7just ask the customer

A BUSINESS TRUISM: The best place to go for advice is to the consumer. It doesn’t sound like rocket science, and it isn’t. In big business, decisions are often many times removed from the actual transaction with the customer. By the time a problem gets resolved, the customer has been lost. This is a place where the little guy can gain an advantage.

Take the American automobile companies—the Big Three. For years, they built gas guzzlers that people often did not want to buy; in the case of the Hummer, General Motors was forced to subsidize customers’ fuel purchases by offering buyers free gas for a year. Building cars without asking people what they want in a car was one of the things that led to foreign automakers’ seizing ...

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