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The Slice: A toast to entrepreneurs

Thu., March 8, 2012, midnight

Let me tell you who I admire.

People who start businesses. That’s who.

I cannot imagine how someone summons the courage. Haven’t a clue.

But there are people in the Inland Northwest who take that leap. And I salute them, one and all.

My admiration includes those whose ventures did not make it. Because it isn’t really success I respect. It’s the willingness to take a chance.

The financial risk is certainly a big part of the picture. That would be plenty scary all by itself.

But what about the potential for feeling personally rejected if your start-up fails to generate a profit?

You begin with all those hopes and dreams, all that excitement and confidence. And then comes the day when you realize that your business plan missed the mark. The customers just aren’t there.

How do you emerge from that without hating the world?

I have friends who operate businesses. And I like to ask them how things are going.

“It’s tough to make money right now,” said one just the other day.

After seeing my reaction, he apparently felt the need to soften his report.

“It’ll be OK,” he said.

Still, what if it’s not? How can he not worry about that every second of every day?

Businesses come and go. We can all play that game where you recall “That place on the corner used to be a restaurant, then it was a florist, then it was a restaurant again …”

But for those who put their hearts and nest eggs on the line, it is not a game.

Perhaps I’m being unduly grim. After all, you probably can’t succeed if you do nothing but obsess about the danger of failing.

If it’s true that it takes one to know one, then I’m the wrong guy to be writing today’s column. Because I cannot even begin to understand what it would be like to have the guts it takes to start a business.

But I’m proud to know some who did/do have the right stuff.

Today’s Slice questions: Has mentally rehearsing for a conversation ever once paid off? Or does the actual exchange, always and every time, veer off on a tangent that renders all your prepared material irrelevant?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Mark Slater wishes dog-food makers would mix a few flower seeds in with the chow. “My backyard would be beautiful.”

 
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