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Although I appreciated Suzanne Mulvehill's long list of tips for starting a business ("Fear Factor," April), I think she misses the essence of courage. To paraphrase Chinese philosopher Laotzu, courage requires a deep love. This love cannot derive from journal entries, positive affirmations or visualization techniques--it is a passion that burns in the heart of the true entrepreneur. It is more than doing what you love. And just like the love we feel for people, nothing about it makes sense.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Priceline Clearinghouse? Priceless
I loved your Business Travel Awards ("Winner's Circle," April), and agree wholeheartedly about AirTran and Priceline. One of the best ways to squeeze the last drop of value from Priceline is to consult www.biddingfortravel.com, a user-contribution-sponsored free clearinghouse for Priceline information. There, you'll find the names of the hotels likely to come up in each zone's different star levels, bidding strategies, and representative bids and results from actual Priceline customers. I use it religiously.
New York City
Don Debelak's April article ("Innovations") on Staples' 2004 Invention Quest contest winner, Todd Basche, made a number of insightful points for individuals and small businesses with new products, services or ideas. Often overlooked is the need to pay close attention early on to obtain proper protection of their intellectual property, especially time-critical patent filings. Unlike the large, "we patent everything we can" companies with their own legal departments or on-retainer legal firms, individuals and small companies all too often publicly disclose and/or present their new ideas to the open marketplace without paying attention to the risks they're taking by not obtaining intellectual property legal advice before doing so. As Basche's profound and well-deserved success clearly demonstrates, while such advice and assistance is not cheap, its value is often priceless.
Match Engine Marketing
Thousand Oaks, California
Mad About You
I just wanted to thank Nichole L. Torres for the article "Anger Management" ("Biz 101," April). She did a very nice job with the piece: practical, concise and easy to relate to. I expect quite a few of your readers could see themselves in exactly those situations.
Author of Conflict Unraveled:
Fixing Problems at Work and in Families
Band of Sisters
As a longtime entrepreneur who understands the importance of marketing, I've always been a great fan of guerrilla marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson. So while I gained much from his and Al Lautenslager's article "Mind Over Market" (March), one of the marketing-sabotaging attitudes they trumpeted left me cold.
Apparently, those of us who are guilty of "lacking a competitive spirit, not having a killer instinct, and not playing to win" are doomed to fail.
This may be what I refer to as a "genderalization," but in my experience of working with other women business owners, I've noticed this kind of eat-or-be-eaten approach just does not resonate.
Perhaps a more accurate interpretation of what some see as a lack of competitive spirit is actually the belief among many women that there is something wrong with a definition of success that says, "in order for me to win, someone else has to lose."
In fact, instead of trying to kill my competition, I courted two highly successful competitors, Barbara Sher, author of I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, and Barbara Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job. Together, we produced--and share in the profits of--a unique CD program for aspiring entrepreneurs called Making Dreams Happen.
It's this kind of win-win-win marketing strategy that has me and my competitors laughing all the way to the bank.
Dreamer in Residence
In "Wherever You Go, There You Are" (February), MSN's instant-messaging application, MSN Messenger, was misidentified as MSN Instant Messenger. Instant Messenger is the name of AOL's instant-messaging application.
In "Healthy Returns" ("Smart Ideas," April), the costs of Health Advocate's services were listed as 25 cents to $3.95 per employee. The actual price range is $1.25 to $3.95 per employee. Seton Hill University ("Honor Roll," April) is located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.