Sound Advice – Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel

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Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel

Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton, said “I probably have traveled and walked into more variety stores than anybody in America. I am just trying to get ideas, any kind of ideas that will help our company. Most of us don’t invent ideas. We take the best ideas from someone else.”

When Toronto financier Christine Magee wanted to invest in a successful retail concept, she searched North America for exciting new players. In Seattle, Washington, she discovered a mattress retailer with a strong brand, a consumer-friendly style and a catchy radio jingle. Magee bought the rights to duplicate the company’s systems and founded Sleep Country Canada north of the border.

Sleep Country, with its catchy radio jingle and “Why buy a mattress anywhere else?” slogan, quickly captured market share from slow moving department stores and furniture retailers to become Canada’s largest mattress retailer.

Furthermore, Sleep Country still uses that radio jingle today!

Your short-cut to success might just well be to do a walk-through of your competitors locations or to look for systems and processes in completely unrelated businesses that you can adapt to your business.

Until Henry Ford visited a Chicago meat packing plant, cars were slow and costly to build, one at a time. Henry adapted the processes he witnessed at the Chicago plant to develop the automotive assembly line, increasing production and lowering costs dramatically. 

Having outsiders do the same with your business, viewing it from the outside looking in, can also provide some interesting insights.

In his book, The Wizard of Ads, Roy Williams says “The business owner is uniquely unqualified to see his company or his product objectively.  He is on the inside looking out, trying to describe himself to a person on the outside looking in.  It is hard to read the label when you are inside the bottle.”

Roy says, “Too much product knowledge causes the business owner to answer questions no one is asking.  This makes for extremely ineffective advertising.”

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