Q & A With Dion Francis — General Manager of Kennedy’s Club Ltd.

DL Dion Francis

BF: You’ve been in business for 55 years, how did you do it – what has been the “formula” to sustaining a successful business?

DF: To be successful in business is to have a keen interest and a genuine love for what the business is all about.  In Kennedy’s case, there are several keys to our success these past 55 years:  Our parents instilled discipline, by initiating their children’s interest in the business, understanding every aspect of the business, studying and canvassing the market to ascertain its demands, and not to remain stagnant, but to be aggressive, and change with the changing times.

Another important factor –  is to recruit good workers and treat them well.  This has proven to improve morale among staff and boost productivity. Contented workers always contribute positively to the success of a business.

BF: For the aspiring entrepreneur that may be reading this, what are the key factors one must take into consideration in wanting to start their own business?

DF: It is never an easy undertaking to start one’s own business.  First, it takes dedication and planning. It also takes personal sacrifice of time and commitment. Additionally , it is important to conduct a feasibility study and ensure that the business venture would be a lucrative one.  One would have to contend with cost of living, the product(s) slated for sale, or the service being offered, and the competition. The business concept must be sound and the start-up capital must be in place.  Never try to start the business on less capital than what is required to operate it, or else the business will fail before it begins.  Finally, a team of good workers would be essential for its success.

BF: With a track record such as yours, being the Managing Director of a very successful, home-grown business, what are the pillars business owners should stand on if their goal is to be in business 30, 40, or even 50 years from now?

DF: In our globally connected world today, with modern technologies, it is not difficult to acquire partnership with the international brands we represent. This has cemented our association with reputable suppliers. We are not only distributors, but, in essence, business partners. We are kept abreast of new products to enhance our line. We are invited to attend their conferences annually. We, in turn, invite their personnel to our company on familiarization trips.  This is trying to stay on the cutting edge, and being in the right position to grasp any opportunity to take the business to the next level.

OUR FOUR PILLARS OF SUCCESS:

Family: The early years of struggles and sacrifices that led the company to its present position; the continued drive and enthusiasm to ensure and secure Kennedy’s Club Limited future position and safeguarding of the “family atmosphere” that is traditionally and uniquely “Kennedy’s”.

Relationship: Forming the right associations, alliances and connecting with the right people backed by shrewd suppliers and loyal valued customers in a spirit of friendship and business.

Brands: Providing superior quality trademarks and brands in goods and services at affordable prices while remaining mindful of our responsibility of corporate governance and best practices.

Community: Gratified by involvement in nation building and ensuring the well-being of others as a good corporate citizen.

BF: When a company has an impressive legacy, the question often considered is, “What’s next?” So, what’s next for Kennedy’s?

DF: Kennedy’s has a mindset for expansion.  If a company doesn’t expand, it wouldn’t grow. We started out in the beverage business, but in with an effort to consolidate, we opened the two sports bars: Island B-Hive #1 and #2, Heritage Quay and Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, respectively.  Additionally, we did major renovations on the original Bar & Games Arcade, on Prince Klass Street, and converted it into an upscale Sports Bar & Restaurant now known as “Classic”.  It operates early and late hours for the public’s convenience daily.

We have diversified into international money transfer services.  We are the super-agent for MoneyGram, and have outlets at M&M and Percival Gas Stations, Ken’s Club, and Kennedy’s Liquor World.  Our next move is to consolidate these expanding businesses that we have decided to establish.

Kennedy’s is a household name.  We are involved in almost every facet of society – christenings, confirmations, graduations, and weddings, even wakes, we are there represented by our brands We are very much intertwined into the Antiguan society. As we continue to move forward, our aim is to further solidify the relationships we have built over the years; with our valued customers and the people behind the brands we carry. •

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