Business Merit Depends on Representation

January 26, 2021

If you believe your business has merit, it will show in how you represent it

Excerpted from The Secret is You by Chris Cicchinelli who charts his two-decade journey transforming Pure Romance into the world’s largest in-home/virtual party company of its kind, while also sharing his innovative approach for empowering women to become successful entrepreneurs themselves. The Secret is You is now available for pre-sale order with an April 2021 delivery. Purchase the book here.


I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to endure whispers from people claiming Pure Romance wasn’t a real business. It bothered me a lot. It was a battle waged as much internally, in my own head, as it was in my community and the larger world.

Society wasn’t going to change. My attitude had to. And it did. Once that happened, everything changed.

The other thing to remember is that nothing changes people’s minds more than money. When you start making it in volume, that opens eyes. People start to see you as legit. They view your business as real. It’s sad, because as I tell people, nothing has changed except their assessment of who you are. It’s the sustained revenue growth of Pure Romance that helped us to become agents of change, not what we’re selling or our business model. These days, I oversee 186 individual businesses, each worth more than a million dollars.

But it took years for the business community to look at what we do as authentic. That crystalized back in October 2019, when Patty Brisben was inducted into the Greater Cincinnati Business Hall of Fame. Let me tell you, considering where my mother and Pure Romance had come from, that was one amazing milestone.

How did it finally happen? Well, we were a $250 million annual business ($350 million now), and we weren’t using play money last time I checked.

What percentage of companies in the world get to $250 million? A 2009 Inc. magazine story notes, “Research suggests that only one-tenth of 1 percent of companies will ever reach $250 million in annual revenue.” That’s one in a thousand. Plus, we grew every year for twenty years.

My point is that the attention we finally started receiving—the honors from the business community, laudatory articles in the business press—was no accident. We made it happen by comporting ourselves as if we were worthy of being part of the elite. That’s how we saw ourselves, and that was ultimately how others saw us, too. It didn’t happen overnight, and it may not for you, either. But if you stay the course, it’s possible.


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