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Advertising is a reminder — selling is the real issue

It’s tempting for an entrepreneur to dump a bunch of money into advertising to tell the world about his new product. And though I agree that it is important to spread the word, a ton of great ads won’t help if your product isn’t front and center on the shelves where people can buy it.I learned this right from the start with my Kitty Litter, which was a totally new concept back in 1947.

To score success, you must be willing to make mistakes

Remember Chicken Litter? I’m not surprised; it got about as far off the ground as a hen in flight. But without it, there might never have been a Kitty Litter, which revolutionized life for pet owners and earned me more than a few dollars in the process.I was in my 20s, laboring in my father’s sand and gravel business, and chafing to climb out of the rut we seemed to be in. When my father started buying crumbled clay to use as an industrial oil and grease absorbent, I looked for other ways to use the material. One day, I was talking to a guy about nesting chickens, and the Big Idea kicked in.

When a cow chases you…

There’s much you need to know to make your dreams come true, but as an entrepreneur one of the most important, and perhaps difficult, is this: Focus.Learning, or rather training yourself, to focus on one project, one goal, one dream at a time is key to your ultimate success.

Don’t get too big for your britches

That’s one of the warnings my Grandpa Huber always gave me, and I’ll wager you heard something similar as you grew up. As a teen-ager, I was pretty smug, and Grandpa’s caution was well deserved.But we can be just as vulnerable to egomania as adults. It’s easy for entrepreneurs to let success go to our heads, especially if you build an idea into a prosperous business. The “bad old days” fade like a cheap curtain.

If you don’t love it, you’ll probably leave it

nce after I spoke at a college commencement ceremony, a young graduate approached me with a question. “Mr. Lowe,” she asked, “since you’ve become a successful entrepreneur, I’d like to ask your advice about a venture I have in mind.” Of course, I lent her an ear.”I’d like to set up a dry-cleaning business,” she explained. “In Paris.”

Remember what business you’re in

When people ask you about the nature of your business, do you answer correctly? This may seem hard to believe, but I maintain that many entrepreneurs don’t truly understand what business they’re in. I should know, because sometimes I’m one of the worst offenders.

If you can’t be a fox, be a junkyard dog

My friend Kenny Rogers sang one of the most famous pieces of advice in country music: “You gotta know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em.” Gambling aside, these words could easily fit an entrepreneur when it’s time to cut a deal.In the cat-box-filler industry, clay-rich lands feed our manufacturing furnaces. Cut off the raw-material supply, and our business would shut down almost overnight. Such an occasion forced me to make one of the costliest deals of my life.

You set the pace for employees

It may just be me, but I think that entrepreneurs make lousy golfers. I’ve tried golf, but I feel like the time spent playing 18 holes — plus that extended 19th one at the end — is better spent elsewhere. I even built a golf course on my Big Rock Valley estate, complete with inverted pickle barrels for cups to accommodate my atrocious putting, but I hardly ever take the time to use it, except for occasionally entertaining my distributors and salespeople.