What it takes to stay in business for 500 years

Recently I read an article in”This England,” a history-focused magazine, about the oldest, continuously running household in Britain. R. J. Balson & Sons was founded in September 1515 in Bridport, Dorset in southwest England. It’s a traditional butcher’s shop.

The organization is a member of an exclusive group known as the Tercentenarian Club, together with the linking necessity of a family company being in continuous existence for 300 years or more.

The upmarket London food section Fortnum & Masons is a member, as is a wine merchant, a hat maker, a ribbon maker, a boatyard operator, and a candlestick seller.

Secrets of Longevity

Here are some reason for this butcher company’s longevity.

One location. Robert Balson first set up his butcher stall in Bridport’s open-air market where livestock was exchanged and butchered in 1515. In 1892 the Balson descendants relocated just 1 mile away. They trade from that exact same location today.

A company’s continued presence in precisely the identical location builds longstanding regional and local relationships with providers and wins the confidence of faithful clients.

Ecommerce merchants might gain from providing both online and bricks-and-mortar retail, or an abysmal pickup service from the warehouse.

Family business. The present proprietor, Richard Balson, is the 26th creation of Balson butchers to operate in the company.

In the guide, Balson says that only 30 percent of family businesses survive into the next generation, 12 percent continue to the third, and only three percent hand the reins to a fourth generation.

Thus successful family companies teach younger members the daily workings of their company early on. These kids are spent in the business’s future. They often don’t get paid to learn the company, and they operate during school vacations. They generally have years of training before a young outsider beginning a new job.

Family companies, especially in smaller cities, can’t afford to supply customers with poor service. Reputation is all.

Personal service. Richard Balson and his predecessors are famous for understanding the majority of their clients by name.

Their warm amount of interaction has become a highlight for shoppers. Interestingly, as ecommerce spending climbs, Balson has noticed many of the clients seek a sense of community and progressively shop locally from many different suppliers for fish, poultry, bread, fruit, and veggies.

Online merchants can provide personal service by sending hand-written postcards to clients. They would find a thrill from a thank you card, or birthday card if you’re able to capture such information.

Cater to changing tastes. Consumers’ tastes change over 500 decades. Instead of large joints of meat, which take hours to cook, Richard Balson said that his clients are buying smaller cuts, which may be cooked in 20 minutes.

He also eliminates more of the fat in the meat, which his clients appreciate. They get more meat per pound, save time cutting the fat in your home, and reduce their fat intake at exactly the exact same time.

The R. J. Balson store typically offers items the supermarket does not carry. It sells more than 20 varieties of sausages, such as venison, wild boar, pork and leek, and duck and orange, in addition to exotic cuts of kangaroo, elk, bison, ostrich, and even zebra. Balson has started to promote pork belly, oxtail, and ox cheeks in response to need.

The lesson for me is to give a service that my main competitors don’t offer.

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Shun debt. The Balsons say they owe much of their success rather than incurring debt. By having family members as employees, the business has lived in leaner times when many companies would not.

By remaining in exactly the exact same location, they’ve saved money on relocation costs. By selling products on a cash basis, the company prevents cash flow issues. By attracting a loyal customer base, the company isn’t forced to invest heavily in advertising.

And by not purchasing things on credit, R.J. Balson has prevented the biggest problem for debt.

Smaller ecommerce merchants can follow suit. Ruthlessly cut costs. Consider drop shipping, where you don’t buy inventory until your client has paid for the purchase.

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