Burt Hanna, CEO of Hanna Candles, on Starting a Business in Your 20s (Exec Q&A)

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 12:00 am  

Burt Hanna, CEO of Hanna's Candles. (Photo by Beth Hall)

When the candle business changed, our sales dropped 80 percent in a few years. That was tough! It was like being a brewery when Prohibition hit. Keeping it all going until we could change our product mix, there were some dark moments. But what I learned is that perseverance has no equal.

Q: What is the biggest business mistake you ever made?

I have tried so many things that didn't work, but thank God none has been fatal. I bought all the equipment to start a glass factory. Another time I tried to get in the metal-stamping business. Another big fail was that I got into the fire log business. Each one of these was a $300,000-plus mistake.

Q: What is the smartest business decision you ever made?

Going into business for myself. I have never worked for anyone since I quit water skiing for a living when I was 23. 



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