Building a Successful Business
Garrett Boone and Kip Tindell have built a successful business by selling storage products for businesses and homes. (First we accumulate “stuff” and then we buy something to put all of that “stuff”in!
Based in Dallas, Texas, The Container Store has annual revenues exceeding $230 million, and employs more than 1600 individuals in 26 stores located in 11 states. Since 1978 it has enjoyed more than 20 percent sales growth each year!
This company makes it its mission to fully understand customer needs and recommend appropriate solutions.
It invests heavily in every employee by providing training in product knowledge, customer service, and selling skills. This includes 235 hours of instruction in the employee’s first year (almost six weeks!) and 160 training hours each year thereafter for each employee (four weeks!).
Daily goals are discussed in what are called team huddles.
Maybe this is part of the reason why when a customer wanted a way to store and ship videocassettes that an associate was able to determine that men’s shoeboxes will snugly and securely hold 11 videotapes. This idea was quickly passed along through the following day’s team huddle!
Tindell and Boone have chosen to pay above average salaries and benefits and have been recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the best companies to work for. They are also very aware of competition from major discount stores, like Target, and have countered by working to constantly provide better services.
*This case provides an interesting opportunity to allow students to realize they may already have a basic understanding of what makes a successful company and that the information in this chapter can help them refine and build on that knowledge.
- Group yourself into 2 students per team and identify what you consider to be the 3-5 most successful companies in your local area.
- List the qualities you believe that could have caused each of these companies to be successful.
- Compare and contrast the factors of success for each company you have identified. What is similar? Why? What is different? Why? This would include the movement of companies and their managers from valuing stability, predictability, and efficiency achieved through economies of large size to becoming lean, fast, and flexible. Strong companies today typically have:
- a dedication to quality;
- work organized around teams;
- ethical work environments;
- minimal hierarchical overhead; and
- the ability to be entrepreneurial when facing change.
- You should consider both the manager’s role and the role of employees in creating strong companies. How is the role for each similar and how is it different? What factors impact these roles and in what ways (e.g., size of company, type of industry, technology, geographic location, etc.)?
- Allow your team five to ten minutes (depending on class size) to:
- present about the company you believe is the most successful company in your local area;
- present about the factors you believe are responsible for the success of the companies.