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Last Update: Friday September 17, 2021

Key Idea: Define Your Business Model

John Hawkins bought a failed business and changed its model.  More...  And more... About John...

Key Question:


The text books use the word "model" with many of the functions of business -- for example, you can have a financing model, an organization model, a manufacturing model, etc. What I mean by model here is: the way you develop your product/service then how you deliver it to customers. Are you retail, wholesale, manufacturing, distribution, a sales organization? Who is your customer and how do your reach them?

Eric Rose of E M Rose Builders only builds smart homes designed by architects. Shiv Krishnan's firm Indus web enables existing data for primarily government agencies. Brian Jacobsen and Glenn Biely make money being the back shop for specialty designers. Pamela Rogers admits that her profits come from servicing the cars she sells.

What is Cloud 9 Shuttle and how does it make money?

Cloud 9 is a shared-ride transportation company. It actually makes money at both the retail and wholesale level. It collects money from end-user customers who make their own reservation and pay when they use the service. It also sells it's services to meeting planners who buy the transportation then provide it to people attending meetings and conventions in San Diego. The second revenue stream is a result of expansion and John's investment in limos and buses.

Think about it

What does your company do for customers? What is your business model and should it change as your customers further embrace the Internet?

Clip from: Staying Power

Key Questions about business: What makes a business work?  Why do some make it while so many fail?  And, in the USA, why are there so many business start-ups every year?  How does a business make it beyond the first year? ...third year? ...and fifth year? These are benchmarks. Milestones. Most startups do not get past them.

So, when these veteran entrepreneurs answer the question, "How did you do it?," there is a lot to learn.

This television special outlines the common qualities found in companies that make profits for decades.

Go to all the key ideas and video of this episode...
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Cloud 9 Shuttle

John Hawkins, CEO, founder

3550 Kurtz Street
San Diego, CA 92110

Visit our web site:

Office: 858-505-4900

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1991

Define Your Business Model

HATTIE: Number 2. A solid business model. Are you retail, wholesale, manufacturing, distribution, a sales organization? In the middle of the Internet revolution, old business models have been shattered. Connectivity has put more power into the hands of customers. How will you make a profit going forward? How will you position yourself in the marketplace?

JOHN: Cloud 9 is completely unlike any other shuttle company. What we envisioned when we created the name was to do do something bold and to be radically different than our competition.

HATTIE: John Hawkins took a failing shared ride company and turned it around because he could see that growth would not come from catering to tourists but to residents.

JOHN: We changed the strategy from a visitor-only-based focus to a resident-based focus. This airport is so close to downtown the fare to and from downtown is only $5. Short distance, short fare. The residential market lives in suburbs around the city and the average fare for residents is $15. And, we get repeat business which is truly the smart thing.

VOICE OVER: Shiv Krishnan's firm, INDUS, web-enables existing data for primarily government agencies.

Eric Rose of EM Rose Builders has a special niche in the construciton industry. He only builds smart homes designed by architects.

Brian Jacobsen and Glen Beily make money being the backshop for specialty designers. Pamela Rodgers admits that her profits come from servicing the cars she sells.

Opici Wine Group makes margins rise though global sourcing and Diversified Chemicals wins customers though innovation.

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