These steps separately give a great insight as to how to succeed by not knowing that you should fail
No shame: It would have been a huge mistake to get stuck in the fear of avoiding big customers on the basis that “I wasn’t big enough to be taken seriously”. In truth the worst thing that they could say was no. OK I get that, some people won’t lift a finger to get involved unless there is an eye watering amount of money on the table, but there is always someone who’ll talk to you. Then once you have a conversation going with those you can use their name credibility to talk to the others on the basis that they don’t know you but if X trusts you then you must be OK.
Thinking outside the box: Some products don’t do well in mainstream places, even when it seems obvious that they should. New items need to stand out in order to get noticed so look for a not so obvious connection that might work instead.
It’s a two-way effort: Nothing surprises customers more than you taking an interest in how they got on with your product. Feedback from people that were struggling helped us to develop a better product that we might never have thought of. Thinking that it’s all about the money in your pocket is the goal is totally wrong; unless it works both for you and your customer it’s not going to work long-term.
Take an interest in your mistakes: We’ve made mistakes in the past with bookkeeping and stock control but by keenly seeking out these mistakes and admitting to them before the customer even realises there’s a problem, we were able to build a genuine trusting relationship with customers. This also taught us a lot about our own processes.
Do it yourself: If you don’t spend the odd afternoon speaking directly with your employees you won’t catch problems. Staff who truly feel empowered to tell you about problems will also feel comfortable working for your shared dream.