My Business Family by Jim Flynn
Posted by Anonymous
My Business Family
by Jim Flynn
With my term as the new President of the Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce beginning on July 1st, I would like to introduce myself and share a bit about my approach to life and business in our community. I am a Maple Valley native and a serial entrepreneur. It was probably inevitable that I would become a business owner since my parents, Joe and Billie Flynn, were two of Maple Valley’s business pioneers.
My youngest years were spent living in a small apartment attached to the Wilderness Tavern, where my sister and I were exposed to the glamorous details of business ownership on a 24-hour-a-day basis. This experience, which today might be considered child abuse, did not deter me. While in Junior High, I plunged into business on my own by starting a parking lot maintenance company that eventually evolved into Flynn Development and Management, Inc., the same business that I operate today (45 years later). Through high school and college my little company made a few bucks, most of which went into my personal entertainment fund, but I also put in a lot of hours working for my dad in the family business which had expanded into commercial property development and management, primarily the operation of Wilderness Village Shopping Center.
I had the privilege of watching and learning while my Mom and Dad dealt with all the issues that most business owners have on their plate. I learned their philosophies on how to handle customers (good and bad), how to deal with financial institutions, how to tolerate and mitigate the all-powerful government (local, state, and federal), how to “pay back” to the community, and most importantly, the importance of living your life by the “Golden Rule” – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I also had the privilege of being on the sidelines while my Dad and a few other business leaders formed our Chamber, literally on our dining room table, and soon thereafter Dad was elected as the first Chamber President.
The end result of the lessons I learned from my parents and the experiences that I have had myself is that I tend to approach my business relationships like I would a family. In my “business family” I have a lot of siblings and offspring, and like many large families some of these “relatives” are favorites and some tend to be more like the proverbial “black sheep.” Some members of this family regularly give me advice and direction and some members themselves need a lot of mentorship and help. Sometimes you need to step up and defend a member of your business family; just like you would a little brother, and sometimes you need a helping hand like you might get from that favorite uncle. I sincerely try to treat my business family like family and hope that the same respect and consideration is returned (usually it is). At times this is difficult to do and might not be considered very “business-like,” but as my parents showed me, the return on investment in life is not measured in just dollars and cents.
So how does my business family philosophy relate to the Chamber? In our Mission Statement the purpose of our Chamber is described as “providing leadership, promoting a healthy economic base, and elevating the overall standard of living while enhancing the general welfare of the area.” To me this sounds a lot like how a person should treat their family.
I believe that our Chamber was formed to serve the entire community, as implied by the language of our Mission Statement. Therefore, the Chamber’s constituency includes not only the operators of the businesses within the community but also their customers and all the residents who benefit in so many ways from having a healthy business sector in the community. During my term as President it will be my goal to apply my “business family” approach to not only the Chamber membership, but also to how the Chamber interacts with the entire community. Welcome to the family!
Find the Chamber on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mvbdchamber