By Al Warr
It’s that time of year again for business owners. The first day of January is a day to reflect on what happened during the past twelve months. And it’s a time to look over the operation and get ready for the coming year.
Hunterdon is fortunate in having a good deal of help available to the thousands of small businesses in the county. Small businesses look to other small businesses for goods and services that they need, and other organizations provide help as well.
The Small Business Development Center, a part of Raritan Valley Community College, offers free business counseling services, together with many workshops and seminars—access at SBDCrvcc.com.
The Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce (Hunterdon-Chamber.org) is one of the most active in the country, offering many programs, networking events, and the first ever 24-hour chamber sponsored radio programming over the Internet—access at HunterdonChamberRadio.com. Or download the free app at The App Store.
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Chris Bianco is very active in the business community. He is the principal in Blue Panther Business Partners LLC based in Whitehouse Station.
Through Blue Panther, Bianco’s specialty is working with owners to improve small and medium businesses—up to about 100 employees. His expertise includes addressing new markets, promoting growth, strategic planning, financial management, staff development, compliance with federal regulations, and more. His work is aimed at improving productivity, customer service, and the overall health of the operation.
And then there’s his expertise in technology.
“My radio show gives me the opportunity to talk about small business in Hunterdon,” Bianco said. “Owners come on the show and talk about what they do.”
He hosts Good Morning Hunterdon, a lively radio show on HunterdonChamberRadio.com. It airs every morning, Monday through Friday, 8 to 10 a.m. There is a full listing of all the shows, together with schedules and an archive of previous shows on the site.
In addition, Bianco puts his expertise in technology to work in a Tuesday morning radio show called Tek2day. It airs from 10 to 11 a.m. He was instrumental in simplifying the system, setting up the mobile broadcast, downloading news and maintaining statistics.
“Tek2day is all about technology and what technology can do for you in business,” he told me. In addition to delving into technology, he discusses hardware and software, the latest apps, and takes questions. He talks about the buying process, how to decide between cable and dish networks, your next phone plans, and more.
Hunterdon Chamber Radio is proving to be a valuable resource for small businesses. There are some 37 hosts for various programs. They range over many subjects, from business and healthcare to food, kids, money, real estate, animals, even news and weather.
At Blue Panther, Bianco works directly with business principals.
“I go in for an initial free consultation,” he said. “I try to get them through to the big problem, working behind the scenes with the owner and get them into a more proactive role in managing.”
For more information, call 908-643-5365 or visit BluePantherBiz.com
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Security for the home and business is a continuing concern. There are many companies, both large and small, offering all sorts of options. And costs.
“The big companies offer free alarm systems,” said Gino Livoti. He operates Wire Excellence Security Systems based on the outskirts of Flemington.
But service charges can be inflated to cover the cost of the system over time, he cautioned. On top of that, connections to fire and police are usually over a phone line or VOIP—either one of which can be taken down by a determined intruder.
“My systems are wireless,” he told me. He installs, services and offers a warranty. He is licensed, insured and bonded and serves clients in Hunterdon and the surrounding counties in New Jersey.
Livoti has been in the business for more than 30 years, and he’s up to date on the latest technology. In addition to different types of security systems, he installs hidden video cameras, remote controllers, motion detectors, door and window transmitters, carbon monoxide and heat detectors. His systems can control lighting and appliances, and there are talking systems that can record and playback messages.
For more information, call 908-788-9605 or visit Wire-X.com. Click on the side screen for lots of information, including FAQs.
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Steve Carroll runs the NJ Sign Store LLC located on Rt. 22 E in Lebanon. But his operation serves a very wide area.
“Right now I’m doing 300 engraved tags for the control boxes in the New York subway system,” Carroll told me. The control boxes allow riders to use their phones.
NJ Sign Store is everything signage. It’s custom work for any need—indoor, outdoor, trade shows, vehicles and more.
“Any picture can be turned into a sign,” he said. And he did just that with 180 full color prints showing phased construction of two new buildings at Picatinny Arsenal.
His operation regularly turns out carved signs, LED displays, plaques and engraved signs, light boxes and neon, pop-ups and tradeshow displays, awnings and banners, directories and vehicle lettering.
“Banners need to be mesh so the wind can blow through,” he said. “And graphics on the sides of trucks have to be done in a heated garage.”
Carroll knows all the ins and outs of the trade. And he puts it at a client’s disposal in homing in on type, placement, cost, and other considerations.
For more information, call 908-236-0728 or visit NJSignStore.com.
Al Warr can be reached at 610-253-0432 or AlWarr16@gmail.com.
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