PROGRAM AIMS TO ASSIST EMPLOYERS
By Chris Bishop
Burlington County Times
June 22, 2011
President Barack Obama hailed small-business owners in May, calling them the backbone of the nation’s economy.
Statistics vary, but according to the federal Small Business Administration, small firms represent 99 percent of all private employers; employ just over half of all private sector employees; and pay 44 percent of America’s private payroll.
The New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Rutgers-Camden is co-sponsoring the Business Builders Series, five free workshops that aim to help small- business owners start or grow businesses and educate them in the basics of fiscal management, credit, and capital formation.
Gary Rago, a Moorestown resident, is directing the center.
“Understanding this process will provide these entrepreneurs with the ability to make better decisions and long-term plans related to their ability to raise capital,” said Rago, who has been a small-business owner and is a certified public accountant.
Beginning in July, the free workshops will be held every two weeks from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Latin American Economic Development Association offices on Market Street in Camden. The association is a cosponsor.
Rago said the goal of the sessions is to promote business growth in urban areas, but they are open to any small-business owners who want to attend.
The workshops are: “Credit Clinic” on July 7; “Developing Business Capacity” on July 21; “Strategies for Accumulating Capital” on Aug. 4; “Real Estate Ownership and Your Business” on Aug. 18; and “Starting a Home-Based Consulting Business” on Aug. 30.
Rago said one-on-one consulting will be offered following the series.
A native of Willingboro who graduated from Kennedy High School in 1972, Rago said he plans to partner with an organization to bring the series to Willingboro. Details will be announced later.
The small-business workshops provide a needed boost to area small business owners in light of the grim economic outlook, Rutgers officials said. A survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business indicated confidence among small-business entrepreneurs fell to an eight-month low in May.
“It seems that demand for products and services have bottomed out and many businesses are still riding the bottom or slowly rising to see a slightly increasing demand.” Rago said. “I think many businesses are only slowly adding jobs and they are being very cautious about it. We’re starting to see people who are willing to take more risks and accept the risks of starting a business and apply for financing. I see it slowly starting to get better.”
Rago said there are two areas of planning that business owners must pay more attention to if they want to succeed: marketing research and strategies; and detailed financial planning. He said business people must understand their market, its population, industry trends and spending habits. Financial planning must look ahead at least one year to identify a potential cash deficit.