You labor long and hard to find customers, and what happens when they call up to give you an order? All the salespeople are at lunch or handling other calls or otherwise occupied. What do you do?

Gus Blythe, president of SecondWind Co., which sells athletic-shoe-care products, has the answer: turn every employee into a potential order taker.

Blythe has order forms hanging from each desk in his Paso Robles, Calif., company. "That way, when the phone rings, we have no excuse not to take an order," he explains. "The forms are self-explanatory, and every employee, including me, is capable of filling them out. There's nothing worse than making a customer wait to give you money."