Bucking The Trend - The Time to Start Your New Business May Be Now; Entrepreneur Offers Help, Advice to Save Small Businesses

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Small businesses are the lifeblood of America and, in the current economy, are suffering more than ever. Entrepreneur Jan Stuart, can sympathize and offers tips to small business owners and "newpreneurs" to help them weather the current economic climate. Included under this umbrella are people who suddenly find themselves self-employed - either by circumstance or design (e.g., corporate accountants who have been either cut back or let go due to the economy and are now offering bookkeeping and/or tax services; writers who are now offering resume services, etc.) and those who have had the entrepreneurial spirit sparked by the recession and are following their passion.

Starting a business during a recession is sort of like vacationing during the off-season the waters may be a little rougher, the environment a little chillier; but it's also less crowded and everyone's willing to negotiate. Thankfully, someone with experience starting up companies is offering advice, and a new service, for those who are ready to take the plunge.

For many who are out of a job or under-employed, the recession presents an unexpected opportunity. Historically speaking, poor economic times can't stop the entrepreneurial spirit. Consider this:

  • 16 of the 30 corporations that make up the Dow Jones Industrial average were started during recessions
  • Procter & Gamble and General Electric were founded during the "panic of 1837"
  • Disney was started in 1923
  • Hewlett-Packard was founded in 1938, the beginning of the Great Depression
  • Microsoft began in 1975, also a recession

Fact is, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in July 2009, U.S. unemployment reached 9.5 percent - its highest levels in 26 years - with 467,000 jobs lost in June alone. When you add to the mix discouraged workers who have pulled back on their job searches , the tally increases to a whopping 10 percent.

It's not all bad, however. Where others see gloom and doom, entrepreneur Jan Stuart looks for opportunity. Stuart, founder of Jan's Deals (jansdeals.com/help2009), whose own successful business went under during the 1987 stock market crash, knows a thing or two about creating success out of what might seem to be a losing situation and offers these tips for "newpreneurs" (entrepreneurs who've started a company in this recession):

  • Do what you love and love what you do - If you're not excited by your business, chances are that will be reflected in the success of your business--or subsequent lack of success.
  • It's all about the customer - Period. Everything you do in business must be customer focused. Something to keep in mind is that in this economy, everyone is looking for a great deal. Jan's Deals (jansdeals.com) lets small businesses post deals and bargains by zip code, which consumers can then find by searching their area.
  • Grab attention, quickly - Small-business owners cannot waste time, money and energy on creating long-term plans to generate exposure and bring customers in the door. A little creative - yet effective - self-promotion can be just what the small business doctor ordered.
  • Take advantage - There's a plethora of special/cost-effective marketing opportunities for the small business owner, if you know where to look. For many, reaching customers through fliers and paid advertising can be a hardship and that's where they lose out - they just don't have the budgets and means of more established locations or big chains.

Jan's Deals was created with an eye towards helping small businesses meet this need and allows them to target customers inexpensively by listing deals that they can edit/change as they see fit, as often as they need and in real time at no fee. Stuart is offering small businesses three months free listings on the website (jansdeals.com/help2009) as we launch - it will eventually be under $300/yr to list. (Less than a monthly utility bill!)

Lastly, says Stuart, "If there is one thing I've learned in my experiences is that you have to put it all on the line when it's something you believe in. I know that small and new businesses are the lever under the economic boulder - they bring money in, create jobs and opportunity."

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ELLEN WERTHER
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