A New Look at Family Business, the American Dream and Hospitality

By John J. Hogan, CHA CMHS CHE CHO

This should be either a required or recommended reading for hospitality and business development courses in Universities, as it sheds a different perspective on what should be important to define and achieve success.

Each of us feels we walk our own path and face our own individual struggles in life, and it is startling at times to realize how much we as people have in common regardless of our place of birth, our religion and our livelihood.

This 236 page book by Dr. Bharat Shah covers approximately 50 years in his journey and is an excellent example of the many life challenges we all face, whether the same or similar.

AMERICA – MY DESTINY contains a series of surprising contrasts in one family’s journey in India and the United States as they worked diligently to identify and embrace the best of both countries. The story takes place during a time when letter writing was the normal method of communication. Email, texting and cell phones were all in the future. The loneliness endured through separation of time and distance is expressed with such emotion as to be palpable for the reader.

Stories of the father’s successes and failures in business are detailed with examples of the bribery and corruption that was part of the everyday business world in the 1940s and 50s in India. The detailed descriptions of education in both countries reflect the sometime extreme efforts in learning new languages and new subject matter. The author shares the experience of adapting from a small village to a large city with the difficulties of trying to fit in. Education often comes from the classroom, but the author shares the life knowledge acquired in the street while moving to new cities, new states and finally a new country.

Discrimination is unfortunately real throughout the world, and the author relates heartfelt stories of intolerance felt at times in both countries. Some of the prejudice was based on religion, some on race; some appeared in business while other incidents were more personal.

The book offers insights on how life and personal relationships based on trust, integrity and honor were built over time. Dr. Shah explains how he came to study in America, because his bachelor’s degree earned in India was not enough of a basis for continued Indian education to become an engineer or doctor (the preferred paths for Indian men at the time). His stories of interacting and gaining knowledge about life in the US are touching and filled with many ups and downs as he first earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and then a PhD at the University of Utah in Logan.

The story continues in the late 1960s when the Vietnam War is still ramping up, jobs are scarce and the American dream is not quite as clear. Dr. Shah is recruited by Nabisco and sent to Parsippany New Jersey where he uses his degrees in food science . Several years later, he moves to Winston Salem NC to work for RJ Reynolds Foods where he continues his professional development in research and quality assurance.

Dr. Shah shares human interest stories of cross country drives to new jobs in a 1954 Pontiac or a 1971 Plymouth Duster – both without a radio or air conditioning, as these were options not in the budget. He tells of his three year courtship, which was conducted totally by mail. The reader can feel the challenges of religion and finances that the two families had to address, which was not easy in the 1960s in India.

The author’s father had an entrepreneurial spirit in India, and Dr. Shah apparently inherited it. He shares stories over a ten year period of ventures from gift shops to imported shoes. Some involved life time friends, while others unfortunately included partners who became greedy and broke the trust. Dr. Shah did not lose faith in himself or America, but continued to grow professionally. He did not want to enter the motel business as his brother-in- law did, but he did earn a commercial realtor license in North Carolina. This led to his first unintentional entry into the lodging industry, which became a life changing event.

He discusses learning about the workings of the political systems in North Carolina and how he discovered that business people can make a difference in their communities and states regardless of their place of birth.

Bharat is quite open about the mistakes he and his wife Milan made in their early days in hospitality, and how their belief in themselves combined with a focused dream gave them strength to move forward as they fine-tuned their business skills. They dabbled in apartment ownership, but recognized that working with honest partners could allow them to acquire or develop profitable hotels and achieve successes not possible in India.

Many businesses in America are family businesses and Dr. Shah describes how his family business came to include his two sons. Today, the Noble Investment Group is an exceptional example of how to achieve this on a larger scale. There are more than two dozen photographs in the book – some of family, some of business and all contribute to the flow of the stories shared.

Bharat devotes several chapters on the value of leadership and communication. He shares the values he found in working with others as an early leader in the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), which was created to provide Indian hotel owners a united voice in the industry. His stories of the early days with no staff, donated office space and an uncertain future all contribute to the overall story of how many Indians sought to overcome obstacles by cooperative efforts rather than confrontation. His comments on the insights and values provided by Mike Leven (then president of Days Inns) add to the authenticity of the 25 year history of AAHOA in 2014.

There are narratives of sibling sickness and contrasting healthcare systems. Dr. Shah relates personal medical issues that he has dealt with in the last 15 years without complaining, but solely to help readers appreciate the evolution of medical care over time.

The final chapter is directed at the new generations of Indians whose families have migrated to America. He offers his insights on family, education, leadership and values to those who may or may not be involved in what became his industry.

While I did not work directly with Bharat, I have met him several times and had the opportunity to interact with him about his journey. His family’s story is one of courage, of being able to adapt and of self belief.

