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Last Update: Saturday December 7, 2019

Key Idea: Mentor Your Successor

The founder of All Brand took time to teach the next generation.       More...

Key Question:

A: 

Jeff told us that his Dad insisted that he work for others before he came to work at All Brand.

Q: What did Jeff learn by working for others?

A: He learned that there are many ways to get a job done and he learned that he wanted the responsibility of ownership because he saw it as his path to controlling his own destiny. This experience also gave Jeff a sensitivity and added respect for the employees at All Brand. He could get in their shoes and feel how they were feeling.

Rick and Jeff were never pampered or spoiled. They had to learn All Brand from the bottom up. This is the way to REALLY learn the business. There’s no way you can do that if you start "at the top." By doing every job in the business, they are better and more compassionate managers, fully aware of the challenges faced by each employee. They will find ways of improving the business at each level of operations as they fully participate in it. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, all the other employees will know that the next generation is qualified to lead, that they have survived the internship and are well positioned to lead the organization.

Q:  What did Mr. Presant do  that turned out to be brilliant for his own future?

A:   Rick wanted to be in the wholesale parts business but he didn't want to work for his father and the original partner.  Mr. Presant helped Rick set up in the same business in a new location that would not have as negative impact on All Brand's sales. This taught Rick the business the hard way. Rick had to run the whole operation alone and make it work.

Good mentors set up situations where the person they are mentoring can learn while always knowing the mentor is only a phone call away. The mentor is there to support and advise but not on a minute-to-minute basis. The mentor doesn't hover, control or suppress. The mentor under girds. Mr. Presant was betting that at least one of his sons might buy his business so he could retire and go to Florida! He was planning to formally pass the ownership of the company to the next generation but he wanted to make sure the young men were up to the task.

Click on the question for more answers.

Think about it

Who are your mentors? Whom to you mentor?

SPECIAL NOTE: Rick and Jeff bought All Brand Appliance from their father but they tell us now that they made a mistake in the negotiations. Rick and Jeff had no representation at the table. Mr. Presant had his attorney and CPA draw up the deal and asked Rick and Jeff to sign off on it. The young men advise anyone who wants to buy a business to have their own lawyer and CPA at the table to negotiate on behalf of the younger generation. The sons say they should not have been intimidated or naive and rather than approach the buy as children of the owner, they should have approached the buy as adult business men.

Clip from: All Brand Appliances

Mount Ephraim, New Jersey: In this episode of the show we go to Main Street America (just outside Philadelphia) to look at a classic family business, one that exists in most communities in America but seems to be threatened by new distribution systems and mega-stores like Lowe's and Home Depot. Talk about pressure... Yet, these small businesses may actually thrive in our fast-paced, ever-changing business culture. Best practices is what they do.

If a washing machine breaks, the parts needed to fix it are on the shelf of their store. Owned and run by brothers, Rick and Jeff Presant, the pros, the handyman, and the weekend warriors (honey-do's), are all welcomed to buy appliance parts at All Brand Appliance. With 12 employees and hundreds of ever-faithful customers, these two are building a business on kindness. That's right, kindness.

To prepare to buy All Brand from their father, Rick had his own supply company in another territory and Jeff worked for others.

Go to all the key ideas and videos of this episode...

All Brand Appliance (JP)

Jeff Present, Co-owner

170 North Black Horse Pike
Mt. Ephraim, NJ 08059
800-736-5870

Visit our web site: http://www.allbrand.com/

Office: 800-736-5870

Business Classification:
Retail/Wholesale

Year Founded: 1984

Mentor Your Successor

RICK:  There were some basic disagreements between myself and his partner and his family, more in, you know, our attitudes towards people and maybe our work ethic. I was content with learning, but at some point I had to do more. And I guess it was after about five years is when I left to open my own business. You know, besides the challenge, I wanted to be in control of my destiny.

HATTIE: Did you do the same kinda business?

RICK: Same kinda business. I was about two hours away, so we weren't competitors.

HATTIE: So no one was angry. Your dad said, `Go.' You know, did he bless you and say, `Go' and...

RICK: Yes, exactly. He gave me--in fact, they helped me get started. I bought my initial inventory from them. All my vendor contacts, everything was through them.

So I'm on the go 18 hours a day, and comes time for the grand opening. I send out flyers and everything and I opened the doors, and nothing. I sat and sat. The phone book hadn't come out, so the consumers, the homeowners didn't know I existed, and the wholesale--you know, people were buying parts elsewhere already. So it's not as if they're gonna come flocking to me. Plus, what I also miscalculated--I got done work, went home and sat 'cause I was in a strange area, I didn't have friends or family.

So, from going 18 hours a day on the go, I was down to doing nothing, at the beginning. And I started to get sick. I start, `Oh, my stomach, my head, what am I doing to myself?' And, miraculously, when the phone book came out, all my ailments healed. I...

HATTIE: When the customers called, your pains went away.

RICK: Yeah, they went away. After a month, I hit the break-even point and the business started to grow.

HATTIE: So really, there was a lot of fear.

RICK: Yes, I did, I learned a lot about myself.

HATTIE: Because look what you had done. Yeah. Look what you had done. You had told your fa--your father, his partner, that son, `I'm outta here, I'm doing my own deal.' And now you're doing it, and no customers.

RICK: Nothing. And I was, I was afraid, and like I said, especially after--when I got done work, I had no one to turn to. You know, it was--I mentioned earlier about, you know, today my family is very important. There's someone for me to go home to, to talk to and just confirm that everything you're doing is worth it. So it was really a learning experience.

The industry had changed a lot. It had become a lot more competitive. There was a lot of price-cutting going on in this area, back home. And my father was starting to have his fill of things, and there was--you know, some basic disagreement started to arise between him and his partner. And there wa--and he was--there was talk of a split. At that point, I told him if things were divided up, I would come back. And that's what took place.

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