• Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am Dom Hare, CEO of Blenheim – we are a unique business which spans visitor attraction, property management, construction, farming and game, mineral water, conference & banqueting, retail...
• What is your brand philosophy and how does it give you a competitive advantage?
We are the longest-term stakeholders in our area – everything we do is for the very long term. We flourish only when everyone around us flourishes, so we start by getting that right.
• What customer-centric strategies do you use and why?
In the visitor attraction, we focus very clearly on out target markets. We benchmark a lot against our best peers. In property, we focus more and more on building and supporting proper communities.
• How does your business recruit and retain your employees?
Shared purpose which we all believe in is key – we are much more than a day job, we are changing the world around us for the better.
• What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your business and how did you overcome it?
Answering the question "why should a landed estate even exist today?". How did we overcome it? Watch this space!!
• What inspired the launch of your business?
John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, winning the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 and turning the War of the Spanish Succession decisively in Britain's favour.
• What is the number one factor in your business success?
Having the right "why" - people don't buy what you sell, they buy why you sell it
• Describe your business model and what makes your business unique?
We are a profit seeking enterprise but have an ultra long term connection to this area – this means we are uniquely able to make long term investment into the area and its people knowing with certainty that we will be able to reap the rewards. We choose to make profits in ways which benefit the local area.
• Explain your growth-funding path?
We are blessed by having a very supportive Duke and Duchess and trustees group. They have supported our reinvestment at every point.
• What technology has made the greatest difference to your business?
The 1st Duke invented a 2 wheel cart which horses could pull more quickly across Europe. This was one reason he was able to surprise the French at Blenheim and defeat them. The estate would not exist without this.
• What future advancements do you foresee in your market and how are you preparing for them?
We need to change the nature of the tourist market towards multi-day visits (more value to the local economy). We need to help local people on normal incomes fulfil their aspirations to live in or own houses in this area. We prepare for these changes by leading them.
• What’s your favourite business book?
Start with Why – Simon Sinek
• How could you become a better leader?
Don't start me off – it is a long list. Sometimes too close to the detail, sometimes too far from it. I need to consistently support our people and learn how to work in the right way with each of them.
• What will you discuss in your BIO2018 presentation?
Our belief that businesses can do extraordinary good while still pursuing profit. "For profit" is not a bad thing.
• Who is the Target Audience for your BIO2018 presentation?
Anyone who thinks landed estates are elitist and should be condemned to the dustbins of history.