Welcome to Your Business Owner Blog Community

a community supported by Aileron.

When Hands-On Experience Isn’t Enough

October 28, 2014

I started working in the supermarket business in 1974 when I was 16 years old, bagging groceries and stocking shelves at Gowan’s IGA in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

Eventually, I became assistant store manager, and in 1981, I became the co-owner of a grocery store in Dyer, Tennessee. Two years later, I bought out my partner, and my wife and I have since grown our business to include eight rural-town supermarkets in West Tennessee.

Those years in the trenches were an incredible education—especially for someone who didn’t go to college or have the advantage of learning from a family business.


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Joey Hays

About Joey Hays

Joey Hays is the owner of Food Rite Stores in rural west Tennessee and has been in the grocery business for 33 years. He and his wife Jeanie have two children and two grandsons.


A Tool To Help Scale Efficiently

October 15, 2014

Even the most efficient, productive employee occasionally wishes for a few more hours in the day to manage the demands of operating a business.

Good news—you don’t need a fairy godmother with a magic wand. The extra time you’re wishing for might be hiding in a process that’s taking longer and is more complicated than it needs to be.

At Aileron, we recently found several hours squirreled away in our day pass program, which allows non-campus members to use our facility.


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Krista Powell

About Krista Powell

As the daughter and granddaughter of entrepreneurs, Krista has seen firsthand the challenges that small business owners face, and is passionate about professional management raising the quality of life for business owners, their families, and their organizations. In her role as Aileron’s Strategic Development Specialist, Krista supports the President in ensuring that we practice what we preach, and live professional management internally.


Changing Lives Through Professional Management

October 8, 2014

Prior to professional management and running my own business, the scope of my reach was minute, and microscopically impactful. Despite having a vision larger than myself; I had no idea how to find the path to bring about the change I envisioned in myself and others. Working for a corporation, I was surrounded by people who were content living under status quo because they didn’t believe they could be anything different. Aside from the simple fact that they didn’t share my entrepreneurial spirit; they almost never made a decision on their own – putting them in vulnerable positions, and squandering their potential for innovation.


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Jenni Lough Watson

About Jenni Lough Watson

In 2009, Jenni launched Swiftdogz™ Inc., in Concord, NC where “Helping Dogs Make Better Decisions” is delivered through a proprietary process called Relative Space℠. As a result of implementing professional management, Swiftdogz has expanded into other states, including a spoke location in Dayton, OH. Jenni is a Licensed Peerspectives Facilitator through the The Edward Lowe Foundation. Jenni is a member of the Piedmont Prime Time Community Band, playing trumpet, and serves on their board as a member at large. She is accompanied by Ace, a Medical Alert Service Dog, to which she personally bred, selected and trained.


Anyone Can Cut Costs, Look Good, And Go Out Of Business

October 1, 2014

Years ago, a “friend” who thought he was a mechanic, as did I, offered to improve my car’s performance. He removed parts of the engine, fiddled around with them, and reassembled them. When he finished, I saw some of the engine parts on the ground next to the car. He said that they were not needed and did not know why these extra parts were put there in the first place. The car ran for a short time and then it died.

Any business, driven by today’s financial numbers, can make performance look better in the short-term by reducing the number of “parts” such as by laying off employees, deferring maintenance, sourcing to the lowest price supplier, even selling parts of the business  –  but what about tomorrow?  How will these actions that reduce visible costs affect the invisible costs produced by a system whose capability to produce quality products and services has been degraded? What will happen to the reputation of the enterprise as customers don’t return?


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Ed Baker

About Ed Baker

Ed was with the Ford Motor Company for 20 years, including five years as corporate director, quality strategy and operations support where his responsibilities included the “orchestration” of W. Edwards Deming's consulting to the company. Ed assisted Dr. Deming in more than 70 public and private seminars and was a trustee of the W. Edwards Deming Institute. He has consulted to a variety of business and government organizations, has written many articles about process and system improvement, and is working on a book about Dr. Deming’s system of profound knowledge.


How To Improve Board Effectiveness

September 17, 2014

Arthur, CEO of the major Northeast retailer, Market Basket, was near his wits end. During a board meeting of his company an outside director, Gerry, would not let go of his line of questioning regarding an investment initiative that totaled $45 million dollars. Arthur knew in his gut that this was a good move for the business and did not get why this outside director persisted. Why didn’t Gerry just shut up and trust his decision? Gerry on the other hand, thought his duty as a board member required the question to be answered and discussed. Gerry felt that major decisions should be discussed ahead of time with the entire board instead of informing them after the fact. Gerry just wanted to know how this decision had been made without discussing it with the board of directors. Arthur was adamant and did not feel he needed to have such a discussion at all.


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John Neff

About John Neff

John Neff is a partner with Family Enterprise Consulting whose purpose is to assist family businesses in planning, development and transition. Previously he worked for 20 years in his family’s 3rd generation packaging manufacturing business, mainly in a financial capacity, and remains a board member. John is familiar with strategy and developmental tools such as Compression Planning, Appreciative Inquiry and Quick Response Manufacturing. He is also working to complete a PhD in Management from Case Western Reserve University.