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Business Ideas – Business Lessons from Jenny Craig (food & service entrepreneur)

Business Ideas – Business Lessons from Jenny Craig (food & service entrepreneur) by Evan Carmichael

 

jenny craig

 

Today we’re going to look at how a gym manager mortgaged her house to start a business because she saw a need, moved to Australia, and later sold her business for $600 million. This is the story of Jenny Craig and the top three lessons you can learn from her success.

 

Action Item #1: Promote, Promote, Promote!

 

Building a better mousetrap is not enough anymore to get a company off the ground. You need to aggressively promote your business to make sure your customers know that you exist. From advertising and public relations to search engine optimization and social media marketing, you have many opportunities to spread the word about your company and you should never take your foot off the gas!

 

In the company’s early years, Craig made sure that exactly ten percent of sales was directed back into commercial advertising each and every year. Individual franchises were also expected to spend ten percent of sales, or at least $1,000 a week, on local advertising for their own centres.

 

They used traditional advertising on television programs, leveraged celebrity endorsements, and created direct mail campaigns. But they also tried many offbeat approaches. As one example, Sid got the company a lot of publicity during one televised international cricket match, where cameras picked up on a sign in the crowd directed at the captain of the English team that read: “See Jenny Craig. Quick.”

 

Action Item #2: Offer Products and Services

 

I believe the best way to build a business is to start a service – it’s low cost and gets you close to your customers. Your chances of survival are much higher and you learn what future services and products your clients need. Once you’ve established a base of customers and know exactly what’s missing in the marketplace, you can create your products. You’ve got cashflow from your service business to keep the company running and you’ve got a loyal group of clients who are ready to buy!

 

Jenny Craig had the same philosophy. Her business started with Jenny Craig centres where they would help clients establish a workout program, offer nutritional guidance, and also give motivational services. Her business grew every year as she added more centres and people to her team. It was a very successful service based business.

 

Jenny Craig’s big break came when she started offering prepared food products as a part of her offering. She brought on board a highly qualified staff of dieticians, psychologists, and physicians to help her create a menu that was healthy and nutritional. In doing so, Jenny’s Cuisine became a central component to her program. All of her clients were required to purchase these portion and calorie controlled foods, which included over sixty different breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack options. Jenny’s Cuisine proved so popular that the company’s gross revenues from food sales increased to 91 percent by 1993.

 

Action Item #3: Never Give Up!

 

Just like I discussed in my last post, it’s important as an entrepreneur to never give up on your idea. Every business owner will face a moment of crisis which forces you to think whether it’s all worth it – the long hours, the mounting debt, the personal sacrifices. These moments will help define you as an entrepreneur. It’s the founders who stare those moments square in the face and keep on building who go on to be the ultra-successful entrepreneurs.

 

From losing weight, to starting her own business, to not being able to run her business in America, Craig has proven that with perseverance anything is possible. When the Craigs first sold their chain of Body Contour gyms, they did so in agreement to a non-compete clause. They were not allowed to set up shop again anywhere in the U.S. for two years.

 

And so, refusing to wait two years before they made their next move, the couple went on a search for their next destination. Where could they begin their new line of fitness centres? What country was similar to the U.S. in terms of diet and fitness levels but presented no language barrier? The Craigs decided on Australia. Their friends thought they were “nuts” but the couple never gave up and turned their new business into a company that sold for $600 million.

 

Business Ideas: Top 3 Business Lessons From Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies)

Business Ideas: Top 3 Business Lessons From Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies) by Evan Carmichael

 

debbi fields

 

 

Today we’re going to look at how a housewife who was told by her husband that her business concept was a “stupid idea” created an international brand with almost 500 retail locations.

 

“The greatest failure is not to try. Had I listened to all the people during the course of my life who said, “You can’t. You’ll fail. It won’t work. You don’t have…,” I wouldn’t be here today.” – Debbi Fields

 

Action Item #1: Don’t Let Rejection Hold You Back

 

Every new business is going to have its share of doubters. You’ll have potential customers, lenders, suppliers, partners, and employees turn you down. You may even have your friends and family question what you’re doing. If you’re sure that your idea has merit then you owe it to yourself to give it your best. Use the rejection as fuel to motivate you to keep going – remember that each no gets you closer to a yes.

