Crafting a Business Comeback
(Entrepreneur) — 1. Look outside your company for help.Frequently, small-business owners don’t look outside their office walls enough for guidance. Faust suggests making a list of your top 20 existing customers and reaching out to them for feedback. “Too often in business we become too insular,” says Faust, also a growth consultant and coach based in Cincinnati. “Innovation is listening to your customer so intently you create solutions to improve their situation.”When Faust began working with Hagie Manufacturing Co., an Iowa-based agricultural equipment company, 18 months ago, he assigned each of the top eight executives a task: Visit eight different customers in a year. The visits were not meant to sell their product but rather to listen to what was lacking in the company and find out what clients thought of the competition. Those meetings resulted not only in a sales spike, but also ideas for new products, better financing and more effective selling, according to Faust.