Corrections or additions?
Online SBA Courses
These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper
on March 24, 1999. All rights reserved.
Even Uncle Sam is getting into the online learning mode,
thanks in part to efforts of a Princeton area firm. Anyone with a
standard Internet connection can now participate in the new SBA Small
Business Classroom 24 hours a day. This new online education resource
uses the latest technology to bring easy-to-use, electronic business
courses for current and aspiring entrepreneurs — technology developed
with the aid of the Princeton Center for Education Services, based
at the Straube Center in Pennington (see page 41).
"Our new Small Business Classroom is designed to meet the business
education and information needs of the 21st century aspiring entrepreneur,"
says Aida Alvarez, administrator of the U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA). The SBA Small Business Classroom is accessible
through the agency’s website at http://www.sba.gov or at
The online courses are short (7 to 30 minutes), self-paced, learning
modules formatted into easy-to-follow learning templates. The content
of each course is enhanced with graphics, audio, and numerous electronic
links to other small business learning resources. Certain courses
will be offered in both Spanish and English. Current online courses
on dealing with the Y2K computer issue.
an effective business plan; profiles each component in detail and
includes additional resources.
on how to prepare a loan proposal, how banks review financial requests
and information on SBA’s financial assistance programs.
marketing, and how to do business with the federal government in the
near future. Additional components of the SBA Small Business Classroom
include online counseling with SCORE volunteers, a library, and a
Course Evaluation and Comments Forum.
Centenarians, once rare, are now the world’s fastest-growing
age group and are setting the gold standard for healthy living. Learn
how you can apply lifestyle lessons from the centenarians to make
your own lives longer and healthier by participating in live online
chats at http://www.healthatoz.com. The chats, featuring Thomas
Perls of Harvard Medical School and director of the New-England
Centenarian Study, are scheduled for this Friday, March 26, March
31, April 5, and April 8 at 9.30 p.m.
Perls will discuss what you can learn from centenarians about maintaining
your health and enjoyment of life as you grow old, and will answer
questions from other online chat participants.
To participate, access the home-page, click on one of the registration
links, register your user ID, password, and nickname, and return to
the home-page and click on the chat link for the chat you would like
to attend. You can join the chat and log out at any time.
HealthAtoZ is a search engine and consumer-oriented communities site
developed by medical professionals. It consists of a directory of
more than 50,000 health and medical web sites, supportive online communities
for consumers with different medical conditions, consumer-oriented
news, and the "Health Calendar and Reminder Service." Other
popular features include "Ask the Cyber Librarian," Health
E-Cards, the Vote of the Week, and a health-related online chat series.
Online learning can only go so far, say the experts.
Some projects seem to demand a face to face meeting. If a "press
the flesh" confrontation is absolutely not possible, the next
best thing is a videoconference.
Jeffrey P. O’Brien, president of Avideo Co. Inc., rents out
videoconference space at Princeton Corporate Plaza (732-274-0033).
When individuals are meeting for the very first time, videoconferencing
can demonstrate the importance you place on the meeting, says O’Brien,
a business administration major from Rutgers, Class of 1981. Other
times when videoconferencing is the way to go:
what you have to say has affected your adversary. "Visualization
is totally different," says O’Brien. "It completes the conversation."
work on the same document," says O’Brien. "At the videoconference
with a document camera they can share computer screen images, audio,
video tape, all created and transmitted instantly. They can see each
other working on the same document. You can’t do that on a conference
for travel. Law firms often bring their court reporters to O’Brien’s
space for videoconferenced depositions. Some firms do job interviews
to bringing everyone to that one location. Use of a videoconferencing
room costs about $200 an hour.
O’Brien has these tips for videoconferencing:
be on time.
or grays on the walls and don’t wear your white shirt.
at the other end wondering what’s going on; it’s like being put on
has increased so it is almost instantaneous, cameras are voice activated,
so listen to what the other person says.
projected on a video screen.
readouts for your telephone charges.
don’t leave the equipment on unless there is an intended purpose.
