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

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Overview

Authors Donald Mitchell and Carol Coles conducted a ten-year study of companies that had grown the fastest over a three-year period. Their research reveals that while unsuccessful companies doggedly apply outdated business models, the successful ones improve their models every two to four years.

The Ultimate Competitive Advantage provides a straightforward, systematic method any company can use to review and improve its business model and each of its key components: pricing, ...

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Overview

Authors Donald Mitchell and Carol Coles conducted a ten-year study of companies that had grown the fastest over a three-year period. Their research reveals that while unsuccessful companies doggedly apply outdated business models, the successful ones improve their models every two to four years.

The Ultimate Competitive Advantage provides a straightforward, systematic method any company can use to review and improve its business model and each of its key components: pricing, costs of doing business, and benefits added. Dozens of concrete examples from companies of all sizes and types are provided.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Developing a More Profitable Business Model
Leveraging a company's strengths is crucial to its success in any industry, and the top two executives of Mitchell and Co., a strategy consulting firm, write that continual business model innovation is the key to improving company performance. Offering numerous ways for organizations to maximize their potential through learning, the authors point out the importance of a fundamental business model that profitably provides more benefits for their customers and other stakeholders.

Stories of successful business innovations abound throughout The Ultimate Competitive Advantage, and the authors offer dozens of examples of both large and small companies in numerous industries that were able to increase their performance through continuous learning.

Prepare for the Future
Rather than focus solely on doing better what they did poorly yesterday, the authors write that organizations should be working on what will help them and their stakeholders the most. This should include continually performing business model innovation, finding better ways to prepare for unexpected future events, and invigorating the highest potential performances that supply the most valued benefits. To help companies incorporate these actions into their business plans, the authors detail a management process - combined from the best practices of many of today's best-performing companies - that can help them pursue all three of these tasks.

The best strategic practices that the authors present have been compiled from a study of top-performing companies, including Dell Computer, EMC, Paychex and Tellabs. Their in-depth investigations and interviews reveal numerous cases of companies that were intensely interested in studying customer and stakeholder needs, rather than simply emulating the best strategic practices of others.

The authors write that the message they hope to deliver is the value of developing and implementing a superior management process that continually improves the ways an organization serves customers and outperforms competitors, while fairly and appropriately rewarding all stakeholders. Throughout The Ultimate Competitive Advantage, the authors show companies how they can plan, start and invest in new businesses; turn new businesses into seasoned operations; turn troubled businesses around; move from a weak position to become an industry leader; and expand the scope, growth and profitability of an industry from a position of leadership.

Companies are vulnerable to competitors when they stop frequently improving their business models. To help executives learn ways to overcome setbacks and improve their own ways of continually reinventing themselves, the authors present numerous stories from companies that started off small and rose to prominence with strategies of continual improvement and reinvention. In each chapter, they present an example or two of a small company that rose to prominence through continuous reinvention, and offer suggestions on how other companies can emulate similar advances in their own industries.

Increased Value at the Same Cost
The authors write that business model obsolescence is the major unperceived opportunity for all businesses, and also a major unperceived threat at the same time. Companies can continually develop and employ better ways to create and serve customers better through the following management process:

  1. Examine the most productive areas for business model innovation. This can be done by increasing value without raising prices and costs, as well as adjusting prices to increase sales profitability and eliminating costs that reduce customer and end-user benefits.
  2. Provide sustained benefits for all stakeholders. This can be done by further improving the business model and building a buffer for lean times, as well as sharing benefits fairly with all who create them.
  3. Expand business model innovation. This involves starting business model innovation ahead of competitors and staying focused, and enhancing an organization's ongoing business model innovation capability.
  4. Pursue higher-potential business model improvement. This is done by focusing on the areas with the highest potential for growth and profitability, and expanding the benefits you provide and share.


