6 Secrets Millionaires Know That You Don't

Ditch Networking and Don't Underprice

3. Networking Is Not Working. Many new entrepreneurs spend more time at networking events than on their businesses. Millionaire entrepreneurs are selective about relationship building. You won't find them at networking events. They're busy building their companies, not their business card collections.

The people you really need to be networking with are most likely not at your typical networking event. Always strive to network above your level. Just as you improve your tennis game by competing with better players, so too will you become better at your enterprise by interacting with people who are already successful.

If you do spend valuable time at a networking event, make sure plenty of prospects or powerful resources will be there. Don't confuse networking with socializing, and don't give credence to anyone just because they show up at a networking event. Though ideas can come from anywhere, you do need to be selective about whose advice you decide to follow. Always assess the validity of the advice offered, and don't take advice from people who mean well but are not qualified to give it.

4. Don't Underprice Yourself. Smart buyers understand that anything cheap can be expensive in the long run. They'll buy in to your enterprise as long as you provide value for their dollar. For 24 years, people have said my products are too expensive--until they purchase and use them.

Whatever you do, don't create a commodity business. For example, my company doesn't sell $16 DVDs or CDs, although those are the media we employ. Instead, we sell a $7,400 educational system. We build value by providing the highest quality products and innovative services such as free mentoring. We build trust by providing unmatched attention to customer service. Competitors might be able to duplicate our ideas, but they can't duplicate the experience our customers receive. Stamp your enterprise with innovation and originality so it's not easily duplicated by a cheaper, low-quality version.

Above all, you must make a profit. People who say, "I love this so much I'd do it for free" are not entrepreneurs--they're volunteers. An enterprise is profitable, otherwise it isn't an enterprise--it's a charity. The word profit stems from the Latin word profectus, which means "advancement or improvement." Millionaire entrepreneurs are willing to start small and grow slowly, but they fully intend to make money.

5. Expect Icebergs. Millionaire entrepreneurs know that no matter how successful they are, no enterprise is unsinkable. The Titanic sank its first time out, but if you're prepared, even enormous icebergs won't sink you.

In 1990, I hit an iceberg when my company's largest clients dissolved their firm. Thankfully, I had the necessary lifeboats in place. I quickly reorganized and was able to put more resources into building the education portion of my business, training RNs to become Certified Legal Nurse Consultants. My business stayed afloat, and I charted a new course that changed my future.

Icebergs happen, but you have to sail before you can fail. Starting small is better than not starting at all. Be willing to set out and maneuver around icebergs. If you never leave the dock, you'll never have an enterprise to keep afloat. Had I missed the iceberg, I might have continued happily in my original direction, satisfied with my solo consulting practice. That iceberg turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me and my bank account.

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This article was originally published in the October 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: 6 Secrets Millionaires Know That You Don't.

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