Business Documents: Simple Wins

Calling Entrepreneurs

Small Business Awards

Saving the Wetlands

Corporate Angels

Corporate Volunteers

Scholar Athlete

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These articles by Peter J. Mladineo and Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on September 2, 1998. All rights reserved.

Technology and World Business

Sure, technology is making the world smaller, but to really understand the global technology market one would need to examine the human ability to create more needs for itself, says Jim Clingham. "I don't think that technology is ever going to catch up with us," says Clingham. "Whenever I get a new tool I see it as some other need that I have that causes me to look at the marketplace. Our mindsets have been allowed to expand because there are so many different devices out there."

"We now have these little things you stick in your pocket which are basically little computers. Where are we going to go with this? Wherever we are going to go, it will driven by you and me demanding it. If we can do that why can't we do more?" says Clingham.

He is the luncheon speaker at the Princeton Chamber's business trade fair on Thursday, September 3, at 11:30 a.m. at the Forrestal. The trade fair is free, but the luncheon costs $28, reservations required.

John Punyko, president of the Sandler Sales Institute, will open the show at 11 a.m. with a seminar for exhibitors. A total of 70 exhibitors is expected. After the luncheon, a three-hour wine and beer tasting will begin at 2 p.m. Call 609-520-1776 for information.

Clingham calls technology manufacturers like Sarnoff -- his former employer -- or Sony "the great responders." They don't just design new technologies for the heck of it, they first have to sense a demand for such a product. "They see that need and say `Let's design that thing for the world.'"

Clingham, the former vice president of corporate affairs at Sarnoff, has a BS from the University of Rhode Island and a law degree from Catholic University. In Vietnam he served as a director of information for the Army's 82nd Airborne Division. Now Clingham is president of Galaxis USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Galaxis Holdings. Based in Germany, Galaxis manufactures consumer electronics and satellite technologies and is marketing a common interface for satellite set-top boxes, flat antennas, and satellite reception equipment. Galaxis U.S.A. expects sales of two of those products (the actuator and the flat antenna) to be from $12 to $14 million in 1999 in this country.

Clingham also has his own management firm, the JDC Group, which he started in December, 1995, after leaving Sarnoff, where he oversaw the research center's spin-offs as general counsel. From 1994 to 1995 he was chairman of the Princeton Chamber and was chairman of the Mercer County Private Industry Council and Workforce Investment Board.

For the chamber his talk is, "Trade: Creative Trends Through Technology." "I could have easily called the talk `Creative technology through trends,'" he says.

A big proponent of getting international markets to work in concert, Clingham admonishes Americans who still judge a country's economic potential by the quality of its water closets. "Technology is moving a mile a minute," he says. "What aren't moving a mile a minute are the creature comfort technologies. And I'm not sure that's a bad thing."

Other global business tips make the most of the low-tech universe. For instance, while instant language-translation devices may be years if not decades away from reality, business cards can help bring down language barriers in the meantime. When Clingham travels in Asia, he is sure to have the business card of the person he's going to see -- in the respective country's language. "If I'm going to see Mr. Wang in Seoul, the first thing I do when I get into a taxi is hand him Mr. Wang's card."

In Europe Clingham has observed that business banquet tables are often adorned with each guest's business cards in front of their setting. "It's like a Monopoly game," he says. "It's the humblest form of creativity."

But high-tech is still playing a major role in Europe's efforts to unify its currency. Clingham admires how agrarian nations like Spain and Italy have managed to upgrade their business infrastructure systems to a level compatible with those of economic powerhouses like Germany or Switzerland. "There's a leveling going on that will make Europe the biggest economic power in the world in terms of buying power," he says.

Over the long-term Clingham is confident that even Russia can eventually pull out of its economic tailspin and become an economic power. "My feeling is sooner or later they're going to get sick of having the gangsters running Russia," he says. "Sooner or later the people or the politicians as a whole will put a stop to it and the international community will force them to put a stop to it. I don't think we can ignore it. The resources in Siberia are monumental. I wouldn't count them out, I just hope when they come back as a economic power they are truly a free market system."

In the meantime, world markets will continue to hear more and more from Asia. "China is absolutely fascinating in terms of its potential," he says. "India has a tremendous technology base. These countries that we've looked at as third world countries are right there in terms of being economic powers."

Although the overseas markets may seem hazardous to America's economic health right now, Clingham thinks that this fragility is only temporary. "We'll weather these financial problems in the Far East because the world's economy generally is pretty robust," he says. "And I think out of this is going to come a standardization. There's becoming one way of doing business around the world. Once that starts to happen it's all very possible at the end of the day that you'll balance all the checkbooks and they will all come to zero. If that's the case then we'll progress as a world in one general direction. But chances are the economic cohesiveness will move the world generally forward."

Peter J. Mladineo

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Business Documents: Simple Wins

This may give premature shivers to some, but one of the great achievements of modern man might indeed be the invention of the IRS 1040 E-Z form. Just like the name implies, this form is easy to complete and for those privileged (or poor) enough to qualify, the time to fill it out is roughly equal to the time it takes to drive to the post office.

