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

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

4.7 14
by Donald Mitchell, Carol Coles

Using dozens of concrete examples, the authors define a single process that companies can use to perpetually stimulate new growth and profitability.See more details below


Using dozens of concrete examples, the authors define a single process that companies can use to perpetually stimulate new growth and profitability.

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

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.12(d)

What People are saying about this

Graber, Don
Mitchell�s and Coles� book, The Ultimate Competitive Advantage, provides business leaders with real-life examples and the tools necessary to develop a winning business model in a globally competitive environment. They challenge the status quo and provide insightful new ways for business leaders to think.
— Chairman, President, and CEO, Huffy Corporation
Roger Von Oech
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said 'You can't step into the same river twice.' Don Mitchell and Carol Coles would update this advice for today's businesses to be, �You can't step into the same business model twice.' You have to move beyond and build upon what's worked for you in the past. Mitchell and Coles provide practical and provocative insights to stay ahead of the competition.
— author of A Whack on the Side of the Head and Expect the Unexpected or You Won't Find It
Robert L. Bailey
Technological Innovation gives a company a 6-12 month advantage, at most. A Business Model advantage can last years potentially yielding a dominant franchise. The Ultimate Competitive Advantage guides business managers on how to develop the necessary processes that can lead to business model innovation.
— President, CEO & Chairman of the Board, PMC-Sierra
Paul R. Ryan
The Ultimate Competitive Advantage is a must read for business leaders. The authors provide valuable insights and real world examples of the most important issue separating success from failure in business today�how to continually improve profitability and growth through business model innovation.
— Chairman and CEO, Acacia Research Corporation
John C. Maxwell
Don Mitchell's and Carol Coles' book 'The Ultimate Competitive Advantage gives business readers practical and insightful tools to grow their vision and their business. They take complex theories and make them usable for the business leader at every level.
— Founder, The INJOY Group, and author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
Alan Hassenfeld
Coles and Mitchell have created a book which titillates and stimulates the mind into action. Truly my own mind was piqued to look under every rock for new ideas to become the best.
— Chairman and CEO, Hasbro, Inc.
Emanuel Rosen
Packed with sound advice on what to do (and what to avoid) when thinking about your business model, The Ultimate Competitive Advantage will be an asset to anyone who's searching for new ways to achieve growth and profitability.
— Author of, The Anatomy of Buzz
John Wareham
Don Mitchell and Carol Coles have taken the concept of continuous process improvement and taken it to a new level by applying it to business models. It's a formula for success.
— Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Beckman Coulter, Inc.
Golisano, B
Every decade or so, businesses have to master an essential new task in order to prosper. Business model innovation is such a task now. You need to become good at this before your competitors do. The Ultimate Competitive Advantage is the template you need to master this critical challenge.
— Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Paychex, Inc.
Roelandts, Willem
The Ultimate Competitive Advantage eloquently demonstrates how company leaders need to orchestrate relationships and communications among employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, and the communities in which a company operates in order to deliver the future's winning innovations.
— President and Chief Executive Officer, Xilinx, Inc.
Wadsworth, Deborah
Mitchell and Coles challenge outworn practices and stodgy assumptions. They offer a brilliant Baedeker to those open to new ideas for creating vibrant and successful organizations.
— President, Public Agenda
Robert Knutson
The Ultimate Competitive Advantage provides a valuable roadmap for leaders to maximize the potential of their organizations through continuous learning and innovation that pays off.
— Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Education Management Corporation
Norman R. Augustine
The Ultimate Competitive Advantage is filled with real-world examples of how executives dealt with a spectrum of challenges ranging from defining fundamental business models to formulating pricing strategies. There is something to be learned by everyone.
— Chairman of the Executive Committee, Lockheed Martin Corporation
Robert S. Kaplan
The Ultimate Competitive Advantage is filled with examples and ideas on how to continually improve existing business models and to innovate to create even better models; contains many helpful hints for business managers.
— Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Harvard Business School; Co-author of The Balanced Scorecard, The Strategy-Focused Organization, and Cost & Effect
Messmar, Harold
he Ultimate Competitive Advantage offers executives the tools they need for competing successfully amid today's changing business landscape.
— Chairman and CEO, Robert Half International Inc.

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