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Monday, December 1, 2008

100 Year Vision

TU does have a 100 year strategy in that we are “preserving luxury tobacco for generations to come”, and we definitely intend to be a vibrant institution in the year 2108. I also like to think in terms of a 100 year vision when focusing on my retail Tobacconist businesses. First, all companies should have a Vision & Mission statement, but it also helps to think very long term. After all, nothing good or significant gets accomplished overnight and fussing over quarterly stock prices and short term goals adds little value – as our current economy indicates. I am often inspired by retail Tobacconists that have been around 25, 50, or 100+ years (some of which are now Certified!). These Tobacconists (and businesses) always seem to have deep expertise in every facet of the industry; they are always proactive; they have cultivated knowledge, inventory, and traditions that translate into superior businesses. Since 1995 my retail company’s Vision & Mission statement has been:
Our Vision is to be the best luxury retail Tobacconist in the world, while providing an oasis for aficionados and connoisseurs.
Our Mission is to facilitate our customer’s pleasure through the dynamic interaction of our Ambience, Exclusive Inventory, Product Knowledge, Professional Service, and Commitment to Excellence.
My father used to say ‘ who do you want to be when you grow up?’; actually he said this when I was an adult and he was referring to my business. And it has been helpful advice to imagine what the endgame is and base current decisions on that goal. This mentality can put the petty issues of running a business into perspective and make you focus on the important facts.
If you are struggling or dealing with difficult business conditions in the present, it is important to look far into the future. Are you cultivating long term customers? Tobacconists? Business relationships? Saving to buy your own real estate? Investing in the future or squandering it away? The future starts now….. so, who do you want to be when you grow up? Plant those seeds today and you will reap their benefits in the long term.

- Jorge Armenteros, CMT

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