Trenton Week: Connect & Grow

The Line-Up

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

that the

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

home-based

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, both

of Adams McClendon Consulting Firm LLC, will take place at Fleet

Bank’s

Trenton office at 200 East State Street in the second floor conference

room. Preregistration is required; call 609-396-7246 (or go to

www.smallbizweek.com)

for other free seminars and events taking place during Trenton Small

Business Week.

"Those businesses that haven’t yet taken the automation

plunge,"

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.

"Companies

that have processes that are automated," says Mitchell,

"gain

an edge because of the accessibility to more information for decision

making, faster turnaround time for customer service, and more

efficient

operations."

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

expensive

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

Princeton-based

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

Bristol-Myers

Squibb in Princeton.

The session is intended to evaluate a business’s automation needs,

identify processes that present the opportunity for automation,

present

the pros and cons of automation, and identify resources. While

Mitchell

will focus on the general aspects of automating a business, Fitch

will be handling the evaluation and technology implementation.

Areas that can be automated. "Specific areas,"

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.

Benefits to a business. "Labor intensive tasks and

duties are costly," Mitchell says, "and those expenses are

passed on to the customer. But in the long run, during this 21st

century,

it will hurt the business more than the customer. Customers will

request

business where they can obtain a better quality service and a quick

response time."

Cost of automating. Two types of costs must be considered:

the actual setup cost (creating a database or Internet site) and the

cost of not automating a business (its effect on company image and

customer retention).

"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,"

says Mitchell.

Seminar attendees will receive a step-by-step guide and

self-evaluation

questionnaire to help determine what is most appropriate for their

business. "Making the right automation selection," says

Mitchell,

"is key."

To merely call any customer service department for information and

find that the information is readily available — that is a

realistic

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

Top Of Page
Trenton Week: Connect & Grow

The theme for the Seventh Annual Trenton Small Business

Week, which runs from Monday to Friday, October 2 to 6, is

"Explore,

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

continue

all week long, but reservations need to be made by Friday, September

29.

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.

Top Of Page
The Line-Up

Kick-Off networking breakfast, hosted by Carol Royal,

Trenton Waste Exchange, 609-921-3393. $10, free with reservation.

NJN TV, 25 South Stockton Street, Monday, October 2, 8 a.m.

Managing E-Commerce, Bernadette Tiernan, New Jersey Small

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.

One on one financial consulting on small business

financing,

to 5 p.m. Free. Call Vivian Pepe, business mentor. 609-396-8271.

Trenton

Business Assistance Corporation, 36 South Broad, Monday, October

2, 1 p.m.

Effective Use of the Internet, four hours, $20. Call

Deborah

Aguiar-Velez, 609-392-29200, extension 104. Sistematica, 225 East

State Street, Monday, October 2, 1:30 p.m.

Networking reception & workshop with Latino Chamber of

Commerce and City of Trenton. Free. Call Harry Luna, 609-695-5600.

Malaga Restaurant, 511 Lalor Street, Monday, October 2, 5 p.m.

Marketing for Government & Corporate Contract Bid

Opportunities,

Patrick J. Guidotti and Lorraine Allen of the New Jersey

Commerce/Office

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.

One on one financial consulting on small business

financing,

to 5 p.m. Free. Call Vivian Pepe, business mentor. 609-396-8271.

Trenton

Business Assistance Corporation, 36 South Broad, Tuesday, October

3, 1 p.m.

New Jersey Department of Labor business services seminar

— website presentation and panel. Free. Call Kathy Wierzbicki,

609-777-4647. Labor Department, 13th Floor, John Fitch Plaza,

Tuesday,

October 3, 1 p.m.

Business Law for Business Owners, Audrey Winograd,

attorney

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.

Heritage Tourism & You, Beverly Richardson of MCCC. Free.

Call 609-586-4800, extension 6661. Old Barracks, Barrack Street,

Tuesday,

October 3, 6 p.m.

New Jersey Economic Development Authority business

financing

and entrepreneurial training workshop, Caren Franzini, NJEDA executive

director, Steven Szmutko. NJEDA, Marion Zajac of Entrepreneurial

Training

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.

Exploring new opportunities for economic development,

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.

International Business — Opportunities and Pitfalls,

Keld Hansen, Mercer County Community College’s Center for Global

Business,

free. Call 609-586-4800, extension 3602. MCCC James Kerney Campus,

North Broad and Academy streets, Wednesday, October 4, 2 p.m.

Networking reception hosted by Metropolitan Trenton

African

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.

Are You an Entrepreneur? NJAWBO workshop, Freda Howard

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.

The Voice of Small Business in the Legislature,

Assemblyman

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.

Construction Management, Eugene Marsh. $25 materials fee.

Lunch break. Call 609-730-0239. Fleet Bank, 200 East State Street,

Second Floor, Thursday, October 5, 11 a.m.

ABCs of Automating a Small Business, Anna Maria Mitchell

and Eric Fitch, Adams McClendon. Free. Call 609-890-6177. Fleet Bank,

200 East State Street, Second Floor, Thursday, October 5, 2 p.m.

Celebration and awards ceremony. Free. Maxine’s, 120 South

Warren Street, Thursday, October 5, 5:30 p.m.

Contacts for Contracts, Mercer County Small Business

Forum.

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.

Guerrilla Marketing in the Arts, also

"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.


Previous Story


Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments