Start-Up Success

Keep a positive outlook when starting your new business.

If people think you're crazy for starting your business,here are some excellent strategies for dealing with them:

  • Show you've done your homework. Do thorough marketresearch and develop a solid business plan. Then, when peoplechallenge your idea, you'll be in a position to respond withconfidence.
  • Find an angle skeptics can relate to. For Anne Abramsand Cecilia Hugo, owners of the Bow Wow Meow Treatoria, a retailstore for dog and cat lovers in Seattle, the emotional support oftheir parents was important. Although neither set could personallyidentify with the market for upscale pet foods and products, theywere of a generation that could understand the concept of livingabove the store--and that's where Abrams and Hugo made theconnection to win their parents' support. And though theirfriends thought abandoning a PR business in favor of a specialtystore was crazy, most could at least relate to the store'sconcept, because they had pets. Eventually, some of them eveninvested in the store.
  • Expect some relationships to be damaged. Any newbusiness venture is risky, and an unusual one is even more so. Youmay have friends who simply can't deal with the risk you'retaking. Sadly, Abrams and Hugo say they have friends who were souncomfortable with what they were doing, those relationships willnever be the same again.
  • Disassociate yourself from the naysayers. Keep yourselfpumped up by avoiding negative people who only drag you down.
  • Remember other successes that started out as crazyideas. Abrams and Hugo say their theme song is the old Gershwintune "They All Laughed." When people say they'recrazy, the partners invoke stories of other successfulentrepreneurs who were ridiculed. Says Abrams, "They alllaughed, and [now] we're laughing, too."

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