Why We Like This Book
The authors of The Ultimate Competitive Advantage have provided organizations with a noteworthy perspective on continuous innovation. Their numerous first-hand accounts of companies that were able to continuously change their business model and outsmart competitors provide abundant inspiration for other organizations, regardless of their industries, to use as a road map to future innovations and continued success. Copyright © 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576751671
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/10/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Mitchell is Chairman and CEO of Mitchell and Company, a corporate strategy and finance consulting firm.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Growing Threat to Your Company from New Business Models
Part One: Business Model Innovation Priorities
1. What’s the Big Idea?
2. Business Model Innovation Is the Fastest and Safest Route to Sustained Market Leadership
Part Two: The Building Blocks of Better Business Models
3. Value: Locate Ideas to Create More Sales from Improved Value at the Current Price
4. Value: Select the Ideas to Pursue
5. Price: Locate Ideas to Create More Sales from Adjusting Prices
6. Price: Select the Ideas to Pursue
7. Costs: Locate Ideas for Greater Reductions in More Places
8. Costs: Select the Ideas to Pursue
9. Benefits: Locate Business Model Concepts to Grow the Pie by Investing
10. Benefits: Select the Psychological and Tangible Benefits to Share, Do So Fairly with All Stakeholders, and Reap the Bounty of Mutual Commitment, Collaboration, and Effectiveness
Part Three: Create an Effective Business-Model-Innovating Organization
11. Start Business Model Innovation First, and Stay Focused on It
12. Grow and Harvest More Low-Hanging Fruit
Part Four : Full Speed Head of the Competition!
13. Cover the Biggest Lily Pond You Can
14. Cast Bread Upon the Waters
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Customer Reviews

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( 14 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2005

    Continual Business Model Innovation

    Every decade or so businesses have to master an essential new task in order to prosper. Today, business model innovation is that task. The Ultimate Competitive Advantage is the template you need to master this critical challenge. In the language of competitive advantage, continual business model innovation is the source of sustainable competitive advantage. The authors sought to find the simplest, most effective management methods that the most successful companies have used since 1992 to continually outperform competitors. They hope to find these methods by tracking and studying top performing companies while they thought of and made the changes that create these competitive achievements. That kind of real-time measurement and study of creating competitive advantages across many different studies has never been done before. The message of the Ultimate Competitive Advantage is to develop and implement a superior management process-its way of serving customers and out performing competitors-as well as fairly and appropriately rewarding all stakeholders. Recent experience clearly shows that continual business model innovation is the most powereful competitive advantage you can have now. This book is the first strategy and management process guidebook on the successful experiences of continual, industry-leading business model innovators. Mitchell and Coles have created a book which titillates and stimulates the mind into action. The authors provide valuable insights and real world examples of the most important issues separating success from failure in business today. The Ultimate Competitive Advantage is for anyone looking for a new and powerful paradigms for creating success out of the chaos in today's dynamic business climate. The Ultimate Competitive Advantage shows you how to recharging your creativity, innovation and profit. It challenges existing paradigms and continually reinvesting the competitive landscape to your advantage. For example, rather than do more with less, learn how to do more of what counts. This book sees continual business model innovation as the source of sustainable competitive advantage. In this, it goes beyond Michael Porter and Jay Barney. This book is superior to 'Competitive Advantage' and 'Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2005

