Series: Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success

Lisa Maria-Booth, Fortitude Health and Training

“We just really believed in what we did and that let’s go attitude!” – Lisa Maria-Booth.

Lisa Maria-Booth is the co-owner of Fortitude Health and Training in Manchester. If you’ve taken—or even just watched—one of her classes, you know she works hard and loves it. Qualities that have made her a popular trainer for more than 25 years and, more recently, a successful business owner. We asked Lisa to share her Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Build a strong business plan
  • Make the connections, build a strong network
  • Offer something customers need
  • Keep it fun and fresh
  • Prepared to be challenged


Tony V., Comedian

“You’re all by yourself, I am the CEO of Tony V Incorporated, which also means I’m employee of the month, most months, so that’s the upside.” – Tony V.

That’s comedian Tony V, always finding the funny in any situation. It’s one of the reasons he’s been able to thrive as a standup comedian in New England since 1982. We asked him to rock—literally—rock with us backstage at Camp-A-Palooza at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion and share some of his Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Prepare to work 24/7
  • Connect with your audience
  • Remain current and relevant
  • Ignore the haters


Loretta LaRoche, Comedian & Stress Expert

“If you want to be successful in life, you have to learn common sense, and critical thinking skills. You have to decide how you’re going to get through this life without pre-suffering, suffering and post suffering.” -–Loretta LaRoche

Loretta LaRoche travels the world teaching stress management using humor as a coping mechanism. This entrepreneur’s written books, she blogs and performs live on stage, including here in New Hampshire. This 77-year-old wise woman tells it like it is—and you leave laughing. It’s a win-win, right? We asked her to share her Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Think positive
  • Avoid negative people
  • Face-to-face communication
  • Remember, you’re replaceable


Steven Tyler

If you want to launch a career as a performer—and become an evolving legend for decades—this is the man you need to listen to. Enjoy this exclusive, up close and personal Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success with Steven Tyler.

Don Nason, The Nason Group

“It’s kind of fun to be able to say you know what? I want to go do something and make something happen and do something good and nobody has to tell me that I am allowed to.” – Don Nason, The Nason Group

Calling your own shots. That’s why Don Nason—and many entrepreneurs—decide to go out on their own.  After serving twenty years as a police officer—with the last four as Chief of Police in Bridgewater—Nason wanted a change, so he launched his own private investigation firm. It’s thriving, and we wanted to show you why in this week’s Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Capitalize on what you know
  • Develop a strong network
  • Hire people you can trust
  • Rise above the competition
  • Don’t disappoint

Andy and Laurie Sanborn, The Draft

“I don’t think there’s an easy business to be involved in… If there is an easy business, tell me what it is and I’ll go to that one.” – Andy Sanborn, Co-Owner, The Draft.

Andy and his wife Laurie did not take the easy route when it came to choosing their careers. By day, they’re State Senator Andy Sanborn and Representative Laurie Sanborn, working under the gold dome in Concord. By night, they’re entrepreneurs.

“The number one issue in our society today, that can cure virtually every single ail we have, is a great job, so let’s go make some.”

10 years ago, they created the restaurant called The Draft—which is about a mile away from the State House—and employs nearly two dozen people. We asked the Sanborns to share their Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Hire the best of the best
  • Manage from the bottom up
  • Create a climate of success
  • Offer something unexpected and create it from scratch
  • Cater to customer wants and needs

Crissy Kantor, Chill Spa

“Manchester deserves more. They deserve the best. And what I like to do is bring everything that I’ve learned, that I know is great. We try everything.” – Crissy Kantor, Chill Spa

That’s Crissy Kantor, founder of Chill Spa. For ten years, she’s been offering something she says the people of her hometown of Manchester really need. We crossed over into the Chill Zone to discover her secrets to entrepreneurial success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Recruit the right people
  • Invest in your team
  • Never stop learning
  • Offer great value at a great price
  • Give back to your community

The NH Scorecard: “Innovation Leader”

Entrepreneur & Tech Consultant Craig Peterson breaks it down

“Overall, we did really, really well, and ranked far above most states out there in almost every category.” – Craig Peterson, Entrepreneur & Technology Consultant

New Hampshire has earned a prestigious ranking by the Consumer Technology Association. The state is an “Innovation Leader.” It’s the second highest of four tiers on its scorecard that highlights the states with the best policies for tech startups.

If you’re an entrepreneur or thinking about becoming one, this is an important read. Research shows about 57-thousand people work in the tech sector in the state. And that number is going up.

Craig Peterson—our tech consultant and successful entrepreneur—helps us break down the scorecard. Let’s start with the good news.

Joe Faro, Founder & Chief Food Taster, Tuscan Brands

“Energy and passion kind of go together. When you’re passionate about something, it kind of fuels that energy, and everybody feeds off of that. The community feeds off of that. The guests feed off of that. Your employees feed off of that,” – Joe Faro, Owner & Chief Food Taster, Tuscan Brands.