"We schedule ours to be left on when we have sales reps out selling,
and they will call up our conference room without anyone being here,"
says O’Brien. But he knew another company’s rep who used his home
office as a demo room, and one day he demoed his basement only to
find a strange man standing there — he was fixing the furnace.
Entrepreneurs don’t have to be making money now to gain
the confidence of investors, says Stephen Shaffer of Penny Lane
Partners LP of 1 Palmer Square. "What we look for are companies
that have a strong management team in place and a compelling story
— a proprietary feature that we feel certain can capture a meaningful
share of a very large market."
Shaffer will be one of the panelists at this year’s New Jersey Venture
Fair on Monday, March 29, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Liberty Science
Center in Jersey City. The exposition, titled "Where emerging
growth companies and venture capital meet," will give potential
investors like Shaffer a chance to view new products and meet the
management teams of more than 40 promising businesses. After the venture
capitalists give their luncheon addresses, the trade show starts at
1:30 p.m., and the fair concludes with a cocktail party. Cost: $115.
Other panelists at the fair include John Martinson of Edison
Venture Fund, New Jersey’s largest venture capital firm; Ron Hahn
of Early Stage Enterprises, Frank Tower of Blue Rock Capital,
and Brandon Hull of Cardinal Health Partners. Individual investors,
commercial lenders, investment bankers and brokers, attorneys, accountants
and other corporate business developers are also invited to attend;
for more information, contact the New Jersey Technology Council at
An alumnus of Dartmouth College, Class of 1967, Stephen Shaffer holds
a BA in history and an MBA from Cornell. He joined Prudential Insurance
Company of America in 1969 to negotiate leverage buyouts for the company.
Prior to founding Penny Lane, Shaffer did private placements as an
intermediary for his New York based broker-dealer, Denslow, Shaffer
By definition a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC), Penny Lane
is limited to investments of up to $2 million in any given deal. In
addition to stock, investors typically claim a seat on the board of
directors. This means entrepreneurs have to be ready to give up a
portion of their company.
"Venture capitalists are expensive people," Shaffer concedes.
"But investors not only bring money to a company, they bring experience,
useful connections, and strategic focus because they’ve been in the
In the three years since the company was founded, Shaffer and his
three partners have invested over $18 million in 12 portfolio companies
covering a broad range of fields, from biotechnology to publishing.
He offers the following suggestions to entrepreneurs thinking about
ways to help their businesses grow:
different sources of funding depending on its size, history and stage
of development. "You can save yourself time by knowing which investors
will take the risk, and for how much," says Shaffer. At the "seed"
stage, an idea or concept may be enough to attract initial investments
of up to $500,000 from "angel" investors. An SBIC like Penny
Lane usually enters the picture once a company has established both
history and a viable product. Large investment firms, banks and venture
capitalists typically enter at a much later stage.
are accustomed to looking a few years down the road, but they want
reassurance nonetheless. "At this stage of investment, venture
capital firms aren’t necessarily looking at the immediate profit margin
so much as what amount of the market the company can seize once the
company is fully developed."
the integrity of the people in a business, not just the product. "If
I see a management team in place that I don’t like, I won’t do the
deal," says Shaffer. "We like to know the management team
has worked together and can function well together," says Shaffer.
For him, that usually means at least three years of company history.
sabotage efforts to gain financial backing by clinging to unrealistic
expectations. "We turn down a lot of deals because the entrepreneurs
think it’s worth a whole lot more than we think it’s worth," says
Shaffer. On the other hand, if investors are scrambling to get stock,
that could mean a company has been undervalued. The best way to avoid
either situation: work closely with someone who knows the financial
business plan, Shaffer urges, should be drafted under the guidance
of a professional before it reaches investors. "We’d almost prefer
that the plan come to us through somebody else," says Shaffer.
"It tells us that at least somebody has looked at it and has passed
judgment on it that it belongs in the venture capital community."
