Ultimate Competitive Advantage: Secrets of Continuosly Developing a More Profitable Business Model

Donald Mitchell, Author
Donald Mitchell, Author Berrett-Koehler Publishers $39.95 (300p) ISBN 978-1-57675-167-1
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It's a challenge to discuss business models compellingly, but management consultants Mitchell and Coles do an impressive job of it here. Their thesis: the best-performing corporations are those that constantly review and update their business models to adapt to changing conditions. Their supporting stories in particular are well-chosen, fleshing out entrepreneurial successes from companies from a dry cleaner in Newton, Mass. to the Mandalay Resort Group. At the ""award-winning"" cleaners in Newton, for example, the owner established a VIP service at no extra charge; customers could drop off laundry any time of the day, have the costs charged to a credit card and use a separate line when picking up their clothes. The benefits for the owner? He cut costs by ensuring swift payment and could process the VIP customers' orders before or after business hours, thus diminishing the demands on his employees manning the counter during busy opening hours. That example shows up in Chapter Three, ""Eliminate Costs That Reduce Customer and End-User Benefits,"" and like the rest of the book, the case studies are clearly and enthusiastically presented with literary epigraphs and helpful chapter summaries that front each chapter. The lessons are far from shocking (e.g., ""Cut Harmful Costs""), but it's a worthy review of sound business practices. The core message, for businesses big and small: survival depends on constant business model improvement, especially in tough economic times. (Apr.)
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