Use Your Head

The Power Of Creative Emulation

Creative emulation is the art of studying effective techniques from companies outside your industry and adapting variations to your own business. Joseph Lukacs, founder of International Performance Group, a Bridgewater, New Jersey, service that offers private business coaching to professionals, CEOs, business owners and financial service professionals, suggests that entrepreneurs seeking ways to increase their problem-solving skills use creative emulation as a starting point.

"When you see an innovative concept being used in any industry, ask yourself, `How can I use this concept in my business?' If you go outside your industry for ideas and are the first to implement them within your industry, you'll gain a decided marketplace advantage," he says.

Lukacs worked with a client who owned a car-cleaning service targeted to executives. Ongoing business was hard to come by because clients called for cleaning appointments when and if they remembered. For solutions, Lukacs looked to a successful dog groomer--who always had a waiting list of clients--because he used several simple, yet effective, ways to encourage repeat business:

1. He sold his service by monthly subscription.

2. He automatically charged his clients' credit cards at the beginning of each month.

3. He made a standing monthly appointment for each client.

By emulating the dog groomer's tricks, the executive car-cleaning service locked in sales it could count on.

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This article was originally published in the December 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Use Your Head.

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