This is a book about discovering how to manage a business or group of businesses that you own, plan to have on your own, as a business partner or a business that was entrusted to you as the right-hand person or a corporate manager to lead the company or business unit, be as it may. This book was envisioned to be organized in three parts which intends to address an organized approach but on its practical sense all its intricacies be it a corporate setting or entrepreneurs who might ask during the course of starting a business, designing a project, reviewing the performances and re-directing plans and objectives facing an ever changing market environment. Targeted readers are corporate organizations and entrepreneurs, strategy and tactical planners, authors – seasoned and neophytes, researchers, students, consultants, critics and its like.
Have you seen the movie, The Founder? I bet you did! It’s a cinematic film released in 2016 mesmerized by its hero Ray Kroc, very well portrayed by actor Michael Keaton, seen at first as a thriving salesman trying to sell-by cold-calling to restaurant owners a milk shake mixer out of the trunk of his car, then returning home to get pep talks from his un-ambitious wife, Ethel. And up, as the founder of a gigantic-global and multi-billion dollar food chain called McDonald’s. The film depicts a business drama on the expansion of the food chain all over the United Stated of America starting in the 1950s birthing to corporate built on the foundation of proven operational standards. Yes, also built on the fundamentals of real estate but this strategy came latter when introduced by Harry Sonneborn, a character in the film with tactical knowledge in real estate and at the same time a restaurateur as well, who introduce Kroc in expanding the McDonald’s franchise. I will not critic on the moral of the story where the brothers Richard and Maurice McDonalds lost every bit on their engineered food processes conceptualized on standardization however small scale, in their very first and only Mc Donald’s store in South Carolina. It was a handshake Ray Kroc however did not really respect at the end, and how the film was made savvy for the viewers like me since.
However, I’d like to dwell on the foundation Ray Kroc realized and later capitalized on which was the operations standards engineered and proven, though implemented by the McDonald brothers originally. The operations standards, probably documented by the brothers but never has it been filmed in the movie, as far as I recall, was the first building block, and in repeating the standardized process from the brother’s first store in South Carolina to the various states in USA, and now global, is as far the franchise of McDonald’s will reach – global. And from here, I think, a well documented process of standardization, readers point of view and perspectives depending on their intent, there is a need and aspiration reading this book.
As I matured and developed my career in the oil and gas particularly in the downstream retail industry, journeys I took over the years up to this point writing this book, I realized that there are fundamentals I ought to dwell with that glues proven standardization processes in the retail business and these fundamentals are summarized into the five pillars I believe leads to business success:
- Great customer service must be the long and ever commitment of any company and must be consistently implemented at all times by providing true service and quality products. The value of growth, continuous development and the long-term commitment to all employees starting from the bottom to the top management, the owners, suppliers and contractors of the company;
- Sincerity in fostering community relationship and respect to laws and regulations be it local or national levels. In synergy to community development, as we grow the business responsibly and efficiently, companies must be committed to the long run, through thick and thin, hardships and profits, the community should come first – thus, serve the community;
- Competitive pricing. Though this term generally speaks in all business literatures, it is cut throat a decision on issues on sustainability, community perception on brand and components such as product quality and services that goes along with pricing management;
- Location, location and location! Reaching as much customers, existing patrons and potential customers in safe, clean and secured locations; we must accept location is key in realizing our business objectives: sales, customer counts, income, safety, security and the better community to serve. In any retail, location is key to success!
- And finally, Brand. A lifelong pursuit in building your very own identity. The consistent success of customer service, community relationship, price management and location builds the brand of the business. The management of its people, ideas and best practices documented, compiled and shared across the staff and management, or organization so to say, when consistently practice, it becomes a way of life.
These are the basic pillars any organization should know and experience as it strives through the rigors of business. These may seem a concept in perspective but as I live, I do attest these are the five basic necessities one needs to develop when planning to manage a business be it a small one or a corporate set-up.