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Very Important Prospects

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What's the measure of success in business? For some small-business owners, it's a big bank account. For others, it's a large staff. But according to the results of a recent survey for Sprint Business conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide, more than half the American small-business owners surveyed cited customer satisfaction as the true measure of entrepreneurial success.

"Small-business owners and executives are much closer to the front lines of their operations, so they recognize the contributions that a satisfied customer base can make to a company's long-term success," says Patti Manuel, president of sales and marketing for Sprint Business. "Our own ongoing research has shown that this type of long-term thinking has come to characterize businesses of all sizes."

The importance of keeping your customers--your business's VIPs--contented was also evident to most of the entrepreneurs surveyed; 58 percent of the 1,000 repsondents noted that customer satisfaction has improved within their companies during the last year, while only a slim 2 percent admitted that it has declined.

Sounds like preferential treatment--at least when it comes to your customers--isn't such a bad business idea, after all.

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This article was originally published in the November 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Very Important Prospects.

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