    Valuable Synthesis Presented Abstractly and Ponderously

    If you haven't read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I suggest you read that one before this book. Dr. Covey obviously pulled out all of the stops in trying to make this book as helpful as possible to his readers. The book contains summaries of the material in his other books, repeats many stories from those books, reconciles the material with most of the business book best sellers in recent years, contains a DVD full of inspiring videos, provides references to many free materials on his web site, has extensive appendices and contains many thoughtful sections on questions and answers. As a result, the book comes across like an encyclopedia of his teachings . . . rather than as the simple communication that is so delightful in his other books. I suspect that Dr. Covey changed ghostwriters for this one (at least I assume that the other books were ghostwritten because they avoid the ponderous communications style that Dr. Covey uses in person). So what is the 8th habit? Allow me to paraphrase. It'll be quicker that way. You act with integrity as an individual and help others to do the same. In Covey-speak, it's the overlap of personal greatness (applying the 7 habits in the forms of vision, discipline, passion and conscience), leadership greatness (applying the 4 roles of leadership (modeling the 7 habits, path finding, aligning and Empowering), and organizational greatness (turned into a vision, mission and values that bring clarity, commitment, translation, synergy, enabling and accountability). See Figure 14.3 on page 280 for the simplest expression of the 8th habit in Covey-speak. Can you make a book out of that point? Well, if you put in lots of examples, you can . . . which Dr. Covey did. But the basic point is about a magazine article's worth. Most people will come to that realization when they see the entire book's concepts summarized in chapters 14 and 15. If you want to check this book out, read those two chapters and see if you need more at that point. Why do millions of people read his books? Well, the earlier ones were beautifully written. This one isn't. All of his books show unadulterated respect for the reader and a belief in the reader's unlimited potential to improve. So it's inspiring to read someone's high opinion of you. Dr. Covey obviously cares that we live moral and positive lives. He's a sort of secular priest expressing moral values that most will agree with. Would we all like to work for Dr. Covey? Sure! How well will this book translate in the workplace? It'll be a tough row. You can have a company that's good at the 8th habit, but doesn't build the necessary skills to succeed with using the 8th habit. That's because this book is heavy on concepts . . . and light on the practical details. Dr. Covey starts up at about 100,000 feet in the air with his abstract thinking and discussions, and rarely gets any closer. So think of the 8th habit book as helpful . . . but not sufficient in and of itself . . . for creating superior performance. Perhaps it will work better if you employ Dr. Covey's firm to help you (which is abundantly pitched in the book). Dr. Covey humbly points out that his conclusions are aimed at dealing with the problems of poor communication, lousy alignment, misunderstandings about what to do next, lacks of tools and training, and dumbed-down workplaces . . . but is not supported by research (other than anecdotes from his clients) to support that this actually works better. But you'll agree, I'm sure, that even failure would feel a lot better in such an organization. So it's very humanistic, which is a good thing. Few will disagree with the point of this book, and most wonder what this adds to Dr. Covey's work on Principle-Centered Leadership. 'Not very much' is my impression. I suspect that this book would have worked a lot better if the material had been simplified and added to the 7 habits book . . . and renamed as 'The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Peo

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2003

    I confess I cheated¿

    Yes, I cheated when I read this book. Twice, actually. First, I skipped all the main text and just read the stories in text boxes. Fascinating examples of big name firms and relative unknowns who have mastered their marketplace. The authors have gathered some of the most interesting business stories you will ever read. And read them you should. Why read The Ultimate Competitive Advantage? Donald Mitchell and Carol Coles have identified a systematic way to gain an ongoing competitive advantage. Ongoing is the key, by the way. You don¿t just jump out front and get the lead until your product or service gets tired or your industry gets tired of you. You have strategies revealed here to keep the pressure up on your competition by continually pulling away from them with innovation ¿ both simple and complex. Second way I cheated? I went right to the ending. I wanted to know how the book turns out, okay? And everybody lives ¿ happily ever after, too! Well now I¿ve read it through the way it was written ¿ all the words, the questions to ask, the creative ideas, and the answer to the big question in business: How do we lower our costs while expanding our offerings to customers? Here it is in living black and white, multiple ways to do just that. I¿ve taken notes and have ideas ¿ ideas that will make me much more customer-rich than before I¿d picked this up. Get the picture? Get the book and get smarter by learning and applying what other brilliant organizations have done. This is a rare read with instant application for the entrepreneur and big company player. Most highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2003

