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Autor: reviewessays • November 4, 2010 • Essay • 717 Words (3 Pages) • 439 Views
LL Bean: A Strategy For The Future
Leon Leonwood Bean, known as L.L., was born in the small township of Greenwood, Maine, in 1872. He was raised on a set of simple yet powerful principles... Nature was something to be revered. Family ties were a priority. Being neighborly was a matter of course. And "do unto others" was more than just a saying; it was a way of life. When L.L. launched his company with the first Maine Hunting Shoe in 1912, he believed so strongly in the Golden Rule that he made it the foundation of his business. This rule "Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings, and they will always come back for more" became the foundation of the company.
For the next fifty years, Bean forged a business, selling clothing and related gear tailored specifically for people who enjoyed the outdoors. Products including boots, clothing, canoes, fly reels, tents and camping gear became the cornerstone of the company. Bean stated, "I attribute our success to the fact that, to the best of my judgment, every article we offer for sale is practical for the purpose for which we recommend it." (1)The company sold products through both the store in Maine, and through a growing store catalog. Bean retained active control over his company until he died in 1967 at the age of 94.
Leon Gorman took over the business after Bean's passing in 1967. Although he sited his grandfather as being happy with the size of the company, Gorman was ready for growth. He accomplished this by incorporating technology wherever he could, and expanding product lines, introducing new catalogs for specific markets, and entering foreign markets. Even with this extensive growth, Gorman remained true to the founders values of high quality products, superior customer service, and the company guarantee to replace or refund on any purchase that a customer found unsatisfactory.
Gorman realized that building on the L.L. Bean brand would be critical to the success to the company. The company's goal was to associate the brand name with the image of "Maine's natural beauty", along with the legend of the company's founder. These efforts led the company thirty years of 20% annual growth. Most impressive is the fact that the company was able to finance this growth internally, ad remain privately held by family members.
When Gorman took the position of Chairman in 2001, Chris McCormick became the first non-family member to run the company, taking over the role of President and CEO. Gorman felt that the company would be in good hands under the new leadership.
McCormick saw numerous problems with the way the company