 

As far as Fields was concerned, she knew she was not going to disappoint her husband and her parents who did not believe in her. The only person she risked disappointing was herself if she did not try. “And, so, my journey began,” says Fields. “I made the decision, and I was going to see it through.”

 

Meanwhile, Fields’ parents continued to discourage their daughter’s plans. Again, Fields’ mother told her to give up telling her that “There’s magic in those words because when she said, ‘Debbi, just give up,'” Instead of giving up, Fields created a mantra for herself, and maintained the faith that there was someone out there that would finally say ‘yes’ to her dream. Her advice: “You do not have to be superhuman to do what you believe in. The most important thing is for you to believe in what you are doing. Absolutely know there are people out there who want to say yes.”

 

Action Item #2: Let Customers Try Before They Buy

 

With any new product or service customers are reluctant to buy because they don’t know what they’re getting. If you can think of a way for your clients to try out what you’re selling on a small scale they are much more likely to buy, assuming that you have a quality product or service. Trying something out reduces the risk for the customer and increases the chances that they’ll place an order with you.

 

When Fields opened up her first shop she had trouble getting the foot traffic outside to come inside her store. To create an incentive for new customers to come in, she began sending out trays of free cookies into the streets. People would try her cookies outside and wander into the store to see where they could find more.

 

According to Mrs. Fields: “I wanted to make my first investment in my customer. I wanted to give the product away… I wanted people to actually experience the product, try the product, and if they thought it was worthy, if they liked it, then they could buy it…. Try it and buy it. That was the way we really found customers.”

 

Action Item #3: Good Enough Never Is

 

One day Debbi Fields walked into one of her stores to see a long line of customers waiting to purchase a huge batch of cookies that she immediately knew had been over baked. Fields was upset; she did not want those cookies to be sold, or for those customers to associate her name with over baked cookies. Fields approached the manager to figure out what was going on. “What do you think of these cookies?” Fields asked him. “He responded by saying, ‘Oh, Debbi, they’re good enough.” Fields was upset and immediately threw out all of the cookies. “Good enough?” she said. “Good enough never is.”

 

Fields now had a long line of hungry customers waiting to buy cookies that had just been tossed in the garbage. She went over to them and explained, one by one, what had happened. “We’ve over baked these cookies,” she said, “and I want them to be perfect and whatever you are standing in line for, I will absolutely give them to you free plus I’ll match for free if you will come back.” According to Mrs. Fields: “Good enough never is. Set your standards so high that even the flaws are considered excellent.”

 

John Mackey on Whole Foods, Conscious Capitalism, and Life Beyond the Profit Motive

John Mackey on Whole Foods, Conscious Capitalism, and Life Beyond the Profit Motive

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“I think the critics of capitalism have got it in this very small box – that it’s all about money,” explains John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods. “And yet, I haven’t found it be that way. I’ve known hundreds of entrepreneurs and with very few exceptions most of them did not start their businesses primarily to make money.”

In “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business,” Mackey and his co-author, Raj Sisodia, make a case that businesses are at their best when reaching for a higher purpose that ranges far beyond any simplistic notions of the profit motive or self-interest.

Reason’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Mackey to discuss his new book, the success of Whole Foods, the growing burden of government on day-to-day life, and how the Austin-based entrepreneur came to appreciate what he calls “the heroic spirit of business.”

Hacking the supply chain: Pete Russell

Hacking the supply chain: Pete Russell

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Pete Russell is a local food advocate, social entrepreneur and founder of Ooooby. After seeing first hand the destructive nature of globalized food and the accelerating demand for local alternatives during his time at a multi-million dollar food business, Pete became committed to working in the local food space. Driven by a passion for developing smart systems for food sales and logistics, Out of our own backyards (Ooooby) is the result of his work — a local food operation delivering to hundreds of Auckland doorsteps each week.

Chairman & CEO of Illy Coffee, Andrea Illy, on sustainability and business strategy

Chairman & CEO of Illy Coffee, Andrea Illy, on sustainability and business strategy

It’s twice the price of store brand coffee, but aficionados happily pay it. What makes a niche brand of coffee so sustainable? INSEAD Knowledge meets CEO of illycaffè, Andrea Illy, to find out more about this business model with a difference.

 

Walkability: Alicia Barber

Walkability: Alicia Barber

As the cities we live in grow and change, some of their central areas can become less appealing, and less walkable. By setting a few key priorities for these areas, each one of us can help to reclaim these spaces as functional and attractive parts of our communities.

