Small Business the Beating Heart of State Economy

By Victoria Ford | Sep 18, 2019

Stafford Township — At the September meeting of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, held at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin, members heard from Stockton University professor John Boyle and the New Jersey Business Action Center’s Director of Small Business Donald Newman about the essential role of small business in the state’s economic health, trends and useful resources for getting ahead.

Environmental sustainability and corporate/social responsibility are the two trends Boyle sees as leading the discussions and strategies of people between the ages of 20 and 50. They want personalized experiences.

In the context of today’s burgeoning gig economy, many more individuals and families are working from home. Social media is an undeniable necessity in doing business now, he added.

Alternative lending, tax incentives and veteran hiring programs were also topics of interest.

As a small-business advocate, Newman said, “My job is to connect you to the resources that are out there – to help you either start, expand or grow your business, solve a problem. If you have a dream, you have a vision, you have a problem, you have a regulatory issue, call me. If we don’t know the answers, we know who does.”

His unit can connect business owners with counseling and mentoring services, lending opportunities and more.

“To use the SBA’s definition, 99.6 percent of all businesses in New Jersey are small, and they employ more than half of the private sector employees in the state. So, if you’re a small business, you are the economic vitality of the state. Not Walmart, not the big companies – you are it. You are the most important piece of the economy.”

Rick Bushnell from the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences and ReClam the Bay posed a question about a widely shared concern, resiliency. He wanted to know if opportunities for businesses exist for shoring up shop. Newman said the Department of Community Affairs is a good place to turn; and business interruption insurance and a continuity plan are musts, especially for those on the Island or anyone in a flood zone or near the water, in the event of a disaster, natural or manmade.

“Forty percent of businesses that close because of a disaster will never reopen,” Newman said.

The takeaway: 1-800-JERSEY7.  —V.F.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.