Ben and Jerry: an unconventional company

All successful businesses are not established and run in the same way, with formal business plans, traditional organizational structures, and a strong focus on profits. Ben  Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the entrepreneurs responsible for the highly successful ice cream business that bears their names, were businessmen with a rather unconventional approach. 

They were rather unconventional from the start, not choosing to begin their careers by attending one of the elite business schools but instead choosing to take a five-dollar correspondence course from Pennsylvania State University. They had little financial backing to start their business, so they had to cut corners wherever they could; the only location they could afford for the startup of their business was a gas station that they converted to ice cream production. Though this start-up was rather unconventional, they were strongly committed to creating the best ice cream possible, and this commitment to the quality of their product eventually led to considerable success. 

Even though they became extremely successful, they did not convert to a more conventional style of doing business. In an era where companies were measured on every penny of profit that they managed to squeeze out, Ben and Jerry had a strong belief that business should give back to the community; thus, they donated 7.5 percent of their pretax profit to social causes that they believed in. They also lacked the emphasis on executive salary and benefits packages that so preoccupy other corporations, opting instead for a five-to-one policy in which the salary of the employee receiving the highest pay could never be more than five times the salary of the employee receiving the lowest pay.