I just finished the book $100 Start-Up by Chris Guillebeau. It’s a smart, inspiring read and a must for anyone thinking about starting a small business. Guillebeau has pulled together a ton of really interesting examples of start-ups that have made it, many with a minimal upfront investment.
There was one passage that I found especially interesting and it related to success. Through his studies, Guillebeau determined that most successful small companies had a few attributes in common. He then came up with a simple formula to explain it:
Passion & Skill + Usefulness = Success
2. Conquering the fear of flying. Miles, schmiles. The airlines need to come up with new and unique ways to attract and retain customers and I think Virgin Atlantic Airlines in the UK has a brilliant one. It’s a unique effort to capture an underserved part of the flying market—those who fear flying—and turn them into regular Virgin Atlantic customers.
The airline has developed a program called Flying Without Fear, including a comprehensive Web site that claims to be “the Internet’s biggest resource for fearful flyers”. There you can find videos, success stories and support networks for dealing with flying phobia. Live workshops are available and there’s an active online community discussion on overcoming the fear. (Sample passage: “I was able to manage the flight without valium and without tears!”)
For iPhone users, there even a mobile app to assist you, that includes a personal greeting from Sir Richard Branson himself, answers to common questions from a pilot, and an in-flight tutorial that can guide you as to what’s going on during each portion of your flight. The program claims a success rate in excess of 98%, and I’m guessing Virgin Atlantic has attracted a plethora of new and loyal customers because of it.
3. A belly-full of rewards. Belly is a US-based digital loyalty program that allows customers to sign up online and automatically start earning points at over 1,000 small businesses. But what really sets the program apart are its tech-y nature and unique rewards.
Each participating merchant is equipped with an iPad that customers can use to sign in and track their points. No membership cards or key fobs necessary. But for me, the coolest aspect of the program is the fun, seldom monetary, often wacky rewards. For instance, you can:
- Earn “cut the line” privileges at several coffee shops and grocers.
- Get a sandwich named after you at a local deli.
- Earn a “punch the owner in the stomach” reward (!?) at a comic book shop.
- Get a 10-minute “all you can eat” pass at famed Chicago sausage shop Devil Dawgs.
This post by writer and creative director Tom Rapsas originally appeared on Loyalty Truth.