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NEW! IT TAKES A PROPHET TO MAKE A PROFIT has just been named the #1 business book by 800-CEO-READ. It graces the #1 spot of their Top 25 List. Read below for more info.

See what the marketing world has been raving about. Read opinions from critics, the book's publisher and editorial reviews about the newest book by C. Britt Beemer and business author, Robert Shook.

IT TAKES A PROPHET TO MAKE A PROFIT, is about emerging trends of the millennium. Published by Simon & Schuster, it was released in January, 2001.

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From Industry Critics:Top 25 Business Books by 800-CEO-READ
"This title has been chosen for our recommended reading series called "Jack Covert Selects". Each month our president reviews some of the best new business books recently released. The following review is from December 2000."

"Britt Beemer, founder and CEO of America's Research Group out of Charleston, South Carolina, and the author of Predatory Marketing, has written an engaging book about the world of business today. Readers of previous "Jack Covert Selects" know that I love "factoids," and this book, loaded with fun information about how our world works, how it is changing, and in turn, how fast buying trends are changing, fits the bill. In keeping with his career as a researcher, Beemer has loaded It Takes a Prophet with charts and stats to support his assertions, instead of taking the common "this is the way I see it, end of story" approach of some trendspotters. Perhaps most worthwhile, his information illustrates how you can profit from these buying trends."

"Of the 15 trends mentioned in the subtitle, I was familiar (as you will be, I suspect) with a number of them, such as the current obsession with the internet, and how Americans have less free/discretionary time. He also includes trends that make sense when I hear them, including how consumers are, now more than ever, reluctant to pay full price, and how we are developing new ways of caring for our aging parents. Two of the original trends he introduces are: people are dissatisfied with being invisible as customers (which I can relate to both as a consumer and an internet business owner), and today's consumers want, and trust, brand name products. In addition, he talks about employee loyalty (and the text is loaded with great and simple ideas to keep your people), and tackles the widening of the gap between the haves and have-nots."

"I am sending copies of this book to a couple of my friends that are in business, because I am sure they will 'profit' from the book. I am confident that you will also, as this book has serious value."

From the Critics: Library Journal
Market researcher Beemer (Predatory Marketing) and professional business writer Shook team up here to deliver a fast-paced book citing surveys and statistics on 15 market trends, which, they say, should be of concern to everyone in business. One trend they highlight is greater human longevity, which means that middle-aged people, who should have considerable spending power, are devoting larger portions of their incomes and time both to caring for their parents and to preparing for their own retirements. The authors extrapolate from this trend to find potential opportunities for companies that can provide fast service and cater to the needs of an aging population. Other trends discussed include the burgeoning Internet, declining employee loyalty, and the increasing popularity of gambling. With so many trends to cover, the authors don't have time to analyze any one of them thoroughly, and this book is best considered a starting point for practitioners. Recommended for marketing and small-business collections in most public and academic libraries.--Lawrence R. Maxted, Gannon Univ., Erie, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

From the Publisher

Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player of all time, once explained the secret of his success: "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been." Anyone in business today needs the same combination of speed, acumen, and agility to succeed in what has become a rapidly shifting and highly competitive marketplace, says C. Britt Beemer, founder of America's Research Group and a leading authority in the field of market research. The businesses that thrive will be the ones that can not only adapt to but also anticipate powerful forces that are reshaping the American marketplace. Whether you're a business owner, an employee, or an investor, IT TAKES A PROPHET TO MAKE A PROFITshows you how to gain this competitive edge by capitalizing on fifteen critical trends that are changing the way we do business.

Through a lively combination of anecdotes and examples, IT TAKES A PROPHET TO MAKE A PROFIT analyzes the seismic shifts that have been happening in the American marketplace, identifying the forces behind these changes and showing how savvy businesses can find creative ways to attract and keep customers. The trends range from changes in our society (Trend #2: The Gap Is Widening Between the Haves and Have-Nots) to changes in our psychology (Trend #6: Consumers Are Reluctant to Pay "Full Retail") and culture (Trend #12: Gaming Casinos and Lotteries Have Joined America's Mainstream).

Beemer and coauthor Robert Shook discuss which trends are likely to have lasting impact and how they relate to each other (for example, Trend #11: Today's Consumer Wants Brand Products is a direct result of Trend #1: Consumers Have Less Discretionary Time), and offer concrete and practical suggestions. For example, to take advantage of Trend #7: More Americans Are Caring for Their Aging Parents, the authors suggest different ways in which businesses can cater to caregivers who are especially pressed for time and money. Stores can benefit, they say, from starting sales in the middle of the week so that time-conscious shoppers can avoid weekend crowds; travel agencies can offer shorter vacation packages, such as spa visits, as "escapes" that are closer to home; and businesses can target the growing presence of senior citizens online, where company Web sites can offer information or services to help build customer loyalty. Taking similar simple but imaginative steps with any of these fifteen trends can put your business ahead of the competition.

C. Britt Beemer's expertise in successful trend forecasting has worked for clients ranging from Warren Buffett's Berkshire-Hathaway companies to General Electric and other major corporations. In IT TAKE A PROPHET TO MAKE A PROFIT, business owners and employees alike will find an invaluable resource to navigating the marketplace ahead 151%; and profiting from it.