Attorneys, investment bankers and intermediaries can all help get
your plan in the right hands.
Although the competition for funding is rigorous, promising businesses
benefit from what Shaffer describes as a "cooperative" rather
than competitive attitude within the SBIC community. "I’m just
as happy to do a deal with other venture capitalists as not,"
says Shaffer. Attractive businesses will often pull in multiple investors,
which means both more money and a better chance for success. "We
all get together and share ideas about how to do things: how to raise
your own money, what to look for in companies, how to hire staff,
how to bring partners in. The more minds, the better."
— Melinda Sherwood
Four-drawer file used cabinets for $10, new fax machines
for $35, and Pentium computers for $300. Sound too good to be true?
Not if you run a non-profit business. Trenton Waste Exchange and Recycled
Office Equipment Company are co-sponsoring a four-hour warehouse sale
on Tuesday, March 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bordentown Self Storage,
1025 Route 206 (opposite the Bordentown weigh station of New Jersey
Turnpike’s Exit 7).
Trenton Waste Exchange is a nonprofit donation broker and a virtual
warehouse (609-921-3393). Carol W. Royal, the director, helps
locate homes for unwanted but usable surplus.
Providing the merchandise for this sale is Bill Mischlich of
the for-profit Robbinsville-based Recycled Office Equipment Company
(609-208-0559). Mischlich bids on lots, donates a percentage of what
he gets to charity (U.S. 1, December 23, 1998).
Some of the equipment has been donated to charity through Mischlich,
some was given to him through a barter arrangement, and some, says
Mischlich, is "junk we have repaired."
"I make offers and appraise equipment to recycle it," says
Mischlich. "We can tell small companies what the price is or go
in and make an offer. We upgrade and test everything before we sell
it, or we take it back if it malfunctions."
Mischlich does not buy or accept donations from private individuals,
and "a 486-33 is the lowest unit we will give away," says
Mischlich, noting that this computer will take children’s games and
He has set a slightly higher bar for the sale, offering 486-66 computers
with monitor, keyboard, and mouse for $125. Some of this price will
go into a revolving fund for more donations. Also offered on March
speakers, monitor, keyboard, and mouse), $300.
status. It’s cash and carry.
U.S. 1 printed a list of places to donate computers and office equipment
— and get donations from — on December 23, and the list is
available at http://www.princetoninfo.com. Suggestions
on how to donate computers to schools may be found at http://www.computers.fed.gov.
Among the tips: Donate software with your computer only if you are
not keeping a copy. Include manuals and other materials. Otherwise,
clean out all files on the disk with a utility program. Even the most
primitive models can help very young children with word processing
— or be used as "take-apart" fodder for figuring out how
But for a longer list call Neil Seldman at the Institute for
Local Self Reliance in Washington at 202-232-4108 (http://www.iosr.org). Seldman’s report
"Plug Into Electronics Re-Use" sells for $15 and it not only
gives a list of recyclers and reusers, it tells how to introduce community
groups or entrepreneurs to the recycling marketplace.
"Many of the successful companies use donations or sales at low
cost as a loss leader, and they make money on software, maintenance,
and service," says Seldman.
Two labor law attorneys discuss discrimination in the
workforce at a free public seminar hosted by the New Jersey State
Bar Foundation on Thursday, April 8, at 7 p.m. at the New Jersey Law
Center, One Constitution Square, New Brunswick. Pre-register by calling
800-FREE-LAW or 908-937-7525.
Arnold Cohen of the Newark law firm Balk, Oxfeld, Mandell and
Cohen, and Devora L. Lindeman, an attorney with the Clifton
law firm of Proskauer Rose, will provide an overview of employment
discrimination relating to age, gender, race, handicap, whistle blower,
pregnancy discrimination, reduction in the workforce, and equal pay
for equal work.
Cohen concentrates his practice in the private and public sector of
labor and employment law. An adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School,
he is also the host of "The World of Work" on WDVR-FM.
