Tips for Success from a Man with a Golden Touch: W. Randall Jones

by Carole E. Scott

To be a successful entrepreneur, says magazine publisher W. Randall (Randy) Jones, you must be a maniac with a mission and have lots of cash and tolerance of risk. Because launching a new business is a risky venture, it is essential that the potential entrepreneur determine what their tolerance for risk is. Don't start a business, he warns, unless you are "willing to bet the ranch." In all industries many new businesses fail within a few years. In some, such as the magazine publishing business he is in, the risk is extraordinary. Ninety-five percent of all new magazines started do not reach their third birthday. It is because the number one reason for business failure is undercapitalization that you have to have "loads of cash." Your greatest currency in raising the money you need from other people, says Jones, is having a good reputation.

Crucial to success, he says, is having a good idea, one that a major group of consumers will find appealing, and using as much of other people's money as is possible. Getting noticed and convincing influential people to back you is also very important. Once, to get attention, Jones, dressed as a circus ringmaster, jumped on a trampoline in Times Square to promote an article in which P. T. Barnum, circus impresario and creator of "The Greatest Show on Earth" was mentioned. He launched his magazine, Worth, by sending models dressed as Revolutionary War soldiers to New York's financial district at quitting time to hand out copies of the first issue and a "100 Grand" candy bar.

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