    The Ultimate Guide on Competitive Advantage

    Books are practical either because they provide answers and insights or because they help us pose the right questions. Don and Carol do both, and their well structured and formulated questions alone are absolutely enough to justify your investment in dollars and time. The subject is daunting: the essentials of continual renewal and ongoing attention to the complex process of innovation. And even though enough concrete advice is given throughout the book, it has not become one of those (too many) books that claim the ultimate and yet simple answer to it all. So the challenge remained to be: giving the right assistance to the process while leaving the ultimate content of the answers to each unique-to-be enterprise. The result is just great because Don and Carol did not fall into that pit of quick-fix answers but remained faithful to both their convictions and the subject (competitive advantage), as well as to reality, by sticking to the right questions. And by leaving the task of finding the unique answers to the seriously willing and able leadership of that enterprise that seeks to become and remain `ahead¿. In fact, this book provides a concise and basic guide for those who aim just to survive and offers too the next step into becoming and remaining ahead of competition. A good test-question for books on business subjects is: ¿If everybody would buy, read and put into action what¿s inside the book, would that fact alone eliminate the `competitive advantage¿ of the book itself?¿ and for most books the answer would be: yes. Not with this book: it remains at the centre of the subject and, while still very practical, would not diminish in content value even if all enterprises would practice its teachings. Some advice: I already said that many books are bought and even read as a quick fix to complex challenges. Buy this book only if you are serious and then be assured it will prove to be a serious book to help you `get real¿ with the future of your company. Sir Francis Bacon once said: ¿Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.¿ This book is definitively of the latter category.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2003

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

    Berrett-Koehler is one of the few publishers that has managed to create a brand name which commands respect. A continuous stream of excellent books is the reason. Yet, even amongst such exalted company, 'The Ultimate Competitive Advantage' stands out. A word of warning though. For some reason this book has attracted reviewers given to writing long, ponderous, and boring reviews. The book itself is the exact opposite. T.U.C.A. combines exciting ideas, great illustrations and is well written. In short, an easy, entertaining, worthwhile read. Buy this book, rip out any one of the nine chapters, throw away the other eight, and you'll have more than your money's worth. T.U.C.A. is both a primer and graduate doctoral course, on how best to reinvent organizations so as to better serve all ---- particularly customers. This book will find a ready market in large organizations, which frankly won't be around long if they don't take the message to heart. And this book applies equally as well to mom and pop shops. The story of Ray Hughes, golf caddy, formerly of the Isle of Man, is an early illustration and a powerful example that the lessons of T.U.C.A. are applicable to all. The stories, the illustrations, are fabulous. Donald Mitchell and Carol Coles have raised the bar. Congratulations! And now I'm going to bow out of here before I also become too long and ponderous. Besides, I'm busy. I've got to order copies for my management team, and I won't have to insist they read it. All I need to do is open it under their nose, let them have one glance, and they'll be hooked. I'm sure it will be the best investment I've ever made! Oh, by the way, if you happen to be a competitor of ours, please ignore the above.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2003

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

    Donald Mitchell and Carol Coles present a thorough argument that all companies, large and small, are compelled to improve upon their current business model. If it works, don't fix it, is not a viable mindset in a age where competitive challenges are always right around the corner. The major idea behind this superb book 'is that business model obsolescence is the major unperceived opportunity and threat to all businesses now.' Human beings are inclined to play it safe and take few risks. What was considered prudent behavior a few generations ago will likely doom one to irrelevance in a future shock environment. Many companies are regretfully similar to the frog who is unaware that he is slowly being boiled alive. If you did not improve your business model in the last five years---then almost certainly you have missed out on some golden opportunities. Mitchell and Coles aptly deal with issues concerning pricing a company's products and services. How do business leaders distinguish between winning and losing business models? What role does the low level employee play in this regard? 'What is the stupidest thing our company does that reduces the purchase and consumption of our offerings?' is a question best not left unanswered. Try pretending 'for several hours that you are a specific person who doesn't buy from your company (or even your customer's customer)' is also not advice which should be ignored. Ecolab, Iron Mountain, Business Objects and Paychex are among the companies cited that refuse to be seduced by complacency. Even a humble barber who cut the hair of many of Harvard University's leading teachers and students is a quintessential example of a business owner who never took anything for granted. I have already spent countless hours reading 'The Ultimate Competitive Advantage.' Alas, there are still more gems of wisdom that I've yet to internalize. This book will continue to enrich my understanding of business models long into the distant future. I'm sure that you also will find it of great value.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2003

