By: Gray Poehler, Business Counselor


Q: I am working harder than ever but can’t seem to increase my sales. Other than cutting prices what can you suggest?

 A: I can’t give you specifics as you have not indicated if you sell a tangible product or deliver a service to your customers. As a general rule, if price is not a major consideration, falling sales numbers can be attributed to an inferior product or poor customer service.

The public is fickle. They expect both a quality product and service before and after the sale. We can learn a lot from history. So let me share a true story of how one man helped to reshape the Japanese economy after World War II.

W. Edwards Deming was an obscure statistician in this country in 1950 when research he had conducted during World War II came to the attention of some Japanese industrial leaders. At their request, he then gave a series of lectures in Japan on his quality-control principles, and he and his message were eagerly embraced. 

 Deming's theories were based on the premise that most product defects resulted from management shortcomings rather than careless workers, and that inspection after the fact was inferior to designing processes that would produce quality products.

He argued that enlisting the efforts of willing workers to do things properly the first time and giving them the right tools were the real secrets to quality control.

In your own experience, think of the many times you have read about our seemingly dysfunctional government and thought, if only they would do this or that, it could solve the problem.

Who better than your employees know the intricacies of product development, distribution and customer service? They have a pretty good idea of what is and is not working. The customer service people are the ones who have to deal with complaints.

 Many times the boss is far removed from the daily grind and does not become fully aware of a problem until the consequences begin to be reflected on the monthly profit and loss statement.

 There is a reason why so many employee owned business prosper. Each employee has a vested interest in seeing the business succeed. Do yourself a favor and begin to conduct weekly or monthly staff meetings.

Create an environment where the employee feels at ease in sharing his or her ideas about how you can do things better. And to the extent possible, take these recommendations to heart and try to implement them wherever possible.


Southwestern Florida entrepreneurs seeking capital for their young enterprises will have an opportunity to compete for $50,000 in seed money at a Shark Tank-style event in April 2018. The Tamiami Angel Fund in cooperation with SCORE Naples is sponsoring the competition. For more information and to submit a plan, visit the Tamiami Angel Fund website