100 Great Business Ideas

241 Pages · 2009 · 1 MB · English

  • 100 Great Business Ideas

    //Know how to prepare a deep-dive prototype?

    //How’s your scenario planning?


    //And are you up to speed with your psychographic e


    profiling, value innovation and silo busting? e



    In the world of business, new ideas and energy are needed constantly—in many K

    ways and at varying times—to ensure success. This book contains 100 insightful o


    and useful business ideas that will help you succeed. r


    Written in a stimulating and flexible way, 100 Great Business Ideascontains i

    ideas with proven power and potency that actually work. The ideas are varied, 1 100

    interesting, and thought-provoking, and some of the best ideas used in 0

    business. Some are simple—sometimes almost embarrassingly so—while 0

    others are based on detailed research and brilliant intellect. G


    If you have a restless desire and the energy to do well and stay ahead of the r


    competition and a willingness to experiment and take a risk, this book will a

    inspire you to find out more or develop your thinking along new, creative lines, t Business


    generating brilliant ideas for the future.



    JEREMY KOURDIis a successful writer and business adviser. During his career

    i Ideas

    he has worked with the Economist Group, HSBC, London Business School, IMD n


    and the Chartered Management Institute.








    Other titles in the 100 Great Ideasseries

    from leading companies

    around the world

    Jeremy Kourdi

    £8.99 in UK only



    Cover design: www.stazikerjones.co.uk

    SO8024_Business.indd 1 9/17/09 11:40:24 AM 100






    Jeremy Kourdi

    111175-100 GI-Prelims.indd i 1/5/09 10:37:37 Copyright © 2009 Jeremy Kourdi

    First published in 2008. This edition published in 2009 by

    Marshall Cavendish Editions

    An imprint of Marshall Cavendish International

    1 New Industrial Road, Singapore 536196

    Other Marshall Cavendish offi ces: Marshall Cavendish Ltd. 5th Floor, 32–38 Saffron Hill,

    London RC1N 8FH, UK • Marshall Cavendish Corporation. 99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown

    NY 10591-9001, USA • Marshall Cavendish International (Thailand) Co Ltd. 253 Asoke, 12th Flr,

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    (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Times Subang, Lot 46, Subang Hi-Tech Industrial Park, Batu Tiga, 40000

    Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

    Marshall Cavendish is a trademark of Times Publishing Limited

    The right of Jeremy Kourdi to be identifi ed as the author of this work has been asserted by him

    in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

    All rights reserved

    No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted,

    in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise,

    without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Requests for permission should be

    addressed to the publisher.

    The author and publisher have used their best efforts in preparing this book and disclaim

    liability arising directly and indirectly from the use and application of this book.

    All reasonable efforts have been made to obtain necessary copyright permissions. Any

    omissions or errors are unintentional and will, if brought to the attention of the publisher, be

    corrected in future printings.

