Set in the heart of Texas Hill Country on 540 acres of rolling ranch land is a premium Corporate Conference Center that features 47 private guest rooms and 3,000 square feet of meeting space for up to 150 individuals.
The Conference Center was established in 1951 by a Fortune 100 oil services company that utilized the property as a private training facility, worldwide meeting center and hospitality venue for customers. The current owners purchased the property in 2006, and after extensive renovations and additions, reopened it to the public a year later. Since that time, it has been recognized by corporate and non-profit organizations for its outstanding venue, food and service. The property is currently rated #1 in its market on Trip Advisor.
The Conference Center has built a loyal client base including Fortune 100 energy companies, Texas-based financial services and other mid-sized businesses, as well as mission-driven organizations. Not only do these groups return frequently, but the property has doubled the number of its corporate clients since 2010 – all who value the full-service, modern and private setting to host meetings and conferences.
The property itself is located within an easy drive of Texas centers of commerce including San Antonio, Austin and Houston. Its acreage comprises 5 miles of high-game perimeter fencing, two lakes, an all-weather creek and 5 spring fed wells that support its native game in a managed-environment.
The business is led by an experienced team of hospitality and ranch-land professionals, including a General Manager that has managed properties for Marriott, Hilton and Interstate hotels; an executive chef that has recently been featured on television; and a sales manager that has had a dozen years in hotel sales.
The current owner is a privately-held oil services company with operations throughout the Southwest.
Strategic Purchase Considerations
The property is well-suited for use as an exclusive and private venue for meetings or events. Under the current ownership, over $6m in capital improvements have been made, which reinforce the focus on an outstanding guest experience.
The ranch features a Main Lodge with 2 dining areas, 9 Texas-styled cabins with accommodations for 52 guests, a conference facility with the latest audio/visual equipment, a game room and lounge with pool-side terraces, a fitness center as well as buildings for maintenance, housekeeping and storage.
Guests can enjoy a variety of on-site activities, including shooting ranges for skeet, fishing for bass, playing tennis, volleyball or basketball, walking the miles of trails, or relaxing by the pool. The executive chef will often conduct cooking demonstrations or facilitate competitive cook-offs in the professionally equipped kitchen.
The opportunity to “rent-out-the-ranch” as well as its all-inclusive pricing – without the add-ons typical of other conference center competitors – are recognized differentiators. With the industry trend favoring smaller, more focused corporate meetings versus big-budget mass events, the property is well-positioned for continued growth in its category niche.
In recent years, the business has steadily improved its overall performance and position in the market –
- 5-year Revenue CAGR of 50.3%
- Guest Count increase of 40% since 2009
- Year-over-year revenue growth of 16% on Top 10 clients in 2013
- Growing client base with new customers representing 30% of 2013 revenue
- Average Daily Rate (ADR) increase of 34% since 2009
- Operating expenses have held constant over the past 5 years, but currently do not off-set fixed costs
- With modest increases in occupancy, break-even is projected in 2015
Offered for sale for only the 2nd time, the conference center and ranch is ideal for investors looking to –
- Capitalize on a loyal, growing client base to expand a small, but well-positioned business with a unique value proposition
- Create a regional, vertical or category expansion in the Texas Hill Country – a destination where thousands enjoy Golf Digest rated golf courses, famous wine trails, fine arts, shopping and local attractions, such as rodeos and cowboy-styled entertainment
- Create a cost effective internal option for off-site meetings, conferences and employee training
For more information, contact Ashley Hood directly at 319-739-2107 or by email at email@example.com.
While Hollywood loves its time-travel tales, those of us in the real world—especially the business world—usually believe we’re stuck with our past mistakes. No amount of money can buy that yet-to-be-invented time machine (think “Back to the Future”), and no magical clinch of the fists in a dark closet (as in the recent “About Time”) can transplant us to the moments right before we said or did something we regretted. But that doesn’t mean our longing for a redo must live only in fantasy land.
In business, as in Hollywood, we have the power to yell, “Cut!” We might not be able to undo a scene, but we can do a retake if we act quickly, intelligently and—perhaps hardest of all—humbly.
This applies doubly to companies. Businesses can turnaround. The caveat: a business’s senior leaders have to recognize and admit mistakes. That can be ridiculously difficult, but the payoff is huge. It’s the mistakes in business, as in life, that give us an opportunity not only for a re-take but for game-changing reinvention.
