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Take an ordinary business. A bike shop. An auction company. An ice cream parlor. A sock manufacturer. In thoroughly mundane businesses like these, an entrepreneur must outsmart the multitudes of competitors, leap to the head of the pack, and become a dominant Alpha Dog.
Exactly how does an everyday company distinguish itself in the marketplace, generate much higher sales than its competitors, and earn the lasting loyalty of customers and employees? Is it cutting-edge products? Brilliant service? Ingenious branding?
Donna Fenn, a twenty-year veteran of Inc. magazine, has discovered the people who have the answers. In a personal and probing style, she introduces you to eight Alpha Dogs. These men and women share their solutions and insights on how to rise to the top, despite multiple competitors, from Chinese manufacturers to Wal-Mart.
Readers will meet:
Chris Zane, an intense, ambitious father of three boys. His Branford, Connecticut, retail bike shop has flourished among Wal-Mart, Sports Authority, and independent bike stores. He's done it by seeking out new markets and perfecting the art of customer service.
Deb Weidenhamer, a tough woman in a male-dominated industry who transformed a traditional auction company with cutting-edge technology. While her competitors were still fretting about eBay, she was using the online auction giant as a training ground for her own innovative Web site.
Amy Simmons, a former premed student who fell in love with the ice cream business in Boston and then founded her own ice cream parlor in Austin, Texas. With twelve Amy's Ice Creams stores in Austin, Amy's is the Austin hometown favorite, despite her deep-pocketed rivals, Ben & Jerry's and Cold Stone Creamery.
In accessible, conversational style, Donna Fenn tells each entrepreneur's personal story, shares their winning formulas, and offers nuts-and-bolts advice and practical tips. Alpha Dogs is a lively handbook for every current and aspiring entrepreneur.
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Donna Fenn is a long-time contributing editor at Inc. magazine and a small business evangelist. She lives in Pelham, New York.From Publishers Weekly:
Alpha dogs" in business not only have a passion for their companies and a talent for seeing opportunities where others see limitations, they also rise above their competitors to become leaders of the pack. Longtime Inc. magazine writer Fenn's breezy and informative book highlights eight such small-company entrepreneurs, among them Chris Zane, whose Connecticut bicycle store brings in $6.1 million a year, and Deb Weidenhamer, whose Arizona auction and appraisal company earns $11.5 million. In chapters with titles like "Seduce Your Customers" and "Transform with Technology," Fenn puts forth each entrepreneur's business as a case study in how to overcome a particular problem—from the Amy's Ice Cream company's efforts to build a hometown reputation to the sock manufacturer Thor-Lo's efforts to innovate sport socks for a changing industry. Practical tips at the end of each chapter highlight the lessons learned, and at the end of the book a conclusion identifies the key behaviors that make up "Alpha Dog DNA." For small-business owners looking to give their enterprise a boost, this practical and chatty book provides solid strategies for shifting into high gear. (Dec.)
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