January 7, 2015

For decades it seemed like nothing could stop McDonald’s march towards total fast food domination. By the time 2011 rolled around, the company was boasting eight consecutive years of same-store sales growth while also holding the title of top performing stock on the Dow for five years running. But just when everything seemed to be going right for the chain, the golden arches started to lose their shimmer. Changing consumer tastes and a rocky transition between CEOs are leading towards Continue reading

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December 19, 2014

Fitting rooms provide brick and mortar clothing retailers with one of their few advantages over online outlets. After all, consumers are more likely to purchase an item that they have actually tried own versus something they’ve only seen on a screen. But that doesn’t necessarily mean people will buy everything they bring with them into the changing room. In fact, many consumers will simply give up on an item if it doesn’t fit them immediately.

In order to reverse these Continue reading

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November 23, 2014

From making repairs to keeping the gas tank filled, owning a car is a pricey enterprise for many people. But of all the expenses required for auto ownership, perhaps none is more frustrating than paying for insurance. Not only is the service expensive, it’s also rarely needed until something goes seriously wrong with your car. Matters are even worse for people like Greg Muender, a San Diego tech entrepreneur who works from home. Even though he clocks in as few Continue reading

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November 15, 2014

Thanks to tough legislation and widespread public education, the number of U.S. smokers has declined 50 percent since the habit’s heyday in the 1950s. Although this significant customer drop-off has hurt many tobacco companies, business has been booming over the last few years for the iconic lighter brand Zippo. The Bradford, PA-based company earned $200 million in sales last year, a record for the lighter maker. What’s more, Zippo’s expanded global presence and diversified product line has increased sales by Continue reading

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November 13, 2014

 

When it comes to innovation in business, creating a viable and valuable product is just the first step. After all, the arrival of the portable MP3 player made many companies stand up and take notice of this revolutionary device. One of those firms was Apple, who soon came to dominate the market with the iPod. Although the signature MP3 player was released later than its competitors, the product’s dependability and stylish design quickly allowed it to capture the bulk Continue reading

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November 2, 2014

Although it’s been more than six years since the start of the Great Recession, many in the restaurant industry have failed to adjust to the “new normal” created by the downturn. In fact, visits to U.S. restaurants have fallen by a staggering 1.3 billion since 2008. As American eateries become desperate for business, many have turned to gimmicky menu items to drum up interest. From Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco to the $100 “Never Ending Pasta Pass” at Olive Garden, restaurants Continue reading

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October 31, 2014

The multi-billion dollar home goods company Procter & Gamble produces hundreds of items, but the iconic business owes much of its success to just one brand. More than 135 years ago, James Norris Gamble led a team that created a vegetable oil-based soap with a distinctly white hue. The color presented the company with the perfect brand name, Ivory, while the item’s ability to float provided a unique selling point. What’s more, Gamble advertised the bar of soap as being Continue reading

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October 28, 2014

For more than 50 years, the Red Delicious has dominated the American apple market. But while no one can dispute the fruit’s famous color, many consumers have begun to take exception to the “Delicious” portion of its name. Even though the U.S. still produces 54 million bushels of Red Delicious annually, production of the fruit has dropped 40 percent since 2000 as demand for other varieties has increased.

The Red Delicious began its ascent way back in the 1870s when Continue reading

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October 26, 2014

 

With so many teenagers equipped with smartphones, it can be easy for older Americans to feel a little jealous of their younger counterparts. After all, cramming at the last minute before a big history exam is a lot easier if you can quickly double check facts on your iPhone. If the subject’s algebra or calculus, however, today’s high school kids have about the same technological edge as students did 10 years ago. That’s because the TI-84 Plus graphing calculator Continue reading

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