You can follow Elon Musk on Twitter. Or read every word Warren Buffett writes. But you’ll learn just as much about how to succeed in business by visiting a small shoe repair shop in Passaic, N.J. and talking to Reynaldo Acuna.
Acuna, an immigrant from Peru, has owned VIP Shoe Repair since 1994. And, at first glance, his shop has none of the trappings of a successful business. He doesn’t host a website. He’s not on social media. In fact, his shop doesn’t even have a telephone or air conditioning.
But, according to a profile in The Herald News, what Acuna does have is an acute sense of who his customers are and how to meet their needs. In fact, although Acuna doesn’t read business books or follow management trends, this customer focus has made his shop successful.
Even before Acuna bought the shop–when he was still just an employee–he had a strong understanding of his potential clientele. Acuna’s boss was a man named Donny DeSoza, who owned two cobbler shops, one in downtown Passaic and one on the south side. For several years, Acuna worked nights and weekends as an apprentice cobbler for DeSoza. ….