The Company You Keep
IGC Member Digest
In This Issue
Mindset
Business LookBook
Clippings
Musings
Quick Links
Nov/2008

Hi IGC Members,

Welcome to Edition #2 of our the New IGC Members Only Business Digest! And, thanks for all the great feedback on Edition #1!
 
As a reminder, through this digest we will share with you some of the best news on small business ideas, models, and innovation that we discover. The content has been filtered because it makes us think differently and critically about entrepreneurship and our business. We hope it will challenge and enhance your thinking too!
 
In the coming Digests you will find at least 4 sections:
 
Mindset: Topic-based thoughts from A & A
Business LookBook: An interesting, innovative, and thought-generating business or business concept.
Clippings: Relevent and thought-provoking articles and news
Musings: A recap of our blog posts
 
keep thinking,
 
Adelaide & Amy
 
Mindset
You vs. The Company 
 
We have been thinking this month about to what extent entrepreneurs (and leaders for that matter) build themselves into the fabric, brand, and overall value of the companies they run. It is a good thing? bad thing? best practice? danger?
 
It is tricky business, no?
 
Personality and leadership are wonderful attributes for any company. Many of us regard our businesses as an extension of ourselves in the first place, and may find it hard to imagine our companies without us or even without out our personal touches.
 
However, it is important to think about the ways in which this can limit potential, hinder growth, or even harm the overall health of your business.
 
As reported in The Week and Computer World, a few weeks ago, Apple, inc. had a near-death experience after an anonymous source on CNN's ireport.com claimed that Apple CEO Setve Jobs had suffered a heart attack. Shares immeadiately plunged 10.9%. (they bounced back after the claimed was discovered to be false). More recently stocks fluxuately again based on various succession theories and predictions.
 
It is worth considering the extent to which you make your company about you. 
 
* In what ways is your presence and persona an asset to your service or product?
 
*In what ways is your presence and persona a liability to your service or product?
* In what ways will your positioning in the company assist with growth efforts? hinder your growth efforts?
 
* What can you do (if needed) to help put the spotlight back on the company rather than yourself?
 
* and vice versa, if the spotlight should be more on you, what steps can you take to achieve that?
 
all food for thought...
Business LookBook
Barbara Lynch Gruppo 
 
Our Business LookBook feature this month is taken from Inc Magazine's "How I Did It" Section.
 
Barbara is a chef and restrauteur who heads up the No.9 Group, a collection of 6 high-concept restaurants and food shoppes. 3 more delicious establishments are on the way and expected soon.
 
Barbara's story is compelling. She grew up in the projects of South Boston and dropped out of high school. She hustled her way up the food service ladder, with charm and bravado. Her ascent is sprinkled with true "fake it until you make it" scenarios. Each stretch of the truth enabled her to get another door opened, where upon she quickly and skillfully acquired the requisite business savvy to not just stay but excel.
 
In addition to her "School of the Hard Knocks" styled story, there are several other remarkable things to know about Barbara and her journey.
 
For example, aside to being a story about distance (how far she has come), this is also a story about speed (how quickly she is moving)! The rate of growth for The No.9 Group is staggering. There seems to have been a least one new venture a year, and this upcoming year seems to be yielding 3.
 
And, aside from from intensity, her ability to eye the market and deliver new concepts is inspiring. Among her portfolio of high end restaurants and catering services, she also has The Butcher shop ( a neighborhood wine bar and odl school butcher shop), Plum Produce (a fresh produce market) and Stir (a demonstration kitchen and cookbook store), Drink (new age cocktail bar) and Sportello ( a modern interpretation of the lunch counter), among others. YUM!
 
And lastly, aside from her clear business acumen and success, Barbara exudes character and authenticity. She still boxes! (And the picture in the article proves she is tough.) It is refreshing to see this streak of genuineness, and to recognize that she has been able to maintain this in the face of so many dramatic life changes.
 
 
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Reading this piece, made us stop and think...
 
* What role do you let attitude play in the management and growth of your business?
 
* What big risk have you taken that has been rewarded? What risk have you taken that hasn't been rewarded? 
 
* Do you try to "fake it until you make it"? Why or why not? What are the risks and rewards associated for you and your company or career?
 
Clippings
Noteworthy News and Articles  
 
The theme of things that cuaght our eye this month seems to be UNCONVENTIONAL
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1.
An awesome article about Guerilla Marketer, Sam Ewen, entitled Creative Mischief in this months Fast Company. Talk about unconventional! He orchestrates never-been-done-before stunts for all types of clients in all sorts of locations. Interestingly, though, he discusses some of the business challenges inherent in the field of alternative marketing, and how he tries to take an unconventional approach to differentiate himself from the competition. Occasionally this field can get you in trouble though. Last year, ones of Sam's stunts set off a Bomb scare in Boston. Read another article how his company rose to meet what was surely their biggest business challenge.
 
2.
We have been hearing and reading so much about the Gilt Group, a high-end, members only, web sale site. Gilt Group caught our eye for not only it's unconventional business model (invite only) but also for redefining discounted online sales for luxury goods. More: Cache. Less: Bargin Basement. They were mentioned in Business Week.
 
3.
Also in the fashion world, there was a fascinating article in Business Week about the clothing store Zara and how their unconventional model succeeds by "breaking all the rules" of traditional fashion outlets.
 
 
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a few more interesting tid-bits
 
A well written article that explains (in words and good graphics) the power of web analytics and meaning behind those funny phrases!
 
Interesting, must read piece on a woman (and her company) that got in trouble for blogging about a scam that she was nearly victim too. After suspecting foul play, this woman blogged about her experience to warn about the perpetrating company. That company then sued her for damages and lost business!!! A good reminder of the VERY public nature of blogs and other social media outlets.
 
Business Week reports on a study that concludes that "social skills can be a better predictor of future earnings than test scores". The study is published in the September edition of Social Science Research and was conducted by a sociologist using data from the National Educational Longitudnal Study of 1988. The study reports that "students who are described as conscientious, motivated, and able to relate well to peers earned an average $3,200 more yearly than those with equally good test scores but poorer social skills."
 
Musings 
Read Our Recent Musings & Goings On...
 
 
We are looking forward to your thoughts & feedback on this new publication!
 
All the best,
 
Adelaide & Amy