Get a national trademark on your business ideas; cut back on your workload.
"I'd recommend to anyone that you automatically get a national trademark on anything you do. You don't have anything to lose." That poignant advice comes from Larry Reinstein, CEO of the Souper Salad chain of takeout restaurants based in Newton, Mass. When Reinstein's father opened the first Souper Salad, in 1976, he wasn't thinking of going national. "But," says Reinstein, "his sons came along with visions of bigger things." However, the sons were in for a rude shock: another Souper Salad, based in Dallas, owned the national trademark. Forced to rethink their expansion, the Reinsteins introduced in 1997 a new urban eatery called Fresh City, now rolling out in three states. And they've retained top-notch trademark lawyers. --Susan Greco
Overachieving entrepreneur Shawne Kleckner found himself doing too much. He was running three companies at once, including fast-growing Right Stuf International, a Japanese-animation-video distributor in Des Moines (#369 on the 1999 Inc. 500). Seeking sanity, Kleckner drew up a list of everything he does and vowed to eliminate one item per month. So far, so-so: his success rate is 50%. But Kleckner thinks even half helps. "If I don't let go of those things, it all will consume me," he says. When it comes to tasks such as following up with vendors, "I used to work 24 hours a day," he says. "Now I can actually go home and read and eat and spend time with my family." --Jill Hecht Maxwell