Corrections or additions?
This article by Michael Schumacher was prepared for the September
20, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.
All rights reserved.
Automating Business: No Small Feat
By now most of us have adapted, reluctantly perhaps,
to processes such as retrieving our money from automatic teller
machines or making purchases from Internet based companies. Yet for
many small business owners, the need to automate their operations can
generate both confusion and trepidation. That’s because most believe
cost is simply too prohibitive for businesses their size, or that
the process to automate is too complex.
David Sands, principal of a promotional items company Partners
In Promotions Inc. on Marigold Court in Princeton (732-274-2100),
has already bit the automation bullet and today realizes that most
of the anxieties are unfounded. Even though the two-employee
operation has sent out fewer catalogs to potential clients, it is
experiencing a boom year. That’s because more than 100,000 of Sand’s
products — pens, mugs, golf shirts, service awards — are now
available on his website (www.partnersinpromotions.com) where visitors
can peruse his inventory quickly and easily and at their leisure.
"Now when clients call," says Sands, "they often already
have an idea of what they want."
Those less audacious than Sands have an opportunity to learn more
about automating their business by attending the free seminar "The
ABCs of Automating a Small Business," set for Thursday, October
5, at 2 p.m. as part of Trenton Small Business Week. The seminar,
presented by Anna Maria Mitchell and Eric Fitch
of Adams McClendon Consulting Firm LLC, will take place at Fleet
Trenton office at 200 East State Street in the second floor conference
room. Preregistration is required; call 609-396-7246 (or go to
for other free seminars and events taking place during Trenton Small
"Those businesses that haven’t yet taken the automation
says Sands, "are missing out."
The good news is that Mitchell and Fitch are convinced that every
company regardless of its sales size and line of business can benefit
from taking even small steps in automating its operation.
that have processes that are automated," says Mitchell,
an edge because of the accessibility to more information for decision
making, faster turnaround time for customer service, and more
Though the pair has seen this happen with numerous organizations,
some entrepreneurs are reluctant. "Some businesses do not have
the internal resources at their disposal and may feel it is too
to acquire the services of an outside firm. Others are not aware of
the processes that can be automated," says Mitchell.
Mitchell holds a bachelor’s in administrative management
from the College of New Jersey and a master’s in public administration
from Rutgers. She is also a certified government financial manager
and a member of the Association of Government Accountants. Her
firm provides information technology and management assistance to
both businesses and non-profit organizations.
Fitch received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Trenton
State in 1994 and is an MBA candidate in information technology at
Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is also currently employed at
Squibb in Princeton.
The session is intended to evaluate a business’s automation needs,
identify processes that present the opportunity for automation,
the pros and cons of automation, and identify resources. While
will focus on the general aspects of automating a business, Fitch
will be handling the evaluation and technology implementation.
says Mitchell, "will depend on each business, but some of the
more common areas include accounting, word processing, record keeping,
customer and prospects lists, payroll, and inventory."
Tools that will be discussed include process-oriented software, data
sharing, and production applications.
duties are costly," Mitchell says, "and those expenses are
passed on to the customer. But in the long run, during this 21st
it will hurt the business more than the customer. Customers will
business where they can obtain a better quality service and a quick
the actual setup cost (creating a database or Internet site) and the
cost of not automating a business (its effect on company image and
"There’s always a cost of doing business and automating has become
one of those costs. There are up-front costs associated in automating,
but in the long term the benefits will outweigh those costs,"
questionnaire to help determine what is most appropriate for their
business. "Making the right automation selection," says
To merely call any customer service department for information and
find that the information is readily available — that is a
scenario, says Mitchell. "Before automation, that timeframe was
not possible. Response and processing time is now instantaneous. Let’s
face it, our time is valuable."
— U. Michael Schumacher
The theme for the Seventh Annual Trenton Small Business
Week, which runs from Monday to Friday, October 2 to 6, is
Connect, Partner, Grow." The nearly two-dozen events at various
locations offer business to business networking, hands-on learning
seminars, and one-on-one consulting. For instance, business owners
can sign up for one-hour consulting sessions at the Trenton Business
and Technology Center at 36 South Broad Street. These sessions
all week long, but reservations need to be made by Friday, September
For reservations for any event, go to www.smallbizweek.com or
call the hotline at 609-396-7246. The phone numbers listed with each
event are for information only.