But hold those commendations. The IRS didn't invent the form. Instead, it was designed by Siegel & Gale, a New York City-based communications design firm that specializes in things like corporate identity, brand strategy, and simplifying documents.

This latter category is like an art form at Siegel & Gale, which has client list that also includes companies like Smith Barney, AT&T, Chase Manhattan, Merrill Lynch, and Bell Atlantic.

"The approach that we take in looking at the bare essence of a document," says Lori Cummings, a 34-year-old senior vice president with the firm, "is to try and strip out all of the variables of different typefaces and different sizes and say how much can we convey in just one type face, and then we build on that. DTP is probably a document's worst enemy, because now everybody has control over formatting of a document."

Cummings speaks at New Jersey CAMA on Thursday, September 10, at 11:30 a.m. at the Forrestal. Call 609-890-9207. At the meeting, she will most likely take a moment or two to stress Siegel & Gale's "three Cs" of information design:

Clarify. "We always marry simple language writing with a clear presentation of the information," she says. "It's a form of graphic design." This includes knowing what typeface or colors to use, how much white space should be on a page, and what items should be displayed as graphics or words. "Clarification does not always mean shortening a document; sometimes it takes more words or images to say something clearly."

Also, use fewer fonts, and as a rule of thumb, only one change in a type style is needed for emphasis. "There's a favorite phrase from one of our designers here: nothing is emphasized if everything is bold and in color, screaming for attention. Nothing stands out."

Cummings reports that Siegel & Gale dispels one guideline -- the 10-point typeface. "It's not only what the words look like on a page, it's the words themselves."

Customize. There's an ocean of information out there about just about everyone. Use it, says Cummings. "We recommend that companies draw from their databases to include much more than your name," says Cummings. Also, don't be shy plugging other products or services in monthly bills or statements. "You have to send a monthly statement anyway, so that's a perfect opportunity to cross-sell new products and services and even gather information about your customer," she says. "If a customer is sending in a payment each month with their phone bill, why not send a survey? Typically no advertising dollars are focused on business documents."

This trend has been championed by AT&T, which recently took back its monthly billing functions from local phone companies. "They realized they were missing an opportunity to talk to their customers every month," says Cummings.

Consolidate. This has more to do with things like questionnaires and other information-gathering documents as opposed to bills. Mergermania and a general increase in paperwork have created a need to reduce the volume of envelope stuffers sent to customers. "A brokerage house might have 15 different questionnaires that they send to their customer that they would use for profiling," she says. "Consolidating those questionnaires into one could have a lot of business benefits. It's easier for the broker, there could be fewer errors, less cost to print them, produce them, warehouse them, and less cost to update them."

Peter J. Mladineo

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Calling Entrepreneurs

Anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit is being encouraged to participate in the Entrepreneurial Training Institute, sponsored by the New Jersey Development Authority for Small Businesses, Minorities, and Women's Enterprises. It starts in September at various locations around the state, and covers topics including business planning, financing, and marketing. Graduates of the program will be eligible to apply for a revolving loan fund established by the NJDA.

The program was announced by state Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski. "These days we are reminded of our entry into the global economy," he says. "When facing such diverse competition, it is vital that we provide our local business people with the tools to keep up."

In this area sessions will be conducted at Thomas Edison State College, 167 West Hanover Street in Trenton, beginning Tuesday, September 8, from 6 to 9 p.m., and at the Summit Bank building in New Brunswick starting on Thursday, September 10. An introductory workshop costs $15; six-week training courses cost $150. For more information call 609-292-1890 or E-mail to sbl@njeda.com.

For the second semester, Fairleigh Dickinson University is offering a entrepreneurial and management studies certificate program. The 15-credit program offers evening courses in accounting, business technology, and marketing and is open to those with a college degree or three or more years of work experience. There is also a series of business forums featuring faculty and guest experts, group discussions, and professional workshops. These are offered twice each semester. For more information call 973-443-8842.

A big bash for the New Jersey Small Business Development Center is happening on Wednesday, September 24, at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. The three-hour gala, starting at 4:30 p.m. and costing $75, honors the NJSBDC's 20th anniversary and will unveil a year's worth of new programs. The theme is "The Art of Entrepreneurship."

Small business owners and those who do business with them are invited to the event, which will include a ceremony for the Small Business Success Award winners, who include Rick Weiss of Princeton Multimedia Technology Corp. at 145 Witherspoon Street, and Gail Eagle of Gail Eagle Associates in East Brunswick. For more information, call the NJSBDC information services center at 800-432-1565 or check out its website at http://www.nj.com/smallbusiness.

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Small Business Awards

Nominations for the 1999 Small Business Person of the Year Award, and for 11 other advocate and special awards, are being sought by the U.S. Small Business Administration for next June's National Small Business Week. The Advocate of the Year categories include minority small businesses, women in business, veteran small business, accountants, finance services, media, small business exporters, SBA young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial successes, welfare-to-work, and the Phoenix Awards.

