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Christopher Biddle, vice president of communications with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association in Trenton, said a more robust SBA program is a potential boon to small businesses in the state.
SMALL BUSINESS ‘I wanted to be my own boss’ Entrepreneurs warn that starting a new company takes time, a smart business strategy and a whole lot of money Steven J. Dundas BY JOÃO-PIERRE S. RUTH chance to try on a new hat. LOUIS WAGMAN knows firsthand how “Now is probably the best time in the challenging it can be to leave a corporate job history of business to start a business,” she to launch your own business. The president said. “There are more support structures of the New Jersey Entrepreneurs Network and opportunities out there than ever made the jump after 25 years in the work- before.” Robin also teaches classes on start- place, and said while the rewards are great, ing businesses at New York University. the risks are often not examined carefully Robin said the availability of information enough before making the leap. on the Web, as well as through business A sudden layoff can be the trigger for groups and organizations, can help lay the some professionals to become their own foundation. If starting a formal business is not bosses, but starting a company isn’t the an immediate possibility, Robin said taking answer for everyone, and Wagman and oth- on freelance work remains another option. ers advise caution before hanging a shingle “If you want to be a stay-at-home outside one’s door. mom and only work from 10 to 2, there’s so Launching a new business can breathe much out there in terms of getting the new life into the career of a professional, who information you want and connecting with may seize the newfound the people,” she said. time to embrace entre- Robin said the affordability of office tech- preneurship and pledge nology makes it possible for even the solo never to rejoin the cor- business owner to create a professional porate scene, Wagman appearance. For instance, she said, telephone- said. His New Jersey answering systems run between $30 and $40 Entrepreneurs Network, per month, and include individual extensions in Princeton, is a non- and professional-sounding voice greetings. profit association of Stacy Robin “Historically, that was exorbitantly entrepreneurs and potential investors. expensive,” Robin said. “A lot of [equipment Wagman started his one-man manage- providers] are realizing that products need ment consultancy, Technology Management to be geared towards small business. They Associates, in 1997 in Princeton. “Enough need to sell it a price that is reasonable for was enough. I wanted to be my own boss,” he small businesses.” said, but he warned that starting a business Some would-be entrepreneurs contin- requires effort and time to get established. ue to actively look for new jobs while dab- “It’s certainly not the road to riches in bling as new business owners, Wagman said. the first few years. The majority of
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