In fact, I’d argue that the more mistakes you, or your business, have made in the past, the better—as long as you identify them and take corrective actions. Think about it. Would you, or your company, be as successful today without the benefit of lessons that were learned the hard way?
Mistakes give us an opportunity to “do it better” the next time. Unfortunately, many businesses have zero tolerance for errors. They view even the simplest of mistakes as a failure, not as a learning opportunity.
And, as leaders, we are so geared toward achievement that we never give ourselves the permission to examine our mistakes. Most of us would prefer to simply put that gaffe in a box and bury it for all eternity. That in itself is a mistake.
A better course: embrace the miscues. This means taking the time out to assess. What shortcomings did we bring to that last project? What decision led to an underwhelming or botched product launch? What words did we speak—and later have to eat? If we had that Hollywood retake, how would the situation play out differently? Map it out, rehearse it and then capitalize on it for growth.
Flashes of ineptitude sew the seeds for turnaround success. The challenge is getting out of our cultural norms of perfection and fear of risk-taking to recognize that missteps—small or large—can create great businesses and exceptional leaders.
Consider the simple mistake that John Pemberton made. One afternoon in May 1886, Pemberton accidentally added carbonated water to his headache elixir. That “oops” moment led him to reinvent his concoction to compete with the popular fountain drinks of the day—ginger ale and root beer. Time-travel to today: Coca-Cola is selling its drinks in 155 countries thanks to Pemberton’s “goof.”
That foundational mistake was minor compared to one the company committed 99 years later in April 1985. The cola wars had raged for decades. Coke had been losing to rival Pepsi for 15 years when Coca-Cola CEO Roberto Goizueta, recognizing that consumer preferences were changing, decided to introduce the first change in the beverage’s super-secret formula since John Pemberton’s era. His goal: take the market by storm with a new Coke.
Instead, he created a perfect storm for the company. Although New Coke had been successfully tested with 200,000+ consumers, the company erred by not recognizing the emotional connection that Coke had with its market. Soon consumers were hoarding cases of “original” Coke, forming protest groups, and flooding company headquarters with plaintive phone calls. Goizueta even received a letter addressed to “Chief Dodo.”
New Coke was a colossal mistake. Admitting the error would be a public embarrassment. Yet 79 days later, New Coke was canned (no pun intended). The “real thing” was reintroduced as Coca-Cola Classic. That day, the rebranded Coke headlined all three nightly newscasts and was on the front page of every major newspaper. Take that, Pepsi.
In some instances, being at rock-bottom can be the greatest inflection point for a business. And, rethinking even the best-laid plans can create extraordinary leaders. Goizueta, who had been dubbed one of the “dumbest executives in America” for the New Coke debacle, turned out to be one of the most brilliant. He passed away in 1997, but the “redo” he had engineered dramatically turned around the future of the company.
Today, the Coca-Cola Classic logo is recognized by 94 percent of the world’s population. Its growth continues unabated. And its market share stands at 42 percent, with Pepsi trailing at 31.
You and your business don’t need a time machine or even a Hollywood retake to go back and fix something. Give yourself another chance. Mistakes, after all, are opportunities to get it right the next time. You might be surprised by the results.
President & CEO Magazine published Laurie Brunner’s article, The Likable Leader, in their June 2013 Issue.
Two unadorned words that pack a punch – thank you. This powerful message of appreciation is well on its way to becoming an “unappreciated” art form. Often we forget these very words as we race from one meeting to another, drown in emails and manage the demanding stress for results. The funny thing is that this act of kindness has the power to change results and further the outcomes that we are working so hard for.
The sincere thank you can bring a smile, capture a moment and make a difference. Yet, the “thank you” letter (or email) seems to get prioritized down our to-do lists, to the point where the next generation of leaders scarcely know that a handwritten note was once a standard of professionalism and good follow-up. Miss Manners would be horrified, as we careen toward the brink of a cultural extinction of gratitude.
Lest we forget, there are leaders that have made the thank you the “stuff of legends.” With lasting effect, they’ve built bridges, cemented loyalties and inspired others with by their written words.
Nelson Mandela embodied the grace upon which the letter of appreciation is best exemplified. For 27 years from his prison cell on Robben Island, he carefully mailed his allotted number of letters written with powerful words that could pass through the prying eyes of the censors. In his recently published in the book, Conversations with Myself, Mandela wrote to Sheena Duncan, a white, middle class woman from Johannesburg: “The ideals we cherish, our fondest dreams and fervent hopes may not be realized in our lifetime. But that is beside the point. The knowledge that in your day you did your duty, and lived up to the expectations of your fellow man is in itself a rewarding experience and a magnificent achievement.” Can you imagine the impact that the words of that letter had on Ms. Duncan in 1985, who was building a coalition of other Afrikaner women in support of black South Africans?
