John B. Richards is an accomplished business executive who has served in senior management and executive roles for a number of service businesses, including Starbucks Coffee Company. During his tenure at Starbucks, John B. Richards grew annual store openings from 285 to 410, first as the company’s president, retail North America and later as the president of Starbuck’s North American operations. Scaling a service business is a difficult task so here is some basic advice.
1. Sell one thing many times. A service business’ model is based on selling one, or a limited number, of products multiple times to the same customers. As such, companies must provide a service that fosters brand loyalty and must consider how to sell a single product in a variety of ways.
2. Finding the right people. As a service business manager, you likely have core competencies, such as sales ability. However, the demands of operating the business will often mean that you only put a small amount of your time into that core competency. As such, finding the right people who can commit 100 percent of their time to specific areas of the business facilitates growth. Create teams based on the core facets of the business and ensure the members of those teams understand their objectives and receive the tools needed to focus their efforts on driving their departments forward.
A multi-industry executive with experience across the United States, John B. Richards is the former chief executive officer of the Joint Corp., a chiropractic network headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. At several points in his career, John B. Richards helped drive business growth and brand loyalty via loyalty programs.
In marketing circles, loyalty programs are one of the most commonly used strategies for building a regular customer base and attracting new customers. Customers join loyalty programs because they want to establish a relationship with the company in question, so long as there is additional value beyond a single transaction. As such, loyalty programs must provide access to new products and service offerings. Loyalty programs may also provide incentives for members to engage with new offerings.
Convenience also plays an important role in customer loyalty programs. Companies can improve convenience by offering services such as online payment and express pickup, which saves customers time and creates an overall positive experience.
The former president of North American operations at Starbucks Coffee, John B. Richards has been instrumental in structuring and scaling up many organizations at which he has been employed. Some of his accomplishments include building brands through service, such as with Four Seasons Hotels. During John B. Richards’ tenure as CMO and EVP of operations, the hotel’s portfolio was extended from eight to 42 hotels and from three to 22 countries. With this expansion, the brand-awareness of the hotel group rose from 20 to 80 percent, surpassing that of Ritz-Carlton as a premier luxury chain.
Building a brand involves a process of creating awareness through adopting strategies that boost the value of the company to consumers. Branding is establishing the identity of a product. It could be the name, icon, design, or a combination of these that separates the product from others like it. Hence, the brand is the symbol of the product or the company, and is an integral part of business development.
The brand is also about the features or services that make people choose one company over another. This is determined by the impression that the company makes on customers. One study claims that about 60 percent of customers generally choose to pay more for a better experience, even in a negative economy. Therefore, developing a good strategy for branding is one of the most important decisions in any business.
An accomplished management professional, John B. Richards serves as advisory partner and principal at the New England Consulting Group. In his decades-long career as a senior executive, John B. Richards has been engaged in a variety of sectors, including the cruise industry. He was formerly the vice president of marketing and planning for the Royal Viking cruise line, based in San Francisco, and played a significant role in developing and redesigning programs that brought a turnaround for the luxury cruise line.
Below are some interesting facts about the history of the cruise industry:
1. The first shipping company that offered regular passenger service is believed to be Black Ball Line in New York. The service commenced in 1818. Before that, ships were mostly for cargo transport.
2. The passenger ship was the primary mode of overseas transportation before air travel became a commercial success in the late 1960s. It is believed that classic TV shows like The Love Boat in the 1970s reintroduced cruising to the market as luxury travel for vacation purposes.
3. The largest cruise ship in the world is the Harmony of the Seas, a 226,963-ton vessel launched in 2016. It has a maximum capacity of 6,780 passengers and belongs to Royal Caribbean Cruises.