Trenton Waste Exchange, 609-921-3393. $10, free with reservation.
NJN TV, 25 South Stockton Street, Monday, October 2, 8 a.m.
Business Development Center, Rutgers Technical Management Assistance
Program. Call Nat Bender at 800-432-1565. MCCC’s James Kerney Campus,
North Broad and Academy, Monday, October 2, 10:30 a.m.
to 5 p.m. Free. Call Vivian Pepe, business mentor. 609-396-8271.
Business Assistance Corporation, 36 South Broad, Monday, October
2, 1 p.m.
Aguiar-Velez, 609-392-29200, extension 104. Sistematica, 225 East
State Street, Monday, October 2, 1:30 p.m.
Commerce and City of Trenton. Free. Call Harry Luna, 609-695-5600.
Malaga Restaurant, 511 Lalor Street, Monday, October 2, 5 p.m.
Patrick J. Guidotti and Lorraine Allen of the New Jersey
of Small Business and Madeline Britman, New Jersey Small Business
Development Centers. Free. Call 609-984-3408. Roebling Building, 20
West State, Second Floor, Tuesday, October 3, 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m. Free. Call Vivian Pepe, business mentor. 609-396-8271.
Business Assistance Corporation, 36 South Broad, Tuesday, October
3, 1 p.m.
— website presentation and panel. Free. Call Kathy Wierzbicki,
609-777-4647. Labor Department, 13th Floor, John Fitch Plaza,
October 3, 1 p.m.
and director of MCCC SBDC. Free. Call 609-586-4800, extension 3469.
Trenton Business & Technology Center, 36 South Broad, Tuesday,
October 3, 5:30 p.m.
Call 609-586-4800, extension 6661. Old Barracks, Barrack Street,
October 3, 6 p.m.
and entrepreneurial training workshop, Caren Franzini, NJEDA executive
director, Steven Szmutko. NJEDA, Marion Zajac of Entrepreneurial
Institute Program, and Roland Pott, owner, Urban Word Cafe. Free.
Call 609-292-0359. NJEDA, 36 West State Street, Wednesday, October
4, 9 a.m.
Douglas H. Palmer, mayor, City of Trenton. $30. Call Beth Scannella.
Lunch by Ann Merlino of Merlino’s Waterfront. Trenton War Memorial,
Wednesday, October 4, 11:30 a.m.
Keld Hansen, Mercer County Community College’s Center for Global
free. Call 609-586-4800, extension 3602. MCCC James Kerney Campus,
North Broad and Academy streets, Wednesday, October 4, 2 p.m.
American Chamber of Commerce (MTAAC) to 8 p.m. Free. For information
call Linda Hollingshead, 609-393-5933. Maxine’s, 120 South Warren
Street, Wednesday, October 4, 5:30 p.m.
of Howard Lane Gift Baskets, also tour of business reference section,
free. Lawrence Library, Darrah Lane and Route 1 South, Wednesday,
October 4, 7 p.m.
Guy Gregg. Free. Contact person: Beth Scannella, Greater Mercer County
Chamber of Commerce, 609-393-4143. New Jersey State House, West State
Street, Thursday, October 5, 9 a.m.
Lunch break. Call 609-730-0239. Fleet Bank, 200 East State Street,
Second Floor, Thursday, October 5, 11 a.m.
and Eric Fitch, Adams McClendon. Free. Call 609-890-6177. Fleet Bank,
200 East State Street, Second Floor, Thursday, October 5, 2 p.m.
Warren Street, Thursday, October 5, 5:30 p.m.
Call Don Addison, county office of economic opportunity, 609-989-6418.
Free. Sovereign Bank Arena, 550 South Broad Street, Friday, October
6, 8 a.m.
"Responsibilities and Solutions for Artist," and
"Portfolio Development and Promotion." Susan Schear of
ArtIsIn, Gail Cohen of Trenton Arts Connection, and Barbara Swanda of
Artworks. Free, cash lunch. Registration required. Call 609-396-7246.
Urban Word Cafe, 449 South Broad Street, Saturday, October 7, 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.