Local Entrepreneur Shares Business ExperiencesThe Long Islander
By Laura .Jungreis firstname.lastname@example.org
When Rob Basso was 11 years old, living in Haddonfield, N.J., he delivered newspapers by bicycle. Early one cold morning, his ski mask slipped over his eyes and obscured his view. He crashed into a car, falling to the ground and destroying his bike. He had to finish the rest of his route by foot and save for a new bicycle. But Basso believes this was an early look into the life of a small business owner.
“You fall flat on your face, literally, but you still find a way to pick yourself up and keep going;’ Basso, of Huntington, said. “You have to be prepared to get kicked in the teeth, and go get dentures.”
Basso shared this experience with a crowd at Book Revue in Huntington on June 6, when spoke about his book, “The Everyday Entrepreneur.”
Basso, who today is president of Ad vantage Payroll Services and a founding investor in Empire National Bank, entered the world of entrepreneurship at an early age.
“Most of it was survival;’he said.”I did n’t have that new bike or wasn’t able to go to the arcade with my friends. If I wanted to have something, I had to go work for it. It was really that simple.”
Basso was involved with.a variety of entrepreneurial ventures, from the paper route to an ice cream truck route, before he worked for the first time in the payroll sector. Feeling overworked and underappreciated, he left the company after 18 months to begin his own.
“I thought I could do it better,” he said. “I didn’t want to work for anyone else.”
Advantage Payroll Services now has over 2,500 clients.
Basso’s success inspired him to share encouraging stories of thriving entrepreneurs in a book. The book tells his own tale alongside many others, like that of Jeff Hoffman, cofounder of priceline.com.
Basso spoke with ease in front of the crowd at Book Revue, alternating be tween reading passages from the book, from chapters entitled “Lemonade stands are just too static” and “Diving without a shark cage,” to telling anecdotes and interacting.
“How many people here have their own business?” Basso asked the audience. Several people raised their hand, including Susannah Meinersman of Bon Bons Choeolatier in Huntington, a small business that was started 33 years ago by her mother, Mary Alice.
“I have heard about Rob and I just wanted to come see him in person,” Meinersman said. “You’re always looking for motivation in your business.”
Basso’s discussion of uncertainty when you have a small business and the theme of embracing risk struck a chord with Meinersman.
“Sometimes it’s exciting and sometimes it’s really, really scary;’ she said.
Basso noted that compared to other downtown villages, though, Huntington is doing better. Restaurants in particular are thriving this year, he said.
Basso acknowledged how today’s economy is a hurdle for entrepreneurs and small business owners, but he stressed the positives.
“It’s the least expensive time to get in to business;’ Basso said, crediting the Internet as one reason why.
Basso has advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Know what you’re getting into, have a plan, and make sure you have proper funding.
“Too many businesses fail because they’re underfunded,” Basso said.
Basso believes the success of small businesses is paramount to saving the economy.
“The simple thing is, without small business owners, there’s only so many companies in the U.S. that could create jobs on a very big scale,” Basso said.
Basso has noticed a positive trend among his small business clients that he hopes will fuel success, and that is optimism.
“People are more optimistic,” he said. “People feel better about what’s going on in the economy. Things aren’t that great statistically, but sentiment drives reality.”
To learn more about Basso and his book, visit BassoOnBusiness.com.