Corrections or additions?
These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring and Bart Jackson were
prepared for the May 15, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
Linking Business with Community
In an iffy economy every business has to make the most
of what is has. And for many businesses, a key strength is community.
"Since 9/11, people are staying in the community more," says
company. "We’re teaching businesses how to capitalize on the
Stoltman is organizing "Making Magic Happen. . . Connecting
Success with the Community" on Friday, May 17, at 8 a.m. at
restaurant in Hamilton for the Hamilton business community. Presenting
a workshop is
a consulting business specializing in non-traditional communication.
The event is sponsored by the Hopewell Community Bank. Cost: $25.
Stoltman and Zingg are both Hamilton residents, and until fairly
New York commuters. Stoltman was the event planner for Editor &
magazine and Zingg was working in human resources for the Children’s
Television Workshop. Stoltman, who started her company just one year
ago, admits that her timing could have been better.
"This is a terrible time to start a business," she says, and
her type of business, drawing as it does on discretionary corporate
dollars, is particularly hard hit. "As soon as the economy goes
south, the first thing they cut is entertainment and travel."
Nevertheless, with Editor & Publisher as an anchor client, she is
Zingg has been in business for himself for three years, and is unfazed
by the economy. His business specializes in inculcating uplift, and
he says the smart company will realize it needs its troops to be
and upbeat now more than ever.
Zingg has been a magician and mentalist — basically a mind reader
— since he was a small child, and he includes those elements in
his presentations. A specialty, he says, is "creating engagements
that deliver a key message in a memorable way."
As an example, he recently was called in by a company to see if he
could get two contentious departments to work well together. His
consisted of sitting everyone together in a room and having them pass
a balloon around. The balloon obviously contained something, but it
was not clear what that something was. As each person caught the
Zingg asked for a number or a color or the name of an animal. Every
person had to call out an answer. Then, the balloon toss over, it
was popped and there inside was a piece of paper — and on the
paper were all the random words the audience had called out.
Zingg declined to say how he had pulled off that magic trick, and
in fact seems a little uncomfortable with the notion of tricks. There
is magic all around us, he says. We ourselves are magic. That, and
not a mere trick, is his over-riding point. In the case of the feuding
departments, the specific point was that co-operation could be
and fun. He says that his way of teaching — of engagement —
drives the lesson home in a way that team building and lectures do
He will use engagement to illustrate all of his points during his
upcoming presentation to Hamilton businesses on the value of
Here are a couple of those points:
mightily on branding what they do or what they produce. "`We have
the best toaster,’" Zingg gives as an example. There is a new
paradigm, he says. "The smart money understands we have to brand
who we are."
This is especially important for a community business. People trade
with people they like and trust. The toaster may be more expensive.
There may be a longer wait for a table. The selection of pick-up
may be less extensive. None of that will matter much to the consumer
if he is greeted by name by a smiling proprietor he has come to like.
giving short shrift to cultivating long-term relationships — with
customers and with employees. "`There will always be another
There will always be another customer,’" is how Zingg
this way of thinking.
There is tremendous value, though, in working to create loyalty.
like to recognize their tellers, know their waitresses by name, and
give their copy orders to the young man who graduated from high school
in their son’s class. Employers who value their employees enough to
hang on to them create these bonds, and enrich their businesses along
for companies that serve consumers, but is also a tool for the service
businesses that vie for those consumer companies’ dollars. Knowing
what customers want now, says Zingg, puts marketers and similar
in a position to win new clients. No obvious magic there; just common
Franchisers have saturated much of suburban America,
planting McDonalds, Chick-Fil-A, Jiffy Lube, and Starbucks in or near
most every mall and highway. Now, says
with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, "international
franchisers are vying to encourage franchises in urban areas."
On Tuesday, May 21, at 8:30 a.m., the EDA holds a workshop,
Opportunities: Entrepreneurial and Business Development" at the
Lafayette Yard Marriott in Trenton. Cost: $35. Call 609-341-2065.
"Franchising is a great way to go into business for yourself,
but not by yourself," says Galli. Her agency held a similar
opportunities workshop in northern New Jersey in January, and she
says six to eight participants are now in active discussions with
When people think of franchises, Galli says, they think of food —
the Popeye’s Chickens and Burger Kings and Dunkin’ Donuts outlets
are the first things that spring to mind. But this is just one
niche. There are automotive franchises, tax preparation franchises,
dry cleaning and home cleaning franchises, and many other categories.
Many companies owning these outlets are just now recognizing, Galli
says, that "urban areas are very much an untapped arena."
This opens a window of opportunity for those interested in becoming
Requirements for receiving a franchise license vary widely, says
In some cases, background in the business is required, in other cases,
she says, franchisers prefer their franchisees to learn from them,
and may even see a background in the business as a liability. Some
franchise licenses run into the millions, as would be the case for
obtaining the rights to run a large hotel. In other cases, the
investment is modest.
