The early 20th century was very personal with how business was handled.
In the early 1900s, we would walk into any small business and the owner of that business would say “Hi” to us, and even call us by name. The owner would even know what I wanted before I even asked for it because he knew me as a person.
He had built a relationship with me and as a result, I would come back the very next day because I felt that they actually cared about me as a person, and didn’t just view me as another customer.
It took motherly qualities like this to succeed during this time, but then things started to change.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners thrived in the early 20th century. 90% of Americans were entrepreneurs at the time, while only 10% were employees.
From the 1940s to the 2000s though we began to see the collapse of the small business owner and the rise of big business corporations.
Today, that stat has completely flipped. Today, 90% of Americans are now employees, while only 10% are entrepreneurs.
It became ruthless and cut throat to succeed during this time and because it was big business, the qualities needed to succeed in this age were more fatherly.
The problem with big business though is that they didn’t care for us. They only cared about making a profit. It wasn’t like the early 1900s where businesses had a relationship with the people who they did business with. It was very impersonal during this time.
But since the turn of the century, we are now seeing the extinction of big business corporations and are starting to see again the rise of the small business sole proprietor owner.
The qualities that it took to succeed during the age of big business are not the same qualities it’s going to take to succeed in the 21st century.
The qualities of empathy, compassion, ability to care and honesty are going to be just as important for success as determination, persistence and commitment.
If you’re going to want to get someone’s business, have someone buy something from you, or get someone to work with you, then you’re going to have to actually care a lot about them as a person.