Bernard “Bernie” Howroyd founded AppleOne Employment Services and raised it from a single office struggling to get by on $5.94 into a global business. Here are five career lessons that you can learn from a former encyclopedia salesman-turned-staffing industry guru.
When Bernie was 14, he flunked the exam that would have allowed him to attend university in England. Undeterred, he began building his business skills through various entrepreneurial ventures, including unpacking rabbit meat for a butcher, selling eggs from his own chickens, and peddling vegetables from his garden.
Show concern for everyone’s needs.
Bernie and his friend traveled the world during the early 1960s, selling chocolates and encyclopedias to sustain themselves. During the trip, he realized that “No matter where people are from, no matter what language they speak, everyone deserves to be heard and respected.” This insight deeply influenced his business philosophy, resulting in AppleOne’s focus on customer experience.
Have faith in your ideas.
During AppleOne’s early days, the fluctuation of the economy resulted in a similar instability in the company’s profitability, and its funds dwindled to near bankruptcy. However, Bernie continued to scrape by, inspired by his faith in his fledgling company and its employees.
Choose to think positively.
Bernie is a strong believer in the importance of thinking positively. Choosing to have positive rather than negative thoughts is a powerful component of finding success, and it is this optimism that allowed him to push on during AppleOne’s difficult first years.
Be thankful for what you have.
Bernie still keeps the record of AppleOne’s original finances in his executive office, harkening back to the days when the single building in Hollywood was furnished by unmatched desks and folding chairs. By keeping the passbook and remembering when his company almost went bankrupt, he remains thankful for his current successes and is reminded of the importance of hard work.
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