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How to win friends and influence people (in Cape Coral)

August 17, 2018
By Duwayne Keller (Special to The Breeze) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Over the past 20 years, I've had an insider's view as the Cape Coral business community has grown and evolved into a thriving entrepreneurial hub. The unique character of the business community here has allowed leaders to, as Dale Carnegie would say, continue to win friends and influence people.

Carnegie was an incredible businessman and he also had keen insight into the human condition. As I look at Cape Coral and the businesses and professionals here, there are four of his 30 key principles I've seen successfully brought to life across the community most often - and more businesses would benefit from leveraging these timeless insights from an expert like Carnegie.

Dramatize your ideas

Far from a retirement community, Cape Coral is a growing destination for entrepreneurs with big ideas. I've been impressed with the number of small business owners who have taken a new business plan and gone big with it. And experts like Carnegie himself would likely say that this is the key to Cape Coral setting itself apart from the rest of the state. More businesses should go bold with their brand and their offerings.

Throw down a challenge

Entrepreneurs here continue to reinvent cuisine, salons, IT support and tourism, and challenge consumers to see things differently. I've seen many local entrepreneurs here take risks in establishing their businesses that may not have paid off in other areas of Florida, and certainly not around the rest of the country. Meanwhile, bigger companies are calling Cape Coral home at an increasing rate, continuing to reshape what's possible and acceptable for new businesses here.

Arouse in the other person an eager need or want

As we grow and attract even larger companies and corporations to Cape Coral to offer jobs and change the economic landscape, business owners have shown a willingness to understand the consumer base here, and what people want. The more we as a business community understand how to sell specifically to people in Cape Coral, the better our skills will be to expand to offer services and products nationally, and globally.

Begin in

a friendly way

There's a lot to be said for classic Floridian hospitality, and the difference it makes to customers stepping into a restaurant or retail space anywhere in Lee County. The character of business leaders here is friendly, but that doesn't (and shouldn't) mean that Cape Coral businesses aren't hungry for a challenge or to push our community to the next level. This intangible characteristic makes a difference, whether driving sales at local businesses or drawing in new companies to headquarter here.

As Florida's economy moves full steam ahead, the people behind the business community here continue to put Cape Coral on the map to help drive that growth. I'm proud to have been part of that evolution - 20 years ago I had the chance to take over my office from a previous owner and I jumped on it. It's been exciting to see and be a part of a business community's growth, but like many of my peers I am looking forward to my next adventure. To the new generation of business owners, I urge you - don't underestimate the ability of your principles to win people to your business and influence the economic winds of our community.

Duwayne Keller is the owner of Dale Carnegie Training of Cape Coral / Fort Myers. He can be contacted by phone at 941-766-7227 or via email at



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