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Secrets of Success: Gene Marks
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We’ve launched Secrets of Success, a new weekly interview series here at’s Small Business Forum. I’ve asked some of the smartest, most innovative, most successful people I know to share their insights and success secrets.

Meet: Gene Marks. Gene left the corporate world and launched The Marks Group P.C. 20 years ago. In addition to running his company, Gene writes about small business for numerous media outlets, including a daily column for The New York Times. He’s also written six best-selling books, and is a sought-after speaker and all-around funny guy.

Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Gene Marks: Shortstop for the Phillies [that’s major league baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies].  And looking at the Phillies lineup this year I still think I could make the team.

Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?

Marks: To have more balance and control over my life. I didn’t like other people making decisions that affected my family and me.

Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?

Marks: It dawned on me after seven years that I could make more money if I stopped doing services and had other, smarter people doing them instead.

Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?

Marks: My dad always said that things are never as bad as they seem, but they’re never as good as they seem either.

Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?

Marks: Outsourcing. Too many people are trying to do too many things. The smartest ones I know have recognized their own limitations and [turned to] others so that they could focus on what they do best.

Lesonsky: Do you have a 2014 small business prediction?

Marks: There are 30 million small business in the U.S. I predict that some will fail and some will succeed.

Lesonsky: Do you have a favorite book?

Marks: Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.

Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?

Marks: “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”—from The Godfather

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Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.
Rieva Lesonsky

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