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Out Of Business

What happens when your personal dream turns into every entrepreneur's nightmare?

Failure is perhaps the scariest word in an entrepreneur's vocabulary. Like some evil thing lurking in the corner of every small business, the shameful closing is the unanticipated antithesis of the celebrated grand opening.

But it happens. Although statistics show that many small-businesses fail, W. David Waters certainly didn't expect to become a statistic. He intended Honolulu-based Centaur Zone Cafe to be the prototype of an international franchise of coffeehouses. "This," he says, "was supposed to be the launching pad."

Instead, Waters found his plans dashed after just one year in business. "I thought we'd either be an overnight sensation or we'd flop," he says, "but I never dreamed we would just drag along, hanging on to tidbits of hope here and there. It was emotionally and psychologically trying."

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This article was originally published in the August 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Out Of Business.

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