Crash Course

When your business is growing so fast it's out of control, here's how to pull the entrepreneurial equivalent of steering into the skid.

You've imagined being successful since you were a little kid. You've dreamt about it, drooled over it and desired it. But are you ready for success, especially if it drops in all at once? If you aren't thinking beyond those initial moments of glory, pucker up and practice saying "Has-been."

See Dick open a company. See Jane start a hamburger chain. See the dollars flow into Dick's Internet enterprise. Invest, Dick, invest! See the customers flow into Jane's hamburger chain. Grill, Jane, grill! Watch Dick's stock options skyrocket. Watch Jane open restaurants in Boise and Guam in the same week. See Dick and Jane become suddenly successful--very, very quickly.

Sometimes, success is easy. It was for Dick and Jane. Their books were an instant success for textbook publishing company Scott, Foresman & Co. (now Addison Wesley Longman Inc.) in 1930. And they've enjoyed longevity. By the time the last Dick and Jane story was written, it was 1965, and their books had reached 85 million boys and girls. The books would continue to be sold until 1970 and read beyond that.

Geoff Williams is a reporter for The Cincinnati Post and a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur. Reading about Dick and Jane as a child obviously affected him.

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Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.

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This article was originally published in the January 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Crash Course.

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