Highly recommended!

Success does not come by accident or chance.

Contact us for assistance.

Hospitality.jpg

Kathleen and John Hogan    #2    DSCN0412John J. Hogan CHA CHE CHO and Kathleen Hogan  MBA CHO are the  co-founders of  HospitalityEducators.com, which was created in 2010 to be a resource for hotel owners and professionals as they sought to improve market share, occupancy, operational efficiency and profitability.

The husband and wife team are transitioning the original membership site concept and evolving the business model today to a focused resource offering consulting, training, and individualized support to both hospitality and other service businesses.   Services include keynote addresses workshops, online support, metrics measurement, marketing and customer service from a group of more than a dozen experienced professionals.   While continuing to serve hospitality, the demand for these types of services is growing and can be personalized.

John Hogan is also the principal of HoganHospitality.com, which provides a range of expert professional services for hotel owners, including professional development for organizations, training, consulting and expert witness services.

Contact information:  Kathleen Hogan  480-436-0283,

John Hogan   602-799-5375 or service@hospitalityeducators.com

 

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Recommended Reading| Business Succession Planning For Dummies

Business Succession Planning For Dummies (For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance)) Business Succession Planning For Dummies

by Arnold Dahlke            A solid planning resource for Succession Planning,  

In my work as an educator and consultant, I work with both family businesses of various sizes and with traditional corporate structures.  Each of them have a common need – planning for the future by either growing their own talent or by identifying and addressing their weaknesses them by finding the right professionals to strengthen their businesses.

This means active succession planning, which sounds much easier than it actually is.

I am not fond of the series titled “for Dummies” but some of these books do a credible job at simplifying the approaches needed to address the topic. This is one of them.

The book is in 5 main sections
1. What Is a Succession Plan, and Why Do You Need One?
2. Creating a Plan and Putting It into Action
3. Diving Deeper into Succession Planning
4. Keeping the Succession Ball Rolling
5. The Part of Tens

Each of these parts begins with a disarming but pertinent cartoon by Rich Tennant, which add to the relaxed atmosphere of the book itself. Early into the first chapter, the author asks a key question, where we are asked to consider what might happen without a succession plan. He answers that in a very concise way:

Succession planning plays a role in extending a family business into the next generation by resolving issues of responsibility and authority needed to succeed. It can allow a business to pass from one group to another in a sale by ensuring the operational, marketing, and financial and people services are maintained.

Succession planning requires flexibility, timing and a commitment to process. This book provides tangible tools and resources, while acknowledging some of the more intangible but very real emotional characteristics of change

Dr. Arnie Dahlke, the author, has both academic, business and experience credentials to justify his messages and the book offers a guide, using clear and succinct techniques.

I liked the “Where to Go from Here” at the end of the introduction, which summarizes the need and background for planning.

Succession planning often requires more than reading a book due to the very involved details of transition, but this is an excellent resource

Dr. John Hogan CHA CMHS CHE CHO      HospitalityEducators         Hogan Hospitality

Success does not come by accident or chance.

Contact us for assistance.

John.Hogan@HospitalityEducators.com or 602-799-5375

HospitalityEducators.com was created to help hospitality businesses address problems via a training and information resource site to help you increase your Hotel’s revenue, market share and profitability.  With more than 2,000 pages of tips, guides, best practices, strategies, plans, budgets, videos and resources, HospitalityEducators.com is the #1 independent website for hotel owners and managers.  This site can help you solve your problems now!      Read More  

KEYS TO SUCCESS  is the umbrella title for my ongoing programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW TO” articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™ , THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™  and Principles for Success.

Twelve things I consider professional Key Learnings in the past year: HospitalityEducators.com

Key Learnings

“What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge,
and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers.”
Martina Horner, President of Radcliffe College

Tryng to identify “Key Learnings” in a given year is more challenging than it first appears. The reason I found it more demanding than expected because of the immense amount of reflection to discover what actually made a lasting impact.

Here are the professional Key Learnings, as applicable to me by my speaking, writing and/or consulting this past 12 months.

