Corrections or additions?
These stories by Teena Chandy and Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1
Newspaper on December 9, 1998. All rights reserved.
Private Records? Not!
You are in court fighting with your ex-wife over the
custody of your child. Your wife’s attorney brings up a medical
you divulged in total confidentiality to your doctor. And how did
they know? Your health care company sent it to them.
Difficult to believe, but it happens a lot, claims Russell
a psychologist with the New Jersey Coalition of Mental Health
and Consumers. The incident above happened with one of Holstein’s
own patients. The health care company made a mistake and sent the
treatment authorization to the wrong address.
The company then made things worse when it tried to correct the
The next time it sent the authorization to the patient’s own address.
Except that the authorization was not for him, it was for a person
living in Massachusetts. Holstein attributes these mistakes to the
"carelessness" of health care companies. "People do not
need their confidential information mishandled," says Holstein,
one of the speakers at the conference organized by the New Jersey
Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and Consumers on
Confidentiality in a Hostile Health Care Environment" on Sunday,
December 13, at noon at the Newark Airport Sheraton. Cost: $20. Call
Karol McNulty at 732-571-1200.
Other speakers include Margo Goldman MD, a psychiatrist with
the Coalition of Patient Rights based in Wakefield, Massachusetts;
Karen Shore of the National Coalition of Mental Health
and Consumers; Rick Marek of New Jersey Clinical Social Workers;
and Gary Herschman of the law firm of Sills and Cummins in
The conference will focus on how confidentiality is being handled
in all healthcare situations with special reference to mental health
Holstein is by no means an unbiased observer of changes in the health
care industry. He is, in fact, suing the company which fired him for
failing to provide information about one of his patients. "It
is not that I did not provide any information, but I did not provide
enough information," says Holstein. "I am licensed to practice
in New Jersey and under state law, a doctor cannot provide
information to a third party. They kicked me out because I refused
to violate the law."
— Teena Chandy
Technology businesses have little or no revenue, and
their chief assets are technology-based, so they are particularly
difficult to value. "Determining the Value of Small,
Businesses" is the topic for Geoffrey D. Dennis and
A. Scribner, both of the valuation services practice of Arthur
Andersen LLP. Sponsored by the Technology Help Desk and Incubator,
they give a workshop on Thursday, December 10, at 8:30 a.m. at the
Rutgers Biotech Center on Cook Campus. Cost: $30. Call 732-545-3221.
A biology major at Denison, Class of 1979, Dennis worked for the
Environmental Protection Agency and then studied accounting at Baylor
and Georgia State, emerging with a second undergraduate degree and
a master’s in tax accounting. He lives in Society Hill, Philadelphia,
and commutes to Manhattan.
"Look at the value from two perspectives," suggests Dennis.
A traditional business is most often valued according to the
ratio, which means that its net income and cash flow drive the stock
prices. "The other way to look at is from the asset perspective,
what are the assets?"
Those assets could include inventory, current receivables, land,
equipment, hardware, or people. Then there are intellectual assets:
patents, software developed on an enterprise system, or technology
used to create a product not patented. (A firm may choose not to apply
for a patent in order to guard against someone reading the public
records on the patent and then using reverse engineering to come up
with an effective substitute.)
"If it is an emerging company, you have to assess what the demand
will be, and the likelihood of success, and where the technology is
in the development process," says Dennis. "If it is in the
tail end of the process, as with a pharmaceutical firm with a product
that has gone through several FDA trials, there is more value than
with an idea at the beginning of the pipeline."
When Arthur Andersen does equity valuations of intellectual assets
for joint venture purposes, it taps industry teams. "These teams
know quite a bit about just every industry," says Dennis. The
process generally takes six weeks and includes a due diligence phase
that involves management interviews.
But you can also do a rough valuation on your own company, whether
you are a boss or a mere employee. Dennis tells how: Find some
companies that are publicly traded. Get the annual report, the income
statement, and balance statement, and follow the stock prices.
the price earnings ratio of several competitors as a proxy for what
your company might trade at if it were public."
For instance, if a competitor’s stock is trading at 10 times earnings,
the P/E ratio would be 10. If your stock is earning a sum equivalent
to $2 per share, the stock could be valued at $2 times 10 or $20 per
share. So a company with 100,000 outstanding shares would be worth
$2 million. But if the competitor’s P/E ratio was 8, the same company
would be worth only $2 times 8 or $16 per share or $1.6 million.