That’s Joe Faro, the founder of Tuscan Market and Tuscan Kitchen. This UNH graduate has turned his lifelong passion for pasta into big business here in the Granite State. In fact, it was at UNH that he wrote the business plan for his first company – Joseph’s Gourmet Pasta and Sauces—that he sold to Nestle before breaking some serious ground in Salem and Portsmouth. We had a fireside chat with this pasta maker and real estate investor to share some of his most delicious secrets to entrepreneurial success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Have it and share it with employees
  • Less talking, more listening to guests
  • Invest in the community
  • Give back

Justin Spencer, Recycled Percussion

“That is something I study so much. More than drumming, more than performing, I pride myself on the business of things. I think for entrepreneurs, you have to really know, and believe in your heart, that what you’re doing is going to be a success. That may sound cliché, but it’s not.” – Justin Spencer, Founder, Recycled Percussion

Launching and maintaining a business is often a lifelong pursuit and can be extremely challenging. But when the businesses succeed—and there are thousands of these Made in New Hampshire stories—they can have a huge economic impact. Each week, we profile Granite State entrepreneurs and ask them to share their secrets to entrepreneurial success. We open the series with a rock star from Goffstown: Justin Spencer, founder of Recycled Percussion.

Secret to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Be in love with what you do
  • Identify and connect with your target audience
  • Offer something unique
  • Perform through the pain
  • Challenge yourself

 David Bellman, Bellman’s Jeweler’s

“That’s what New Hampshire is made of. New Hampshire has been built on entrepreneurship. If you look around the state, we are a state of small companies, which is why we do better than the country, when it comes to the economy because we’re so diverse.” – David Bellman, Bellman’s Jewelers

And when these entrepreneurs succeed—and there are thousands of these “Made in New Hampshire” stories—they have a huge economic impact. Each week, we will profile Granite State entrepreneurs and ask them to share their secrets to success.  Tonight, we continue our series with a jeweler and inventor from Manchester.

Secret to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Identify customer needs
  • Offer something unique
  • Build trust
  • Be fully engaged

Brian Shea, The Barley House

“That was THE story for about 15 minutes, I guess. But it really kind of catapulted us into that campaign stop that we wanted to happen because of our proximity to the state house.” – Brian Shea, The Barley House

Each week, we profile a New Hampshire entrepreneur to uncover some of their secrets to success.  Tonight, we show you how a Concord restaurant—in its own unique way—is literally feeding the First-in-the-Nation primary.

Secret to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Find the right location
  • Create something memorable
  • Hire good people & treat them well

Scott Spradling, Spradling Group

“A dear friend once told me – leaving news – you spend half your time doing work for clients. You spend the other half looking for more clients. Don’t ever think that those two jobs aren’t symbiotic and necessary.” – Scott Spradling, Spradling Group

Words to live by, if you’re thinking about becoming your own boss or just becoming better at what you do. Every week we profile New Hampshire entrepreneurs to find out what it takes to make it the business world. Tonight, we sit down with a familiar face: An award-winning political journalist who used a lot of what he learned in the newsroom to go out on his own.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Master the art of communication
  • Build and maintain relationships
  • Don’t burn bridges
  • Take a leap of faith

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry’s

“Anything that’s innovative, anything that’s new comes from small businesses.” – Ben Cohen, Co-Founder, Ben & Jerry’s

These two men would know! They’re Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. The entrepreneurs who built the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream empire. We asked them to give us a taste of their winning strategy.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Do something you love
  • Avoid the big dogs
  • Don’t compromise on quality
  • Create something unique
  • Invest in the community

Alex Ray, The Common Man

“There are two incomes in the world. One is here (pointing to his brain) and one is here (pointing to wallet). I am pointing at my wallet in my back pocket. If you fill this one up (the brain), it will give back for the rest of your life, so don’t go to work for money.” – Alex Ray, The Common Man.

Extraordinary advice from The Common Man himself, Alex Ray. You may not recognize him at first, but chances are you’ve dined at one of The Common Man restaurants, diners, maybe slept in one of his hotels, grabbed a snack and gas at the Hooksett Welcome Center, or enjoyed a live performance at the Flying Monkey. Just some of Alex Ray’s establishments across New Hampshire. And to think this entrepreneur NEVER wanted to work in the restaurant business.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Never changing, always fresh
  • Keep it local
  • Create a worthwhile experience
  • Make the customer your priority
  • Invest in the community

Andy Crews, AutoFair

 “When I looked at New Hampshire I had two small girls, it looked like a great place to raise a family and a very good opportunity, and so we made the move and came up. It was the best thing I could do for my family.”  – Andy Crews, President & CEO, AutoFair

