Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Entrepreneur lessons and advice

Being an entrepreneur isn't easy. Nine out of ten new entrepreneurs go out of business in the first three years and half of those go out of business in the next two years. I am an entrepreneur, I started my business in 1960. I almost went out of business a half dozen times since then. Some say that I should have. It took a great deal of personal commitment to keep the doors open. I'm not special, I'm just like thousands of other entrepreneurs that do whatever it takes to get the job done.

When you are the foundation of a business it is a huge responsibility and requires a do or die attitude. In one particular year several of my customers went bankrupt, taking with them a quarter of a million dollars of the fruits of my labor. I remember well what the president of one of the largest corporations said to me when he handed me the bankruptcy forms, "Don't take it personal, it's just business." I had to go home and tell my family that everything we had worked for in the past is gone and everything for the next 19 years is already taken. You can bet your bottom dollar I took it personal.

I consider myself honored to be among the small group of successful entrepreneurs. I thank the people in my life that told me that if I was to succeed I'd have to get used to sacrifice. They weren't lying! When the accountants said it couldn't be done, I found a way. When my competitors said they'd beat me into the ground and run me out of business, I survived on my terms. The cost? When many of my friends were taking vacations I worked, I went 33 years without a real vacation. When a lot of my friends were working forty hour weeks with paid sick days and benefits, I worked eighty to ninety hours a week with no sick days and no benefits.

The rewards? My company is still growing and has survived the economic downturn. I look forward to going to work every day. I am a happy dude. Dozens of people have had a job and supported their families while working for my company. Our efforts have helped support the community for many years. It hasn't been easy.

So I offer this advice to present or hopeful entrepreneurs. Go for it! Be prepared for the long hours and hardships and don't give up. It is up to you to make it happen!.............Good luck!

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