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Are unsold products piling up on your shelves? Are you shipping more goods from your factory but seeing no improvement in your bottom line? In The New Law of Demand and Supply (Currency Doubleday, $27.50), management consultant Rick Kash explains why you and many other businesspeople are experiencing similar problems and, more important, what to do about it.
Nowadays, supply has outstripped demand in many products and services, Kash argues. It's more important than ever, therefore, to understand demand. Kash offers six principles for creating a demand-focused organization so you won't wind up with a warehouse full of products nobody wants.
The first principle is probably the most important. It calls for you to analyze demand forces and industry factors that influence your business. This is different from figuring out what sells. It means figuring out what drives people to buy. It includes looking at economic, cultural, social, demographic, technological and other factors, both past and present, and linking those forces to key industry factors such as regulation, technology, business cycles and distribution channels. It's not an easy exercise, but when you're finished, you'll have gone a long way toward taking the focus off what you have to sell, and placing it on what's in demand.
Watch What You Say
Have you ever angrily or accidentally said something that cost you a sale or hire? If so, you could profit from the advice on communication in times of stress presented by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler in Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High(McGraw-Hill, $14.95). This practical paperback presents a step-by-step approach to saying the right thing when discord, tension or other obstacles block communication. Especially relevant is advice on dealing with disrespectful employees. Their advice: Don't back away; respectfully let mutineers know that their behavior is leading to trouble. Much of their advice also encourages readers to, as the authors put it, "Work on me first." Listen and learn.
Austin, Texas, writer Mark Henricks has covered business and technology for leading publications since 1981.