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

    Fantastic, provocative, inspired, this is one of the best business books I have read this year. 'The Ultimate Competitive Advantage' points out that one of the problems with corporate planning is that companies build their business model as if it is static. What worked before will work now. What works now will always work. The problem is that by the time they figure out that something has changed it is often too late or many opportunities are lost. Business models need to be dynamic. Throughout the book the authors give examples of ways companies have kept their business model flexible and were able to take advantage of opportunities to stay ahead of their competitors. If you want to get a handle on innovation and creating a dynamic business model that is sustainable over time, then this is the book you are looking for. 'The Ultimate Competitive Advantage' is a very highly recommended book for anyone seeking that missing piece in their business education that will allow their business to soar above the crowd.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2003

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

    THE ULTIMATE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE by Donald Mitchell and Carol Coles is a unique book that offers the reader, in a balanced blend of theory, example and anecdote, a comprehensive analysis of the importance of continual business model for all types of organizations. In today's rapidly changing world, the need for constant innovation in the many small things that make up an organization is key if a business is to remain fresh and creative. Whether the organization is a major global corporate force, a regional or local business, or even a not-for-profit religious, social service or community organization, the book offers the principles and ideas that can lead to greater competitive success. Building upon the 25+ years of successful consulting experience with their own strategic consulting firm, Mitchell and Company, the authors present a tightly focused examination of the various elements of business model innovation. The book is very well organized and I found 'Part Two - Provide Sustained Benefits for All Stakeholders' to be most valuable. Too many managers view the development of the business model as a one-time achievement where the finished product is bronzed, tied up neatly in a little bow, then placed on a shelf where it remains unchallenged for all eternity. In contrast, the authors emphasize the need for continual innovation - to refine and renew the business model, often in numerous small ways, as a means to uplift all of those who have a stake in the ultimate success of the organization. This occurs when a person, as a leader, grows beyond his narrow-minded functional approach to business and views his role and organization with passion, dedication, and purpose. The story of Michael Cogliandro, Harvard's longtime barber-philosopher, offers a shining example of innovation not only just within the business model, but also within the totality of everyday life. Mr. Cogliandro's business model has moved beyond the functional to the sublime. He is seen as a communicator, a facilitator, and a philosopher; in turn he approaches what for many would be a mundane occupation - barber - with a holistic sense of mission and grace. This is a lesson repeated in countless quiet corners of the world, and yet is one that is consistently missed by those who equate competitive advantage with endeavors of global proportion. As a reader of numerous books of business, religion, philosophy and other diverse areas, I have found THE ULTIMATE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE to be one of the most integrative and imaginative books in the area of business, looking at business model innovation as the journey, as well as the destination of an organization. To that end, it offers lessons in human behavior rarely covered in business texts. The reader will find many life lessons as well as business lessons in this book, and will find it well worth their investment of time and reflection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2003

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

    The whirlwind of creative destruction is harnessed to the concept of continuous revolution in this handbook of how to think strategically in an arena that is both instantaneous and worldwide. Looking to business models instead of technology as the key strategic advantage for the near future, Mitchell and Coles distilled a decade-long research project, involving interviews and with CEOs of consistently successful companies that had ridden the crest of uncertainty by reinventing how they operated, in creating this book. What they found is that, of those businesses they selected to study, the ones who maintained their edge had changed their business model, many more than once. While their research begins in 1989, some of the companies in question had pioneered the concept, decades earlier. (Nucor Steel had been, 'The Nuclear Corporation of America,' a conglomerate making, among other things, radiac meters, before F. Kenneth Iverson reformulated their business model to that of a high-tech minimill.) The emphasis on strategy, in seeing new opportunities in seemingly random or unconnected events, and the decidedly long view of history implicit in the underlying philosophy is what recommends the work above all else. (The authors also clearly have a broad background in classical economics, and quoteAdam Smith, Alfred Marshall and others to illustrate key points.) Much of the strategic planning/scenerio building advice reminds this writer of concepts that he first ecountered in military life, and the anology of busines to war is not a new one. (Think of Sun Tzu, lately a business guru, after millenia as a fount of military doctrine.) Like generals preparing to fight the last war, many business leaders stick with a winning formula even as it reaches the point of diminishing returns, and as unacknowledged competitors become mortal dangers to their security. One example used by the authors is of Red Hat Linux, which depends at least partially on product innovations offered by the open-source community. While Microsoft may be market-dominant and debt-free, their business model, which, the authors note, defeated Netscape in the browser wars by offering Internet Explorer as a no-cost, bundled product with Windows, it may not be able to keep them as cost leader in the operating system market against competition relying on what Eric Raymond described as the gift culture of the open-source community ('The Cathedral and the Bazaar'). Whether Microsoft will (assuming that Red Had and company succeed in making Linux a critical threat to Windows) abandon what has been enormously successful for them (their business model) for the untried is the choice faced by everyone on top when challenged by asymmetric competition. The failure to see, plan for, and meet such challenges is more often the fate of yesterday's leaders than is the successful business model innovation that Mitchell and Coles describe. (See also, 'The Innovator's Dilemma' for case studies of this problem.) Involving as many minds as possible in worst-case-scenerio planning is another bit of wisdom, validated by the testimony of CEOs whom the authors found to be constantly ahead of the competition. This leveraging of existing resources (they're already on the payroll, if they are employees) is a low- to no-cost way to offset competitor advantages in fixed capital resources that the reader may not be able to match. While the book is generally shorn of technical minutia, making for quick readability, the discussion on pricing strategies is fairly detailed, and provides insight into how to use pricing to test business model concepts before fully committing to them. As with the other chapters, the section on pricing is well-illustrated with case studies in what worked - and what did not. The book is well worth an evening's read, especially before events make agonizing reappraisals of how one operates a necessity. -Lloyd A. Conway

