High Hopes

Wow, What A Difference!

We asked a self-proclaimed optimistic entrepreneur and a self-proclaimed pessimistic entrepreneur the same questions. Can you tell which glass is half empty and which is half full?

What do you expect from your employees?

Mila Radulovic: "Incentive, initiative and camaraderie rather than competition," says the founder of New York City-based Fashion Icon Inc., an Internet content syndication firm. "Productivity and clear thinking happen naturally with enough sleep, good food and exercise. I encourage employees to swim or run during lunch breaks. It helps keep them centered and happy, which helps keep senseless mistakes to a minimum."

Shannon Entin: "I expect my employees to give me their best, of course," says the 31-year-old publisher and editor of Lambertville, New Jersey-based online fitness resource, FitnessLink.com. "I expect their work to be accurate and delivered on time. I also expect things to 'pop up' that will inevitably slow me down-like someone getting ill or a writer not making a deadline. That way, if everything goes smoothly, I feel like it's a bonus."

What are your growth expectations?

Radulovic: "Incredibly massive. I have such a strong belief in Fashion Icon's self-empowering messages and ensuing product line that I see multiple spinoffs on a worldwide level. There's no doubt in my mind we'll be on equal footing with Martha Stewart one day."

Entin: "I'd be happy to work out of my home for the rest of my life while the company grows around me. I expect it to continue growing exponentially, but I want to hire others. Any entrepreneur, no matter how realistic or even pessimistic, must believe in success, or the company is doomed to fail."

What are your views on competition?

Radulovic: "If your business is clear, centered and internalized, competition shouldn't even appear on your thought screen. Competition is a mirage to me; I seldom qualify its existence. If I did, I'd be giving away my power. Every company has a unique path and an equally individual timeline-my job is to stay focused on mine. No two people think exactly alike; therefore, no one can really fulfill my vision as I can."

Entin: "I find competition motivating, but, emotionally, it's daunting. I've been known to complain about having an idea first, but not having the resources. I sometimes feel we can't compete because of the dollar issue, but then another article comes out heaping praise on us or another viewer thanks me for helping him or her get in shape and I feel reassured."

What's your business motto?

Radulovic: "Since the age of 2, I grew up hearing my Yugoslavian father's motto: 'Napred nasi,' which means 'Never give up.' By simply not giving up, you can do anything. I did update the motto in the '90s to 'I can do anything,' with reminders strategically placed in spots like notebooks, drawing boards, fax machines and computer screens."

Entin: "Life's too short to spend time doing things that don't make you happy. You have to pour all of your energy into creating the business and the life you dream of."

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This article was originally published in the June 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: High Hopes.

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