Going back six generations, the family-owned company survived the Great Depression and periods of labor strife. But by the early 1980s, amid disco and electronica, C.F. Martin & Co. came close to shutting down. Production had plunged from 22,000 guitars a year to about 3,000.
“We were hand-to-mouth with the bank,” says chief executive Christian Martin IV, a college student at the time. His dad responded by trying to build a music conglomerate.
The empire-building approach, coupled with a mercurial, top-down style, combined to force out Martin’s dad and bring his eightysomething grandfather out of retirement.
So Chris Martin and his grandfather forged a turnaround. How’d they do it?
- Returned to the core business. “We’re just going to make guitars,” Martin said.
- Sought allies among longtime managers. “We didn’t have a team— we had a bunch of rugged individuals,” Martin says now. But eventually it gelled. “It’s about time we ask the people who do the work what they think.”
- Found outside advisors. Industrial engineers and consultants helped to start strategic planning and standardize production.
- Introduced new models. A portable Backpacker model launched in 1991 became a hit, followed by signature models by artists such as Clapton. “Artist development,” aka marketing, brought prominent musicians into the fold.
—Adapted from Beat the Odds, Robert Rudzki, J. Ross Publishing.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/6243/sound-turnaround-cf-martin-in-tune "