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Welcome to the WISE newsletter, a program of
The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Notes & Quotes: Wendy Newmeyer

Wendy Newmeyer of Maine Balsam Fir Products, Inc. provided a view of a start-up business like none other. She and her husband moved from New Jersey to Main in the late 1970's in order to try living off the land. Over time they began making products -- pillows, draft stoppers, etc. -- from parts of balsam trees that were considered junk. Maine Balsam Fir Products was founded in 1983 and sells products to customers all across the U.S. Newmeyer employs seven people, plus her husband, and they hand make over 100,000 items in a year.

Wendy Newmeyer shared with the audience at the WISE conference the top ten things she would have done differently, if she had it to do all over again. Her top ten are:
  1. Never hire friends, family members, or close-by neighbors.
  2. Incorporate sooner.
  3. Hire a payroll service earlier.
  4. Hire a lawyer and accountant who work as "partners" rather than "service providers."
  5. Use a better bookkeeping system earlier.
  6. Develop a better personal relationship with a local banker.
  7. Join more trade groups (e.g., Chamber of Commerce).
  8. Invest some time exploring what kind of help isavailable from other organizations (e.g., SCORE).
  9. Clearly define goals, production capabilities, and expectations so that her family's needs and her own lifestyle needs could be coordinated with the other things that occur.
  10. Relocate the business rather away from her home and build a space designed for the process, as well as for growth.
She also listed several other things, beyond her top ten, including spending more time enjoying the reasons that they moved to Maine in the first place.


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