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2003

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

    Do you feel inspired by your company's current business model? If, like most people, your answer is 'no,' then this book is for you. In the face of ongoing, rapidly-evolving marketplace changes, companies must continually innovate to stay competitive. But every 5 or 10 years, companies need to do more. They need to fundamentally change how they do business. Fortunately, every 5 or 10 years, a timely business book comes along to show them how. This is such a book. Indeed, 'The Ultimate Competitive Advantage' should become one of the top business books of the 2000-2010 decade. The 'big idea' of this book is that business models become at least partially obsolete and that business model innovation presents a unique competitive opportunity. The book thus moves us beyond corporate tinkering (re-engineering, continuous improvement, etc.) to focus on strategic change in the basic business model. The authors have worked with scores of perennially successful CEOs to discover how they practice business model innovation. These path-finding CEOs found they were better off working to improve their company's business model than on the efficiency of day-to-day operations. In fact, most of them so re-invented their business models that they clearly outpaced their competitors. The experiences and lessons of how these CEOs succeed are organized into 4 parts: ¿ Part 1: The 3 most-used/most-successful ways to reinvent business models. ¿ Part 2: How to build a stronger base for future business model inventions. ¿ Part 3: How to develop resources to boost business model innovation. ¿ Part 4: How to broaden/grow markets by re-inventing the business model. Each chapter ends with out-of-the-box questions that provoke you to translate the book's lessons into the context of your own business situation. For example, by asking 'What will our next business model look like?' you are forced to revision and rethink your business model. Failure to explore such questions may lead you to ignore a competitive vulnerability or to miss a market opportunity - that could break or make your business in the next few years. As a strategic business futurist, I agree with the authors that the most adept business model innovators are those who seek out the most powerful trends (through scenario-based thinking) and then facilitate their development. The book spells out four dimensions of an effective, future-oriented business model innovation process. Following this process, you'll learn how to install your company's next business model - one that is visionary and inspiring to you, your associates, your customers, and your stakeholders. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2003

    No Two Companies Are Exactly Alike...Why Should Their Competitive Advantages Be the Same?

    A higly stimulating and thought-provoking read for any business manager trying to wrestle with the challenges of helping their business survive, grow and thrive. It is a framework for breaking the 'thinking log-jam' in determining 'what is possible' and 'how high to reach' without betting the company ranch. It's well written, includes interesting anecdotes and avoids the didactic and academic treatise style so many business books have. It's a serious work on the most important challenge every company faces.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2003

