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Listen Carefully

Knowing what startup advice to take and to toss is important. Hear what others live by.

Some people are full of business wisdom, while others, well, aren't. These entrepreneurs reveal the startup advice of the wise and not-so-wise:

Ike Iregbulem, 30, founder and CEO of Opulent Lifestyle, a members-only, VIP luxury concierge service in New York City

2005 projected sales: $2 million

Best Advice: "Being raised in New York, we always find a way to make something happen, and my mother always told me, 'There are several ways to skin a cat.' During the financing phase, I was told that there were a variety of avenues to travel down in regards to acquiring financing and to not limit myself to only one avenue."

Worst Advice: "An acquaintance advised me not to start my own company because there are too many risks involved. The way I see it, if there isn't any risk, then there isn't any reward."

Terry Espy, 46, founder of The Momentum Group, a full-service development and design firm in Raleigh, North Carolina, that provides turnkey real estate project management

2005 projected sales: $3 million

Best Advice: "[I was told] to figure out what [I] love and am passionate about and turn that into a business--without burning out that passion through my business."

Worst Advice: "I was advised to expand and grow my business very fast in the beginning. However, my company was in a volatile niche market, and funding for new growth was often taken away when customers had difficulties and were forced to close their businesses."

Gini Dietrich, 32, founder of Arment Dietrich, a PR firm in Chicago that specializes in the food and retail markets, with a special emphasis on fashion and beauty

2004 sales: $1.5 million

Best Advice: "Join networking groups--the business- and professional service-oriented [types]. The referrals you get from them are phenomenal."

Worst Advice: "When I was researching starting my business three years ago, I didn't really understand how the 'getting paid' notion worked. So I asked a few business owners. Looking back, the most outlandish advice I got was, 'Don't open a business account. Take all of the checks you get from clients, and put them right into your personal account. You'll be filthy rich!' Well, if I'd done that, I wouldn't have $1.5 million in revenue two years after incorporating, nor would I have 18 clients and four employees."

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This article was originally published in the August 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Listen Carefully.

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