 

Rose George: Let’s talk crap. Seriously.

Rose George: Let’s talk crap. Seriously.

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It’s 2013, yet 2.5 billion people in the world have no access to a basic sanitary toilet. And when there’s no loo, where do you poo? In the street, probably near your water and food sources — causing untold death and disease from contamination. Get ready for a blunt, funny, powerful talk from journalist Rose George about a once-unmentionable problem.

Rose George “talks shit” to raise awareness about the lack of basic sanitation worldwide.

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER?

Rose George thinks, researches, writes and talks about sanitation. Diarrhea is a weapon of mass destruction, says the UK-based journalist and author, and a lack of access to toilets is at the root of our biggest public health crisis. In 2012, two out of five of the world’s population had nowhere sanitary to go.

The key to turning around this problem is to “stop putting the toilet behind a locked door,” says George.  Let’s drop the pretense of “water-related diseases” and call out the cause of myriad afflictions around the world — “poop-related diseases” that are preventable with a basic toilet. Once we do, we can start using human waste for good.

George explores the problem in her book The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters and in a fabulous special issue of Colors magazine called “Shit: A Survival Guide.”

“‘The Big Necessity’ [takes] a subject that seems fixed and familiar and taboo and makes us understand it is … dazzlingly intriguing.”  Johann Hari, Slate, 10/20/08

 

Marketing Food to Children: Anna Lappe

Marketing Food to Children: Anna Lappe

Author and activist Anna Lappe takes on the billion-dollar business of marketing junk food, soda, and fast food to children and teens. With diet-related related illnesses alarmingly on the rise, pervasive marketing of junk food to kids is downright dangerous. The food industry says its up to parents to raise healthy kids. Lappe agrees, that’s why she says leave parenting to her–and the millions of moms and dads trying to raise healthy kids. Learn about the dubious marketing tactics of the junk food giants and the ways you can fight back to promote kids’ health.

Anna Lappe is a national bestselling author and a founding principal of the Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund. Anna’s most recent book is Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It, named by Booklist and Kirkus as one of the best environmental book’s of the year. She is the co-author of Hope’s Edge, which chronicles social movements fighting hunger around the world, and Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen, with seasonal menus by chef Bryant Terry. A popular educator about sustainable food and farming, Anna has participated in hundreds of events, from hosting community dinners to delivering university keynotes to emceeing a food-focused fundraiser at Sotheby’s. She is currently the director of the Real Food Media Project, a new series of myth-busting videos about the real story of our food.

 

Good Foods Taste Great: David McInerney

Good Foods Taste Great: David McInerney

Join FreshDirect’s co-founder David McInerney, as he champions changing the way people eat as a featured speaker at the 2013 TEDx Manhattan conference. McInerney travels the world meeting with hundreds of farmers, fisherman, and ranchers to source the healthiest, freshest, highest quality foods in existence for FreshDirect’s customers. During his travels, McInerney has become keenly aware that there is a fundamental flaw in our food system, which forces our farmers to grow food for transport rather than taste. What’s more, today fresh foods don’t taste like they should; people aren’t eating them, and processed foods are winning–and its crippling our country’s health. During TEDx Manhattan, McInerney calls on the retailer and the consumer to help change our broken food cycle and join in his taste crusade, to allow farmers to grow good foods that taste great, helping to change the way people eat, and change the world.

David McInerney has been on a “tastes-great” crusade for the past twenty years. A former French-trained chef, he is a co-founder of FreshDirect.com, the leading online grocer in the U.S.

In strategically setting the direction for food at FreshDirect, David helps educate and provide higher quality fresh food to millions in New York and Philadelphia. Every year, he spends the majority of his time visiting and building relationships with local and global farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, giving him a rare view across the entire sustainable food spectrum.
David started his food career while studying and working in Burgundy under renowned chef Bernard Loiseau at his Michelin 3-Star restaurant La Cote d’Or and later under legendary New York Chef David Bouley.

He is a sought after speaker and food educator. He has dedicated his life to changing the way consumers eat, and how the industry sources fresh, healthy, sustainable foods.

 

From small family business to global success: Lavazza

From small family business to global success: Lavazza

It is one of the most iconic coffee brands on the planet with logos out the front of cafés all over the world, but how did Lavazza get so big? Joining Peter on Super TV is Lavazza’s Vice President, Giuseppe Lavazza, to explain how a once small family business reached such great heights.