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Six Eras In The History Of Business

In the roughly 400 years since the first European settlement appeared on the North
American continent, amazing changes have occurred in the size, focus, and goals of U.S
business. U.S business is divided in six periods:

1- The Colonial Period

2- The Industrial Revolution
3- The Age of Industrial Entrepreneurs
4- The Production Era
5- The Marketing Era
6- The Relationship Era

1-The Colonial Period:

Colonial society emphasized rural and agricultural production. Colonial town were
small empared with European cities, and they functioned as market place for formers and craft
people. The economic focus of nation centered on rural areas because prosperity depends on the
output of farms plantations. The success or failure of crops and influenced every aspect of the
Colonists depended on England for manufactured item as well as financial backing
for their infant industries. Even after the revolutionary war (1776-1783) The United States
maintained close economic ties with England.

British investors continued to provide much of the financing for developing the U.S.
business system, and this financial influence continued well into 19th century.
The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European settlements
from the start of colonization of America until their incorporation into the United States. In the
late 16th century, England, France, Spain and the Netherlands launched major colonization
programs in eastern North America.

European settlers came from a variety of social and religious groups. No aristocrats
Settled permanently, but a number of adventurers, soldiers, farmers, and tradesmen arrived.
Colonizers came from European kingdoms with highly developed military, naval, governmental
and entrepreneurial capabilities. The Spanish and Portuguese centuries-old experience of
conquest and colonization during the Reconquista, coupled with new oceanic ship navigation
skills, provided the tools, ability, and desire to colonize the New World. England, France and the
Netherlands started colonies in both the West Indies and North America. They had the ability to
build ocean-worthy ships, but did not have as strong a history of colonization in foreign lands as
did Portugal and Spain. However, English entrepreneurs gave their colonies a base of merchant-
based investment that needed much less government support.

2-The Industrial Revolution:

The industrial revolution began in England around 1750. It moved business operations
from an emphasis on independent, skilled workers who specialized in building products one by
one to a factory system that mass down produced items by bringing together large number of
semiskilled workers. The factories profited from savings created by large scale production,
bolstered by increasing support from machines over time. As business view they could often
purchases raw materials more cheaply in larger lots than before. Specialization of labor, limiting
each worker to a few specific tasks in the production process, also increased production

Influenced by these events in England, business in United States began a time of rapid
industrialization. Agriculture became mechanized, and factories sprang up in cities. During the
mid-1800s, the pace of revolution was increased a newly built railroad system provided fast,
economical transportation.

In California for example the combination of rail road construction and gold rush fueled a
tremendous demand for construction.

3-The Age of Industrial Entrepreneurs:

Building on the opportunities created by the industrial revolution entrepreneurship increased in

United States. In 1900, Arthur R. Wilson and several partners paid 10,000$ in Gold coins for a
27 acre parcel of Granite-rich land in California. This natural resource was the base granite rock
co. Which provided material for roads and buildings in Californias booming economy. The
company now called Graniterock response in to technological, completive and market place
demands continues to survive in 21st century. Today the firm which has stores throughout
California, offers consumers product such as granite countertops as well as many green products
made from recycled material.

Inventors created a virtually endless array of commercially useful products and new
production method. Many of them are famous today:

Eli Whitney introduced the concept of inter changeable parts, an idea that would later
facilitate mass production on a previously impossible scale.
Robert McCormick designed a horse-drawn reaper that reduce the labor involved in
harvesting wheat.

His son, Cyrus McCormick saw the commercial potential of the reaper and
launched a business to build and sell machine. By 1902 the company was producing 35 percent
of the nations farm machinery.

Cornelius Vanderbilt P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie (steel) among others, took advantage of
enormous opportunities for anyone willing to stake the risk of starting new business.

The entrepreneurial spirit of this golden age in business did much to advance the
U.S. business system and rise the overall standard of living of its citizens. The market
transformation, in turn, created new demand for manufactured goods.

4-The Production Era

As Demand for manufactured goods continued to increase through 1920s, business
focused even greater attention on the activities involved in producing those goods. Work became
increasingly specialized and huge. Labor intensive factories dominated U.S. business. Assembly
lines introduced by Hennery Ford, became common place in major industries. Business owners
turned over their responsibilities to a new class of managers trained in operating established
companions. Their activities emphasized efforts to reduce even more goods through quicker

During the production era, business focused attention to the internal process rather
than external influence. Marketing was almost and after throughout designed solely to distribute
items generated by production activities. Little attention was paid to consumers wants and

5-The Marketing Era:

The Great Depression of early 1930s changed the shape of U.S business yet again. As incomes
nose-divided, business could not automatically count on selling everything they produced.
Managers began to pay more attention to the markets for their goods and services and sales and
advertising took on new importance. During this period sellings was often synonymous with

Demand for all kind of consumer goods exploded after World War II. After nearly five years of
doing without new automobiles, appliances, and other items, consumers were buying again. At
the same time, however, competition also heated up. Soon businesses began to think of
marketing as more than just selling; they envisioned a process of determining what consumers
wanted and needed and then designing products to satisfy those needs. In short, they developed a
consumer orientation.

