The College of New Jersey

DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT: Lorraine Allen

 

Lorraine Allen of NJSBDC at The College of New Jersey, Ewing

Director Spotlight:

Lorraine Allen

 

Lorraine Allen is the Regional Director of the NJSBDC at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), which serves Mercer County. Lorraine has supported small businesses and entrepreneurs as an NJSBDC Regional Director for 25-years and is a unique and invaluable gem in Mercer County.   Lorraine and her team at the NJSBDC at TCNJ have a personable yet comprehensive approach to assisting with their clients, which consistently prove essential to successful business development.

 

Take a moment to learn more about Lorraine and the NJSBDC at The College of New Jersey team.

 


 

 

 

  1. In your own words, how would you describe your role to the business owners in your region?

Whereas we ‘counsel and train’, ultimately we have great influence in helping businesses advance, sustain and manage growth.  We bring guidance for decision making, objective feedback and access to resources to the conference/ worktable.

 

 

2.  What is your background in the business arena? How do you feel your personal experiences have helped you in this role?

First, is my 25 years of experience in directing the center at The College of NJ.  I’ve been responsible for helping nearly 19,000 business owners and representatives. As a result, we’ve benefited from every business’ challenges by adapting best practices from and for each one of them.  Second, let’s just attribute my first business experience to being a 15-year old Avon rep. I’ve never been afraid to cold call since.

 

 

3.  Describe the average small business owner in your region. Why do they reach out to you for help?

Concentrations in retail, general and medical services may be the average industry profile but the average business owner is trying to advance in the changing economy; the evolving workforce of millennials pouring into the workplace, transitioning into current marketing norms using social media, videos, in addition to managing public reputations and exposure. The “average” is actually all of them.  Everybody is in a shift. We help them manage within that shift.

 

 

4.  What is the relationship between The College of New Jersey and the NJ Small Business Development Center at TCNJ?

We have great support from TCNJ’s School of Business and Academic Affairs. We collaborate on programs and outreach to established companies and on programs for the students, including the $50,000 Mayo Business Plan Competition and advising with the Entrepreneur Club.  Dean William Keep is a very forward thinker and a great leader for practical experiences so we also get many opportunities to cross network with alumni businesses and local companies. Additionally we have access to super facilities for events, training or counsel.

 

 

5.  In what ways does that relationship benefit your clients?

It increases exposure to programs on campus that also speak to established companies.

 

 

6.  How do you measure success in your role?

In regards to success as the role of our center: I think success is when our clients are comfortable to be open-minded enough to share, listen and then apply what they’ve learned and change their business processes. For some clients these are leaps, for others they’re just shifts …. all result in change for the better.  Ultimately success is when they come back for more guidance and encourage others based on their experience here.

In regards to success in my role as director, well topically, the obvious measurement is meeting our required deliverables. Aside from that, success is organically developed in movement and energy by building inspiration, motivation and encouragement. You accomplish more when your team “owns” their passion in their work and in our mission. Success is also when partners trust you to lead, when everyone is open to experiment and celebrates achievements together.

 

 

7.  You specialize in “mindset makeovers”. What does that mean and how do you makeover someone’s mindset towards business?  

Often we are influenced by the culture of those around us or isolated and lack exposure to trends or methods.  Just as often, someone tumbles their way through business just reacting to circumstances vs. being proactive and strategically owning circumstances.  Changing the mindset means elevating someone’s perspective by examining alternate solutions so they lead vs. follow. Most of the time, it is simply changing their use of negative words like ‘we can’t do’ into ‘what can we do’; ‘we are not’ into ‘what we are‘. Mindset makeovers help transform obstacles into opportunity. It is a shift in the way we lead, operate and motivate.

 

 

8.  Where does someone with an idea to start his or her own business begin?

Speaking of mindset: Start with the proper mindset.  Begin with good habits from the get-go. Take a class on starting a business, which will help all the moving parts involved in operating a company. Don’t be a ‘Lone Ranger’. Get advisors in your industry, a lawyer and an accountant.  And document everything financial from Day-1.

Test and practice before officially filing for your LLC or whichever official designation you declare for your business. Dip your toes in the water. Make those sales calls and see if they have buyers or folks who will pay for what you have or what you do. Thinking and visioning the business is a world apart from actually working the business.

 

 

9.  Starting your own business has its shares of ups and downs. How does the NJSBDC at TCNJ help those cope with setbacks and get them on the right track?

Setbacks are in every part of running a business and it eventually comes down to the ‘survival of the fittest. It is all part of the rite of passage to success.  Our counselors help examine their challenge, discuss and offer feedback and solution options.  Often times, it’s like untangling a fine chain. They have everything. It’s just a matter of reordering or sorting it out.