    A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library

    ISBN 978-0-462-09960-6

    Designed by Robert Jones

    Project managed by Cambridge Publishing Management Ltd

    Printed in Singapore by Fabulous Printers Pte Ltd

    111175-100 GI-Prelims.indd ii 9/15/09 2:35:27 PM CONTENTS

    Acknowledgments vi

    Introduction 1

    The ideas

    1 Building customer trust and loyalty 3

    2 Scenario planning 5

    3 Making your employees proud 7

    4 Using customer information 9

    5 The rule of 150 11

    6 Information orientation 13

    7 Franchising 17

    8 Eliminating waste (muda) 19

    9 Customer bonding 21

    10 Psychographic profi ling 23

    11 Understanding demography 25

    12 Mass customization 28

    13 Leading “top-down” innovation 30

    14 Social networking and transmitting company values 32

    15 Achieving breakthrough growth 34

    16 Deep-dive prototyping 37

    17 Market testing 40

    18 Empowering your customers 42

    19 Cannibalizing 44

    20 Increasing competitiveness 46

    21 Clustering 48

    22 Highlighting unique selling points (USPs) 50

    23 The experience curve 52

    24 The employee –customer–profi t chain 54

    25 Measuring employees’ performance 60


    111175-100 GI-Prelims.indd iii 1/5/09 10:37:39 26 Brand spaces 63

    27 Being spaces 65

    28 Increasing accessibility 67

    29 Partnering 69

    30 Bumper-sticker strategy 71

    31 Valuing instinct 73

    32 Building a learning organization 75

    33 Reinvention 78

    34 Corporate social responsibility 80

    35 The tipping point 82

    36 Outsourcing 85

    37 Keeping your product offering current 87

    38 Experiential marketing 89

    39 Information dashboards and monitoring performance 91

    40 Flexible working 94

    41 Redefi ne your audience 96

    42 Vendor lock-in 98

    43 Turning the supply chain into a revenue chain 100

    44 Intelligent negotiating 102

    45 Complementary partnering 104

    46 Feel-good advertising 106

    47 Innovations in day-to-day convenience 108

    48 Lifestyle brands 110

    49 Being honest with customers 112

    50 Instant recognizability 114

    51 Managing a turnaround 116

    52 Diversity 118

    53 Balancing core and the context 120

    54 Business process redesign 122

    55 Convergence 125

    56 Cross-selling and up-selling 127

    57 Kotter’s eight phases of change 129

    58 Business-to-business marketing 132


    111175-100 GI-Prelims.indd iv 1/5/09 10:37:39 59 Employee value proposition 134

    60 Built-in obsolescence 136

    61 Avoiding commoditization 138

    62 Developing employee engagement 140

    63 Managing by wandering about (MBWA) 142

    64 Precision marketing 144

    65 Branding 146

    66 Empowerment 149

    67 Rethinking the budget 151

    68 The buyer’s cycle 153

    69 Direct selling 155

    70 Age-sensitive management 157

    71 Three-factor theory 159

    72 Developing Islamic products 162

    73 Support and challenge groups 165

    74 Clear strategy 167

    75 Six-hat thinking 170

    76 Building business relationships 172

    77 Learning together 174

    78 Microfi nance 176

    79 Surviving a downturn 178

    80 Innovation culture 180

    81 Resource building 182

    82 Building trust 185

    83 Emotional intelligence 187

    84 The balanced scorecard 189

    85 Developing a sales culture 193

    86 Market segmentation 195

    87 Audacity 197

    88 Silo busting 199

    89 Selling online 201

    90 Value innovation 204

    91 Talent management 206


    111175-100 GI-Prelims.indd v 1/5/09 10:37:39 92 The leadership pipeline 208

    93 Hardball 210

    94 Web presence 212

    95 Viral marketing 215

    96 Coaching and supervision 217

    97 User-centered innovation 220

    98 Internal promotion and succession planning 222

    99 Developing knowledge and intellectual capital 225

    100 Decision making and the paradox of choice 228

    Bibliography 233


    This book is the result of the support and encouragement of several people, and

    while the execution, style, and shortcomings are my own, their expertise and help

    must be acknowledged. Thanks go to Louise Kourdi, whose diligent research has

    been especially valuable, and Martin Liu and his talented colleagues at Marshall

    Cavendish, whose patience, energy, and expertise are much appreciated.

    Also, I have been very fortunate to work with some of the most stimulating, professional,

    and exceptional businesses, several of which are featured in this book. I owe a huge

    debt to all my clients and past employers who have, without doubt, provided the most

    interesting and exciting environments in which to work, learn, and develop.

    Finally, my gratitude goes to my wife Julie and son Tom, for their constant support,

    encouragement, and inspiration.

    Jeremy Kourdi


    111175-100 GI-Prelims.indd vi 1/5/09 10:37:39 INTRODUCTION

    This is a book about some of the best ideas used in business. Some

    are simple—sometimes almost embarrassingly so—while others

    are based on detailed research and brilliant intellect. Most are

    perennial, as their logic, simplicity, or value will help them endure;

    while others are, to be honest, rather faddy. What unites these

    business ideas is their proven power and potency. They are not only

    insightful and useful, they have worked: often in a brilliant way or

    despite great adversity. The ability of the people who conceived and

    applied these ideas should be applauded.

