In the August, 2013 issue of Fast Company, Drew Greenblatt, CEO of Marlin Steel company in Baltimore, MD, was profiled to demonstrate that manufacturing innovation in America is alive and well. In 1998, Greenblatt bought this tiny company to do one thing; build wire bagel baskets, which bagel stores used to display their product.
His focus was singular, the competition was thin and the profit margin was healthy. With 18 employees, this lifestyle business did a respectable $800,000 a year in sales – but, that didn’t last long. Within five years, Chinese manufacturers started to produce the same baskets for half the cost, making it nearly impossible for Marlin to compete. In a flash, the bagel clients were gone and Drew was faced with the daunting task of keeping the doors opened…until Boeing called with a strange request. He listened, reinvented Marlin and turned a $500 order in 2003 into a $7 million thriving business today.
His formula: evolve with your customer; which is exactly the winning strategy that marketing maven, Jay Baer advocates in his book, Youtility. It all starts with being useful. Jay describes his six-step process ——