John Jerman (JJ), Founder and President, Office Furniture Warehouse, Chattanooga, Tennessee has graduated from the Goldman-Sachs’ “10,000 Small Businesses” program. JJ was one of 154 small business owners from almost 40 states and territories selected to participate in the program based on company history & performance.
Now, JJ is bringing what he learned back home to Chattanooga. Read on to learn about his experience & how we’re going to leverage what he’s learned toward making your workspace work as hard as you do.
The “10kSB” Program
JJ completed a series of online curricula, broken up by two week-long modules at Babson College in Boston and three individual work weeks to develop an in-depth growth plan. The education is focused on firming up the foundational aspects of a small business & preparing that business for steady, continued growth. The program is based on the belief that, “Provided with the right mix of training and support, America’s small business owners can grow their companies and create meaningful impact in their communities.”
“What I learned was not necessarily about what the future has to offer – rather, I learned about maximizing the potential of what each small business has to offer the future.” – John Jerman
60.9% of participants have experienced job creation in their organizations and 81.9% have increased revenues in the 30 months following graduation from the program, compared to respective national averages of 23% and 45%.
The contract furniture industry parallels closely with commercial real estate, from which it takes many cues. Both industries are seeing a shift in approach from a cost standpoint to a value standpoint. While contract furniture remains focused on big, established brands, it’s evolution places emphasis on design, value & ease of use. Similarly, in real estate, commercial spaces are transitioning focus from cost-cutting densification toward experiential design in the service of a “war for talent”.
Still, cost is a prevalent issue. Businesses often opt for the lowest initial investment on contract furniture. Cost pressures continually drive organizations to reduce occupancy costs in an effort to utilize facilities more effectively. The solution is creating value, which can be difficult in a world of shrinking office space per employee. We’ve found one key to creating value is looking at the long-term: considering lifecycle costs along with initial costs.
Furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) represents such an opportunity to create value. It often also represents 12-25% of the total investment in a commercial buildout. Proper planning, purchasing & management of these assets enables organizations to maximize their value beyond their depreciable (or “useful”) life.
Without giving too much away, the growth strategy developed at Babson is aimed at helping us innovate in the sphere of furniture selection, procurement & asset management. More to come soon on this exciting next step for Office Furniture Warehouse – keep up with us by receiving our monthly newsletter!