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Words to the Wise

Glean pearls of wisdom from this entrepreneur's experience.
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This story appears in the December 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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Dale Bathum, 38-year-old founder of Bite Golf, a golf shoe manufacturer and retailer in Preston, Washington, knows a thing or two about running a successful business. A 2000 Entrepreneur young millionaire, he expects year-end sales to hit $8 million. Here, he reflects on his smartest start-up move--and biggest blunder:

What was your biggest start-up success?

Bathum: I put a lot of effort into [building] a strong team early on. That's what carried us through--if it was just me and I didn't have a strong team, I don't think we would have survived. So [I would recommend] putting together a really strong team [internally] and [externally] of accountants and lawyers and a board of advisors.

What was your biggest start-up failure?

Bathum: Not having enough upfront funding at the beginning, so we needed to go out and raise money when the business was just getting underway. The second [biggest mistake] was inventory mismanagement. We buy and sell shoes--we overproduced some shoes that didn't sell [very well]. So we had to discount them, and that really killed our profits.

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Edition: May 2017

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