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How family business Westmorland is reinventing the motorway stop [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2018, 00:00
FROM ISB Admissions Blog: How family business Westmorland is reinventing the motorway stop
A bank holiday visit to a UK motorway service station is usually a grim necessity. It often involves a nondescript atrium surrounded by burger concessions, coffee shops and gambling machines, all charging high prices to a captive audience.

But one idiosyncratic British operator is trying to turn a forced stop into a pleasure. From the freshly butchered beef sausages served in the restaurant to the duck pond outside, Westmorland is a new kind of motorway stop.

Ms Sarah Dunning, 47, is the daughter of the company’s founders and gave up a career in the City to lead the business in 2005. In 2014, she doubled the number of outlets by opening a second station on the M5 near Gloucester, south-west England. It was a big risk: the company had to borrow heavily to finance it and try to replicate the Tebay original hundreds of miles away.

Today that risk looks like it is starting to pay off. Turnover is almost £100m annually, up from £40m in 2013. Staffing has more than doubled to 1,100 people.

Taking risks is what second-generation family businesses must do to survive, says Ms Dunning: “It’s a natural instinct to want to create something of your own.”

There are trade-offs between maximising profit and quality. “We’re not as mercenary as some,” Ms Dunning says. Tables are spaced further apart and public areas more spacious than is typical, which means fewer customers can be accommodated. The company says it pays its staff more than the statutory National Living Wage (from April, £7.83 an hour for over 25s), which raises costs. Prices are high, but Ms Dunning says they match those of many other service stations.

The group serves 10m customers a year. Motorway traffic is edging up slowly and Ms Dunning describes sales as “steady”.

Ms Dunning decided the business was getting too big to manage, so in April 2017 she moved to chair and recruited an experienced chief executive. Rob Swyer was retail director at Asda, a grocery chain, but lived locally. He has focused on the workforce with an in-house business academy and apprenticeship programme. A full family board meeting was convened for the appointment: “We had gone from being a local business to a national one — it was a straightforward decision,” says Ms Dunning.

Brexit, says Ms Dunning, is the next challenge: “The focus on local producers and farmers should stand us in good stead. We think more people will holiday in the UK. We just hope they have the confidence to spend.”

“But part of the strength of this business is that it’s been doing this before it was fashionable. We were doing it because it was the obvious thing to do, rather than because we were just following the interests of the market.”

Source: Bounds, Andrew, April 3, 2018; https://www.ft.com/content/18cfa4e0-2867-11e8-b27e-cc62a39d57a0
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Family Business: Tradition or Superior Vision? [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2018, 00:00
FROM ISB Admissions Blog: Family Business: Tradition or Superior Vision?
Business is personal for Eric Miller, CEO of Miller Welding and Machine Co. When he was in college, his grandfather, Dave R. Miller, made the “big decision” to expand the family business from a machine and welding shop into an integrated, full-service supplier to the industry.

Three of Dave’s sons ran the business after him. This vision that Dave created for the Miller family is often the missing “bridgework spanning the entrepreneurial vision that sparks the formation of a business and the long-term vision that allows family firms to pursue goals far into the future,” according to a PwC survey on family business conducted in 2017.

One company that is not only doing things right but thriving in its fifth generation of family leadership is CoorsTek. Today the company manufactures more than 300 technical compositions, serving customers in the automotive, defense, health, oil and gas, semiconductor and other sectors.

The fifth generation of Coors leaders sits in the CEO chair—though that chair has been expanded to fit three CEOs: Michael, Jonathan and Timothy Coors. The two brothers and one cousin, who have held a variety of roles both in and outside the company, are in almost perfect alignment on the company’s direction and strategy.

This company’s idea of success is based less on being a member of the family and more on being a caretaker of the business. “We have a very long-term view of the company and feel we are custodians of the business,” Timothy says. “Our fathers and uncles all had this view, which is how we grew the business.”

While CoorsTek had a large family to choose from, Hollman Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of sports, fitness and office lockers—which provided the lockers residing at Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints locker rooms, as well as The New York Times offices—went from father to son.

The company was founded in 1976 by Joe Hollman in Irving, Texas. His son Travis worked at the company for 10 years in a variety of positions until he left to pursue several successful entrepreneurial ventures. Joe stayed at the helm of the business for 35 years, setting the manufacturer on its path to continuous success. In 2011, Travis rejoined the business and set a new course.

“One of my driving forces is the pride I have in our family name and to make sure that continues,” explains Travis. His time away from the company taught him a lot about overcoming obstacles such as creating a company from scratch and the practical aspects of running a business. By the time he took the helm at Hollman, he knew just what he wanted to do and how to get there.

Travis’ style was different than his father’s and demonstrates how sometimes the philosophy can change from generation to generation. While his father favored a military-style approach to management with decisions made solely at the top, Travis has more of an open-door policy that encourages familiarity.

Creativity is at the core of an entrepreneurial style culture and is a swing right back to what inspired the original founders to create these companies in the first place. This leads to the basic question as how to explain the success of family businesses that make it to the third generation and beyond.

