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One Entrepreneur’s Secrets to Success after 25 Years in Business

By Margaret M. Boller, CEO

 Key Success Factors for Employers and Employees

Back in 1992, after an excellent 14-year career at Showtime Networks, I dared to dream that I might be successful on my own. The early years at Showtime were extremely entrepreneurial and I thrived in that environment! The pace was fast, ever-changing and exciting… but I longed for something more. Thus began the creation of Eclipse Marketing Services, Inc.  From one woman working in her basement, the company has evolved into an award-winning full-service agency, trusted and recommended by Hollywood studios and other Fortune 100 companies, known as a growth expert in the entertainment and technology industries. As Eclipse Marketing celebrates its 25th anniversary, I am taking this time to reflect on its past and my thoughts for the future.

According to Inc., approximately 50% of new businesses make it to their fifth year—with a staggering 25% folding before their first year. From here, the statistics get smaller but the failure rate is still always looming in the background, especially for a privately owned company—another 10% won’t make it to its tenth year. To be celebrating our 25th year then is truly something to be proud of—which I am. So what “secrets” might I share to give insight and encouragement to other woman-owned start-ups, individuals with a dream and a passion, or small companies currently struggling to survive to make it past that “statistic” year and thrive?

Be a Sponge

A personal favorite and one that I have enacted for my entire career: “Be a Sponge.” Never stop growing and learning! By keeping your eyes, ears, and mind open to new possibilities, one can always learn a new skill, a process, or be a part of a team that makes you stretch. No company remains the same—so employees need to adapt and embrace change, not fight it. The secret to survival in competitive arenas is truly one’s ability to adapt, course-correct and be flexible. Successful entrepreneurs—and employees—“soak in” whatever they can—knowledge, advice, skills—and act nimble and quick, without sacrificing quality or integrity.

Learn & Apply Creative Problem Solving

While at Showtime, I was blessed and fortunate to be able to attend a week-long workshop, the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI), hosted by the Creative Education Foundation in Buffalo, NY. This annual event attracts people from all over the world who learn and actively engage in the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving process called the CPS Learner’s Model. The model consists of four key steps, utilizing divergent and convergent thinking to each: Clarify, Ideate, Develop and Implement. This approach can be applied to both personal and business applications and is highly effective in developing successful solutions. Creativity is not just about pretty pictures… it can also apply to problem solving and logistics! Besides a strong foundation learned in this method, the workshops also encourage out of the box thinking, new experiences to stimulate ideas utilizing music, art, dance, meditation, mindfulness, etc. While at Showtime, I attended CPSI several times and brought staff with me… I even brought my nine-year-old daughter one year, and, twenty one years later, the influence the workshop had on her life is amazing!  I believe the things I learned at CPSI gave me the courage and the impetus to leave Showtime and create Eclipse Marketing. Several Eclipse members have also attended this event and have greatly benefited from the institute, too.

Focus on the Positive… and Strive for Balance

This open-minded approach led to some unorthodox approaches in the office! Over the years, I have encouraged employees to become more mindful of the laws of attraction to keep positive attitudes at the forefront and negativity at a minimum; have conducted many guided imagery/manifestation sessions with the staff; supported creative and fun company Halloween parties and special events; and instituted a Mental Health Day policy—where employees can take one day off per month as a reward for working hard. I strongly believe in obtaining balance between your personal and professional life, and this is one way to relieve stress without using coveted vacation days. Growing a successful company was not without its personal sacrifices; I believe that I had quality time with my children growing up, but I regret that I did not have as much time as I would’ve liked. It’s a lesson I have learned and feel it is important that others strike a good balance in their lives to remain healthy and happy.

Two books I had read years ago had a definite impact on my philosophy moving forward and my approach to business and relationships. Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life” had a dramatic influence on my personal outlook and the use of positive affirmations. I equate the transformations to the children’s book “The Little Engine That Could”. While the little engine believed “I think I can, I think I can…” I interpreted Louise’s approach to be more positive… “I KNOW I can, I KNOW I can…” It just brings the whole mantra up a notch. An underlying mantra of my own, “What the mind can conceive and believe, it will achieve” further demonstrates my outlook on the company’s success, its due diligence in adapting to the ever-evolving world of entertainment and technology and the ever-changing landscape of MVPDs mergers, acquisitions and consumer engagement! Change your thoughts and you can change your life… by attracting positive team players, excellent clients, and an abundance of projects that keep all parties engaged, interested and thriving!

The second book I highly recommend is “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz. However, I admit, it is challenging to keep up with the agreements on a 24/7 basis!

The four agreements are:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

If you can follow the first three, you can minimize the “drama” that negatively influences all endeavors and will allow you to achieve comfort in “always doing your best.” There is also an understanding and forgiveness that your “best” is not always the same on a given day, but if you try to do your best in a given moment, it is literally the best you could achieve that day. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Tomorrow is another day!

I am Proud, Blessed and Grateful—and Not Ashamed to Admit It.

I am blessed with abundance—good health, loving family and friends, energetic, creative and loyal staff, wonderful clients and vendors who value good relationships and quality output. I believe that my positive outlook has influenced the people in my own “story.”

I am grateful that I have been part of this exciting entertainment and technology industry and that Eclipse has shared in developing its history, growth, and impact on today’s consumer through the strategic programs and creative projects we have developed and executed for our clients over the past 25 years. I am grateful for my current staff and past employees who have contributed to our success over the years, and for our loyal customers. Together we have seen the explosion of the digital revolution, the expansion of consumer entertainment choices, the ability to access dramatically more news and entertainment and connectivity than ever before, on whatever platform and device we want—whenever, wherever, however. Exciting times are definitely ahead of us with the Internet of Things, the birth of new OTT services and options, and programs to stimulate and entertain us on a daily basis.

I look forward to Eclipse’s next 25 years and will forever be proud, blessed and grateful for the abundance in my life.

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