Inspire!: Why Customers Come Back
by Jim Champy, FT Press, 192 Pages, $22.99 Hardcover, April 2009, ISBN 9780131361881
Some of the most successful business books use the research method to find the standouts in business, and then dig into those organizations to see what makes them so successful. Jim Collin's brilliant Good to Great
comes to mind.
Jim Champy, author of Reengineering the Corporation
—which is one of the titles featured in our book, The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
—also uses the research method. This is his second book in a new series of compact volumes that he describes as follows: "Taken together, these volumes deliver practical advice on how to succeed in today's brave new world of business. That's because they are rooted in the actual experiences and insights of a select group of companies that have found new and better ways to innovate and grow in spite of our challenging economic environment."
The chapter "What Could Be More Inspiring Than Convenience with Economy?" uses the story of car-sharing company Zipcar as an example. Every time Clark Waterfall—the co-founder of high tech headhunter Boston Search Group—had a meeting in town, he had to drive in and deal with the ridiculous Boston traffic, instead of having the convenience of the train he was used to. Parking and the huge commutes were a royal pain. Zipcar has solved his problem, and found a very sweet spot in major metropolitan areas. You pay ZipCar $10 per hour to use their cars. They are parked in convenient places, and you simply wave your Zipcar card to get into a car, drive it for as long as you want, and then return it to that spot and replace the gas. For a commuter like Clark, this is a perfect deal.
In the chapter titled "What Could Be More Inspiring Than a Crusade?" Champy tells the story of Stoneyfield Farm and how they found a need, and created a brand around it, using simple, yet dramatic marketing ideas—like giving their product away for free to create buzz. Champy smartly summarizes each chapter with practical and valuable "Rules of Engagement." This chapter's are "Make sure your customers are true believers," "Don't hesitate to break the rules," "Use every available technique to tell your story,"
and "Be completely true to your cause,"
among many, many more.
In closing, I must congratulate either Jim Champy or FT Press for the design of this book. They use different font sizes to highlight and summarize ideas not only very effectively, but attractively as well. I'm looking forward to the future releases in this series. This one is a small treasure that will help you inspire and grow your business.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.