Lindeman exclusively represents management in labor and employment
issues, defending against such claims as wrongful termination, breach
of contract, and discrimination. She also assists clients in establishing
preventive maintenance measures such as employee handbooks and sexual
harassment policies in order to prevent problems before they occur.
<B>Abby Joseph Cohen, the celebrity equity analyst
from Goldman Sachs, has been announced as the keynote luncheon speaker
for this year’s New Jersey Business Conference set for Wednesday,
May 19, from 9 to 5 p.m. at Hilton Towers in East Brunswick. Table
sponsorships for this prestigious event, which benefits Rutgers’ Graduate
School of Management, sell for $1,500 or $3,000. Call 201-339-0155.
Also speaking on May 19 are John S. Reed, chairman and CEO of
Citigroup; Patricia F. Russo, executive vice president, Lucent
Technologies; Douglas G. Watson, president and CEO of Novartis
Corporation; and Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Mirage Resorts.
Governor Christie Whitman is expected to join the more than
1,000 CEOs and senior executives at the conference, entitled "Beyond
2000: Industry Perspective for the 21st Century." Sponsors include
Summit Bank, New Jersey Sales & Marketing Executives Association,
Business News New Jersey, and the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce.
"This should be a very powerful program," says Robert G.
Cox, president of Summit Bank and chair of the conference, "one
that gives senior executives across the state an opportunity to hear
from some highly visible individuals, each of whom is recognized as
a leader in his or her industry and an expert on future trends.
U.S. Small Business Administration administrator Aida
Alvarez encourages New Jersey women business owners to join her
and William B. Daily, secretary of commerce, at the Canada/USA
Businesswomen’s Trade Summit in Toronto, Canada from May 17 to May
"The summit will provide a forum for Canadian and U.S. businesswomen
who are ready to do business across the border, as well as develop
beneficial commercial relationships," says Alvarez. The summit
will feature a policy forum where participants will discuss important
cross-border issues with key Canadian and U.S. policy-makers, says
Alvarez. Participants will also have the opportunity to display their
products and services at a business showcase, and to network with
their Canadian counterparts.
The fee for participating is $415. The application process includes
an assessment of each applicant’s export readiness. The summit is
limited to 150 U.S. women business owners. To register online, visit
http://www.businesswomensummit.com. For more information, call Tanya
Galery Smith at 202-205-7268 or E-mail: email@example.com.
For the first time in New Jersey history, a for-profit
school is offering a four-year bachelors degree program. The DeVry
Institute of North Brunswick was granted accreditation by the state’s
Commission on Higher Education for its four-year Electronics Engineering
Technology (EET) program.
"DeVry can now respond to the demands of New Jersey’s leading
companies by providing high-tech employees with increased skills and
knowledge," says Robert Bocchino, president of DeVry in
North Brunswick. The bachelor’s degree curriculum combines advanced
technical skills with business concepts.
250 students are expected to enroll in this program. Approximately
3,300 students are currently enrolled at DeVry in North Brunswick.
DeVry Institute is a division of DeVry Inc., which has 12 campuses
across the country.
Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken is offering
a bachelor of science degree in E-Business. AT&T has donated $100,000
for the new curriculum, and Rick Roscitt, president and CEO
of AT&T Solutions, AT&T’s outsourcing business, is scheduled to be
one of the instructors. Stevens officials say that this degree will
focus on the integration of technology and business and expose students
to a broad array of real-life and work experiences.
The institute also offers other off-campus graduate programs such
as Chemical Biology at Rider University; Telecommunications Management
at AT&T Local Services, Dayton; Concurrent Engineering at Brookdale
Community College, Lincroft; and Technology Management at Lucent Technologies,
Piscataway. For more information, call 201-216-5234.
RideWise, Somerset County’s transportation agency is
looking for cyclists to participate in its county wide "Bike to
Work" competition on Friday, May 21, the 43rd National Bike to
Work Day. Commuters all across the country are encouraged to leave
their cars at home and pedal to work on this day.
