Pre-Business Workshop

Entrepreneurial Training

Business Communication

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Prepared for the September 20, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.

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Real Entrepreneurs’ Defining Habits

Real entrepreneurs thrive on uncertainty, says Rita

Gunter McGrath, a professor at the Columbia University Graduate

School of Business and co-author of a new book, "The


Mindset." Subtitled "Strategies for Creating Opportunity in

an Age of Uncertainty," the 380-page hardback will be published

by Harvard Business School Press in October and costs $29.95. The

co-author is Ian MacMillan, who teaches at the Wharton School.

McGrath lives in Princeton Junction with her husband and their two

children; she has been in business herself (running a political


business and a Kinko’s-like copy shop) and focuses on entrepreneurship

for her academic pursuits.

Define what makes a worthwhile business opportunity, the authors say,

and then make any necessary tradeoffs to keep from spreading yourself

too thin. Look for where the greatest dangers lie and figure out ways

to sidestep them. Create an environment full of energy so that your

workers are eager to turn uncertainty into success.

Here are the characteristics of the "habitual entrepreneur,"

defined as those who have made careers of starting businesses, some

in start-ups, some working within corporations. They have in common,

the authors say, "finely honed skills in forging opportunity from

uncertainty." They are particularly good at finding solutions

that are "roughly right," without spending time to find the

exactly correct and expensive answer.

Habitual entrepreneurs have five characteristics in common. To quote

from the book:

1. They passionately seek new opportunities. Habitual

entrepreneurs stay alert, always looking for the chance to profit

from change and disruption in the way business is done. Their greatest

impact occurs when they create entirely new business models. New


models revolutionize how revenues are made, costs are incurred, or

operations are conducted, sometimes throughout an entire industry.

One reason that the emergence of the Internet as a new medium of


has been accompanied by dizzyingly high company valuations is that

investors perceive its potential to profitably transform virtually

every aspect of economic life.

2. They pursue opportunities with enormous discipline.

Habitual entrepreneurs not only are alert enough to spot


but make sure that they act on them. Most maintain some form of


or register, of unexploited opportunities. They make sure that they

revisit their inventory of ideas often but they take action only when

it is required. They make investments only if the competitive arena

is attractive and the opportunity is ripe.

3. They pursue only the very best opportunities and avoid

exhausting themselves and their organizations by chasing after every

option. Even though many habitual entrepreneurs are wealthy, the most

successful remain ruthlessly disciplined about limiting the number

of projects they pursue. They go after a tightly controlled portfolio

of opportunities in different stages of development. They tightly

link their strategy with their choice of projects, rather than


their efforts too broadly.

4. They focus on execution — specifically, adaptive


Both words are important. People with an entrepreneurial mindset


— that is, they get on with it instead of analyzing new ideas

to death. Yet they are also adaptive-able to change directions as

the real opportunity, and the best way to exploit it, evolves.

5. They engage the energies of everyone in their domain.

Habitual entrepreneurs involve many people — both inside and


the organization — in their pursuit of an opportunity. They create

and sustain networks of relationships rather than going it alone,

making the most of the intellectual and other resources people have

to offer and helping those people to achieve their goals as well.

This book will have the most appeal to corporate CEOs and


who want to create an entrepreneurial mindset in their organizations,

but — with its fresh look at success strategies — it will

also challenge the small business person.

— Barbara Fox

Thursday, September 21

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Pre-Business Workshop

A wise person once said, "experience is the best

teacher, as long as it is someone else’s." Owners of small


in Mercer County will be able to tap a motherlode of other peoples’

experiences at the Pre-Business Workshop on Thursday, September 21,

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mercer County College. Cost: $49 including

coffee break and lunch. Call 609-586-4800, extension 3469.

Mari Galvez de Cerdas, assistant director of the Small Business

Development Center at the James Kerney campus, will moderate a panel

of five retired executives and business owners, members of the Service

Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).

The panel includes Seymour Buchine; Gordon Finman, former

CEO of Siegel Tire Corporation; Ada Tariff, Stedi-Glow


Inc.; Morris Kolstein, Helenic Food; and Gerald Rose,

Intellilink Corporation.