 

 

10.  What do you think is the one-thing entrepreneurs should know before starting their own business?

The vision a new entrepreneur has regarding how great their business will be vs. what the business actually is when they start are 2 entirely different things. You can’t give birth to an adult. They should consider this new venture a baby.  Function and operate carefully at the very early stages.  It’s important for new entrepreneurs to ‘stay in their lane’ but be open to grow with their companies.

 

 

11.  Reflecting on your interactions with the small business community, what do you see as advantages and concerns for New Jersey’s businesses?  Do you feel those advantages and concerns are galvanized in your region?  Why is that?

What I see as advantages and what they see as advantages may be 2 different things!

Advantages for all business are their ease of access to knowledge and their customer base through technology i.e., research, $0 marketing costs, a greater net of attracting a customer base.

Disadvantages for all businesses are the change in the workforce, influenced by technology. New generations have had an entirely different experience in workforce culture; having grown up with communications through technology and less of an emphasis on trade education.  Plus, the cultural influences of sustainability with a newer emphasis on social responsibility created some complication in positioning businesses appropriately.

As far as a region: We have the capital city in the capital county and are becoming recognized as a tourist destination. Once we are successful as an attraction overall, that will have a major and positive economic impact by providing more opportunities for our small businesses.

 

 

 

 

Become a client of the NJSBDC at The College of New Jersey.

Read More about Lorraine Allen via LinkedIn.

Connect with Lorraine Allen and her team at the NJSBDC at The College of New Jersey.


Guest Contributor:

Sarah Introna

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#SBDC Day | Wednesday, March 22, 2017

 

 

What is SBDC Day?

SBDC Day is a national, collective proclamation of the success and impact America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have across the nation in economic development and the small businesses community.

 

 

 

The first America’s SBDC Day will take place on

Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

 

 

SBDC Day will unite the nearly 1,000 SBDC centers across the country and the hundreds of thousands of clients they serve by sharing, in real time, the success stories and notable impacts SBDCs collectively have on the small business community at large. This special day will be celebrated with social media campaigns, public relations initiatives, online and in-person events and more.

 

 

Below is a listing of the offerings of America’s SBDC New Jersey (NJSBDC) for SBDCDay on March 22, 2017.

 

 

 


-At the NJSBDC at Brookdale Community College (Monmouth & Ocean counties), three business clients of the regional center will join the Center for a live chat on Facebook.

 

 

-The NJSBDC of Northwest Jersey (Morris, Sussex & Warren Counties) will conduct pro bono webinars on issues like e-mail marketing for promoting sales and how to effectively execute project management across all phases to drive success. There are other topics being taught on that day, also (see below)*.

 

 

-The NJSBDC at Ramapo College of New Jersey (Bergen County) will host a special session concerning SBDC services for the College’s graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship as a career path. The regional SBDC is engaging students as future entrepreneurs and small business owners and providing them with opportunities for internships and experiential learning on SBDC business client cases.

 

 

-The NJSBDC at Rutgers-Camden (Burlington, Camden, Gloucester & Salem Counties) will release and share taped events concerning how to land government procurement opportunities for increased sales as well as the do’s and don’ts of winning financing via its successful “Meet the Lenders” series. The regional center is also featuring up to three successful small business clients on Facebook and LinkedIn to share their experiences about SBDC learning opportunities.

 

 

-The NJSBDC at Rutgers-New Brunswick (Middlesex County) will hold an Open House and sponsor a workshop session concerning an “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, providing tips and advice on succeeding as an entrepreneur.

 

 

-The NJSBDC at Stockton University (Atlantic, Cape May & Cumberland Counties) will have a live chat with one of the Center’s successful clients, posting questions on the SBDC’s Facebook page and soliciting client responses.

 

 

-The NJSBDC at The College of New Jersey (Mercer County) is filming its “Walking Tour” (live) as Center business advisors/consultants meet with local businesses to discuss their success; in addition, other engagements will be shared in Spanish.

 

 

-The NJSBDC at William Paterson University (Passaic County) will hold an “Open House” at its regional office. Two consultants will be providing advice for those business owners attending. One of the consultants is bilingual. Two to three SBDC success award clients will also mingle with the group of attendees. Local legislators are invited to attend.

 

 

* Webinars are being provided on a pro bono basis that are knowledge-packed sessions for small business owners and will run from 9:00 am through 4:45 pm on #SBDC Day.

They Include:

  • Successful strategies for “lean” management in order to be competitive;
  • Accessing “free” Library resources for small businesses, including market research tools;
  • Success score diagnostics;
  • 2017 marketing strategies, including effective tools, real-time marketing, advanced targeting and local considerations;
  • Understanding the loan process to maximize your chances of approval;
  • Reviewing whether your business financials are loan-ready and the types of loans available; and
  • Learn about developing your website and illustrating how you can get it launched promptly with a special tool.

