Ilana Edelstein, author of The Patron Way, offers tips and insight on how Patron Tequila became the billion dollar brand it is today.

Sometimes we’re thrown business opportunities. The key to success is the ability to recognize them and respond accordingly. Even if you know little about the particular industry in which the opportunity has arisen, don’t shy away: more often than not, the fear experienced is the fear of failure, which can cripple you if you let it.

Here are a few vital ingredients to succeeding in today’s economically challenging times, which is similar to the economic climate of the early 1990’s:

Never allow conventional wisdom to constrain you

Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. Of course, it’s important to know the basics of business, but that doesn’t mean you must always go by the book. Don’t be afraid to set your own bar. Winners don’t limit themselves by an industry’s norm. The only way to truly be a breakout success is to block out the noise and listen to your own best instincts. Besides, you can’t beat the right combination of common sense and creativity.

A great partnership is a gift

Whether you are lovers, friends, or simply business partners with a profound respect for each other’s strengths, a true partnership can make the difference between something that’s just good and an enterprise that is a phenomenal success. As with Patron, partners Martin and John Paul were different on many levels, but they recognized an entrepreneurial zeal and ability to follow through in each other that made them a powerful team. John Paul’s cool business head, vision, and tactical skills were the perfect complement to Martin’s creativity and relentless drive. Equally, Martin and I raised the bar for each other in design and brand building.

Everything affects the final outcome

A great brand is a combination of the physical production and the intangible magic of the people who surround it. Learn every stage of your product’s journey: the production, packaging, and distribution processes. Become an expert on how it’s made, from the raw materials to its landing on the shelf in a store. Not only does this enable you to step in and troubleshoot whenever something goes wrong, it gives you a much deeper appreciation of what you are selling. Once you have become intimately acquainted with the process, you will realize that a product is the result of all the energy of those who have touched it along the way. Treat everyone associated with your product, at all levels, with love and respect.