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Copy Cats and Alpha Dogs


In this month's issue of Inc., I write about Chris Mendez, CEO of Clothes Dr., a central-Florida chain of dry cleaning stores. Mendez's business was in crisis until he met a fellow named Jason Loeb, the CEO of Sudsies, and a bona fide Alpha Dog. The Miami-based Loeb had all but abandoned the traditional dry cleaning business model, closing down store fronts and adding delivery trucks and a robust web site to organize pick up and delivery. It was a radical change that resulted in far lower costs, higher revenue, and greater customer retention. Still, most dry cleaners wouldn't dream of making such dramatic changes. But Mendez felt differently. After meeting Loeb at an industry event, he called him repeatedly for advice, hoping to replicate the model at Clothes Dr., which was in a non-competitive market. Mendez is now reaping the rewards, all because he stepped away from his company and was on the lookout for great ideas that had made others in his industry successful. He's living proof in the power of the "stolen" idea. Who are the Alpha Dogs in your industry and what can you learn from them? What's the best idea you've ever replicated?

Last updated: Jan 11, 2007

DONNA FENN | Contributing Editor

Donna Fenn is the author of Upstarts! How GenY Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You Can Profit From Their Success, an exploration of the ways Gen Y is changing the entrepreneurial landscape.

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