There are all kinds of services created to meet the needs of other businesses and many of them are good investments. This historical piece offers some intriguing insight into past success stories that might help you decide if service businesses are a good investment today.
Manpower, Inc., has benefited from a scarcity of qualified men for certain jobs. The scarcity, according to Census Bureau Director Robert W. Burgess, will continue at least for 10 years.
Manpower, Inc., is now the world's leading temporary-help service organization, serving 66,000 employers including 98 of the 100 largest corporations. Its Office Division furnishes a complete line of temporary help ranging from keypunch operators to secretaries. Its Industrial Division provides a variety of maintenance and other industrial services while a newer, more rapidly growing Merchandising Services Division was created for product demonstration, survey interviewing, etc. Its revenues have climbed from $5.75 million in 1955 to $35.25 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 1960, believed equal to the results of all major competitors combined.
"Of greatest future significance," said A. G. Becher & Co.. "Is Salespower, a wholly owned subsidiary, which utilizes Manpower's national office network to provide trained groups of sales personnel to launch new products or otherwise meet the need for special sales promotion. Salespower reputedly offers 'a new dimension to selling' and can put 1,500 salesmen on a nationwide campaign within 24 hours."
This subsidiary could, in time, rival the parent company in revenues.
Certainly the best known among business companies, Dun & Bradstreet is expected by experts to continue in its solid position of strength despite increased competition. Among the reasons for this healthy future are the company's highly trained personnel, its 17,000-mile private wire network and, above all, its files containing data compiled over more than a century, and currently including three million business organizations. No wonder the name Dun & Bradstreet has literally become a synonym for business credit information.
Another well-known service is that of A. C. Nielson. His ratings have long been a mainstay of the television industry and its advertisers. Nielson's media service was set up to do a somewhat similar job for the magazine industry.
Another business to serve other businesses is technical writing. It has grown mainly as an accompaniment to the rapid advances in military sciences and space technology, which create the need for accurate, up-to-date military manuals. The Armed Forces needed a new "service" to help interpret the increasing technical complexities of weapons systems. Even defense contractors, which mostly maintain in-house technical writing departments, require the help of specialist houses.
Another business service of growing magnitude is one of providing financing services to the business community. Leading the field is Walter E. Heller & Company. The earnings growth of Walter E. Heller & Company is comparable to that of any of the more popularly known growth companies. It is based on the expanding business population with the resultant increasing requirements for working capital funds. Its services include re-discounting retail-automobile paper and small-loan paper, financing industrial installment notes receivable, collateral loans, factored accounts receivable, inventory loans, and financing motion picture and television film-production loans.
This field is virtually unlimited. With an anticipated continued strong demand for business services the shares of companies dominant in their respective fields should provide above average, long-term opportunities for capital appreciation.