What information sources do you turn to for help in starting or running a business? Our first letter this month -- from a reader setting up a resource center at a business incubator -- asks for recommendations. Also in the question box: How do you deal with government regulations? Is an M.B.A. necessary in starting up? How do you get your company's name in the newspapers?
Pick of the Litter At our business incubator, we're thinking of developing a resource center -- a library of books, videotapes, audiocassettes, and software -- for small businesses within our incubator and our community. We hope to provide information on such subjects as management, marketing, finance, and communications. So much material is out there, most of which is general and unfocused, that we'd like to ask Network readers for their experience-tested recommendations. What resources have readers found useful? What would best serve the entrepreneurial spirit here in Charleston?
Vice-President of Business Development
Business & Industrial Development Corp.
Charleston, W. Va.
Battling the Bureaucracy, Part II The nursery schools our company operates must be located in residential areas, both for the children's safety and the parents' convenience. But New Jersey's antiquated zoning laws are keeping us out of those areas. Recently we purchased and renovated an old church in a neighborhood where the need for day care is critical, only to see the zoning board turn down our application for rezoning.
We'd like to change the old laws -- Florida, for instance, makes special provisions for nursery schools -- but we don't know where to begin. Have any Network readers attempted to make such changes? Is it worthwhile even to try?
Saddle Acres Schools
Upper Saddle River, N.J.
College Prep I'm climbing the corporate ladder, but I'm getting tired of it. I've long had an interest in starting a business, and many of my friends own businesses in Silicon Valley, where I was raised. Perhaps I'm insecure, but I wonder if should get an M.B.A. first. Have other readers who have started their own businesses shared this concern? If they received an M.B.A., what kind of program did they complete -- night school or full-time? Have they benefited from it? Does an M.B.A. add seriousness to a start-up, or should I just take the leap?
Your Name in Print My company recently decided to expand its public relations efforts, and as marketing director, I am responsible for getting our name into print. I have a good background in marketing and advertising, and I know about press releases and new-product announcements, but I could use some advice on developing a strategy for marketing through PR. How do media people decide whom to interview? Is it worthwhile to write my own articles and flood editors with them? How can I contact people who are interested in my company? What are they looking for?