And, now with Mandela in serious decline, South Africans are thanking him back. One 16 year old girl, placing her thank you at a makeshift shrine at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, wrote, “Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to meet you, but even in the early stages of my life I decided that I wanted to be a caring, loving person just like you. PS. I am Afrikaans, sorry for any incorrect spelling.” The power of appreciation goes both ways.
President George H.W. Bush was also a prolific letter writer. He sent notes, cards and letters – short and long, serious or humorous – to honor friendships and encourage others, even to those on the other side of the political aisle. To President Clinton, who defeated him in the 1992 election, he writes following their joint Hurricane Katrina efforts, “Bill – This note is to simply let you know that I so appreciated your words about our relationship, about our friendship. It was from your heart. I hope you know I feel the same way.” How easy to jot down a few lines – and so to the point of creating an indelible impression.
Our daily activities do not have this arc of history, but our words can have similar, lasting impact. Recently, a colleague was talking about the importance of recognition and appreciation at group meeting. One employee, who rarely spoke up, started nodding and smiling. And right there and then, he took out his wallet and from it he unfolded a tattered, well worn piece of lined paper. It was a thank you note, clearly torn from a spiral bound notebook that he’d received from a supervisor in 1995. He had carried it with him every day for 18 years! We keep these things. They mean something.
The cynic in us may argue that the real purpose behind a thank you note is to advance an agenda. Politicking for a job, schmoozing a client or commending someone’s efforts solely for personal gain. My response is how many of your employees will be talking about the note that you sent to them 18 years from now. That is the essence of the right habits that we should be instilling in our organizations – let alone our children.
As I write this my 17 year old son said, “But, we do say thank you.” “Yes,” I said, “And, when was the last time you actually wrote a thank you note?” Silence. “OK, I get your point, Mom.”
Let’s break the cycle of our cultural demise. Remember to thank the waiter, the airline agent or the check out lady at the grocery store. Stop and recognize the job well done of an unsung employee. Send an email of appreciation. But better yet let’s pick up our pens and jot down a few words. No agenda required, just the lasting pleasure of making someone’s day.
“Phil, Phil, Phil.” Those were the chants from family rooms across America, including my own, while watching the final round of the 2013 US Open. This echoed the thousands of fans lining the fairways at the Merion Golf Course cheering on Phil Mickelson, arguably one of the nicest guys on the PGA Tour. In fact, that afternoon there probably were only 5 people rooting for Justin Rose, the inevitable winner –his wife, 2 children and caddie.
For Phil and his millions of fans the outcome was a disappointing 2nd place finish after leading the tournament for 3 days. This was his 6th “runner-up” attempt to capture the Open trophy and what he called a “heartbreak” outcome after being “my best chance to win with the way I was playing.” It was also his 43rd birthday, Father’s Day and he was a top the leader board. He’d just pitched in a 76 yard shot on the 10th hole for rare Eagle. A good karma moment that would be dashed a few holes later, leaving him 2 strokes short of victory. Justin Rose played a brilliant round of 70 with 5 birdies that should have been the talk of the galleries. Instead it was all about Phil.
What makes a fan favorite? Or for that matter a revered leader? Some will say that it is better to be respected than liked. But it is equally important to be likable. Together the power of respect and likability is an unmatched combination. Leaders can be respected for their talent, yet those that also possess genuine character can move mountains. We want these people to succeed. In fact, we cheer them on. We believe in them. We work harder for them. And, we double down on our commitment to ensure their victory.
Donald Trump may be respected for his power and deal making. But his ego driven empire and “you’re fired” attitude does not generate good will. The same is true for Martha Stewart. Would she really have been pursued by the Feds had she projected a more caring, selfless persona? Can you see putting Julia Child behind bars? And how many fans – other than those in Miami – really were hoping for a LeBron NBA repeat?
Likable leaders have a certain authenticity that creates a connection with others. Yes, we respect Phil’s golf prowess – and the genius and imagination upon which he attacks the game. Yet we identify with the unassuming father who does what other business travelers might do – catch the red-eye flight to make a 7:30 a.m. meeting (aka tee time) in order to be at his daughter’s 8th grade graduation. That makes him real.
