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Last Update: Friday December 15, 2017

Key Idea: Turn A Small Idea Into A Big One

For decades, Dr. Neil Clark Warren was a one-person company.  At the time of this story was taped, Dr. Warren had 3 million paying customers because he turned his small idea into a big one.   After watching this video and reading the Q&A (case study guide), you can go to the homepage  for this episode or click on the Key Question  for other insightful answers and best business practices. 

Key Question:

A: 

There are as many as 16-million, one-person companies in the USA and they deliver a wide ranges of products and services to customers. Dr. Warren was a company of one when he offered counseling services.   You can right now think of the one-person companies you turn to which might include the piano tuner, the architect, the hairdresser, the engineer, the Internet systems consultant, the mortgage broker, the lawyer, the CPA, the yard guy and the list goes on and on.

Dr. Warren's company has taken the lead in the multi-million dollar online matching business and was bringing in $700 million in the year we taped this episode.

Q: What is the difference between a business that stays small and one that grows

A: The biggest difference is the market potential. After Dr. Warren spent years being frustrated because he couldn't help the married couples fix their marriages, he started thinking what he could do. Rather than staying with the small, ineffective idea of working with couples who should never have gotten married in the first place, he figured he could really help people if he could teach them how to find the right person to marry.
 
At first, it seems like a subtle shift; he's still in the marriage business. He had a hunch that marriages fail mostly because of selection so he started the rigorous process of doing his own scientific study. He said he did "autopsies" on 512 marriages. From that he concluded there was a job for him to do, but at that time he didn't know the size of the job!

To use this idea for yourself, think "supply chain." Dr. Warren was making a good living trying to help married couples but when he started thinking about the marriage supply chain, or the road to the alter, he got the insight to change his service offer.

Think about it

What product or service could you offer that you're not now offering? Draw a diagram of the supply chain that your business finds itself in now. Who are your customers? What do they buy from you? What related products do they buy? Is there a gap you can fill?

Clip from: eHarmony

Pasadena, California:  Meet Dr. Neil Clark Warren. He has always been an excellent marriage counselor;  failures in marriage bothered him.  He decided to look into the broken heart of divorce. He probed and researched 512 couples -- divorce autopsies -- and discovered most of these people married the wrong person. He wrote a book about it and that book was selling well, until Oprah invited him to come on her show. Of course, sales exploded. When his son-in-law challenged him to expand his reach, they took that business to the web and almost lost everything.  That was 2001; the dot.coms had become dot.bombs.

Go to the key ideas and all the videos...
Go to the homepage of this episode...

eHarmony

Neil Clark Warren, Founder

300 N. Lake Ave.
Suite 1111
Pasadena, CA 91101
6267954814

Visit our web site: http://eharmony.com/

Office: 6267954814

Business Classification:
Service

Year Founded: 2000

Turn A Small Idea Into A Big One

HATTIE:  The divorce rate in the U.S.A. is over 50 percent. We're all impacted by it. Many of us have been through a divorce. It's not good for anyone. For the couple, for the families, for society and for our businesses. We all lose. We'll take you now inside a company that has decided its goal is to literally change the world for the better.

(Voiceover) This bride met this groom on eHarmony.com.

JOHN: (Voiceover) I, John, take you Cindy to be...

Clergy: (Voiceover) I pronounced you husband and wife in the name of the Father and ...
 
NEIL CLARK WARREN: If you could reduce the divorce rate from where it is now to single digits, 9 or fewer percent, it would be the greatest single social revolution in the history of the human race. And all of a sudden America would be such a different country.

(Voiceover) Over 90 percent of all singles want to be married if they can find the right person. So they deeply want to get married, in fact for a lot of people it becomes a burning yearning. The choice you make of a marriage partner will have more to do with the eventual success of your marriage than everything else combined that you do after you get married.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) In 1993, Dr. Neil Clark Warren wrote the book, Finding the Love of Your Life. Then in 1995, Greg Forgatch joined him to launch their first company to offer seminars based upon the principles in the book.

NEIL, GREG, STEVE (meeting): If you compare this to what you were saying.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) In August of 2000, the two opened their second business, eHarmony.com. Today the service is being used by millions of paying customers.

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