Culture, Strategy and Execution Drive Enterprise
Do you want to be successful as a family business? Here's how:
Develop a powerful business culture based on the founder's total commitment to customer service and the employees who serve them.
Focus your strategy on a market niche overlooked by your much larger competitors.
Execute, execute, execute a management system that combines centralized training and financial controls with decentralized autonomy that allows and encourages employees to provide customers with great service.
Using this formula, the Taylor family of St. Louis built a family business-Enterprise Rent-A-Car-that happens to be the largest company of its kind in the world, with 5,000 offices, 50,000 employees and 500,000 vehicles. In a little over a decade, the business has increased by a factor of ten.
Enterprise is a corporation with revenues of $6 billion a year that feels like a small faintly eccentric family business, says The Financial Times Simon London.
The Enterprise culture focuses on bright, energetic, smart young people (the company is one of the nation's biggest recruiters of college grads), provides a great work environment (one of Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For) and gives them lots of responsibility (all 5,000 offices are run like autonomous small businesses). Their performance is evaluated using two variables: carefully measured customer satisfaction and the office's bottom line. If an office's customer satisfaction score is below average, no one from that branch gets promoted-no matter how profitable the operation.
The Enterprise strategy is to provide rental replacement cars primarily to people whose regular autos need repair or service. Hertz, Avis (still trying harder but no longer #2) and the others fight it out primarily at airports, turf that Enterprise is now successfully invading.
Jack Taylor founded the business in 1963. Much of the company's phenomenal growth has been accomplished under the leadership of his son, 55-year-old Andy. Dad has always been passionate about customer service, he says. I guess that rubbed off on all of us.
Andy keeps his eye on Enterprises strong and growing cash flow. But what really gives him confidence about the company's ongoing climb is the fact that its Enterprise Service Quality Index (ESQI) continues to rise across the company.
So, if you can combine a penetrating strategy with a powerful company culture and skilled and rigorous managerial execution, you too can grow your small family business past well-known large competitors to lead your industry.
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