Typewritten nominations must be received by November 13 at the U.S. Small Business Administration, Two Gateway Center -- 15th Floor, Newark 07102, attention Harry Menta. Guidelines can be obtained by calling Menta at 973-645-6064.

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Saving the Wetlands

New Jersey has stringent laws to protect its wetlands, but these important ecosystems are still in danger. If you care about that, order the second edition of a handbook that tells how to enlist community support, develop a technical team, determine the importance of a wetland to a community, and establish goals. Published by the Izaak Walton League of America, the 288-page handbook costs $35 plus $5 shipping.

"To accommodate the diverse interests of people wanting to pursue monitoring projects, the handbook shows three level of citizen involvement based on their volunteer time and resources available," says Julie Middleton, director of Save Our Streams Wetlands Conservation and Sustainability Initiative. "We've researched and added more case studies of citizen stewardship efforts nationwide along with new information on wetland types, functions and values, and Internet resources."

Two-day workshops can be scheduled to give basic information to people who do not have a science background. Participants learn about wetland ecology, functions and values. They also visit a local wetland, have hands-on sessions to learn basic scientific monitoring techniques, and learn how to begin a stewardship project. Call 800-BUG-IWLA (284-4952) for a handbook or a workshop schedule.

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Corporate Angels

The New Jersey Hospital Association and Carnegie Center Associates joined Knapp's Cyclery of Lawrenceville and the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in Somerville to sponsor the first 25-mile Late Summer Cycling Classic on August 23 at the Carnegie Center. More than 240 racers competed in a full day of seven races on the 25-mile course in the area of the 500-series buildings at the center.

Catholic Charities is compiling a list of "Guardian Angels" to honor at its September 18 dinner dance at the Hyatt. So designated, so far, are J.H. Cohn (the accounting and consulting firm on Lenox Drive), the Hyatt Regency Princeton, St. Francis Medical Center, Public Service Electric & Gas, Teich Groh & Frost in Hamilton, and First Union, Yardville, and Commerce banks. Such sponsorships include a table for 10, preferred seating, a full gold page advertisement in the program, and a private reception with the bishop of Trenton. Call 609-394-5181 for information.

PNC Bank has donated $3,000 to the Lawrenceville Main Street Project, which aims to enhance the economy, appearance, and image of the historic village of Lawrenceville. The volunteer-driven non-profit group has helped to stimulate improvements over the past two years, and eight new businesses have moved to the village, says Ann Garwig of the Main Street Project (609-219-9300).

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Corporate Volunteers

<B>Neighborhood Housing Services of Trenton seeks volunteers for its eighth annual "Paint a Bite Out of Grime," a daylong neighborhood painting event that will take place in Trenton on Saturday, September 19. Individual volunteers and community and business teams plan to paint 15 homes on Passaic Street, off Calhoun. Breakfast, lunch, and entertainment are provided. Pre-register to have your team's name on the NHST T-shirt. In addition to painting, volunteers can serve lunch and clean up the street. Call Patrice D'Angelo, 609-392-5494.

Volunteer teams have been provided for previous events by banks (Yardville National, Fleet, Sovereign, Corestates, and PNC), New Jersey Business and Industry Association, Helene Fuld, United Way of Greater Mercer County, Princeton University, and Delaware-Raritan Girl Scout Council.

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Scholar Athlete

Bring your customers out to play golf with Ron Harper from the Chicago Bulls, and help a student athlete, says Kevin M. Mullin of the Scholar-Athlete Showcase LLC. Mullin was one of "Pete Carril's kids," winning three Ivy League championships and scoring 38 points in an NCAA tournament game in the 1980s, and later became an innovative HR manager at Covance (U.S. 1, March 4, 1998).

Now he and Kenny Hill (Yale, Class of 1980, New York Giant and three-time Super Bowl winner) are president and chairman respectively for the first Scholar Athlete Showcase Corporate Celebrity Golf Classic, to be held at Forsgate on Tuesday, September 29.

Sponsorships range from $500 for a trap to $50,000 for the right to name the tournament and appoint the chairperson. In addition to the golf, there will be the usual VIP reception and pairings party, a silent auction of signed collectibles and trips etc., interactive golf skills competitions, a million dollar hole in one shootout, a mini-concert, and a corporate cookout.

"It's not a charitable contribution, but a prudent business investment," says Mullin, who bases his organization in Holland, Pennsylvania (215-860-8369; fax, 215-860-6381).

The list of invited celebrities ranges from Bill Bradley and Roger Staubach to a healthy sprinkling of Coach Carril's boys, and though no particular celebrity is guaranteed to attend, the presence of any will send, says the brochure, "a clear message that your firm is customer-driven, service-based, and seeks innovative client development and marketing opportunities."

All of this is true about any celebrity tournament, but Mullin makes reference to the fact that the recipients of the funds raised "aspire to attend one of the top 125 academic institutions in the nation." By participating, he suggests, you can "expose your business to student-athletes -- and their parents -- whose profiles suggest that they represent future corporate leaders and your next generation of customers." A prudent investment indeed.


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