Is it tradition and the desire to live up to and continue the family name? Or is it the ability to adapt the original family values to continue a company where family members will want to work?

Source: Selko, Adrienne., April 05, 2018; http://www.industryweek.com/leadership/family-business-tradition-or-superior-vision

 
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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When the Next Gen wants to fix the family business [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2018, 02:00
FROM ISB Admissions Blog: When the Next Gen wants to fix the family business
Most of the corporate chieftains have children all ready and qualified – in legal terms at least – to join the labour force. The question is whether these offsprings should join the family business and succeed it, or work outside the family business for a few years.

In the few years outside of the family business, the offsprings are expected to learn the rough and tough ways of managing a business and eke out a decent living before coming into the family business.

This group of people wanting to succeed the family business are called the Next Gen. Do not mistake them for the “generation next”, who are often referred to as the millennials, however.

Also, do not mistake the Next Gen for children suffering from what is termed the “rich kid-itis” syndrome. It is the worst nightmare of any parent, no matter how much wealth they have accumulated.

Children suffering from the symptoms of “rich kid-itis” are those who are showered with so much money that they don’t know how to earn it. They run a five-figure tab during a night out, pop expensive champagne, drive flashy cars and go on holidays almost all-year round.

The Next Gen are those who are better groomed, care a lot more for money than the “rich kid-itis”, have gone to the best schools that money can buy, and gotten the right exposure by working in the best places a young person would die for.

The biggest challenge for the Next Gen who want to take over from their parents is doing it better than them. They have to navigate the ship when the tide turns. They have to look at how to grow the business – in the best and worst of times.

So, how do parents nurture the Next Gen to succeed their business? The owner of a chain of hypermarkets says its policy is for the children to work outside the family business for at least three years.

Another businessman says he encouraged his son to join him right after college because he felt that there was no better teacher than himself to guide his son on the travails of the business world.

There is no right or wrong in both paths when the business is running well. However, when the business runs into a rough patch, the external experience tends to help turn it around.

To a large extent, working outside the family business helps build character and a network of business contacts that are so vital when times are tough. The work experience gained outside will someday come in handy to save the family business.

For the Next Gen, it is best to have a stint outside the family conglomerate before joining the business to fix its problems and make it even better.

Source: Shanmugam, M., April 14, 2018; https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2018/04/14/when-the-next-gen-wants-to-fix-the-family-business/#MvCY5XWoGbWEvju3.99
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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How to Start a Family Business [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2018, 02:00
FROM ISB Admissions Blog: How to Start a Family Business
In order to enjoy working together, you have to not only like each other but also find a common purpose or passion. Even though you’re running a business together now, it’s critical to always put family first.

Mena, Iyana, and Shantee Wright are sisters who together own and operate Wright Productions, a high-end event production, event design and brand management firm headquartered in Los Angeles.

The Wright sisters view working with their siblings as a definite blessing. “We are extremely close, so close that people sometimes refer to us as triplets,” Mena Wright says. Both Iyana and Shantee Wright spoke about the level of trust that they have with each other, which is unwavering. The sisters know they are going to always look out for each other’s best interests no matter what.

While there are challenges, and the sibling relationship can prove “exhausting to manage” at times, all three sisters feel that the pros definitely outweigh the cons, and they wouldn’t want to be in business with anyone else.

In order to enjoy working together, you have to not only like each other but also find a common purpose or passion. Starting a company is collaborative. Be sure that the business you start is one that everyone involved feels excited about. Otherwise, it won’t work.

As the CEO of Wright Productions, Mena, the eldest sister, oversees the company’s vision and mission. She says she always knew her purpose: To help people solve their problems. She just wasn’t exactly sure how to go about that. Starting a family business gave Mena the freedom to “help people in a very unique way – by essentially bringing them into our family.”

Iyana, the COO and middle sister, feels her life purpose changes over time, but the common thread is her desire to uplift and inspire others. Also, like Mena, she feels her life purpose is to build a family empire with her sisters.

Shantee, the CCO and youngest sibling, says that she stumbled into her life purpose. Growing up, she didn’t know what she wanted to do, but she was inspired by her two older sisters. Building a family business is now a definite part of her life purpose.

Source: Fox, MeiMei., April 10, 2018;  https://www.forbes.com/sites/meimeifox/ ... 5634562a2f
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Kanoo Group finds balance between boring and exciting, chairman says [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2018, 01:00
FROM ISB Admissions Blog: Kanoo Group finds balance between boring and exciting, chairman says
Boring may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of growing a business. But it does play an integral part of the thinking of the Kanoo Group, one of the UAE’s biggest family conglomerates that is grooming itself for expansion and getting a professional management to run the business while family members take care of shareholder issues.

“In any business you need exciting and you always need boring,” says chairman Mishal Kanoo, a fourth generation member of the family. “Boring is sustainable. Boring is consistent. Boring is doing the same thing but getting it right again and again. It is that boring that keeps you in business. It is what is exciting and pleasurable or painful that does not keep you in business.”

