ACtion Magazine - May 2014 - (Page 10)

Mind your business By Keith Leonard, Esquire W hat does it mean to take care of business? What car being offered for sale during an economic recession. It more than a marketable product or service for turned out that only two vehicles, the Ford Thunderbird and "sale" does a person need in order for his/her small the Rambler American, were produced in larger quantities in business to succeed? 1958 than they had been in 1957. Not exactly the best of times Surveys indicate that some eighty percent of small busi- for a manufacturer to introduce its newest model of car, and a nesses fail within eighteen months of starting. So, how can fairly expensive one to boot. you improve your odds? First, every business needs to have While the Edsel may live on as one of the great failures sufficient capital to start up the business and keep it operating in the automotive industry, it is certainly not alone. How for some minimum period of time. However, much more than many readers remember the automobile featured in the highstart-up capital is needed to succeed. A business must talk est grossing film of 1985? I will give you a hint - the car with its customers and definitely listen to what they have to was capable of time travel and had a "flux capacitor." The say. Encourage them to identify what the business could have automobile in the film was a real car, not a futuristic car, but done better, as well as having them tell you what they liked only some 9,200 were actually manufactured for model years about the business. 1981, 1982, and 1983. The film was Back to the Future and the Secondly, take the time to see how car was the DeLorean DMC-12. There you might be able to set your business is quite a list of reasons why this car apart from all of the other businesses in Make sure the business is failed. The DeLorean Motor Company the industry; to determine what value was cash strapped from the beginning one where money can and chose to open its manufacturing the business has for its customers that might be different from the value of its be made. plant in Northern Ireland. The car went competitors. And then, once you decide through a number of prototype producwhat may differentiate it from your tion changes before the car went into competitors, find out ways to "educate" actual production. The workforce at the the customer base in how your business is different and of factory turned out to be badly inexperienced, necessitating greater value; and do it in clear language. additional time for training, and pushing production schedulA business person should also do some self-examination ing back even further. And when the car was finally manufacand recognize what leadership skills he/she does bring to the tured, the only thing high on it was its price; quality control business, and just as much, what skills he/she does not con- being another problem with the vehicle. In hindsight, it is diftribute to the business. ficult to imagine how an automotive company founded during And finally, while it may seem obvious, a business person an energy crisis and at a time when safety and emissions laws should also make sure that the business he/she chose to start were becoming stricter would succeed; particularly while the up is one where money can be made at all. There has to be automotive market was in a slump. Clearly, somebody wasn't sufficient demand for the product or service and a willingness taking care of business. ❆ to pay the price for that product or service from which the business can make a profit. In the automotive industry how can the same company (Ford Motor Co.) that came up with one of the most innoRemember that laws are constantly changing and are vative and profitable ideas in producing a car (the assembly often not uniform throughout the United States. Do line and the Model-T) also produce one of the most historic not place unqualified reliance on the information in failures in automotive history, the Edsel? Before it was taken this article. Always contact legal counsel for detailed out of production, the Edsel had lost an estimated $250 miladvice. lion, which translates to almost $2 billion in today's dollars. If you have a particular issue, law or problem you would like to see addressed in a future column, please When that car was on the verge of being introduced in 1958, contact me at, or it was promoted (though not revealed in any advertising until Leonard, Sciolla, Hutchison, Leonard & Tinari, LLP, its release date) as an innovative vehicle. However, while it 215-567-1530. may have been innovative, the Edsel was also simply a bad car, with problems that quality control did not remedy before the cars were sold. Further, the vehicle was an expensive " 10 ACTION * May 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - May 2014

Selling the right things
Season opener
Freeze Frame
Leonard's Law
Service Port
Virtual View
Last Watch
Member Profile
By the Numbers
Cooling Corner
Industry News
Association News
Letter to the editor
New Products

ACtion Magazine - May 2014