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Better Off Dead?

Eight ways to spot a product line that's doomed.

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This story appears in the April 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The owner of a small electronics company wassearching for a way to kick-start , which had flattened overthe past three years. After a lengthy session of hand-wringing andself-doubt, he came up with what he felt was the best way for thecompany to get moving again. He would make sure his staff dideverything it could to improve and concentratemore on . The company would have towork harder at satisfying its customers because that was the onlything holding them back--or so he thought.

Customer satisfaction plummets when companies get intoproduction problems that delay delivery or affect quality, but thiscompany didn't have those problems. It had a good record formeeting customer delivery needs, had an excellent reputation forproduct quality, and the staff seemed knowledgeable about how todeal with customers. It was a good bet the problems were comingfrom another area. But where?

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