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Improve Your Great Idea by Listening to What Your Customers Tell You You need unshakeable confidence to start a business and a lot of humility to make it succeed.

By Wendy Keller

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A big part of charging more, earning more and attracting more customers comes down to trust. Can your customers trust you to reliably provide what they want? If they can, they will buy from you. If they can't, they won't.

People buy from people they like and trust. Sometimes, even if your price is a little higher. When you give people what they want, the way they want to get it, they come back. Figuring out that Rubik's Cube® is what makes the difference between a business that struggles and one that thrives.

In the town where I live, there was an old fashioned American comfort food restaurant. The dim interior was like walking back into the 1980s. The senior citizen discount made it popular with the geriatric set. I went there against my will three times. I never saw more than four or five other tables occupied.

Related: 5 Cool Things You Can Do With Customer Feedback

When the owner retired, his son took over. Full of vigor, his son got a huge loan and remodeled the place dramatically. It was stunning! Beautiful! Modern!

He fancied himself a chef of haute cuisine, so he immediately changed the menu. The senior citizens revolted -- loudly. The locals who had been going there for years complained that the clumpy meatloaf was gone, and so was the cold iceberg lettuce drizzled with watered-down Thousand Island dressing.

Not only did the son lose his father's previous customers, the first time I ate there after the remodel, the food was offered in strange combinations. Too weird, too salty. Within a few months, things were dire. I'd drive by and see one table occupied.

Related: 7 Ways to Use Negative Customer Feedback to Beat the Competition

Rather than the "restaurant of his dreams" the son had created a failure. He was forced to take stock of where he was and what his customers really wanted from him. Getting back the paltry business of a few senior citizens wasn't going to help him repay his big loan so, to his incredible credit, he hired a new chef to replace himself. He brought back some of the old favorites, with a new twist. He trained his wait staff to the point of excellence. Last time I went there, we waited 45 minutes for a table!

This guy has been a singularly fascinating study in how to do a business wrong, and have the humility to do a business right. The willingness to see if you're getting the results you desire and then adapting is a vital key to success at anything. Taking responsibility for the feedback you're getting from your potential customers is how you become profitable.

Related: How to Best Utilize Your Positive Customer Feedback

Look around your business -- is it thriving? Are more people coming to you each month? If not, the harsh truth is you are doing something wrong. Or maybe something right in the wrong place, or at the wrong time. You are stifling your own success. Adapt and notice what you could to do improve the customer experience once they visit your store or your site. When you put them and their needs and interests first, and are willing to change and grow, then you open the floodgates to your own success. Learn how to adapt and grow in the webinar "Supersize Your Side Gig: How to Make More Money From Whatever You Do To Make More Money."

Wendy Keller is the author of the upcoming book Ultimate Guide to Platform Building (Entrepreneur Press, November 2016) and the host of the webinar "Supersize Your Side Gig: How to Make More Money from Whatever You Do to Make More Money". Click here to find out more.

Wendy Keller

Literary Agent, Speaker Trainer and Entrepreneur

Wendy Keller is an award-winning former journalist, a respected literary agent, an author, speaker, acclaimed book marketing consultant, and branding expert. She is the author of Ultimate Guide to Platform Building (Entrepreneur Press®, 2016) and got her first job as a newspaper reporter as a 16-year-old college freshman. Since then, Wendy worked for PR Newswire; the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain; as managing editor of Dateline magazine; and as associate publisher of Los Angeles’ then-second-largest Spanish language weekly, La Gaceta. She works with authors, speakers and business experts to help them build and promote their brands. She founded Keller Media, Inc. in 1989.

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