"I started my software company five years ago as a second-year student at the Harvard Business School. Two days after my first advertisement appeared in a trade journal, I was asked by a Fortune 500 company to provide a price quote for 10 copies of my software. I was ecstatic!

"Using my computer, I put my company name at the top of the page and printed out my 'literature' and price quote. When I called my prospect the next week to follow up, I was treated somewhat rudely. She wasn't even interested in the quality of my product! The fact that my literature was shoddy had caused her to be more concerned about my company than the product. Needless to say, I immediately had stationery, business cards, and brochures printed."

-- Dan Slavin, founder of International Testing Services Inc., in Cambridge, Mass. Eventually, Slavin reports, the company sold more than 15,000 copies of its job-training software. Slavin sold International Testing this year.