And, too often, we wish we could really be honest with ourselves about failure. Take Phil, publicly exposing painful errors, moments after defeat. Holes 13 and 15 “were the two bad shots of the day that I’ll look back on – where I let it go.” His vulnerability is admirable. Yet it also speaks volumes of a confidence in self. There are few that are willing to say, “I screwed up.” Fellow golf pro Hunter Mahan commented after the 2010 US Ryder Cup defeat and Phil’s team contributions, “He’s a great leader, and being in golf, you don’t hear that word often. He’s a great guy to admire.”
Likability creates trusting relationships through selfless actions. Leaders displaying empathy, compassion and gratitude reveal true character – and garner both respect and likability at the same time. For professional sports figures, the way to express appreciation is the autographs. And for Phil, it’s signing every one of them – never racing for the exit, but respecting each fan that has waited with “Sharpie” in hand – no matter the hour. One of my friends and his 11 year old son, Jack, experienced Phil’s generous spirit at the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club. They bumped into Phil, heading to his car. He was visibly tired after the 3rd round of the tournament, but stopped graciously for a short conversation. Just a few minutes later my friend, realizing that he didn’t get his son an autograph, rushed down to the player’s parking lot. Phil was in his car and backing up, and there was my friend, Jon, like a stalker, waving a ball cap. Other pros might have kept on moving. Phil stopped and rolled down the window. “It’s for my 11 year old, he’d be crushed without it.” Taking the Sharpie, Phil laughed, signed away and said, “No problem – any time.” Now, that’s likable.
Politicians know the power of likability. Pollsters regularly track favorability ratings as a key indicator to voting outcomes. Rahm Emmanual, Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff, once said, “You can’t outsource likability.” The fact is you simply can’t go far without it. And once you lose likability as a politician or a leader, it is impossible to recoup.
Respected leaders may succeed for a time based on sheer talent, but likeability is essential for sustained impact. Respect is foundational, but likability – now that’s inspiring. In the meantime, Phil’s legions of fans will continue cheering him on and that’s as valuable as any leader board victory.
“Did you ever observe to whom accidents happen,” said chemist Dr. Louis Pasteur in 1854. It is because “in the fields of observation, fortune favors the prepared mind.” This quote has always inspired Laurie Brunner, President of MainStream Management. Pasteur’s contributions to science, technology and medicine are astounding. Of course he is most famous for developing the pasteurization of wine and milk, discovering the rabies vaccination, and leading the medical community to accept that germs existed.
While Brunner is a business leader – not a pioneering scientist – she practices Dr. Pasteur’s words on a daily basis. In today’s competitive marketplace, preparation is a distinguishing trait. How often have you seen individuals prepping for a customer meeting going up the elevator? Others may be seen racing through a financial analysis or glossing over market research data 15 minutes before an important meeting. This is called winging it. Chance might bring success on occasion, but flying by the seat of your pants is not a sustaining strategy.
Being prepared is evidence of a committed professional. For Brunner, “it not only brings confidence, but also demonstrates my integrity.” Preparation speaks volumes of a respect for the individual and/or the organization. But, most importantly, it demonstrates that how you do anything, is how you do everything. Without “a prepared mind,” insights may be missed and opportunities for breakout innovation overlooked. Achievements just don’t happen. They are a direct result of taking the time and putting forth the effort.
Several years ago, Mainstream Management’s Drew McManigle was asked by an investment company to help save a Florida hurricane shutter manufacturer from closing. The company, McManigle explains in his latest video blog, was doomed to fail for a variety of reasons, including the fact that as a commodity in a hurricane-zone, their prices weren’t the lowest and their production costs were too high. Had they focused more on their other specialty products and rebuilt their sales force, they may have survived in the tough economy.
You’ll find McManigle’s video blog below. For more information visit www.mainstreammanagement.com and be sure to follow @MainStreamMGMT on Twitter and MainStream Management on LinkedIn for the latest updates.
In his latest video blog, Mainstream Management’s Drew McManigle suggests that taking a cue from Warren Buffet is good business during a slow-growth economy.
Small and mid-sized companies should consider making changes or even acquiring other companies to get ahead. With “thoughtful and creative thinking,” McManigle explains, “you don’t have to wait it out.”
You’ll find McManigle’s video blog below. For more information visit www.mainstreammanagement.com and be sure to follow @MainStreamMGMT on Twitter and MainStream Management on LinkedIn for the latest updates.