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Take A Lesson

What the author of <I>Business Lessons for Young Entrepreneurs</I> can teach you

This story appears in the November 2000 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

You've dreamt of it since the day you opened your first lemonade stand-the day when your brilliant business idea would yield both financial and emotional rewards. Now you're all grown up and ready to embark on your entrepreneurial journey, but before you leap, we've rustled up an expert to give you the ins and outs of what you really need to know about being your own boss. Mark D. Csordos, author of Business Lessons For Young Entrepreneurs (Customer Service Training Essentials) offers some of what he learned from starting, running and eventually selling his own secret shopping business. If you want to learn how to avoid common pitfalls that can derail budding entrepreneurs, take heed.

  • Be focused. You are young and chock-full of ideas, but for your business to really work, you have to focus on the most promising idea. Says Csordos, "When I was [running] my mystery shopping [business], I was working 80 hours a week. And if I tried to write the book back then, there's no way I could have done it. I just focused on the mystery shopping and made that successful. And when I sold [the business], all I did was write the book."
  • Learn to communicate. Just being excited about your idea is not enough. You have to learn how to communicate that excitement to others-be they investors, clients or customers. And remember that it's always better to be short and to the point-there's nothing more painful than a presentation or written proposal that drones on for eons. "Force yourself to have certain parameters before you write something," advises Csordos. "[Ask yourself]: What is the most important thing? What would I want to know?" If this is a problem area, a class on communication or public speaking may help.

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