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Building a Successful New Business 101
Building a successful new business requires some personal attention. Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton put it this way: "The folks on the front lines -- the ones who actually talk to the customer -- are the only ones who really know what's going on out there. You'd better find out what they know."

The questions and comments from doing your homework at the frontline are some of the most important marketing gauges you'll ever have. They can tell you:

? What impresses people most about your business
? What services you're not providing that you should be
? What you think you're doing right that, in reality, isn't working and needs to be changed

As a new business owner, listening and responding to customer inquiries and complaints is your first and last step to building a working relationship with your customers. The reality is good communications has become such rare occurrence these days that a study conducted by TARP, a Virginia-based research firm, found that 96 percent of unhappy customers don't even bother trying to complain to the offending business. Instead, they tell 10 to 14 other people about their bad experience. The story of that experience can continue to circulate for as long as 23.5 years! It's very clear, that as a new business owner you need to make it as easy and comfortable as possible for visitors to speak their minds directly to you. That can only happen, though, if they're given ample opportunity to make requests, offer praise or get something off their chests -- and if they believe they're really being listened to when they do.

Your key to being a successful new business is simply observe and listen and satisfy your customers needs.

Upload date: February 14, 2003 11:13 PM

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