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Marketing is the engine that drives your business; it’s what generates the leads that become the sales, which sets the rest of your company’s machinery in motion. Without it, you can’t sustain and grow your customer base. Marketing is multi-pronged. It includes branding and positioning your business to distinguish it from your competitors. When things are going well, don’t make the mistake of deciding, “I don’t need to market anymore.”

Those are a just a few of the many lessons I’ve learned starting a business from scratch. While it can be very rewarding, it can also be frightening. I’ve often said the No. 1 virtue any entrepreneur needs is courage.

Finally, surround yourself with great people and treat them, and your customers, with genuine caring. You’ll be surprised by the number of problems that can solve.

Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to businesses, professional firms, entertainers and authors.

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