  1. Renovations need to make a WOW, in their planning, their delivery and their Return on Investment.  In tight economies, there may not be as much new product introduced but the upgrades in existing properties need to anticipate the future.  I stayed at a number of properties this year that clearly missed the mark and will not be significant players in their market by 2012, regardless of brand.  On the other hand, I experienced a number of excellent projects that were well executed.
  2. eCommerce is changing at tremendous speed and we all need to work to keep up. I am not discussing social media here, but the changes in Search Engine Optimization, the rapidly evolving ways that sites are found and used or discarded and more.  This is an area that should be addressed by Executives at all levels.
  3. Ethics in Hospitality. I see the need for people to re-address values in the hospitality marketplace in hiring, operations and marketing.
  4. Financial Accounting and Management needs to be reviewed by Executives at multiple levels. Technology has made skimming and following the money trail more challenging.   Reviews are needed by many p eople at all kinds of hospitality businesses.
  5. Marketing and Sales Management is now truly Global. We have as many or more readers and interest in our services and information internationally at www.HospitalityEducators.com as we do domestically.  The reason is the availability of information that can be shared cost effectively anywhere in the world.
  6. Ownership and management structures need to be seriously examined and tested. This is especially critical in family businesses.
  7. Recognizing the Value of Hospitality Associations as Business and Political Lobbying Resources. I have been a lifetime supporter of Hospitality Associations as a member, volunteer officer, committee member and more.  This year’s political action committees clearly identified the need for more of us to embrace these associations as essential business partners and an investment with a measurable ROI.
  8. Revenue Management does not have its own “mystery language”, but it is has evolved tremendously from the yield management tactics of ten years ago. As business and technology have made communication and the sharing of information truly global, the need to evolve fair pricing for all needs intense and ongoing attention.
  9. Service Delivery needs to be re-examined – again. There are truly new hospitality customers coming, from different countries, age groups, interests and personality.  The days of mass marketing and delivering “average service” are gone.
  10. Strategic Planning means today and 2020 thought process.  We have looked at our SWOT analysis several times this year and the results keep changing.
  11. Understanding and Embracing Green Hotel Business Initiatives is not just for someone else. In updating our www.HospitalityEducators.com section on sustainability, the number of You Tube interviews and detailed answers on “how to” use these initiatives are amazing.
  12. Reasonable Care continues to grow more important in the hospitality industry. In my consulting, research and work as an expert witness, I view the need for paying more attention to reasonable care becomes apparent.  Growing populations, untrained or inadequately trained staff, a litigious tendency by many and the weak economy all contribute to this.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Dr. John Hogan @ Texas Hotel & Lodging Assn Short Course 2010


Consulting Expertise and Research Interest

  1. Sales Management and training
  2. Turn-around and revenue management
  3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
  4. Customer Service
  5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
  6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
  7. Medical Lodging Consulting

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

www.HoganHospitality.com

Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations

http://www.linkedin.com/in/drjohnhoganchache

CONTACT

Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS          United States – Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375
www.hoganhospitality.com/ Email: info@hoganhospitality.com.

An unusual holi-day that recognizes hospitality and all family businesses – March 29 – “National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day”

“National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day”

An unusual holiday that recognizes hospitality and all family businesses

When : Always March 29th

The hospitality business has always been an industry that has embraced and cultivated family business values and structures.  There are many success stories in hotels, restaurants, spas, pubs and other related businesses that are now in the 2nd, 3rd and sometimes 4th generations.

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day celebrates small business owners. These individuals spend countless hours nurturing and growing their young enterprises. The workload demands (and the occasional lack of a hired staff) often translates into long and late hours, and many missed family and personal events. But, all in all, they love what they do and they have the appreciation of being “their own boss.”

Family businesses have always been a vital, yet not fully appreciated, part of every  economy in the world. On they retail side, they bring different and unique products to the marketplace and provide personal service support. In hospitality, it is often the owner who is the chef, maitre’d or host in a family owned and operated restaurant.  In hotels, there may be many family members in a wide range of assignments all working to meet their personal and family goals.

When you call a family business, you are more likely to get a real, live person who is happy to talk to you.  They tend to know their products better than some branded properties, because they were involved in the design selection and talk with their customers and guests regularly. Many family owned and operated hospitality businesses are outstanding performers in niche markets and have evolved their offerings with personalized  concepts and ideas that please their guests.

Celebrate National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day by showing your support….shop their restaurants, hotels, clubs, spas and stores today, and everyday.

In Hospitality, remember the value of family businesses


Origin of “National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day”:

According to the son of the “mom and pop” this day was created for:

” This holiday was created to honor the business that my parents started on 3/29/39 in Everett , MA —a hat shop called Ruth’s. It later developed into a woman’s specialty clothing store and moved to Medford , MA , increasing in size to 10,000 square feet with over $2 million dollars revenue until it closed in 1997.” Rick Segel, Poinciana, Florida USA

Feel free to share an idea for a column at info@hoganhospitality.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.  John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.

www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them to  Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest

  1. Sales Management and training
  2. Turn-around and revenue management
  3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
  4. Customer Service
  5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
  6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
  7. Medical Lodging Consulting

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

www.HoganHospitality.com

Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations

http://www.linkedin.com/in/drjohnhoganchache

CONTACT

Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS

United States – Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375

www.hoganhospitality.com/ Email: info@hoganhospitality.com