PRESS RELEASE: America’s SBDC New Jersey Joins Other State SBDC Networks to Mark #SBDC DAY Nationally

America’s SBDC New Jersey Joins Other State SBDC Networks to Mark #SBDC DAY Nationally

Contact:

New-Jersey-color-with-band973.353.1927

press@njsbdc.com

 

 

SBDCs Provide BIG Impact on the Economy, Small Business Health and Economic Development

March 16, 2017 (Newark, NJ) – America’s SBDC New Jersey will join with the other 49 states’ SBDCs across the nation to celebrate SBDC Day on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.  Nearly 1,000 offices nationally will join in promoting – via social media and live and other events – the core mission and successful outcomes of America’s SBDC program. Telling the stories of its clients is the best way to celebrate #SBDCDay.

 

SBDCDay-2017-Facebook-Cover-PhotoThe day will be marked by sharing the success stories and notable impact the program has on the lives of entrepreneurs and small business’ operations in generating jobs, new businesses and additional economic development in communities across the nation.

 

America’s SBDC New Jersey, also known as the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers, will be offering certain seminars, webinars, and some live events to keep with its history of imparting knowledge and power for small businesses that want to grow their business and individuals who want to start new businesses.

 

“We’re uniting on a national basis to talk about this program’s successes,” said Brenda Hopper, NJSBDC network chief executive officer and state director. “There’s no better story than those of SBDC clients assisted by the network’s 12 centers statewide and our specialty programs in E-Business, International Trade, Procurement, Technology Commercialization, and Sustainability.”

 

“The best actions our 12 centers undertake focus on imparting knowledge so our small business clients learn how to succeed and face the daily challenges in developing and building their business,” added Deborah Smarth, NJSBDC network chief operating officer and associate state director. “SBDC Day is a more visible extension of that mission that we undertake every day of the year. We share knowledge and ensure our clients go down the right path, utilizing our assistance to build success.”

 

Some highlights of events and social media efforts at SBDCs (regional centers) in New Jersey include:

 

-At the NJSBDC at Brookdale Community College (Monmouth & Ocean counties), three business clients of the regional center will join the Center for a live chat on Facebook.

 

-The NJSBDC of Northwest Jersey (Morris, Sussex & Warren counties) will conduct pro bono webinars on issues like e-mail marketing for promoting sales and how to effectively execute project management across all phases to drive success. There are other topics being taught on that day, also (see below).

 

-The NJSBDC at Ramapo College of New Jersey (Bergen County) will host a special session concerning SBDC services for the College’s graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship as a career path. The regional SBDC is engaging students as future entrepreneurs and small business owners and providing them with opportunities for internships and experiential learning on SBDC business client cases.

 

-The NJSBDC at Rutgers University-Camden (Burlington, Camden, Gloucester & Salem counties) will release and share taped events concerning how to land government procurement opportunities for increased sales as well as the do’s and don’ts of winning financing via its successful “Meet the Lenders” series. The regional center is also featuring up to three successful small business clients on Facebook and LinkedIn to share their experiences about SBDC learning opportunities.

 

-The NJSBDC at Rutgers University-New Brunswick (Middlesex County) will hold an Open House and sponsor a workshop session concerning an “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, providing tips and advice on succeeding as an entrepreneur.

 

-The NJSBDC at Stockton University (Atlantic, Cape May & Cumberland counties) will have a live chat with one of the Center’s successful clients, posting questions on the SBDC’s Facebook page and soliciting client responses.

 

-The NJSBDC at The College of New Jersey (Mercer County) is filming its “Walking Tour” (live) as Center business advisors/consultants meet with local businesses to discuss their success; in addition, other engagements will be shared in Spanish. The Center Director will also visit with some interesting high-growth/high impact SBDC clients in the service region.

 

-The NJSBDC at William Paterson University (Passaic County) will hold an “Open House” at its regional office. Two consultants will be providing advice for those business owners attending. One of the consultants is bilingual. Two to three SBDC success award clients will also mingle with the group of attendees and the Center is inviting state legislators in the region to join.

 

Webinars are being provided on a pro bono basis that are knowledge-packed sessions for small business owners and will run from 9:00 am through 4:45 pm on #SBDC Day and they include:

 

–Successful strategies for “lean” management in order to be competitive; accessing “free” Library resources for small businesses, including market research tools; success score diagnostics; 2017 marketing strategies, including effective tools, real-time marketing, advanced targeting and local considerations; understanding the loan process to maximize your chances of approval; reviewing whether your business financials are loan-ready and the types of loans available; and learn about developing your website and illustrating how you can get it launched promptly with a special tool.

 

Please go to www.njsbdc.com homepage for listings of events, webinars, and social media platform information sharing and learning opportunities to occur on #SBDCDay, Wednesday, March 22.

 

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