Myth Busters

The customer is always right and other fictions

Entrepreneurs know the importance of looking at things from a new perspective. The best business ideas, after all, often come from seeing the world from a fresh angle. At SmallBiz, sometimes that means scrutinizing the conventional wisdom about doing business.

That the customer is always right is an old saw for good reason. Great customer service can lift a company out of the ordinary. But clients also can be flat-out wrong, or so demanding and time-snatching that they wear out you and your staff. They may even cost you money. Entrepreneurs who not so long ago scrambled to find any customers at all may think it downright crazy to let loose a client. But as Senior Correspondent Amy Barrett reports in "When, Why, and How to Fire That Customer," ridding your client list of troublemakers can be a very profitable move.

Freelance writer Sarah Max found her own view of working with a spouse changing as she interviewed couples who run companies together. Although she started out thinking the arrangement sounded like a shortcut to divorce court, Sarah discovered that it had many benefits, not the least of which was having a business partner you can trust completely. Being co-entrepreneurs can work wonderfully, provided the partners follow some ground rules Sarah outlines in "Forming a More Perfect Union."

You may notice that the pages of SmallBiz are changing. That's thanks to our new art director, Michael Scowden. Michael and assistant art director Anne Russinof are bringing a bold new look to the magazine.

And, as always, it is your unique views that we most want to hear. Drop us an e-mail.

Sincerely,

Susan Price

Deputy Editor, BusinessWeek SmallBiz

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