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NYT Small Business Summit: What Isn't Working

NEW YORK - Small business problems and their solutions were the main focus of the opening event at the New York Times Small Business Summit held here today. Small business owners shared their business problems and dilemmas with the New York Times Small Business editor, Loren Feldman and a panel of small business experts.

"We avoid focusing on the rock stars," said Feldman, of the Times' coverage of small business. "We cover what life is like for small business owners in the trenches," Feldman said.
Feldman and New York Times' small business columnist Jay Goltz said that the entrepreneurial environment has changed drastically over the last 30 years.

"Becoming an entrepreneur is simple, but it's not easy," said Goltz, who is also an author and owns five small businesses. "Most people going into business didn't invent a new computer software. Most are doing ordinary things."

Goltz said he finds the biggest problems faced by small business owners include finding new people and cash flow problems.

"People don't understand a lot of the inner workings of business when they go into business," Goltz said.

He advised small business owners to enter the "grow up" stage where they address their problems and work through them or realize that what they are doing is not working.

"Stop blaming the banks," Goltz said. "The banks want to get their money back. If you're going to go into business for yourself, you have to put yourself on the line."

Some of the issues small business owners expressed concern about at the summit include:

• How to grow beyond the next level
• How to property compensate sales force
• How to break into a new market
• How to find an investor
• How to make a key hire
• How to measure the importance of sales teams
• When it's time to throw in the towel
• Why do people ignore the accounting part of business

Jeanette Mulvey

Jeanette has been writing about business for more than 20 years. She has written about every kind of entrepreneur from hardware store owners to fashion designers. Previously she was a manager of internal communications for Home Depot. Her journalism career began in local newspapers. She has a degree in American Studies from Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter @jeanettebnd.