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

    Some wag, a few years ago, audaciously claimed that there really was no such thing as a 'business model.' It is probably true that many businesses aren't so much the realization of a carefully designed model as they are the products of happenstance, survival-driven evolution, and habit. And it's probably also true that many top executives cannot articulate the model upon which their business is based. But, of course, every business is most definitely based upon a model (intentionally crafted or not). Authors Mitchell and Coles both define what a business model is, and declare that continually tinkering with your business's model gives you the Ultimate Competitive Advantage (which is, in their words, 'products and services [that] can be provided in ways that deliver more sales, higher profitability and greater cash flow than would occur if a competitor supplied the same customer'). They proclaim that the 'big idea' of their book 'is that business model obsolescence is *the* major unperceived opportunity for and threat to all businesses now.' Innovation, the authors argue, belongs not only in the R&D lab but in every facet of your operation. This constant reinvention, the authors argue, truly is a matter of survival: Businesses too easily get trapped by their own traditions inhibiting growth or responsiveness to changing conditions, or they fail to distinguish themselves from equally capable and awfully similar purveyors of goods and services. Drawing on research spanning more than a decade, the authors tracked companies that performed above their competitors for at least three years under the same CEO. Interviews with CEOs provide many of the 'secrets' offered by the book. The topics span pricing, corporate values, financial management, rewards for various stockholders, innovation, and many of the multiple facets that go into creating a distinct and successful business model. In addition to providing examples from traditional corporations, Mitchell and Coles also draw insights from philosophers, point to a few examples from the not-for-profit world (e.g., Habitat for Humanity), and provide case studies of individual innovators (such as chronicling an enterprising golf caddie, tracing the exemplary evolution of Peter Drucker as a thought leader and consultant, and reviewing the career of the avant garde architect Frank Lloyd Wright). In presenting their concepts, the authors also employ devices and metaphors such as the familiar child's lemonade stand, an orchard, and a (thoroughly tortured) lily pond. This book doesn't fall prey to the all too common ploy of promising 'three easy steps to instant success,' but neither does it present a linear, prescribed methodology for a reader who is eager to implement The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Yet the book is still process-oriented. There are plenty of insights and relevant inferences waiting to be drawn, and there is considerable practical information available to someone willing to meander through the many diverse examples and case studies while picking up the gems along that path. My advice is to read this as an executive thought-starter: flipping, skimming and pouncing. That is, flip through the book while skimming each page. There are many helpful subheadings, salient thoughts from the text --- conveniently bolded and boxed, and especially stimulating and useful questions at the end of each chapter. The content warrants the five-star rating, though I'm less enthusiastic about the structure. (E.g., there are more than 70 pages of preamble and stage-setting with two guest Forewords, a Preface, an Introduction, AND a Prologue all preceding the nuts and bolts. Whew!) But you'll get your time and money's worth from this research-based look at a new way to see what your business is really all about --- especially if you are a CEO, general manager, or a unit or division head (or aspire to be one). My advice: spend time with this book. Grab

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2003

    New Models for Our Changing World

    The most successful organizations are continually competing¿with other organizations and/or with their own current state. The drive for improvement is viewed as a survival technique. The real secret is to develop new business models¿to change the way you do business. This book will show you how, recharging your creativity, innovation, and profit. How would you like to shrink yourself down to about four inches in height and hop in the pocket of a highly effective management consultant? Can you imagine what you¿d learn, riding along wherever that consultant might go? What could you gain listening to the private, in-depth, soul-baring conversations between consultants and their clients? This is the kind of experience you¿ll have as you read this book. The tools for success in today¿s turbulent business world are here. You¿ll learn about techniques that are not normally brought to the surface in many corporations. Start by exploring your most productive areas for innovation and how to increase value without raising prices and costs (can you hear your customers cheering?). Price adjustment to increase profitability is balanced with cost reduction. Some different creative ideas are presented, worth your consideration. As you redesign and enrich your business model for internal and external strength, the rewards will come. You¿ll feel the shift as you read through these pages and pay attention to the thoughts going through your head. The content of this book will stimulate your thinking¿and inspire changes in the way you do business on a short term, and most importantly, a long term basis. Filled with examples, real-life stuff that will grab your attention from your shirt-pocket vantage point. The authors are strategic consultants who have been there, done that, and seen the results. Buy a fresh highlighter when you buy this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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