… And for people across New Hampshire. That’s Andy Crews, CEO of AutoFair. While he’s only been here with his family for a decade, he’s made—and continues to make—a huge impact on many lives. And we’re not just talking about his 650 employees. We asked him to share some of his Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Work your way up
  • Find a mentor
  • Built trust, generate loyalty
  • Take the risk and invest in yourself
  • Invest in the community

Matt Welch, The Monarchs

“I think any professional is constantly trying to learn. We have the benefit of having so many corporate partners, so many great business people that we interact with, sometimes I feel like I’m getting a free MBA just going to work.” – Matt Welch, President, Monarchs

That’s Matt Welch, president of the Monarchs, talking about the benefits of our Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success series. It’s all about learning from those who have taken on huge risks and challenges–and made their businesses work. Matt has been with the organization from its start.  Now he’s president and his challenge is to create the same excitement and success for the East Coast Hockey League and they did in the American Hockey League last year.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Put in the work
  • Surround yourself with people you trust
  • Take risks, learn from mistakes
  • Tackle big tasks first
  • Get into the community

Bob Marley, Comedian

“It’s a really weird profession. Think of what we do. It’s like a carnival. If you really think about it, there’s really no room for us anymore. Someone that just stands up there and goes, ‘So here’s what happened today.’ With all of the media outlets and all the stuff people have at their disposal, why are we even around still? – Bob Marley, Comedian

That’s where the Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success come in. Comedian Bob Marley has been making people laugh for decades. Despite the odds, he continues to find ways to not only survive, but thrive in the entertainment industry while living in his home state of Maine. Through all the jokes and impersonations during our interview, we were able to learn what makes his stand-up—standout.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Love what you do
  • Work harder and smarter than the competition
  • Keep it fresh
  • Get tough

Ervin Fazekas, Mr. Bubbles

“We arrived in this country in 1959 with 127 dollars, two suitcases, no language, no relatives—just a great desire to live the American dream.” – Ervin Fazekas, Mr. Bubbles

From Hungary to New Hampshire—that is exactly what Ervin Fazekas – aka Mr. Bubbles—and his family are doing in Portsmouth and Rochester. They’re living the American dream. The car wash business may not sound glamorous, but like all of these entrepreneurs we’ve profiled—including the entertainers—he took on the risk and responsibility of building his business and shares his secrets to success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Location, location, location
  • Offer only quality service
  • Create a memorable experience
  • Make it a family affair

Mike Girard, THE FOOLS

 “It made it where we could say good bye to anybody telling us either what to do or how to do it, or whatever path we should be taking.” – Mike Girard, The Fools

One of the greatest rewards of being an entrepreneur—carving your own path. That’s what Mike Girard did. He’s the lead singer and founder of the legendary Boston-born band THE FOOLS, who has also called New Hampshire home for more than 20 years. What makes him a hugely successful entrepreneur is that he’s been performing—across the globe—for four decades, and continues to perform in front of sold out crowds. We asked him to share some of his secrets to success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success:

  • Trust your instincts
  • Push the envelope
  • Connect with your audience
  • Perform through the pain
  • Dress the part

Rick Brenner, New Hampshire Fisher Cats

“We are constantly looking for ways to help out, to be part of our community, and give back when we can. It’s the kind of business that lends itself well to that.” – Rick Brenner, President & GM, New Hampshire Fisher Cats

That’s Rick Brenner, President of Manchester’s Double-A minor league baseball team, the Fisher Cats. Brenner—and the organization—have been recognized a number of times in recent years for their efforts to pack this house on game days. That’s not always easy with minor league franchises. So we asked him to share some of the Fisher Cats’ secrets to entrepreneurial success.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success

  • All-star customer service
  • Connect with fans
  • Invest in the community

Tim Sink, President, Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce

“Anywhere in New Hampshire, you can start up a business. You register a trade name for 50 bucks and the office is here in Concord, so it saves you from getting in the car and driving. You don’t really have to do anything to start a business. It’s just that if you do your homework, you put together a solid business plan, you really think it through, your chances of success are a lot better than just saying, ‘Gee, I want to open a restaurant!’” – Tim Sink, President, Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce

Craig Peterson, Technology Consultant

“You have to have a huge goal. You have to have something that is going to inspire you and inspire the people around you. And if it’s a huge enough goal, it’s going to be a scary goal.” – Craig Peterson, Technology Consultant

Most entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed readily admit that launching a business is scary.  Without exception, you’re emotionally and financially invested in its success.  I found an interesting article on  It’s the 8 surprising traits of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. So, I asked an entrepreneur from Manchester – technology consultant Craig Peterson – to offer his take on the list.

8 Surprising Traits of the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs

  • They listen more than they speak
  • They’re ready to embrace failure
  • They’re extremely curious
  • They’re determined to follow their passions
  • They admit what they don’t know
  • They know when and how to say no
  • They know the importance of balance
  • They know how to build a good team

If you have a business you’d like to nominate, please fill out the form below or you can connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

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