The RideWise contest is open to anyone who works in Somerset County.
There is no fee to register and prizes will be given to the cyclist
with the longest commute and to the company with the most employees
For more information or to register, call 908-704-1011. National Bike
to Work Day is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, an
organization focusing on bicycling advocacy and education.
Here are two handbooks for business formation and operation:
The New Jersey Corporation Handbook, a comprehensive guide to New
Jersey corporations by Robert D. Frawley. Published by West
Group, the 1999 edition costs $60. To order, call 800-344-5009, fax
800-213-2323, or order online at http://www.westgroup.com.
Frawley has an office in Morristown and is of counsel to the College
Road-based Smith, Stratton, Heher, and Brennan. He handles business
organization, mergers, acquisitions, corporate finance, venture capital,
family business counseling, and intellectual property matters.
"This is a practitioner’s handbook, written by a practitioner,"
writes Frawley in the author’s preface. "It is a handbook for
quick reference. It contains fully annotated references to Title 14A,
an invaluable tool that will save library time." The softbound
volume with approximately 475 pages, includes information regarding
choosing a corporate entity, the importance of maintaining and filing
proper business records, resolving shareholder disputes, and the duties
of officers and directors.
The New Jersey Small Business Resource Guide for 1999 is now available
from the SBA district office by calling Harry Menta at 973-645-2434.
The free 38-page guide has sections on starting and financing a business,
government regulations, financial and technical assistance programs,
and local sources of help. Updates of this information may be found
in the form of a newsletter at http://www.nj.com/njsbdc/sbanews/.
Beyond the Fist
It was not so long ago that all one needed to be a good
manager, it seemed, was an `iron fist’ and the drive to get things
done no matter what," says Sheree Butterfield, of Drake
Beam Morin, a global career transition and outplacement consulting
firm with an office at Forrestal Village (http://www.dbm.com).
"But as we tumble headlong into the next millennium, the skills
required of a good manager will be all the more complex and diverse."
The firm offers these tips for managers of the future:
a single area of business immune to the advancements of technology.
Managers may also find themselves communicating regularly with employees
they rarely see. Managers will need to know how to take advantage
of the latest in communications technology.
millennium will need to be a kind of vortex, drawing all the vast
resources and information available. Managers will have to make use
of everything they hear from above, below, and even outside the immediate
sphere of business.
inevitable in time of change — and the coming years will be times
of great change — managers will need to approach such changes
as challenges, opportunities for learning and even altering one’s
mindset. They should be able to let certain things simply "roll
off," to see the larger picture, the greater vision, and not let
the momentary storm and stress of change affect them.
of merely supervising are waning. In the shifting sea of full and
part-timers, freelancers, temps, and flex-time workers, the manager
of tomorrow will need to "read between the lines" of these
varying groups, understand the weaknesses and utilize the strengths
inherent in each group.
for the uniqueness of their style. But no longer will a single style,
however unique, suffice. The managers of tomorrow will need the ability
to step from one way of doing things to another, to become strategist,
then mentor, then team leader.
their fingertips a growing reservoir of knowledge and information.
They will need to be able to retrieve, understand, and repackage this
information swiftly, and in a manner that suits the given situation.
will remain so. Managers in the next millennium will have to shift
and juggle resources with ease. This applies to more than just money;
customer satisfaction, employee morale, and company image will become
part and parcel with "bottom line" concerns.
a quarterly objective or personal aim, but something other. Being
able to see, not only the forest for the trees, but beyond the forest,
being able to envision your company as it could be, and how you can
contribute to the achievement of that vision, will be a necessity
for the coming millennium.
be even less likely than they are today to endure unethical behavior
on the job. Sound ethical practices tend to trickle down, and employees
rise to the occasion. A greater sense of achievement is often the
result. The managers of the next millennium will be the wellspring
of this focus on ethics.
