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E-book

The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart

ISBN: 978-0-470-04089-8
326 pages
April 2006
The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart (0470040890) cover image
Build-A-Bear Workshop® is one of the most successful retailing concepts in recent history. Starting with just one location in 1997, the company now operates more than 200 stores worldwide.

Leading the way is Maxine Clark, the company's founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Bear. Clark is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading and most creative entrepreneurs. In The Bear Necessities of Business, she reveals how she built this amazing global business from the ground up, while arming you with the tools you need to start, run, and market your own company in today's tough competitive environment. While primarily drawing on real-life experiences from Build-A-Bear Workshop®, Clark also offers wisdom gained throughout her entire thirty-plus-year career, including lessons and examples from some of the other great companies that do so much right.

Straightforward and accessible, The Bear Necessities of Business is divided into seven parts, each built around an essential element that will allow you to stand apart from the crowd. The short, accessible chapters show you everything you need to:

  • Get your business started
  • Become a great boss
  • Connect with your customers
  • Add value to the overall experience
  • Effectively market your company
  • Plan for future growth
  • Give back to your customers, employees, and community

Best of all, these principles can be applied to any industry and are proven to work whether your target audience is children, teenagers, baby boomers, seniors, or any age in-between.

Whether you're looking to start a new business, improve an existing one, be a better manager, or hire the best employees, The Bear Necessities of Business contains the insights and information you need to succeed. Even if you work for some-one else and have no plans to strike out on your own, you'll still benefit from the advice found in this book. After all, the best employees—and those who consistently rise to the top—are those who think like entrepreneurs!

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Introduction.

Part One: Getting Started.

Dream the Dream Supreme.

Let a Child Inspire You.

Do What You Love.

Beware of Conventional Wisdom.

Pour Your Heart Into It.

Envision the Core User.

Imagine Your Company from the Inside Out.

It's All in the Details.

Develop String Partnerships.

be Financially Secure.

Put Your Plans in Writing.

Make Investors Come to You.

Part Two: Being a Great Boss.

Show a Willingness to Do Any Job.

Seek and Find Those Who Share Your Passion.

Create a Fun Place to Work.

Celebrate Mistakes with a red Pencil Awed.

Respect Those Around You.

Empower Your Employees to Contribute.

Know What You Don't Know.

Seek the Help of Outside Experts.

Keep Score.

Read, Act, and Share.

Part Three: Connecting with Your Customers.

See Yourself Through the Public's Eyes.

Learn from Your Customers.

Build an Advisory Board.

Bring Out the Child in Everyone.

Spending More Creates More Value.

Don't Cater to All Audiences.

Ensure that Each Person Feels Special.

Answer Customer Letters.

Part Four: Creating an Incredible Experience.

Make First Impression Last.

Turn Every day into a Holiday.

Emulate the Five Pillars of Success.

Keep Inventory in Check.

Pay Attention to Packaging.

Offer an Escape from the Ordinary.

Part Five: Using Essential Marketing Strategies.

Be a Great Brand.

The Best Advertising IS Free.

Target your Pitches.

Respond to the Media.

Advertise Smart.

Create Buzz.

Use the Web Wisely.

Embrace Viral Marketing.

Part Six: Growing Your Business.

1 + 1 = 10.

Live in the Now... and the Future.

Learn from the Experiences of Others.

Grow Without Compromise.

Be Prepared for the Unimaginable.

Innovate Incessantly.

Speak in All Languages.

Turn "No" into Your Own "Yes".

The Harder You Work, the Luckier You Get.

Five Questions That Will Help Propel Your Business.

Part Seven: Giving Back.

Good Works Are Good Business.

Begin in Your Own Backyard.

Share and Share Alike.

Bearisms to Live and Work By.

Acknowledgments.

About the Authors.

Index.

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Maxine Clark is the founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Bear of Build-A-Bear Workshop®. A veteran of the retail industry, she has been widely recognized for her innovative work and is regularly featured in the media. Clark spent more than twenty years with The May Department Stores Company and later served as president of Payless ShoeSource, which she turned into the number one seller of children's licensed footwear in the world. Since 1997, Clark has focused her attention on Build-A-Bear Workshop®, a retail store that lets customers create their own stuffed companions. The first store opened in 1997, and there are now more than 300 locations worldwide.

Amy Joyner is an award-winning business reporter who has written on entrepreneurship for many years. She is a small business expert as well as author of The eBay Millionaire, The eBay Billionaires' Club, and The Online Millionaire, all published by Wiley.

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