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Risk and Reward

3 entrepreneurs reveal how they solved their startups' malfunctions.

Any new venture faces challenges. We asked three entrepreneurs what went wrong with their startups and how they overcame it.

"Our CTO and engineering team are in Portland, so our challenge is the [three-hour] time difference. We all have Skype accounts, so we're able to make relatively free phone calls and videoconference calls to keep that human connection. We have a [Microsoft Exchange Server] and a BlackBerry server, so we're all on the same calendar, and we share the same contact databases. We also have a face-to-face meeting at least once a month." --Tom Zawacki, 38, of South Norwalk, Connecticut-based Lemonade Inc., an e-commerce service provider and online marketplace; 2008 sales projections: $3 million

"Our biggest issue was finding quality software developers [to do a joint venture with us]. I didn't have any experience in real estate or software development, but I overcame that by learning about the industry and attending trade shows. It's hard to find a developer who will do a joint venture. [But] I spent a lot of time developing prototypes and was really clear about my vision and where we were going." --Nathan Bednarik, 29, of iPropertyWebsites LLC, a Fort Collins, Colorado-based web service that helps real estate professionals market their properties; 2008 sales projections: $750,000

"A problem has been inventory management and trying to keep the cost of production low. When you are starting out and doing small quantities, it's really hard, because most factories charge more [for small production runs]. It's good to spend your first season selling the line yourself so you don't owe a showroom commission and fees. You can try to gain some accounts first, and then you will have more bargaining power for the showroom." --Rebecca Schoneveld Cheek, 25, of Schone Veld Design, an eco-friendly maternity line based in Los Angeles; 2008 sales projections: $450,000

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This article was originally published in the May 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: Risk and Reward.

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