From the February 1998 issue of Startups

Marc Hardy knows firsthand how difficult it can be to bounce back from disappointment. Recently, he was turned down for a business loan. "Unlike bigger businesses, mine is more than a company, it's my life," says the Elkhart, Indiana, homebased speaker on resiliency. "If the bank doesn't believe in my business, they are saying they lack faith in me to make it a success. But banks exist to make money, not to fulfill our visions, and we have to realize that. At the same time, it's natural to take the rejection personally."

While Hardy allowed himself to feel upset about not securing the loan, he also followed his own "rules of resiliency" to help him over the funk:

1. Don't waste the "energy of anger." Anger can spark an energy charge that may leave us emotionally overwrought, exhausted and frustrated. Instead of allowing yourself to sink into the abyss, turn your negative energy into something useful.

2. Realize that very few people will ever understand what you do because you are in a league of your own. You had the guts to strike out on your own and reject the confines of the corporate world. So accept people's inability to comprehend your mission and get on with it.

3. Do some physical activity every day to fight off the blues. Mow the lawn, do the dishes, walk, whatever it takes to get the blood flowing and get your mind past the disappointment.


Lynn H. Colwell is a business writer in Post Falls, Idaho.

They've Got Your Number

If you've opted out of paying for a business phone line because you're just starting out and want to avoid the expense, be careful. "Telephone companies are obligated by state rules to charge business customers business rates no matter where they're located," says Chrin Tarola, GTE area manager in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

How do phone companies know you are operating a business from home? If you answer the phone with your business name, advertise your phone number, or in any way publicly display the number, you could be discovered and designated a business customer.

"If we find out someone is running a homebased business and is not being charged business rates, a service representative will call to explain the new rates," says Tarola. The business owner is then required to make the switch.

Before making a decision about purchasing business phone service, be sure to check with your local phone providers. While established companies such as GTE, US West and Bell Atlantic must abide by state utility commission rules, newer companies unleashed with deregulation do not necessarily have the same requirements.

Home Zone

Homebased businesses are springing up like wildflowers after the rain. It's enough to make any businessperson salivate at the marketing possibilities. But if you're targeting homebased businesses, you face a few problems. First of all, they can be tough to find.

"A lot of homebased businesses don't advertise," says Christopher Helmrath, manager of client development for accounting firm Clifton Gunderson LLC in Baltimore, and adjunct professor of marketing at Loyola College in Baltimore. "Their names aren't on any lists, especially when they're starting out.

"The best thing to do is find a local association that attracts homebased businesses," says Helmrath. "If you don't have one nearby, try the chamber of commerce or a marketing leads group."

Helmrath believes the secret to marketing successfully to homebased entrepreneurs is to get to know them. "Most homebased businesspeople like to deal with others who are just like them. If you do a good job for them, they're likely to suggest others who might benefit from your products or services," he says.

Helmrath also points out that while these homebased start-ups may be small, their owners don't like to be handled like second-class citizens. "You should treat homebased customers just as you would treat IBM," he says, "like they are your biggest and best accounts.

It's also vital to offer value. "Homebased entrepreneurs are less excited about glitz and more interested in getting the most from every penny they spend," Helmrath says. "If you can meet their needs at a good price and treat them well, you'll earn their trust and their business, too."

Contact Sources

Clifton Gunderson LLC, 9515 Deereco Rd., #500, Baltimore, MD 21093, chrishelmrath@cliftonpa.com

GTE, P.O. Box 6000, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816-1924, (208) 761-1211

Marc Hardy & Associates, MarcHardy@aol.com, http://www.marchardy.com