ways of approaching life and business, different ways of looking at
the world. Tomorrow’s managers will not only succeed but thrive in
the midst of diversity. They will learn and come to appreciate the
customs and beliefs of the people they work with and do business with
all over the world. The workplace is, after all, a part of the Global
"It all comes down to being willing to become a lifelong learner,"
says Butterfield. "If you want to succeed into the next millennium,
you can’t rest on your laurels. You have to keep learning new things
and grow out of the box of what used to be called, `standard management
The Garden State Council of the Society for Human Resources
Management (SHRM), is seeking nominations for the 1999 New Jersey
Employer of the Year." The awards will be presented at the SHRM
State Conference on Human Resources on November 1 and 2 at the Doubletree
Any employer in New Jersey is eligible to nominate itself for the
award. The award is based on excellence in recruitment and selection;
compensation; benefits; employee training and development; managing
workplace diversity; integration of work and family values; health,
safety, and security; and partnering.
Nomination forms should be returned by April 30. Call Pat Reeves
<B>Harold W. McGraw Jr., Princeton University Class
of 1940, made a $5 million gift to endow the Harold W. McGraw Jr.
Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University. McGraw,
who spent 52 years at McGraw Hill, currently serves as chairman emeritus.
Jacqueline Mintz, founding director of the GSI Teaching and
Resource Center at the University of California at Berkeley, will
direct the new center.
to Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) for five educational
and community oriented programs.
"We appreciate the ongoing support of Ethicon Inc.," says
Raymond Bateman, chairman of the RVCC board of trustees. "They
have enabled RVCC to continue to deliver sound educational opportunities
and diverse cultural experiences to our community."
The money will provide nursing scholarships, enhance programs of the
Center for International Business and Education, the Institute of
Holocaust and Genocide Studies, theater, and to support the offerings
by the resident orchestra and choir.
Physics Laboratory (PPPL) to supplement the endowment for PPPL’s
"Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics and Technology Development."
Funded by the Department of Energy and managed by Princeton University,
PPPL is a collaborative national center for science and innovation
leading to an attractive fusion energy source.
The Kaul Foundation was set up by Florida businessman Ralph Kaul in
1986 to encourage and reward excellence of national significance in
scientific, public health and safety, literary, fine arts, and educational
University through the Independent College Fund of New Jersey to
support an urban initiative at the university. With the aid of this
grant, a new program called Students Supporting Students will attempt
to teach selected students how to develop the self-discipline, team
building, and goal setting skills within a cooperative, communal environment.
helps volunteer-based emergency medical service (EMS) squads acquire
portable cardiac defibrillators. Since the program’s inception in
1994, Prudential has helped 214 of New Jersey’s EMS squads with more
than $523,000 committed to the purchase of defibrillators.
The 1999 Prudential Helping Hearts Program provides grants of up to
$1,000 to qualifying volunteer squads. Defibrillators, which administer
jolts of electricity to "reset" the heart’s natural rhythm,
have been called one of the most important lifesaving inventions of
the 20th century.
Squads interested in applying should visit the Community Section of
Prudential’s website at http://www.prudential.com or contact
their nearest Prudential office.
Robert L. Tammaro and Company, the Cranbury-based certified
public accounting firm is offering a free older citizen consultation
in connection with its "Accountants for the Older Citizen"
role. Older citizen financial planning and consulting has become a
means of financial survival for our pre and post-retirement population
and their families, says Robert L. Tammaro.
Tammaro says that there are planning techniques to preserve assets,
Establish eligibility for Medicaid, provide for dependents with disabilities,
provide for a non-institutionalized "community" spouse, preserve
distributions to estate beneficiaries, provide for long-term care,
and establish eligibility for public assistance.
"Most older citizens have either a pension plan or an individual
retirement account among their retirement assets, with large sums
invested in these retirement plans and accounts. Without proper planning,
at the participant’s death, plan assets included in a participant’s
estate may be reduced by more than 80 percent before final distributions
are made to family members." Call 609-655-8700.
Corrections or additions?
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