ClassPass is a startup that offers a monthly subscription service to fitness classes in more than 30 cities around the world. The company has struggled to find the “right price” for its services. ClassPass was offering a $100 per month subscription for unlimited fitness classes. This pricing, ClassPass attracted workout warriors – who got the best deal from this pricing, but their usage rate hurt ClassPass’s margins. In April 2016, ClassPass raised the price for its unlimited product to $180 – and not surprisingly lost customers. Learn more about ClassPass’s pricing issues by first reading this article at TechCrunch “ ClassPass sacrifices 10% of customers in pursuit of healthier margins, ” (September 27, [Continue Reading …]
Campus Cooks has developed a business preparing food for fraternities and sororities. This article at Bloomberg Businessweek “ Campus Cooks Aims to Supply Good Food to Greek Houses ” (May 16, 2013) shows how Bill Reeder developed this successful company. I like that the article shows how Reeder drew upon his own college experience to identify a need. This is an example of consumer needs and product/service that our students can relate to. Think about your college experience. What needs have you observed that might be filled by a creative entrepreneur?
“Design thinking” is an emerging school of thought around innovation and new product development. Many who practice this approach believe in rapid prototyping — getting products into customer hands quickly, soliciting feedback, and then adapting the product before going through additional rounds of the same. While the approach has many advocates, a culturally engrained “fear of failure” can make adoption of the concept a challenge. A post at the HBR Blog Network, “ The No. 1 Enemy of Creativity: Fear of Failure ” (October 5, 2012, you may have to register to access) provides some background. As regular readers know, I have a soft spot in my heart (and [Continue Reading …]
Sometimes the most creative business ideas are “stolen” from one industry and applied in another. In some ways this can be safer — at least you know the creative idea works somewhere. So can you rent/sell neckties the same way Netflix rents videos? You can read more at “ TieTry lets subscribers rent ties by mail, like Netflix ,” (USAToday, July 19, 2012). What other industries might utilize the Netflix business model?
Interesting little story of social entrepreneurship on NPR, “ Company Ties Shoes And Ethics Together ” (April 7, 2012). Gideon Shoes was born out of a desire to support The Street University, a retreat for marginalized kids in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia. The shoes are not cheap ($190 – $320 a pair), in part because the company emphasizes production in safe, ethical, highly monitored conditions — significantly raising production costs. The company has done a marvelous job generating publicity , but right now is selling just about 60 pair of shoes per month. The story brings to mind another social entrepreneurship venture in the shoe biz — Toms (read or listen to [Continue Reading …]
Twitter’s efforts to build a viable business model have been inconsistent. Now the micro-blogging service appears to have a formula that is working. Advertisers are starting to get on board. Bloomberg BusinessWeek‘s cover story this week offers a closer look at Twitter, see “ Twitter, the Startup That Wouldn’t Die ” (March 1, 2012). A quick overview can be found in the video below — but read the article to get more insight. This is a useful story for entrepreneurs as getting the right business model is not easy. For marketers, Twitter has some real potential, though I believe they need to do more analytics so [Continue Reading …]
Here in Fort Collins we are proud of the success of local craft brewer New Belgium Brewing . Driven by the popularity of its Fat Tire brand, the company has grown to be one of the top 2-3 craft brewers in the United States. The company has largely eschewed television advertising and focuses a great deal on events and print advertising. The company’s culture and commitment to sustainability are admirable — and make it the dream job of many locals. So it was great to see the local brand get some national publicity in this article in Bloomberg Businessweek, “ New Belgium and the Battle of the Microbrews ” (December 1, [Continue Reading …]
We are seeing more examples of businesses that are effectively leveraging social media that works with customers. This article describes a New York City baker that has found success — and almost 3000 likes on Facebook. This short article “ A Bakery Gets Sweet Returns From Social-Media Blitz ” (Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2011, non-subscribers may need to click here ) offers examples and qualifies the example by suggesting that bars and restaurants may be special cases with social media. What do you think? What other small businesses might be able to take advantage of social media? How? Offer some examples.