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Tell us your ideas on how to improve entrepreneurship in the U.S.

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  • 01 Mar 2012

    Herbert L. Hogue

    At a high level, government should do two things: 1) reduce "too big to fail" by enforcing antitrust policies in order to allow creative destruction to work,and 2) otherwise, get out of the way of the entrepreneurial spirit that lies within our workforce.

    Specific programs and measures should support these two themes. For example, tax simplification would avoid government influence in picking winners and losers and also create certainty. These would support theme #2.

  • 21 Sep 2012

    John W Mueller Jr

    As a 1984 graduate of the HBC of management while working as a VP of Cole National's division located in Avon, MA, I have not found a lot to get excited about all these many years. However, after seeing the Dean of the B school on Squawk Box this morning, I was excited to see this new direction. Clearly the past liberal attitude of the university in the 1980's set the stage for the most unprecedented declines of American Retail of all time. The total collapse of the retail industry between 1986 and 1998 was clearly in part, the direction set by the B School that retail should be centralized with CFO's dominating corporate decision making powers. This in hind sight lead to the greatest compression of giant retailers, never to return. Now some 30 years later, we are coming full circle. With but a handful of retailers remaining, even these are lead by the numbers and not the customer. Starting in 1974 with Best Products in Richmond, VA, CEO/Founder Sidney Lewis, told me as a buyer trainee that there is nothing more important than the customer. Whatever we do, it has to be to make new and repeat customers. If you service the customer and win them, you have an annuity. If you loose a customer, the cost to replace that customer is high and you have created and negative impression with that lost customer. Customers talk. Positive and negative. So from that day until today, I have found this principle is as true now as it was then. Back in the day, as a buyer, then Merchandise Manager and then VP, we focused on the customer in all my endeavors. Not sitting behind a desk at corporate, as they do today, but over 50% of our time was spent in stores talking to our folks about what was good and what was bad. Always focused on winning and keeping customers. Business has lost touch with what is important...The customer. I see it everyday, from the grocery store to the auto dealer. Present retailers try hard to do this through customer returns. But not thought assortment planning and management. They throw everything against the wall, hoping something will stick. Inventory management and open to buy, probably not used today, is what we lived and died by. Little computer or no computer forecasting, all done by hand and personal analysis if what trends were developing. I do not want this to be an autobiography, but, having lived and been a part of the greatest retail period of all time, I think it is revenant to this subject...US Competitiveness. Business have driven all this experience out of the market. All you have to do is talk to an old school guy/girl and talk to anyone at any level today and it is immediately clear there are few skills of "merchandising and assortment management" practiced anywhere in the organization. Not only retail but the process of problem solving in most businesses are absent. There is no experience within business that have the skill set because it is not taught and embraced today. Computers and accountants still reign supreme. They are important and critical but they are not leaders or motivators. "Merchants" in all business are dead or being driven out. "They" CFO's. CEO's and COO's do not like people who insist the customer not everything...it is the only thing. LBO's of the 1980's demand short term numbers therefore you have short term thinkers and short term business concepts.