Then you have to factor in some other variables. "A small private
company without access to capital markets, its shares are not as
says Dennis. "And buyers might argue that there are more risks,
or that you don’t have a lot of funds for R&D." So the calculation
might drop from $2 million to $1.8 million. "With greater growth
potential, the company will command a higher price," says Dennis.
How can you keep your company’s value high? The suggestions that
offers seem obvious, but maybe not:
the research and development, says Dennis, is a common failing.
at how fast computers and software are evolving; the life of a product
could be three years, and your market share could be taken away."
If technology businesses are difficult to value, so
are family businesses. Just imagine the sibling arguments that can
erupt when one sibling wants to cash out. Michael A. Cuneo,
a partner with the Philadelphia firm of Howard, Lawson & Company,
will discuss "Unlocking Shareholder Value in a Family Business
. . . Without Firing the Family" for the Venture Association of
New Jersey on Tuesday, December 15, at 11:30 a.m. at the Westin in
Morristown. Cost: $55. Call 973-631-5680 for reservations.
Cuneo will use actual transactions to answer such questions as what
the shares are worth, where to get cash to buy out the selling
and how can the business grow after the buyout. Most important, e
will discuss how to get the deal done and still have family members
on speaking terms.
You don’t have to take credit card numbers to have an
effective marketing scheme on the World Wide Web, says Craig
of Okidata. He and two marketers from Bell Atlantic Mobile —
Brassini and Mark Como
commerce workshop and holiday networking opportunity sponsored by
Technology New Jersey on Tuesday, December 15, at 8 a.m. at the Hyatt
Cost: $30. Call 609-419-4444. Brassini and Como will speak on
Building and Running an On-line Store for the Customer and the
while Broadbent covers "Web Site Success: a Look Behind the
Broadbent majored in marketing at the University of Utah, Class of
1990, and was an independent consultant, a marketer in a small
firm, and an employee at Regis McKenna, a consulting firm in Silicon
Valley consulting. He is manager of electronic marketing at Okidata,
a firm which has chosen not to sell its products from the Internet
but to use its website for pre-purchase marketing and post-purchase
One of the biggest mistakes you can make on your website is to make
assumptions about what the visitors to your website find interesting.
"Find out what is really valuable to the user," says
Reports on "hit statistics" for each page are standard. The
Okidata site, for instance, has an overall "hit" record, for
each page view, of six figures on a monthly basis. But these
can be used in innovative ways, he says. Ask your consultant for
on what browsers are being used to access your site. "We know
a majority of people who come to our site are using a specific
and we know what version they use, so we make sure we maximize the
experience for them — to use the latest and greatest things that
their browser provides."
Next find out where your visitors go when they get to the site. For
Okidata, site visitors’ three primary motives are to get information
on new products, to get support for existing products (probably with
user manuals) or to get a driver. "We make those very easy to
find and very easy to use," says Broadbent.
"We also do user surveys; we have asked people to register in
various areas, such as our small business resource center. We offer
a small promotional item such as a free CD-ROM with tips or a free
issue of a small business question." To get this the visitors,
perhaps surprisingly, are willing to fill out a form in great detail:
how many PCs they have installed and what they use their printer for,
for example. "We get a very good response," says Broadbent.
"For example, we’ve gotten 600 people registered over a six-month
Don A. Winkler has turned a disability into an
ability that helps him see unconventional approaches to problems.
He is chairman and CEO of Finance One Corporation, a subsidiary of
Bank One Corporation, and he will be the keynote speaker at the
of Light" holiday concert and open house at the Lewis School on
Friday, December 11, at 7:30 p.m. The ceremony is free. Call
The Lewis Clinic’s diagnostic program provides independent educational
testing and contributes to the research of dyslexia. "Learning
problems are understood here at the Lewis School, not as disabilities,
but as differences: the expression of remarkable and diverse
of human thinking and perception," says Marsha Gaynor Lewis,
founder and director.
The tree of light ceremony is an annual fundraiser that supports the
Lewis School Curriculum Development and Scholarship Endowment Fund.
