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This story appears in the November 1996 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In entrepreneur's presence cannot be manufactured. Notice that I say "presence" and not "image." Image can be purchased with a fat checkbook and the creative genius of the wizards of Madison Avenue. But once the promotional campaign ends and the image fades, is the presence still remembered? Presence, not image, is what customers remember--and what is remembered pays off.

Presence is a process of revelation that is part of the growth of an entrepreneur and his or her product or service. Presence could be the personal style of an artist like Flavia Weedn, owner of The Flavia Group Inc. in Santa Barbara, California, whose creative designs are seen on thousands of greeting cards, paper products and collectible gifts, or it could be the consistent gestures of unselfish service from a neighborhood store owner. Whatever form it takes, presence follows three basic rules:

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