Free Enterprise

Nebraska Furniture Mart/Warren Buffett

Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) sales – $1.6B, $80M profit

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/warren-buffett-berkshire-hathaway-89-mrs-b-fortune-500-ceo-2019-12-1028763487

NFM is certainly the premier US home furnishings retailer….it must be if Warren Buffet has invested in it.

The part of the story that is most interesting is in the origins of the business and the opportunity that immigrating to the United States gave to Mrs. B in starting a business with $500. 

That’s free enterprise.

NFM would be an excellent business case study.

https://www.nfm.com/

5-Star

The Umstead/Cary

The Umstead was developed by the owners of SAS in Cary as a 5-Star hotel to provide an upscale venue for the RDU area (and for SAS as a global business).

A 5-Star hotel also means 5-Star prices and The Umstead is no exception. For many people people….a visit may be a rare occurrence.

The attention to detail is evident at The Umstead and is much a characteristic of:

“One-to-one marketing (sometimes expressed as 1:1 marketing) is a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy emphasizing personalized interactions with customers. The personalization of interactions is thought to foster greater customer loyalty and better return on marketing investment.”

https://www.theumstead.com/

Leardership?

Again

Reduced From 3 star to 2 star:

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/11/26/oink-oink-lieutenant-general-belittled-staff-mocked-female-airmans-weight-ig-found-it-cost-him-a-star/

Unfortunately, this is not the only instance of toxic leadership over the past year. The real question is how this general even got promoted to a 3-star.

  • It would seem that a superior rating officer might have been (or should have been) aware of the general’s leadership faults
  • The general attended several leadership programs….obviously he didn’t learn the qualities of a good leader.
  • In certain instances….at this level politics do play a role in advancement
  • Plain common sense would suggest that the general’s comments/actions were inappropriate

At the end of the day, the general will still have a nice retirement income and the story will fade away. It would be hopeful that his future employer (more than likely a defense contractor) would at least read the Air Force Times article.

Longevity (49 years)

J and M Machined Products

Many good businesses get unnoticed….J and M Machined Products is perhaps one of them…..mainly because their  products are used as components in another manufactures end assembly.

“J & M Machine Products specializes in precision machining of castings, forgings, and bar stock in a wide variety of materials including, but not limited to: gray iron, ductile iron, steel, stainless steel, bronze, and aluminum.” It’s products are used in the automotive, heavy truck, aircraft, recreational, industrial, military and petroleum industries.

Being in business for 49 years, means that J & M has an established reputation that is valued by its customers

“After more than a half-century in business, we’re still serving our very first customer, and many others have been with us for 20 or 30 years.”

http://www.jmmachine.com/

CWC Foundry

History

Muskegon/Muskegon Heights,MI were true factory towns….especially after WW ll. 

The CWC foundry plant was located one block off the main street of Muskegon Heights! Foundries in the 40-60s were dusty/dirty facilities….raw materials were melted at high temperature and cast into industrial products (engine blocks for example). 

While long gone….the factories provided well paying jobs during that economic period….especially after the war. That all changed in the late 70’s as all of the local plants closed or moved away. Muskegon Heights never fully recovered and for the last 40 years….the Muskegon County industrial base for the most part has evolved with a different (and better) mix of companies.

News Round Up

December 2019

+ Where are they now from Dec 2014

+ Tell the story:  https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/stop-pitching-your-products-services-you-have-a-more-valuable-commodity-to-sell.html

+ Future – Simon Sinek:  https://www.inc.com/leigh-buchanan/simon-sinek-infinite-game.html

+ Excellence is 98 percent about the little touches, not the big touches. Because that’s the kind of thing people remember, for ever and ever and ever — Tom Peters

+ Communication tool: https://ideas.ted.com/storytelling-is-a-powerful-communication-tool-heres-how-to-use-it-from-ted/

+ Air Force mechanic + simple tool device:   https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyfeldman/2019/11/11/how-a-former-air-force-mechanic-29-built-a-4m-business-with-a-simple-device-to-hold-tools/#1472ad9b33f7

+ Leadership:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2019/11/05/the-greatest-leadership-article-ive-ever-read/#7086ca3731ed

+ Competition: https://www.inc.com/joel-comm/4-ways-chick-fil-a-dominates-competition.html

Online Presence

Entry Point

Customers have to enter a business in one form or another….often it’s online.

If a customer encounters a business first by exploring online….should not that entry point be excellent? 

Unfortunately, not all businesses have a strong online presence, it would seem that any business/organization would want to put its best foot forward. After all – first impressions count….a lot!