April 23, 2012
Knowing that over 63% of second generation family businesses fail, I often ask myself what do we as the succession – not only keep Nickerson successful but to help grow it the way the generation before us did. I asked my father, Bob, the other day to try to reiterate what he believed made him successful for the last 43 years and he reminded me of a story he once told me about my Grandfather William Keller when he asked him the exact same question.
“What makes you so successful when all you do is sell insurance” Bob asked his dad.
Grandpa Keller responded saying “Son you’re looking at it in the wrong way, I am successful because I am providing a valuable service to all my customers and not merely just selling insurance.”
Our goal and succession plan is just that- providing a service to “furnish a child’s education”. At Nickerson we are not ‘just’ selling a chair/ desk or a bleacher system we are providing a service to educate our youth. If that chair wasn’t sturdy and comfortable a student might not concentrate to the best of his ability and miss a valuable lesson, or if a bleacher fails to open on game day that child will not get the same experience by playing basketball to a sold out crowd than just his teammates. It today’s circumstances of being a ‘flat’ world our children need the best possible education, which includes furniture that is functional, flexible, reliable and technology driven- that is the ‘service’ Nickerson supplies.
Unlike my father’s generation will we be supplying this service differently just as education is taught differently. We will add technology. In addition to this new website, we will be coming out with a new e-catalog, implementing a new computer system so orders and project management is more efficient and introducing technology to our product mix (check out AV Rover).
-Stephanie Keller, President