As a man who worked his way up from stock boy to deliveryman in high school to owner in 1991 – all at the same company – David Anderson of Design/Craft in Anchorage, Alaska, embodies a "can-do" attitude. His entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to strive for success continue today as he is recognized for his efforts to ensure the stability and future growth of his Scandinavian furniture and fine gifts store.
On June 27, Anderson, 37, receivd the prestigious "Entrepreneur of the Year" award from George S. May International Company, one of the world's largest and most experienced management consulting firms.
Founded in 1959, Design/Craft is well-known for its gift registry and upscale home items, including modern furniture, fine china, crystal and decorative products.
Recognizing the new challenges of growth and the benefits of more widespread employee participation in the management of the popular firm, Anderson recently went through an intensive company-wide consultation and training program with George S. May International. May counseled Anderson's operation and more than 11,000 other companies during the past year.
"David Anderson was chosen to receive this award because he exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit -- a determination to provide quality products, deliver quality service, and, as president of the Anchorage Rotary club, provide leadership to the local business community," says Donald J. Fletcher, president of George S. May International Co.
"Like many entrepreneurs, Mr. Anderson came to a point where he wanted to explore new ideas and practices needed to take his business to the next level of success," Fletcher noted. "He had the courage to not only open up his business for analysis and critique, but also to boldly put the resulting recommendations into a process of continuous improvement."
As a result of the consulting project, Anderson has reduced costs, increased sales, and empowered his managers and employees to set a new standard for customer service. "In three weeks I got the equivalent of an MBA," says Anderson, who credits his improved business performance to new approaches in inventory control, cash flow management, financial and organizational planning, and management development of his people.
"When we find ourselves going back to our old habits, we review our new operations manual and business plan and that gets us back on track in a hurry," notes Anderson. The documents were prepared after an in-depth evaluation of the business, then instruction by May International on how management and operations could be improved.
As with most entrepreneurs, Anderson would make all decisions and was leery of outside counsel. He changed his mind when he saw the possible business benefits and opportunity to realize more personal freedom.
"We want to be self-sufficient. We took what we learned, apply it every day and add new procedures," says Anderson, a single parent who now relishes more free time spent with his youngest son instead of endless hours and seven day weeks at the office.
"What we learned during this process is not only a better way to do business, but a more enjoyable way of working," he says. "We're moving forward by going back to the basic goal that drives our business -- delighting the customer."
The management consulting firm of George S. May International Company specializes in assisting the owners of small- and medium-sized businesses in a broad range of industries. With headquarters in Park Ridge, Ill., the 73-year-old firm has divisional offices in San Jose, Calif., Montreal, Canada and Milan, Italy. Its consultants worked with over 11,000 clients last year, including several thousand retailers.
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