"There are a lot of resources out there for financing a
says Galli. "There is equity financing and financing from the
franchiser is sometimes a possibility." In addition, the EDA
loans to new and existing businesses. "We do half-a-billion in
financing each year," Galli says. "We have well over 20
Banks are another source of start-up capital for a franchise.
are banks out there that are very interested," says Galli. In
fact, she adds, PNC is the sponsor of the May 21 event.
Franchisees may have to come up with collateral for a loan, and good
credit is a plus, but, says Galli, less than perfect credit is
necessarily a deal stopper.
There is lots of help available for new franchisees. Organizations
like Downtown New Jersey might help with finding a location, for
And the EDA, through its entrepreneurism workshops, prepares those
thinking of striking out on their own, with or without the help of
a franchise license.
For a franchisee, just as for the owner of a stand-alone business,
the most important factor — by far — is "sound business
planning," says Galli. "You need a solid business plan, the
ability to stick to it, and the ability to understand the
Insight will be available on May 21 as representatives from
including Dunkin’ Donuts and Ramada address attendees. Also speaking
are business owners who have chosen the franchise route. They will
share their experiences and give those who are thinking of taking
the same route to independence an inside look into the challenges
and rewards of operating a franchise.
Gingerly your vice president places the threatening
document on your desk. Five million in damages is demanded from your
competitor claiming that you pirated his employee who had been
by a non-compete agreement. Swiftly you swing into action and heap
all the blame on your in-house lawyer. But alas, it is too late and
the wrong target. You might as well blame your personal trainer for
your obesity-engendered heart attack.
Those seeking a more judicious path toward business health might want
to heed the advice of attorney
on "Uncovering Discrimination: A Self-Audit," on Thursday,
May 23, at 7:30 a.m. at a meeting of the Employers Association of
New Jersey at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Also speaking are
of Luminara, a human resources consulting firm. Cost: $55. Call
Born and raised in a Miami business family, Jarjour earned a B.A.
at Florida International University and a J.D. from the University
of Pennsylvania. She founded her solo practice in Florida, but for
the past 12 years has been based in Parsippany, where her specialties
include telecommunications, professional services, healthcare, arts
and entertainment, and retail. She has also served as Verizon’s
counsel, guiding the telecommunications giant through many contractual
Jarjour sees a corporate attorney as someone who advises the captain
to put a man in the crow’s nest because there might just be an iceberg
out there. The captain grumbles about wasting an able bodied man.
"But however remote the possibility," says Jarjour, "you’d
better have someone to warn you and help plant some safeguards."
Currently, most larger firms willingly invest in ample in-house staff
and available outsources to establish a preemptive legal fortress
surrounding all their activities. However, small and medium
Jarjour points out, frequently and wrongfully regard preventative
legal care as beyond their means.
Visions of a trusted legal retainer being cashed in for a battery
of high-priced specialists make most owners (and their accountants)
blanch. But full legal foresight is less a matter of quantity, says
Jarjour, than of proper initial selection. "There is still a role
for the lone general business counsel," she insists. "The
goal is to select an attorney who has primary expertise in two or
three of your highest use areas and enough ready contacts to outsource
As international and high tech trading link onto traditional business
modes, our law’s specialties and specialists explode. Jarjour actually
sees this specialization as a benefit to the client. "Somewhere
nearby awaits an absolute expert in the field you need," she says,
"who constantly keeps abreast of that body of law."
Once an owner has selected counsel, the first joint task must be a
full legal audit of the entire breadth of the company’s transactions.
Red flags will doubtless pop up in areas the firm probably never even
whole topic an incredible mine field," says Jarjour. Website
frequently bounces about like a baseball batted into the stands. The
culprit? Imprecise contractual terms. A site that the business owner
commissioned for his company can default to the employee or the worker
for hire who designed it if the terms do not otherwise specify.
Equally common is the problem of slander. If an employee sends a
E-mail on his employer’s computer, is he assumed to be speaking for
the company? Is the company as liable as the employee for the damaging
accusation? Several corporations that have not spelled out exact
use rules have been named in similar suits.
in a consultant and listed her compensation on a 1099 form has found
himself in tax trouble when the IRS judges this worker to be an
"If your behavior toward this consultant is reflective of an
towards an employee, regardless of intent," warns Jarjour,
might be crossing the legal line." This is a combined tax,
and management issue with nuances that must be understood in detail.
of promotion, illegal demands, or allowances are contractual items
that tend to be left alone to grow rigid and inoperable. Under certain
circumstances, you may not, for discrimination reasons, be able to
demand a high school degree for all your line workers. Jarjour
asks her clients if there is an employee manual that covers fully
and specifically the situations owners often lay at her door.
a valued employee into an agreement forbidding him to work for a
for six months? Longer? And even more insidious, how far do you have
to go in checking on new employees to make sure they are not
may seem a bothersome and expensive investment for your company.
it usually takes just a twitch of a contract or small addition to
the employees’ manual to eliminate the risk of massive damages to
your firm from some blind side. After all, you never know when an
$5 million iceberg may be looming just beyond the horizon.
— Bart Jackson
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