"To survive in our highly competitive marketplace, business owners must tune into prevailing trends," write C. Britt Beemer and Robert L. Shook in the introduction to IT TAKES A PROPHET TO MAKE A PROFIT. Market-research professional Beemer and business writer Shook--who previously collaborated on Predatory Marketing--then lay out 15 significant directional shifts now appearing on the national and global horizon that are "likely to impact your business." Some of these may be more widely recognized than others ("More Americans Are Caring for Their Aging Parents" vs. "Dual-Income Families Are Becoming Single-Income Families," for example), but the key is in how Beemer and Shook dig out the details, making them relevant to today's world of commerce and industry (i.e., precisely how each shift may affect consumer behavior both directly and indirectly, and ways businesses can take this into account). "It doesn't take a prophet to recognize that the ability to spot trends is vital to all managers and entrepreneurs," the authors conclude. "A business thrives by anticipating and then planning what will be, which is why understanding trends is essential." IT TAKES A PROPHET TO MAKE A PROFIT is an insightful and fast-paced read for managers looking for ideas on how to shape their businesses going forward. --Howard Rothman

"One of the best business books I've ever read", March 7, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Chicago, IL
I read just about every business book I can get my hands on, and I just finished reading the new Beemer/Shook book. This is one of the best ever. And the best part is that there are literally hundreds of tips that I can apply to my own business. Beemer and Shook identified 15 business trends that cover everything from investments to frequent buyer programs. In particular, I liked what they write on Trend #11--why Americans are attracted to brand name products today. I also appreciated their comments in Trend #3, about how being a good corporate citizen is not only a good thing to do, but good for business. And Trend #13 on how Americans feel invisible today is a real eye-opener. I'm a big fan of business author Robert Shook, and Britt Beemer is one of the nation's top marketing researchers. Together they make quite a team. I loved their first collaberation, PREDATORY MARKETING, and this one tops it. I hope they team up again because they're a dynamic duo.

A Prophet Offers Eloquent Advice for Survival, January 19, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from New York, NY USA
C. Britt Beemer has been a guru in the retail sector for many years now, and his new book is full of information about the trends that are changing the retail landscape in America. To follow these trends, the authors contend, is vital to business growth and survival. Calling upon his extensive research background, Beemer names the trends and then provides the necessary steps to take advantage of these changes. Some highlights of the 15 trends include a lack of discretionary time, which means consumers have less time to shop. This lack of time leads to another trend--consumers have placed a premium on brand name products. Dual-income families are becoming single-income families, thus providing opportunities for telecommuting, part-time work, and home-operated businesses. Single-income families, mean another trend--more insistence on discount shopping, and increased demand for home improvement centers such as Home Depot. Another trend--more often these days, Americans are taking on the responsibility for their aging parents. This affects direct sales organizations such as Avon or Amway, who use part-time workers. New homes are featuring "mother-in-law" wings, and companies are providing their employees with health insurance for their parents as well as their children.
I found this book very easy to read. IT TAKES A PROPHET TO MAKE A PROFIT offers important and fascinating information that any company or business should pay attention to in order to anticipate the many changes taking place in the marketplace every day. Failure to understand these trends means more additions to the ever-growing corporate graveyard. Does anybody remember Studebaker, Eastern Airlines, Raiway Express or Gimbels?

Thoughtful Perspectives on the Time Crunch and Trust Gaps, December 16, 2000
Reviewer: Donald Wayne Mitchell, from a management consultant in Boston
This is a most unusual book. It builds on contemporary consumer research to identify some new trends that are less well covered by the broad-scale media and suggest potential ways that businesses can respond. Although its selective focus keeps it from being a primary resource for all of your trend planning, the insights from where the authors look are useful.

I have never seen a book on trends that is quite like this one. It excludes demographic changes (such as the aging population, smaller families, and delayed child bearing) but includes the consequences of those changes (such as more people taking care of elderly parents). Go figure why that distinction makes sense. My guess that this is based on C. Britt Beemer's expertise being in consumer interviewing (to a carpenter, every problem looks like a nail, and s/he hits it with a hammer).

I was also surprised by what the authors considered not well covered by the media. One of the findings is that "The Number of 'Paper Millionaires' Is Mushrooming." I doubt if anyone will find that surprising in light of the rapid growth in the stock market over the last decade and burgeoning home prices. All of those books about millionaires that sell so well also make that point.

Are any of these news to you?

  • "The Gap Between the Haves and the Have-Nots Is Widening"
  • "Community Involvement Enhances a Company's Reputation"
  • "American Companies Cannot Expect Employee Loyalty -- They Must Earn It!"
  • "Consumers Are Reluctant to Pay Full Retail Price"
  • "Gaming Casinos and Lotteries Have Joined America's Mainstream"
  • "Home Offices and Telecommuting Are Redefining America's Workplace"
  • "There Is a Growing Obsession with the Internet"

The book is valuable, though, in documenting the degree to which people have a time crunch (time for family vacations, exercise, reading, television, and shopping are all down) and are skeptical (they find rudeness wherever they go and are doubtful about the goodwill of those they work for and who serve them).

The book makes a great case for providing brand name goods and services that take less time, are less error-prone, come with good advice and customized attention, and are rapidly available.

Small businesses will get valuable ideas for how to fend off the national chains with better service and differentiated branding. Larger businesses will learn ways to overcome the presumption of being uncaring.

The principle of the book is to be like Wayne Gretzky, the NHL's great scorer. "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been."

In pointing out these general trends, the authors pretty much leave it up to you to find out what you should do to respond. Some help is provided. For example, one finding is that "Today's Marketing Efforts Are Not Keeping Pace with Changing Consumer Demands," and they describe how you can conduct your own focus group with customers once a quarter to test your marketing effectiveness.

Naturally, a limit of this kind of book is that if every business pursues these same trends, then competition just meets at a new place. Greater profitability may not follow (as many dot coms found while pursuing the Internet trend described here) if competition over focuses on the new area. So be sure to develop an improved way to serve customers that others cannot easily duplicate or surpass.

You should probably read this book in conjunction with one about how to manage your business to take advantage of trends to get the most benefit. Keep looking ahead, but notice where you are and be ready for the unexpected!

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