The group, which was established in 1890 in Bahrain, finds its roots in the wood and coal trade in the island kingdom. The conglomerate expanded into Saudi Arabia in the 1930s and then into the UAE in the 1960s.

The company is preparing smoothly for succession, a hot topic among the region’s family groups. Putting in place a new structure of management is part and parcel of the transition process. The conglomerate appointed a chief executive officer, a chief financial officer and other senior executives in the last few years to run day-to-day operations and leave the family members in charge of shareholder affairs.

“We are trying to remove family succession from the operation and try to bring it into the boards and shareholder side,” says Mr Kanoo. “We are hopping the impact will be nullified simply by having different family members of different ages on the board.”

Succession planning is important because the group needs to make sure they have enough old hands to take care of the business and younger members who come up with new ideas, he adds.

This formula has teething problems, but still is an “adventure” the group is embracing, according to Mr Kanoo.

“It is tough because there will be times when the professional manager wants to move in a direction the family does not want to move into because the family can’t understand what is happening,” he says. “There will be times when the manager does not understand what the family wants and then there will be a clash. This is an adventure. Some managers are spot on, a lovely balance of understanding and what the family needs and what the family wants in comparison with what the business needs. Then there are others who are focused purely on the business and do not care about the family.”

“The biggest challenge is always getting the right people because all the people who are working with you represent you and that is always the hardest part of any business,” says Mr Kanoo.

Source: Saadi, Dania., April 19, 2018; https://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/kanoo-group-finds-balance-between-boring-and-exciting-chairman-says-1.723077
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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A Lasting Legacy- The History and Personalities Behind Athens’ Oldest  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2018, 01:00
FROM ISB Admissions Blog: A Lasting Legacy- The History and Personalities Behind Athens’ Oldest Business
Kris Cornwell spent her days on Court Street long before it was lined with a bevy of bars and chain restaurants. As the owner of Cornwell Jewelers, 77 N. Court St., Cornwell recalls catching a bus with her sister and riding from her grandparents’ home on Peach Ridge Road, north of Athens, to Court Street, where they’d wander from shop to shop.

Kris fondly recalls spending time in that narrow, worn space, in the same building where Cornwell Jewelers had existed since 1832, and playing with costume jewelry her grandfather had taken in on trade.

It’s much more about the jewelry now. Since purchasing the business from her parents in the early 2000s, Kris has transformed the store to meet the needs of modern shoppers. As a result, a long-standing piece of Athens’ history, Cornwell Jewelers, is rolling into the future with its sixth-generation — and first female — owner at the helm.

“I went in pretty naive, but it’s been a journey and I’ve learned so much,” she said. “When I started, I knew zero about business, zero about gemology, all of it — marketing, finances. I mean, I was an education major in English, and I could write a lesson plan.”

While tackling that learning curve, she had to deal with other obstacles: Customers and industry colleagues often assumed her male employees were calling the shots, and she wasn’t always taken seriously.

Now, after 25 years in the game, she’s established herself and picked up the knowledge needed to push the business forward.

The Cornwell family had been selling jewelry to Athens residents for more than 100 years before that purple Cadillac ever rolled off the line.

John Cornwell opened a jewelry shop on the second floor of 10 S. Court St. in 1832. At that time, Robert G. Wilson — the namesake of OU’s Wilson Hall — was serving as the school’s president, and the Civil War wouldn’t break out for another 40 years.

Unlike the gemstones sold at the store, it’s difficult to say what Cornwell Jewelers will look like in 10, 20 or 30 years.

Kris depends on her willingness to change in managing the store, and trends in jewelry could push Cornwell Jewelers to continue changing. A 2014 report from management consultants McKinsey and Company predicts the share of fine jewelry sales happening online could double to 10 percent of total sales by 2020, and Kris knows the nature of shopping — and Court Street — is changing.

“Most of our customers now, we’re a destination store,” she said. “A lot of people don’t work on Court Street like they used to, so to see us, they drive to us. So there could be a time when they don’t want to come to Court Street.”

“You never know. But to me, when I’m dead and gone, I think the store will still be there.” – Eric Coon, who worked in Cornwell Jewelers for more than 40 years. “When you get engaged, do you want to say to your wife, ‘I bought my ring on Amazon’ or ‘I bought it online?’ ” Coon said. “You know, it’s nice to come in (to the store). They find out about your history, where you’re going. And a lot of jewelry has been sold that way.”

What exactly will happen when Kris retires is unclear. She’s said she hopes one of her daughters will take the reins, but with her oldest is still in high school, it’s much too early to tell.

Source: Hill, Jeremy., April 18, 2018; http://projects.thepostathens.com/SpecialProjects/cornwell-jewelers-oldest-business-athens-ohio/
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

A Lasting Legacy- The History and Personalities Behind Athens’ Oldest   [#permalink] 20 Apr 2018, 01:00

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