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Word to the Wise

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This story appears in the August 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

What's the key to entrepreneurial success? That is probably the question I am most often asked. I don't believe there is only one answer to that question, but here are a few factors to consider:

  • Treat your people well. Your business is only as good as the people who work for you. Treat them with respect and dignity, and chances are, that's how they'll handle your clients and customers. Employees want more than a paycheck from you. Give them a forum to make suggestions, allow them to make decisions and let them feel they truly make a difference to your company.
  • Listen to your customers. Sounds so basic, I know, but you'd be surprised how many businesses don't. Talk to your customers (e-mail is a great way to do this, but don't spam them). Ask for their suggestions. Pay attention to their feedback. They know what they want and what you are and are not giving them.

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