerk so he took it into the back and proceed to pound it with a hammer in plain sight.  He was in his mid-thirties and when he brought it back to me, a 16 year old boy, I said “What are you doing? It’s a computer, not a car engine.”

“Well, it’s fixed now. Have a good day.”  I couldn’t believe the customer service he gave.  I told my dad when I got back to the office, I was fuming but he was glad I didn’t over react towards the sales clerk.  Later that day he wrote a letter explaining to the owner that he would pay for the horrible service he had received but he would never return to the store.

Months later I went back into the store for a small connector and didn’t have time to travel across town to their competition.  Above the work bench, behind the counter, was the letter my dad had written.  I guess the owner had posted it as a reminder to the people that work in the repair department to strive for better customer service. I remember my father’s advise back in the mid 90′s, “If you can combine customer service with the tech industry you would cut a path through the competition.”

5. It’s not always fun to be the boss:  Working long hours, going above and beyond and staying late is a requirement of all small business owners.  Reinventing yourself and keeping up to date on marketing practices, contracts and the latest social media trends can be exhausting so make sure it is something you love.

Eric Staley and Ed Staley 2013

Me and my father at my sister’s wedding in 2013.

Maxboost and Ambrosia power – Case Study SCP

Ambrosia Video

In June of 2014 Sidecar Productions was hired to create two unique videos to create brand awareness for a tech start up in the San Francisco area.  Knowing that the client wished to add value to the project we created a script that was energetic, funny and modern.  Time constraints also added to the project’s needs with the product set to launch in less then two weeks.

Maxboost’s Brand Consultant, Marketing Director, and Sidecar’s Senior Project Manager, Eric Staley got together over Skype and hammered out two 45 second scripts that loosely would translate to two, one-minute videos for online distribution.  Bryan Decker, Sidecar’s Production Designer, hired Maddie Moon clothing to recreate the look and feel of a high-end fashion show while the show’s producer, Eric, reserved the locations, received and scheduled castings, and hired the 10+ person crew.

The crew consisted of a Director, a Director of Photography, an Assistant Camera Man, the Production Designer and an Art Assistant, a Lighting Technician, a Boom Operator/Audio Monitor, a Fashion P/A to help with wardrobe, a Hair stylist and a Makeup Artist.  Also, many on the Sidecar team helped with the production including a Graphic Artist and an Assistant Editor while in post production.  Having these resources helped us stay on time and on budget.

The result is a humorous video that has different levels of marketing, humor, and dialogue creating an environment that viewers want to watch over and over.  Please enjoy “Maxboost Power” and “Fashionable Slimcases” by Sidecar Productions.

Ambrosia and Maxboost videos by Sidecar Productions

uNu – Ultrapack: Content for The San Francisco Tech Startup

uNu

In May of 2014, uNu (a San Francisco based company) hired Sidecar Productions to create, write, and produce a 30 second low-budget commercial to be aired at a Live 105 Bay Area concert event.  The commercial had to be written, filmed, and edited within two weeks of signing the agreement. Screen replacements needed to be added when the product arrived and it was not camera-ready but our in-house staff was able to solve the problem with After Effects and Mocha.  Within a week we had our script and began the pre-production process.  Actors, equipment, locations, crew, and catering had to be quickly assembled with a delivery date only a week away.

Production designer, Bryan Decker, was able to use a majority of the furniture found at the location.  By adding plants, a slider and some great soft lighting by DP Donnie Eastman, the shoot was dynamic and colorful. Here is the result:

After completing the 30 second commercial spot, the client asked us to create a 60 second overview.  This video was created to inform customers about the UltraPak when they visited the product’s website.  Sidecar wrote, directed and produced the following 60 second and 30 second spots.

The 30 second cut from the 60 second overview.

 

Please contact Eric Staley at Sidecar Productions to learn how we can help your product reach market.

eric@sidecarproductions.com

(858) 384-9937

SidecarEric