There was so much going on in the world of Hershey in these chapters. Hershey did no advertising until the 1970’s and by the 1990’s, they were spending $200 million a year in marketing.  Bill Dearden took over sales for Hershey and in 1976, became CEO.  When he brought on two key players, they made him realize how important marketing was and what it was.  Now he was unable to walk into a grocery store without noticing Mars products at checkout, not theirs.  This was in the Hershey grocery stores.  This also led to training of their sales team.  All they were doing was bringing product to the stores, not looking at the shelves to see if they needed more one week, just brought product. They began a marketing plan, how to put it in play, and how to do it better.  Marketing is so important and goes hand in hand with your employees training.  Everyone needs to understand the goals and how you are going to get there.  If it is valentine’s season, plan for it, bring more candy, do not let the shelves get empty, which is what they were doing.  Keep up with technology.  Make sure your team has what they need to succeed and do their job effectively and efficiently.  It can be a daunting task changing the direction of your business like Hershey did, but they proved that it is worth it.  Fear can cause many people to not push forward and miss out on so much. 

                Another aspect that really got me in these chapters was an exit plan.  Do you have one for your business?  We are not going to live forever.  Reese’s was doing pretty well and the owner died leaving his sons to fight over who would be in charge of the company and of course, they all had different ideas about that.  Hershey ended up purchasing them to save the company. Having an exit plan to me is like having a Will for your family.  Make sure you take care of business even when you are gone. In one of the previous classes that was one of our assignments, what is your exit plan?  I had never really thought about it, but quickly realized its importance.  A good leader will pass on the torch and it should be smooth and effortless.  This should be so well planned that the company is not disrupted more than it should be.  Will there be bumps, of course, but planning the best you can is by far the best plan you can have. 

                These chapters showed that planning and great leadership is important.   Look towards the future and stay ahead of the course.  Being an entrepreneur means juggling every ball in the court and having the right people in place to help you do just that even once you are gone. 

5 Comments

  1. Katherine,

    It’s been interesting learning about Hershey through your readings. We all see these companies in their current state but can easily forget about when they were maturing into the organization they are today. Mistakes were made, addressed, and the company improved because of those mistakes.

    Your example from the book concerning advertising was fascinating. Advertisement is something that is so vitally important in today’s world. Fortunately for entrepreneurs, we now have access to marketing platforms such as social media, which can affordably get our small business “out there” for customers. I believe that marketing for small businesses will continue to evolve as new technological platforms are created. We have the distinct luxury of having almost worldwide access at the tips of our fingers, very much unlike the ’70s when Hershey began marketing their products.

    Finally, your point about an exit strategy got my gears turning. I had honestly never even given thought to that, but I can see its importance. An exit strategy is something I will have to think through and plan for in the future.

    Good read!

    Joe Rudy

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  2. Exit plans and wills go hand in hand. Having an exit plan is important because we never know when we are going to die, which is difficult to think about, but true. What happens if someone important in the company gets into a car crash? This also highlights the importance of it being a team and not just being on one person. While small businesses often revolve around the founder, having a backup person who at least knows where everything is is a great idea. My dad traveled a lot when I was a kid and my parents are divorced. From the time I was twelve years old I knew what to do if he died (like in a plane crash on a business trip). The answer was to open up the top drawer of the filing cabinet and follow the directions. When I was young the directions were just to call his lawyer. As I got older the plans have changed (they still include calling the lawyer) and more responsibility has fallen on my shoulders. Having directions and someone who knows how to access and follow them is so important if you want your business to carry on after you are gone.

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  3. Hi Katherine,

    This hits home for me. Recently I helped my mom and grandmother update their wills and prepare funeral arrangements. When my great grandmother died last month, it made us think about our own exit plan. Due to the pandemic, I developed a will just in case I died from COVID. Now I know I just went from light to heavy in 5 seconds but hear me out. We do not think of asking exit questions until we see it happen to a fellow competitor or read an article about it. Thankfully, we are in the position to prepare early and put our best foot forward.

    Take care,

    Alicia

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  4. Hi Katherine,
    I love the emphasis on everyone needing to know the marketing plan. Your statement, “Everyone needs to understand the goals and how you are going to get there.” is so true! Many industries are siloed and have an attitude of “well, that’s their department, let them deal with it.” while the reality, something like marketing should be a company-wide priority. Having a background in nonprofits, I saw a similar attitude towards fundraising. While not every employee needs to be asking for money, every employee should be able to talk about the companies needs, goals, and priorities to any potential donor who walks through the door. If we continue to silo off these departments, then not only does it increase pressure on those working in those areas, but it also leads to a less effective workforce.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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