    One word of warning: while these ideas have worked for the

    companies mentioned at the time they applied them, it is not to say

    that these businesses will always get everything else right, forever

    more. They produced a result at the time, but if this book has any

    general lessons it is that new ideas and energy are needed constantly—

    in many ways and at varying times—to ensure success.

    While these ideas are varied and, I hope, interesting and thought-

    provoking, it seems to me that there are several different themes

    that run through many of these ideas and the businesses that use

    them. These include a willingness to experiment and take a risk.

    This seems to happen because many of the businesses display

    energy and entrepreneurship—a restless desire to do well and stay

    ahead of the competition. This is often coupled with an ability to

    understand the root causes of an issue, opportunity, or challenge,

    and do something distinctive, rather than merely tinkering with

    the status quo. Simplicity and an understanding of the need to

    be practical and implement the idea are also common features.

    Some ideas, however, do result from extensive study and research.

    This seems to confi rm Peter Drucker’s point that great ideas and


    111175-100 GI Business.indd 1 1/5/09 10:38:09 decisions are a blend of rigorous analysis and intuition. Clearly,

    sometimes one aspect is more important (depending on the idea),

    but both are signifi cant. Finally, the need to be practical, follow

    through, and ensure success is shown by the recurring need to

    monitor, measure, and refi ne the way the idea works.

    A word of guidance: if you are thinking of applying these ideas

    in your organization it may help to understand a little of the way

    that ideas are transmitted. Ideas tend to be passed on either by

    “blueprint copying,” which takes the whole idea and all its details

    and then replicates it elsewhere, or by “idea stimulation,” where

    the details are unknown or adapted but the gist of the idea is

    applied. For example, in his excellent award-winning book Guns,

    Germs, and Steel: A History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years,

    Jared Diamond cites the development of an alphabet as an idea that

    arose independently probably only once and was then copied

    elsewhere. Of course, these techniques are opposite ends of a

    spectrum, but, of the two methods, idea s timulation is surely

    more adaptable, robust, and likely to succeed. So, use these ideas to

    stimulate your thinking and make the specifi c adjustments needed

    to ensure success in your situation.

    I hope that these ideas will provide you with the inspiration to

    fi nd out more or develop your thinking along new, creative lines,

    generating brilliant ideas for the future.

    Jeremy Kourdi

    Please note that the ideas outlined in this book are listed randomly, for

    interest, rather than being grouped or ranked in a specifi c order.


    111175-100 GI Business.indd 2 1/5/09 10:38:10 1 BUILDING CUSTOMER


    Both selling and infl uencing suffer from the similar

    misconception that success requires you to aggressively or

    cleverly push a product or idea. This misunderstanding leads to

    inappropriate behaviors. For example, people can become evasive,

    “pushy,” and aggressive, or overly talkative and agreeable. Selling

    and infl uencing depends on getting behavior right, by moderating

    openness and assertiveness with warmth and competence.

    Combined with a great product or brand, this goes a long way to

    building customer loyalty.

    The idea

    Harley-Davidson overcame a turbulent past by building customer

    loyalty—one of its most enduring assets. It was one of America’s

    foremost motorbike manufacturers but, by the 1980s, sales fell

    dramatically following tough competition from affordable, high-

    quality Japanese machines. Harley-Davidson improved quality

    using the production techniques of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. The

    next challenge was to win back, and maintain, market share (it now

    enjoys a customer loyalty rate of 90 percent).

    Knowledge of customers’ needs and appealing to customers’

    emotions helped Harley-Davidson to build trust and bond with

    customers. Their managers meet customers regularly at rallies,

    where new models are demonstrated. Advertising reinforces the

    brand image, to promote customer loyalty. The Harley Owner’s

    Group (HOG) is a membership club that entrenches customer

    loyalty, with two-thirds of customers renewing membership.


    111175-100 GI Business.indd 3 1/5/09 10:38:10

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