While start-ups are still largely bypassing ESOPs, it's becoming increasingly common for them to look into some sort of stock option program. That's especially the case, says Corey Rosen of the National Center for Employee Ownership, with technology companies, at which there's a perceived shortage of key people.


Start-ups were down 3.5% for the first eight months of 1990, compared with the same period in 1989.

1990: 452,678 firms

1989: 468,872 firms

Source: The Dun & Bradstreet Corp.'s new incorporations for January to August


How do new companies get their products on those cable-TV shopping programs? QVC Network, which goes into 34 million homes, makes the first step easy. Every Wednesday afternoon its buyers see any vendor who walks into their offices. Says QVC's merchandising exec: "Buyers can get inaccessible, and this avoids that."


"Every business I've been in has started in a recession. Maybe it's crazy, but I think when you start in a recession and make it work, it can be very lucrative when the recession's over. If you start in good times, you can get a false sense of security."

-- Sharon Schneider, of two-year-old Schneider Educational Products n

-- Leslie Brokaw