New York Giants Vs. Princeton Firms

Worker Exchanges: Global Perspectives

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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 24, 2000. All rights reserved.

Business Resource: Listings of VARs

With over 5,000 value-added resellers (VARs) in New

Jersey, it’s not easy to pick the one with the right solution at the

right price. One new website hopes to make it just a little bit easier.

Findreseller.com, launched in April by high-tech publishing veteran

Larry Hookey, is an online directory of VARs in New Jersey —

70 of them so far — that allows business owners to search for

companies that offer the right technology solutions to their business.

Users simply check off services required (document imaging, help desk/sales

automation, consulting, for example) and Findreseller’s search engine

pulls up profiles of each applicable vendor. Users can fill out a

request for proposal on the spot, or hotlink to the vendors’ site

and call upon it later. "This really is a revolutionary business

model," says Hookey. "One of the biggest challenges for small

and mid-size businesses is finding quality technology solutions providers.

We stepped into this breach to give these folks a forum to find it

in three minutes or less."

Findreseller is free to users, but value-added resellers pay $2,400

a year for a posting — thus, only a fraction of the resellers

in New Jersey, approximately 70, are currently listed. "Even with

70 company profiles we have the best, most effective website out there,"

says Hookey. "Eventually we hope to have a critical mass of 200

or 500 resellers on the site. That’s a tremendous base to start from.

If you go the Yellow Pages you only get one page or a little ad. It’s

very inefficient, and you still have to plow through the website."

Technology companies, which already shell out plenty of money in advertising,

will also realize the value of the site, says Hookey. "The bottom

line," says Hookey, "is that one new customer or one new sale

pays for the investment."

Hookey, a resident of Princeton with a BA in business from University

of Delaware, Class of 1980, spent 15 years publishing high-tech magazines

prior to founding Findreseller, and most recently worked for CMP Media

in Manhasset, New York, publishers of Internet Week and Network Computing

magazines. It was there that he got the idea for Findreseller. "Before

Findreseller, companies relied on word-of-mouth recommendations, referrals,

and very inefficient ways of formulating customers leads," says

Hookey. "Another critical benefit for resellers is that they have

an opportunity to come on and create partnerships with other resellers.

A lot of customers need expertise that goes beyond one reseller."

Another stream of revenue comes from advertising — both from big vendors,

such as Compaq and IBM, as well as companies that sell to the small

business community.

With a start-up budget of $150,000, gathered from angel investors,

Hookey launched Findreseller in April with a staff of four. During

May, the site felt 15,000 hits, and processed roughly 50 RFPs. The

company recently launched an ad campaign that includes Inc. magazine.

Eventually, Hookey wants to provide the same services to small businesses

in other states — particularly the 22 states that comprise most

of the IT expenditures in the country. To do that, however, he needs

more money, but if he can get even 10 percent of the companies in

New Jersey to sign up, he believes he can accomplish it. "If we

get even 500 resellers signed up that’s over $1 million," he says.

"We’d like to come in between $750,000 and a $1 million by the

end of the year."

Channel Media Group/Findreseller.com, 301

North Harrison Street, Suite 347, Princeton 08540. 609-683-9163; fax,

609-683-3928. Home page: www.findreseller.com.

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New York Giants Vs. Princeton Firms

The 10th Anniversary softball game between the New York

Giants and Princeton’s corporate challengers is shaping up as a recordbreaker.

The game, which will be played on Thursday, May 25, at 6 p.m. —

rain or shine — on the athletic field behind 2 and 4 Research

Way at College Park is a fundraiser for the Middlesex County Chapter

of the American Cancer Society. "We have commitments from a record

number of Princeton-area firms and anticipate an impressive turn out

to help celebrate this milestone," says Tom Stange of National

Business Parks, the game’s primary sponsor.

