John Jerman, founder and president of Office Furniture Warehouse, has graduated from the Goldman-Sachs' "10,000 Small Businesses" program.
Mr. Jerman was one of 154 small business owners from almost 40 states and territories selected to participate in the program based on company history and performance. Now, JJ is bringing what he learned back home to Chattanooga.
Mr. Jerman completed a series of online courses, broken up by two week-long modules at Babson College in Boston and three individual work weeks to develop an in-depth growth plan. The education is focused on firming up the foundational aspects of a small business and preparing that business for steady, continued growth.
The program is based on the belief that, "Provided with the right mix of training and support, America's small business owners can grow their companies and create meaningful impact in their communities."
"What I learned was not necessarily about what the future has to offer - rather, I learned about maximizing the potential of what small businesses have to offer the future," said Mr. Jerman.
Sixty point nine percent of participants have experienced job creation in their organizations and 81.9 percent have increased revenues in the 30 months following graduation from the program, compared to respective national averages of 23 percent and 45 percent.
In the 10 years with Office Furniture Warehouse after his career in architecture, Mr. Jerman has seen shifts in how people work and how spaces are built.
“As industries, contract furniture and commercial real estate draw close parallels," said Mr. Jerman. "While contract furniture remains focused on big, established brands, its evolution places emphasis on design, value and ease of use. Similarly, commercial real estate parcels are moving from costcutting densification toward designing for experience in a ‘war for talent’ of sorts. Both industries are seeing a shift, at least in approach, from a cost standpoint to a value standpoint. We’ve found one key to creating value is looking at the long-term: considering lifecycle costs as well as initial."
Furniture, fixtures and equipment represents such an opportunity to create value. It often also represents 12-25 percent of the total investment in a commercial buildout. Proper planning, purchasing and management of these assets enables organizations to maximize their value beyond their depreciable (or "useful") life.
“Without giving too much away, the growth strategy developed at Babson is aimed at helping Office Furniture Warehouse innovate in the sphere of furniture selection, procurement and asset
management," said Mr. Jerman. "More to come soon on an exciting new step for Office Furniture Warehouse."