Businesses began to analyze consumer desires before beginning actual production.

Consumer choices skyrocketed. Automobiles came in a wide variety of colors and styles, and car
buyers could choose among them. Companies also discovered the need to distinguish their goods
and services from those of competitors. Branding, the process of creating an identity in
consumers' minds for a good, service, or company, is an important marketing tool. A brand can
be a name, term, sign, symbol, design, or some combination that identifies the products of one
firm and differentiates them from competitors' offerings. Jim Senegal, cofounder and CEO of
Costco, brought branding to an unlikely marketdiscount retailing. Costco has nearly 500
warehouse-style stores and boasts sales over $52 million a year by appealing to people who can
afford to pay full price, as well as those who value its bargains for economy-size packages of
items such as juice and paper goods. What makes the Costco brand valuable is superior customer
service, which results from the company's policy of treating its employees well. This reduces
turnover and creates a knowledgeable and enthusiastic sales staff. The company also has a
generous policy that allows returns of any item for any reason. Costco further nurtures its brand
by regularly offering treasure hunt designer items like Coach Handbags and Fila jackets at low
prices for limited time periods. The attitude is that if you see it, you have got to buy it because it
may not be there next time, says Senegal. We purposely try to merchandise to that type of

The marketing era has had a tremendous effect on the way business is conducted today. Even the
smallest business owners recognize the importance of understanding what customers want and
the reasons they buy.

6-The Relationship Era:

The ways companies interact with customers. Since the Industrial Revolution, most businesses
As business continues in the 21st century, a significant change is taking place in have
concentrated on building and promoting products in the hope that enough customers will buy
them to cover costs and earn acceptable profits, an approach called transaction management.

In contrast, in the relationship era, businesses are taking a different, longer-term approach to
their interactions with customers. Firms now seek ways to actively nurture customer loyalty by
carefully managing every interaction. They earn enormous paybacks for their efforts. A company
that retains customers over the long haul reduces its advertising and sales costs. Because
customer spending tends to accelerate over time, revenues also grow. Companies with long-term
customers often can avoid costly reliance on price discounts to attract new business, and they
find that many new customers come from loyal customer referrals.

Business owners gain several advantages by developing ongoing relationships with customers.
Because it is much less expensive to serve existing customers than to find new ones, businesses
that develop long-term customer relationships can reduce their overall costs. Long-term
relationships with customers enable businesses to improve their understanding of what customers
want and prefer from the company. As a result, businesses enhance their chances of sustaining
real advantages through competitive differentiation.

The relationship era is an age of connectionsbetween businesses and customers, employers

and employees, technology and manufacturing, and even separate companies. The world
economy is increasingly interconnected, as businesses expand beyond their national boundaries.
In this new environment, techniques for managing networks of people, businesses, information,
and technology are critically important to contemporary business success. As you begin your
own career, you will soon see how important relationships are, beginning with your first job
interview. Business meals are another important relationship builder; see the Business
Etiquette feature for suggestions on being a successful host.

Business Etiquette:
1. If you are in a position to hire, take potential employees out to eat. I can tell a lot about
people by the way they act toward the food server, says Julia Stewart, IHOP's chief executive.
If you have a complete conversation with me and you never acknowl- edge the food server, you
are being disrespectful and will never work for me.

2. Check your guests' food preferences ahead of time and make a reservation at an appropriate
restaurant. If any special accommodations need to be made, such as for someone with a handicap
or food allergy, make tactful preparations with the restaurant ahead of time.

3. If possible, choose a few reliable restaurants to become familiar with, to avoid unpleasant
surprises and to allow you to cultivate business relationships with the servers and the manager.

4. Remember that a business meal has a business purpose. Treat it like a meeting in a conference
room and always arrive on time. If you are the host, be early to welcome your guests.

5. If there is a coat check, offer to check your guests' hats, coats, umbrellas, and the like, and tip
the attendant yourself when your party retrieves belongings after the meal.

6. Keep cell phones, glasses, and bags and briefcases off the table.

7. Unless you expect an emergency to interrupt the meal, turn your cell phone off. If you must
answer, keep your conversation brief and quiet.

8. Suggest your group order their meals before beginning any business discussion. This will
help you conclude the meal in a reasonable time period.

9. If you have questions about items on the menu, ask before you order. It's better to know what
you are getting than to be served something you can't or don't want to eat.

10. The meal begins only after everyone at the table has been served and the host has taken his
or her napkin from the table.