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ON THE FRONT LINE Don Jean of FocusedBuyer


With years of experience in global supply management, computer systems and sales and sourcing consulting, Don Jean is CEO and co-founding partner of FocusedBuyer (www.focusedbuyer.com). Based in Easton, FocusedBuyer is an Internet-based e-commerce buying and selling system for small and medium-sized businesses, nonprofits, public entities and the consumer buying expensive items or services. He can be reached at don@focusedbuyer.com.

What’s your take on the local economy?

We are fortunate to engage with many business market segments here in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. We find the Greater Lehigh Valley area continues to be a magnet for increased economic activity and opportunities for businesses and organizations of all sizes.

Its family friendly environment and reasonable cost of living continue to draw new residents and thus consumers to our local communities, which in turn drives important growth in the local economy. We believe this trend will continue for many years.

What issues are you most concerned about?

From a business commerce perspective, it is important that both buyers and sellers bring value to transactions between them. We believe that the end result of business, whether it is B2B or C2B or C2C or B2C, should be win-win for the engaged parties.

Unfortunately, we continue to witness buyer-beware stories where fraud, theft, embezzlement and other illegalities occur regularly. And e-commerce has exacerbated these situations. We must find ways to eliminate this failure within commerce.

From a business-cost perspective, it is certain that current and future health care expenses and unknowns are restraining economic growth and corresponding employment levels. We have many discussions with clients about this issue.

For instance, across the economic spectrum, business operations are patching and repairing capital equipment while spending cautiously for new capital. And their personnel outlook is one of running lean with increased multitasking of existing resources.

These cash management scenarios are not economic friendly and we see no immediate change in this behavior.

What would you do to improve your business?

We are a “software-as-a-service” beta-live, disruptive, e-venture that needs to attract users. Every business and consumer in the world – that has access to the Internet – now has their own, personalized, immediate and safe/secure purchasing process for buying products and services.

The challenge to improve our business rests with packaging and communicating the focusedbuyer.com business tool in a simple, impelling way to convince folks to engage it and trial it.

We need to figure out how to reach those folks who want to improve their business processes …

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start a business?

It is helpful to recognize mutual opportunities in any engagement one has with another person or an organized group of individuals. You never know where the next important idea, piece of information or outside support for your startup business will be found.

Never be afraid to reach out to those that might be able to help you. Do not be afraid to find and work with a mentor.

Persistence toward your goal is also essential. Roadblocks and barriers to progress are irritating but are usually never insurmountable.

And above all, commit to having fun in the process of bringing your innovation to life.

Editor’s note: “On the Front Line” appears periodically and offers insight on running a small business in the region. If you have a suggestion for a subject for “On the Front Line,” please email Bill Kline at billk@lvb.com.

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