The firms signed on as corporate contenders include GE, Taylor

Technology, Hitachi, Panasonic, Neostrata, Picus Associates, Bracco

Diagnostics, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Since its inception, the game has raised more than $100,000, all of

which goes to assistance for local cancer patients. Businesses and

individuals can participate in the game at various levels for raising

$500 or more. There is no admission charge to attend the game and

everyone is welcome. A post-game party will be held at the Doral Forrestal.

Individuals and companies who wish to participate in the softball

game should call National Business Parks at 609-452-1300.

Top Of Page
Worker Exchanges: Global Perspectives

You have heard of foreign exchange students. But foreign

exchange employees?

In an increasingly global economy, companies that want to stay ahead

of the curve need to acquaint themselves with business practices in

other countries, particularly if they hope to attract international

clients, says Tom Sullivan, president of Princeton Partners

Inc., the Research Way-based business-to-business and consumer integrated

marketing agency. Sometimes that means sending an emissary to a foreign

land to gather intelligence. Princeton Partners just hosted such an

emissary and filed the following summary of the experience, prepared

by Gary Frisch:

"The firsthand experience of actually working in a foreign

company within your industry can’t be matched," notes Sullivan.

"Their ability to watch dealings with clients, participate in

brainstorming sessions and even to observe the day-to-day interaction

among employees can be very educational and lend new perspective to

your own business practices."

Princeton Partners hosted its first foreign exchange employee the

week of May 8. Markus Lipp, a 32-year-old copywriter from a

Munich, Germany-based ad agency called Heller & Partner, was integrated

into the company as a regular employee, taking part in new client

meetings, creative sessions and staff update meetings. He also presented

case studies to staffers on how his company solved three business

problems.

In return, Sullivan says, Princeton Partners will be sending a middle

or senior-level employee to Munich in the fall.

The employee swap came about as a result of both agencies’ membership

in MAGNet, the Marketing and Advertising Global Network, an organization

of cooperating ad agencies throughout North America and Europe. Each

member agency is exclusive to its market, and the group holds formal

meetings three times a year. It was at one of these meetings that

Stephan Heller, the principal of Heller & Partner, proposed

the idea of exchanging employees.

"We’d done several informal exchanges with other domestic agencies

in the course of helping one another out, but this was the first time

a formalized foreign exchange had been discussed," recalls Sullivan.

"We felt it was a good way to both reward good employees while

helping our respective agencies remain on the cutting edge of current

business trends."

Although MAGNet membership facilitated this pilot exchange, Sullivan

offers the following tips to small and mid-size companies that want

to implement a similar employee exchange:

Use an industry association. If you don’t already belong

to one, join. In addition to a variety of resources and benefits,

membership in an association can help you identify companies in your

field that you admire and feel you can learn from. Just be sure the

company you choose isn’t a direct competitor.

Broach the idea principal-to-principal. After you’ve identified

a company that might be receptive to an exchange, talk directly with

the top person. An in-person meeting is best — possibly at an

industry tradeshow or conference — but if that’s not possible

try forging a phone relationship first.

Use personal contacts if possible. This is, of course,

the easiest route to an exchange. Comb your Rolodex for international

counterparts who made an impression at the last industry mixer. Even

if you have no international contacts, perhaps someone can refer you

to their office overseas, if they have one.

Come to an agreement about the terms of the exchange.

How long will it be? How will the employee be integrated into the

company? What kind of work space will be made available? Will the

employee be expected to make a formal presentation? Will he or she

be sharing time with co-workers outside of business hours? These things

should be determined in advance.

Select the employee carefully. Identify what you hope

to learn and choose someone from an area of your company that can

benefit from that information. Also, make sure the employee is adaptable

and comfortable in new work and social settings.

Integrate the visiting employee socially as well as during

the workday. Says Sullivan: "It’s a good idea to make them feel

like part of the team, even outside of business hours. We took Markus

to his first baseball game, the Trenton Thunder, and gave him a guided

tour of Princeton."

Finally, let the employee bring his own ideas and perspectives

along. "It’s the differences in thought processes that are most

valuable in an exchange," says Sullivan. "The overriding goal

is to learn other ways of doing things while making it a rewarding

experience for the employee."


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