5 Strategies for Maximizing Business Impact With Steven Sashen

In a world where innovation is highly prized, Steven Sashen, co-founder and CEO of Xero Shoes, has carved out a unique space by focusing on delivering genuine value to customers. With a diverse background that includes stand-up comedy, successful screenwriting, and top-level sprinting, Sashen applied his unconventional experiences to reinvent the athletic footwear industry

In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into Steven and Xero Shoes’ unique approach that has shaken up the market with its revolutionary take on athletic footwear. Trust us; there’s a lot to learn from this story! Now, let’s get started.

Steven Sashen’s Revolutionary Approach

From his initial days as a professional stand-up comic and world-winning screenwriter to becoming one of the fastest master sprinters in the USA over 45, Steven Sashen has never been one to stick to the conventional path. Leveraging his unique perspective, experience, and boundless curiosity, he went on to impact the footwear industry in a truly significant way.

Steven teamed up with his wife, Lena Phoenix, to disrupt the sports footwear industry by emphasizing natural movement and true user value above the mass-marketing frenzy. They created a unique footwear that prioritizes comfort, performance, and health.

Xero Shoes still continues to innovate, challenge the status quo, and uphold its mission to create comfortable, healthy, and performance-enhancing footwear while also leading a revolution in value-driven and customer-focused business practices.

5 Key Learnings From Steven Sashen About Business Impact

Steven’s journey and philosophy give a good idea of what it takes to generate real value for the customers. In his guest appearance on our podcast, Steven shared valuable lessons anyone could apply to achieve significant results in a competitive landscape. Here are some of his insights that resonated the most with us.

Don’t forget to listen to the full episode for even more insights about business innovation and impact. Now, let’s dive into the highlights of the conversation with Steven.

Always be transparent

Honesty not only builds trust but also sets clear expectations for your customers. It cultivates a long-lasting relationship that goes beyond a simple transaction. In a marketplace where consumers are loaded with choices, integrity, and transparency help you to stand out, fostering customer loyalty in the process. 

Transparency and honesty with customers played a pivotal role in the success of Steven’s company, Xero Shoes. As he pointed out during his talk with A.J., “I would name my company Truthwear. […] I’m all about things that are factual.” This sentiment is clearly visible through Xero Shoes’ customer policies and practices. 

For instance, on their website, Steven shares a free 10-part video series to debunk common myths about barefoot running and provide customers with the truthful, factual information they need to successfully transition to his shoes and a healthier way of running. With this initiative, he is not just trying to sell a product. Instead, he is educating consumers, promoting transparency, and striving to ensure that they make informed decisions, further illustrating his dedication to honest business practices.

Build something that’s going to last 

Building something that lasts requires understanding the fundamentals of your customer’s problems and creating sustainable solutions that stand the test of time. It must offer real, lasting value to users, placing user needs and benefits at the very core of its design and purpose. Simplicity, durability, and an in-depth understanding of user requirements are key to creating products or services with longevity.

For example, Steven built Xero Shoes leveraging a simple yet profound truth – the natural functionality of the human foot – and created a product that provided immediate value and served as a lasting solution for its users. Drawing inspiration from barefoot running, he understood that most running shoes can interfere with natural foot movements. So, he focused on enhancing the foot’s natural biomechanics. The result was Xero Shoes, a minimalist, barefoot-inspired take on athletic shoes that combined durability with natural movement.

Prioritize experience over enthusiasm

While building Xero Shoes, Steven came to value experience over enthusiasm. While enthusiasm is important, his adventures revealed that the experience truly counts, especially while communicating any message to your customer. Experience provides knowledge, resilience, and insight that typically outweigh pure enthusiasm. In business, making informed decisions based on experience significantly contributes to the trust and longevity of customer relationships.

Create business impact by producing great value

Steven’s ability to create significant business impact through his brand is derived from his commitment to producing great value for his clients. He moved beyond mere marketing claims to develop shoes that genuinely served customers’ needs.

What we can learn from his approach is that business impact is a by-product of providing real, tangible value to customers. Going beyond superficial benefits or persuasive marketing, businesses should focus on understanding and addressing their clients’ needs. Genuine value creation results in customer satisfaction, loyalty, and business growth, translating into a meaningful business impact.

Figure out what improves people’s lives 

Steven’s brand, Xero Shoes, is committed to finding what would genuinely soothe and naturally comfort their customers’ feet. Once Steven identified a need for healthier footwear options, he effectively met that need with the right products. This is what creating value for your customers is all about. 

As we can learn from Steven’s example, when you focus on genuinely improving your customers’ lives, you can create an authentic value that drives a sustainable business. That’s why it’s important to first understand your customers deeply, from their pain points, desires, and motivations to their lifestyles. Then, the next step is to create a product or service that genuinely serves those needs. This is not about what you want to sell but what your customers need to improve their lives. Finally, always continue iterating and improving your product based on your customers’ feedback and evolving needs. This approach will help you build a brand with a core value that resonates with customers and stands the test of time.

Deliver Value to Make Real Business Impact

Steven’s approach to business – prioritizing value, transparency, and the customer’s experience – disrupts traditional beliefs about what it takes to create a significant business impact. His commitment to providing real, tangible value through Xero Shoes shows that creating lasting change in a competitive market is not only possible, but can lead to an industry revolution. 

These principles can be applied regardless of your industry or the scale of your operations:

  • Prioritize value: Ensure that the product or service you are offering provides real, tangible value to the customer;
  • Transparency: Be open and honest with your customers. This is not just ethical but also helps to build trust and loyalty;
  • Customer Experience: Always put the customer’s experience first. Satisfying customer needs and providing an exceptional customer experience should be the goal of every interaction.

Remember that it’s essential to genuinely help your customers. Success comes from understanding and wholly dedicating yourself to your clients’ needs. Learn from Steven’s example and consider – what truly useful and unique value your business can offer to your clients.