Generations of Entrepreneurs as Mentors
The bloggers will be giving you a glimpse into their personal mentor/mentee experiences. Some spotlighted relationships may have grown into deep personal friendships, while others might be purely business in nature–mentees observing their mentor at work. No matter the depth of the relationship, mentees will testify to the importance of their mentors. Guest blog posts will appear, sporadically, but always on a Tuesday.
Aaron L. Robinson is a Junior at the University of South Carolina, graduating in May of 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Finance. Aaron has thirteen years of work and business experience through Tega Hills Farm. He takes special interest in consultation work for the family farm as well as face to face sales.
It was 1984, my grandfather Don Robinson was the vice-president of management at Princess cabinetry and fixture company in Hollywood Florida. The economy in South Florida was prosperous and the company was growing. The CEO had been promising my grandfather part ownership but never delivered on that promise. My grandfather and the VP of sales Darrel Jenkins quit their respectable jobs, took out second mortgages and started New River Cabinet and Fixture Co in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. With both management and sales experience, the partners gathered a work crew and started to place bids on custom kitchen jobs in the affluent neighborhoods in Florida. The break through job came when New River completed a custom kitchen job for a lawyer at a large firm in Florida. The lawyers office was opening new offices and wanted all the wood work to be custom throughout the office. After that job was completed the bids became larger and moved from the custom home and office cabinetry to medical cabinetry in large hospital systems. New River cabinetry was not the first or last business my grandfather started. In 1966 my grandfather started a custom butcher shop in Glenford Ohio, became an independent USDA milk inspector, farmer, and he is currently a rancher and property investor in east Florida.
The entrepreneurs in my family are not limited to my grandfather. My great uncle Bob Robinson started Proline Billiards that specialized in custom billiard tables. My father, Mark Robinson, is the current owner of Tega Hills Farm. I have spent countless days sitting around listening to my grandfather talk business, and then saw him execute those business ideas and become very successful in doing so.
The wisdom that has been passed down to me is: to plan out the business idea, take your plan to the smartest people you know for their evaluation, revise your business plan, network, take a risk, make mistakes, learn life lessons, and dont give up on something plausible.
With all the businessmen in my family mentoring me, I have been instilled with a drive to pursue success in my studies, but also to plan for the future. Taking into mind how important planning and networking is, I have roughly planned out the rest of my working life. After I finish up my undergraduate degree I will go on to an MBA program. After I finish my masters degree I will enter into wealth management. I plan to work in the financial industry for fifteen to twenty years; during that time I will be heavily networking and building relationships with individuals that may be interested in future investment opportunities through my personal ventures.
Currently, my main idea is to enter into second and third world countries that are in need of infrastructure, food production, and other basic needs. My businesses would employ only the local workforce, and in turn, invest the profits from the business into the local community through building hospitals, orphanages, digging wells, etc. I will in some sense be creating a for-profit humanitarian conglomerate.
I am extremely optimistic for my generation. There may be less jobs, but this just means that we will have to control our own future instead of letting someone else control it for us.
Aaron L. Robinson ©2012