Company: Intercept Interactive Inc., a New York City Internet advertising, marketing & sales firm
Founder: Michael Cassidy, 26
Began: March 2001
2001 Sales: $3.1 million

Why did you start your business?
Michael Cassidy: I first began contemplating the idea of starting a business following the acquisition of my prior employer, About.com. The Internet advertising market had taken a drastic turn for the worse. Many of the Fortune 500 companies I had worked with had exhausted their budgets and were putting off their Internet spending for another six to 12 months. I felt handicapped in my position; however, I came in contact with many other companies that were looking to grow their businesses yet did not have the ways or means to do so. I was encouraged to start the business, as the few companies I discussed the idea with were already committed to testing my services. After the research and positive conversations with others, my decision to start Intercept was made.

Intercept InteractiveDo you have any business advice?
Cassidy: Starting a business is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. By that, I mean do not lose site of the long term while trying to capitalize on the short term. There have been many opportunities for Intercept to engage in projects that might yield short-term profits while creating long-term hassles. And while increasing revenue is my number-one priority, it is not my only priority.

What's your favorite business book?
Cassidy:How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie is one of my [favorites]. Carnegie's message is neither ingenious nor revolutionary, but very simple. Sometimes it is the simple things that we forget, and need to remember most. I know I have used tidbits from this work, and I'm constantly amazed at how far small gestures of goodwill, honesty and sincere appreciation can go. Having the ability to make others feel important and worthwhile is a skill that has long-lasting benefits to both parties.

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