It really could be said that everything I needed to know I learned from the Harley-Davidson business. I was always a Harley guy. Grew up in an area where Harley-Davidsons were very popular, knew people who rode, and even in college many of my projects, papers and productions had to do with Harley-Davidson.

After college I was looking for a job and I went to an employment agency. I answered a blind ad that read: Public Relations/Service Writer $30,000 a year. Well I knew what public relations was, I just received a degree in it, I had no idea what a service writer was, but it was 1987 and I knew I wanted thirty thousand dollars a year.

I remember it like it was yesterday …

It was my second day at Hannum’s Harley-Davidson. I had just met Rita Hannum who as about five feet nothing and often came to the dealership directly from her tennis workout. She stood intentionally close with a burning, intense demeanor only a dealership owner knows and said, “Mark, here at Hannum’s you’re only one of two things. You’re either an asset or a liability. Which of those two things will you be?”

Needless to say, the conversation left quite an impression since I’m still talking about it all these years later. To be an asset and hence to experience success yourself, you have to acquire necessary skills, become expert at their use and seek out opportunities to use them in a way that maximizes your return.

In business, you’re either an asset or a liability. Which of those two things will you be?