By NOAH GARRETT, special to Local Tech Wire

CHARLESTON, S.C. – How hard are you willing to work? What are you willing to do? What are you good at?

These three questions banged in my mind like a pinball machine gone berserk after attending last week’s LTW Executive Exchange Venture Capital Symposium in Durham. The event

Cuban posed those three questions along with many others during his visit to the Triangle; all of which got this small-business owner thinking heavily on how to take my business () even further in the years to come.

The outspoken billionaire laid out his rules for business and offered unique advice to entrepreneurs and investors during his presentation at the American Tobacco Campus. In bullet-point fashion, he offered a no-holds-barred approach to laying out his work ethic and approach to running a successful business.

I am president and founder of NGC Communications. NGC is based in Charleston, and we specialize in managed marketing and PR services. Basically, we are your storytellers – either through traditional means or in other areas that I call PR 2.0.

NGC works nationally with several clients on the West Coast and also represents many organizations in the Triangle. We (and it’s always “we”) have built the business from a one-man shop to three part-time employees in as many years. I probably average about 70 to 80 hours of work a week; but when you love what you do, it doesn’t seem overwhelming.

That answers the first question of how hard are you willing to work.

Last Thursday, I got up at 3:30 a.m. to drive up to Durham to hear what Cuban had to say. I also took advantage of the setting to meet with some clients in the room as well as provide most of the coverage you read last week on Local Tech Wire. It was a busy day to say the least, but I really enjoyed writing about the day’s discussions.

This is a typical day in my life and for many entrepreneurs – up before the sun and asleep sometimes at sunrise. Keep that in mind if you’re looking to launch a business. You better love what you do; because you’ll spend a lot of time doing it.

That answers question No. 2.

All the way home I thought about the similarities between Cuban and myself regarding work ethic and how we operate our businesses. Although a big difference in bank accounts, we are not that much different.

I agree with Cuban that “sales cures all.” His comments on how “every entrepreneur should be good at three things and not lie to yourself about what you aren’t good at” were also on the money.

Now I won’t bore you with the three things I came up with for myself, but certainly encourage you to post a comment or at least think of three things you are good at and share with someone close to you. It really is beneficial to think this way.

That sort of answers question No. 3.

I remember starting NGC Communications in 2007 with one client and a laptop. That’s it. It was tough the first year while also moving from the Triangle to Charleston at the same time. Three years later, things are plugging along nicely, but there’s always a feeling that it could just disappear in an instant.

It takes resilience, salesmanship, and the ability to believe in your business to stay in the game.

I really liked Cuban’s talk – it certainly has motivated me to think differently and how to better operate NGC. Listening to his remarks was a breath of fresh air and inspiring for small business owners. I like dudes who just keep it real. Many times at events and functions that I attend all over the country I hear the same `ol mumbo jumbo.

This, my friends, was not the same `ol mumbo jumbo.

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