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What Have You Become?

You have employees you don't recognize, sales you can't keep track of and a business that's grown way beyond "small." Do you even remember when everything was just innocent and entrepreneurial?

This story appears in the May 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It never occurred to Ann King, owner and impresario of Blooming Cookies Catalog.com, an e-commerce gourmet gift service in that posted more than $3 million in sales in 1999, that her would grow so large she'd lose her entrepreneurial status. "I believe, after 15 years, that I'm still an entrepreneur, but I've changed my mindset to a more traditionally corporate mindset."

King, 48, launched her company in 1984 after being convinced she could do a better job than a similar business she saw featured on television. It took a true entrepreneurial mind to write her company's success story. In fact, her start-up struggles could be illustrations of worst-case scenarios in the entrepreneur's handbook: There wasn't enough money to buy a commercial oven-just as orders were piling up. A snafu saw her original recipe fall into the hands of a major hotel chain-with no compensation to King. Her first location had leaky roofs and saw minimal foot traffic, and took a $20,000 hit after a large order to J.C. Penney cost twice as much to fill as anticipated. Things got so bad an accountant advised King and Glo Ghegan (her business partner and friend) to file for bankruptcy.

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