The workshop will also help business owners cope with various issues

that confront small businesses. Suzanne Rosenblum, CPA,


and Associates, will help explain the basics of record-keeping and

taxes. Jeff Perlman, of Borden Perlman Associates, will explore

insurance matters. Lynn McDougal, of Fox, Rothschild & Frankel,

will discuss some common legal issues relevant to small businesses.

Galvez de Cerdas is a native of Albuquerque who went to Eastern New

Mexico University, Class of 1992, has a master’s in organizational

management from the University of Phoenix, and has spent nearly three

years in Costa Rico as a Peace Corps volunteer.

She will also be on tap all during the Trenton Small Business Week,

Monday to Friday, October 2 to 6, in a "Meet the Experts"

Consulting Marathon at the Trenton Business & Technology Center, 36

South Broad Street (see story, page 12).

Through the MCCC Small Business Development Center, Galvez de Cerdas

is scheduling one-hour sessions with experts on such topics as


minority or women-owned business certification, writing a business

plan, securing capital, marketing your business on the Internet,


accounting and bookkeeping procedures, tax strategies, managing an

urban business, and legal issues. Appointments should be made by


September 29.

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Entrepreneurial Training

The Entrepreneurial Training Institute, an


training program sponsored by the New Jersey Development Authority

for Small Businesses, Minorities, and Women’s Enterprises, starts

Thursday, September 21, at 6 p.m. at Commerce Bank on Royal Road in

Flemington. This course is also running concurrently in Trenton.


it has already begin, places may be still be available. Enrollment

is limited to 20 per class. Call 609-292-9279, E-mail to

or go to the website (

The textbook, "Business Planning Guide," is by David H.

Bangs Jr. and covers such topics as business planning, financing,

and marketing. To graduate, students must attend six of the eight

classes and complete all written work, including a business plan.

These plans will be subjected to a "panel review" by lawyers,

bankers, and accountants on the last night. Graduates are prime


to qualify for monies from a revolving loan fund established by the


Though the NJDA operates under the supervision of the New Jersey


Development Authority, the NJDA has its own funds derived from casino

revenues. It offers loans for start-up and micro businesses to spend

on real estate, fixed assets, and working capital. For fixed assets

and working capital, the same pool can provide loan guarantees.

The curriculum has been set by Paul Belliveau (908-232-6480)

and Ronald Cook of Rider University. Belliveau has a 20-year-old

consulting business, is an adjunct professor at Rutgers’ Graduate

School of Management, and gives seminars at the Small Business


Centers of Rutgers and Kean University. Cook is an associate professor

in Rider’s College of Business Administration, where he teaches


in entrepreneurship, venture planning, family business, and small

business consulting. He also directs the Small Business Institute

at Rider. Nearly 400 people have graduated from the training program

in the past eight years — 77 of them last season.

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Business Communication

An employee’s failure to write well probably gives more

managers more ulcers than any other single cause. It’s hard to know

what to do with someone who can’t write a decent memo. One place to

turn: Mercer County Community College, which offers a business


certificate. One course for this certificate, Effective Business


has just started; seven more begin this fall.

The core courses include Presentation Skills for Success,


in Global Business Style, and Assertiveness Skills. Electives —

and the certificate requires 20 hours of these — include


in the Language of American Business, Building Self Esteem, Foreign

Accent Reduction, and any of the management certificate courses. Here

is the schedule:

"Foreign Accent Reduction," taught by Joann Ficca,

speech language specialist, 10 sessions, $187. "Communicating

in Global Business Style," Beverly Leach of Intercultural

Services, four sessions, $85. Both begin Wednesday, September 20,

at 7 p.m.

"Assertiveness Skills," Marge Smith, communication

consultant, five sessions, $85. Begins Thursday, October 5, 7:10 p.m.

"Presentation Skills for Success," Manda Eule,

communication consultant, five sessions, $140. Wednesday, October

18, 6:30 p.m.

"Building Self Esteem," Marge Smith, four sessions,

$68. Thursday, November 9, 7:10 p.m.

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