Ch10 Article 2 - Small Business (A Special Report) Running...

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Page 1 of 2 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved. Small Business (A Special Report) Running The Show --- The Customer Knows Best: Thanks to the Internet, companies can easily find out what consumers think; They just ask By Kelly K. Spors 920 words 13 July 2009 The Wall Street Journal J R5 English For small businesses looking for advice, the Internet provides an ideal consultant: the consumer. All sorts of start-ups and small companies are using the Internet to involve customers in decisions on everything from what to sell, how products look and work, how much they cost, and even how the company operates, like what hours a store should be open or how its floor space should be laid out. For business owners who are short on cash and have little margin for error, there are two big advantages to using consumers as advisers: They're cheaper than the professional consultants that bigger companies routinely employ. And the end result is likely to appeal to customers because they were involved in creating it, says Ken Zolot, a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City, Mo., nonprofit that promotes entrepreneurship. "Your customers might be better at designing your product than your elite team of product designers, who might be hiding in an ivory tower somewhere," says Mr. Zolot. Consumers often will provide input out of sheer passion or in return for the chance to win cash prizes or other incentives, he adds.
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Ch10 Article 2 - Small Business (A Special Report) Running...

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