It features the tree with 100,000 lights, symbolizing hope and
for people struggling with learning and literacy. A $10 donation
Founded in 1973, the Lewis School was the first educational
in the Princeton area that committed its resources and expertise to
the full-time education and advancement of bright learning different
persons. Some 130 students are currently enrolled in pre-school
Winkler, a native of Phillipsburg, New Jersey, has overcome learning
disabilities, including dyslexia, to rise to his senior position at
Finance One. As a CEO with dyslexia, Winkler actively advocates for
the challenges of those with learning disabilities. A frequent
on breakthrough thinking at graduate business schools, he has written
many articles on management. Earlier this year, he was profiled in
the Wall Street Journal and quoted extensively in the New York Times.
"I see almost everything backwards," says Winkler. This
has actually helped him in his career path: Because he is unable to
form mental images naturally, he does not take anything for granted.
Last year Merrill Lynch rolled out an impressively
four-step process to ensure "appropriate" levels of
for its telecommuters. Eileen Keyes, assistant vice president
for private client technology at Merrill Lynch, will discuss her
experience with telecommuting in a workshop for Greater Mercer
Management Association on Tuesday, December 15, at 8:30 a.m. Call
609-452-1491 for information.
As Keyes describes the process (U.S. 1, April 23, 1997), it starts
with employees writing proposals for their managers justifying the
reasons why they wish to telecommute. Then the employee and the
direct line manager go through a one-day training program to learn
how telecommuting will affect their lives, their careers, and their
co-workers. After the prospective telecommuter clears up any home
insurance issues, several meetings are held with managers, staff,
and the employee.
Last year’s plan called for every future telecommuter to report to
a simulated home office on the Scudders Mill campus for two weeks.
This allowed the employee to figure out equipment what he or she
at home in order for work to be completed successfully, and allowed
the manager to adjust to the employee’s physical absence.
Next step: Install two phone lines in the employee’s home, and give
the employee instructions on how to move a PC — how to unhook
it and put it back together again.
And after all that, the office gets inspected: the employee receives
a visit from an inspection team.
The New Jersey Communications, Advertising, and
Association (NJ CAMA) has opened its 1999 membership drive to
in the communication industry. "Our mission statement `To unite
professionals in the communications industry to advance and improve
the quality of communications, advertising, and marketing’ is more
than just a philosophy on paper. It’s the driving force behind every
program, workshop, seminar, and event," says president Nina
Malone of Thomas Edison State College.
Membership rates are $85 for individual memberships; $165 for company
memberships; and $350 for corporate memberships. Call NJ CAMA
at 609-890-9207 for membership applications; E-mail: Hedqtrs@aol.com
(www.btb.com/cama); or call Susan Tibbetts at 609-275-4501 for
As part of its annual community book drive, NJ CAMA members will be
collecting new, unwrapped books for underprivileged children, ages
two to six at its holiday party on Thursday, December 10, at Forrestal
Village’s Tre Piani restaurant at 5:30 p.m. Cost: $35.
Tim Finer of Jersey Printing Associates is organizing the book
drive. The books will be distributed through Mark Ferrante,
the director of Mercer County’s Youth Services Division. Contributions
marked "NJ CAMA Book Drive" can also be mailed directly to
Mark Ferrante, Youth Services Division, 640 South Broad Street,
08650, or to Tim R. Finer, account executive, Jersey Printing
153 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 07716. Finer will also arrange
to pick up contributions. Call him at 732-872-9654.
"Publicity on the Internet" ($24.95), a manual describing
how to increase traffic at your website, plan and promote online
get media coverage online and off, launch a new product or business,
and defend yourself from online attacks, will also be available at
the holiday party.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has
a new FaxBack service to help small business owners deal with the
Y2K millennium bug. This service gives small business owners and the
public access to Year 2000 information and possible solutions.
SBA’s Y2K FaxBack service is available 24 hours-a-day by calling a
toll-free number: 1-877-RU-Y2K-OK (1-877-789-2565). The caller can
make a selection from a menu and within minutes receive a fax targeted
to their specific Y2K needs. In dealing with the Year 2000 problem,
SBA urges small business owners to take three immediate steps:
software, or embedded data chips. A self-assessment test is available
on the SBA’s Internet Y2K web page. (www.sba.gov/y2k/)
your problem and test the results. Develop contingency plans to deal
with effects of Y2K problems outside your control.
Corrections or additions?
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— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.