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These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for the

April 25, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

For New Businesses: `StartUpJournal’

Thinking of buying an ice cream stand at the shore?

Just getting a software company off the ground? StartupJournal, new

from the Wall Street Journal, offers hundreds of listings of

businesses

for sale, and an abundance of advice for getting one of them up and

running smoothly.

The online magazine, at www.startupjournal.com, is the latest in

a family of websites that have sprung from National Business

Employment

Weekly, a once-a-week print publication for job hunting executives

that morphed into online magazine CareerJournal. StartupJournal’s

siblings, in addition to CareerJournal, are CareerJournal Europe,

CareerJournal Asia, and CollegeJournal. All link back to WSJ.com,

the website of the Wall Street Journal. And while the other five

publications

in the online family address concerns of those working at climbing

corporate ladders, StartupJournal is for individuals who want to erect

their own scaffolding.

An unobtrusive little button on the upper left hand side of

StartupJournal’s

home page reads "businesses for sale." It leads to a rich

directory of businesses, accessible by region, state, or type of

enterprise.

In New Jersey alone there are many hundreds of possibilities,

including

liquor stores in a wide range of prices, bagel stores, child care

centers, fitness chains, marinas, web hosting businesses, software

companies, and yes, quite a few ice cream stores. Each entry contains

a smidgen of financial information on the business, terms of sale,

and a description. Searching the listings is great fun, and it’s free,

too. Posting an ad costs $59.

Other home page real estate is occupied by buttons leading to sections

where entrepreneurs can look for franchise opportunities, create

business

plans with step-by-step help, and search for trademarks. Basic-level

business plans and trademark searches are free. For more comprehensive

offerings, users are directed to StartupJournal partners, which charge

for their services.

Free to all are home page articles. Among them is "The

Challengers."

Following the reality genre formula that is oh-so-popular right now,

this feature follows "the triumphs and tribulations" of four

early-stage U.S. companies, looking "behind the scenes to explore

what life is really like at young, entrepreneurial companies."

Other features explore marketing strategies, financing options, and

management challenges.

Beyond its home page editorial content, StartupJournal offers scores

of articles under headings that include "How-To,"

"Technology,"

and "Running a Business," and "Ideas." On a recent

day, the website’s articles ran the gamut from new strategies for

motivational speakers (tell audiences how you recovered from

near-disaster)

to help for franchisees who are hard up for workers (poach from your

neighbors and consider hiring ex-cons). Much of the writing is done

by Wall Street Journal reporters. It follows the Internet rule that

states that folks reading on a computer terminal want their

information

in little pieces. Paragraphs are short, and information is sometimes

presented in bullet points. The articles, one and all, are

entertaining,

finding fresh angles everywhere. It is not hard to lose track of time,

moving from one enticing headline — "Entrepreneur Uses His

Hobby to Build an Empire" — to another.

A valuable resource for anyone dreaming of selling soft ice cream

by the sea by summer’s start, StartupJournal is also a great read

for anyone interested in small business trends and strategies.

— Kathleen McGinn Spring


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