JOURNALIST Q&A: Robert Levine

For the small guys in the dog-eat-dog New York business world who can't spend millions on consultants, there's now an answer.

For the small guys in the dog-eat-dog New York business world who can't spend millions on consultants, there's now an answer.

The monthly New York Enterprise Report will bring expert advice on marketing, accounting, and other areas to business owners working in the shadow of so many national and global goliaths. Here, publisher Robert Levin talks about the title, which launched this month.

PRWeek: Tell me a bit about the editorial sensibility of the magazine. It sounds as if it'll be more about offering practical advice than news about small business.

Robert Levin: The Report features how-to articles written by experts specifically for small- or midsize businesses in the New York area. The only time we'll get into news is when, say, a tax law passes, and we'll have an expert give his or her ideas on how it can benefit you, what you should be aware of, how you can take advantage, etc. There are plenty of business-news publications out there; that's not really our space.

PRWeek: Is there a particular area of knowledge in which small-business executives are particularly deficient?

Levin: It varies depending on the business owner. A business owner with an accounting background will obviously have that area taken care of. Some will have a marketing background. But, as a whole, many businesses don't have the complete suite of talent, whether it's their own or their executive team. That's the gap we're trying to mitigate. For example, most small businesses will not have a CFO; they might not have a marketing department or an in-house legal department. Yet they'll have challenges that require all that expertise, and that's what we're trying to bring to the table.

PRWeek: Is there a particular kind of expert that you'd like to hear from but haven't yet?

Levin: Not really. We usually use solicited contributors. Between my Rolodex and the exposure that the website has gotten, we've been all right so far. But we're always looking for somebody who's got something that our readers need to know.

PRWeek: What are some of the unique challenges that come from running a small business in the New York area?

Levin: It's hard enough to run a small business. In New York, everything is so much more frenetic. The activity is on a multiple of 10. Particularly in New Jersey and New York, you have a very high tax rate that puts additional financial pressures on companies. And even though there's a lot of labor here, it can still be a challenge because there is so much competition to get the labor you need. Finally, on the marketing end, it's so crowded it's hard to get the word out about your product or services.

PRWeek: Is that because of the noise made by all the national and international companies with headquarters here?

Levin: It's a combination of the noise because it's competitive, and it has to do with whether or not the small business knows what to do to get the word out.

Name: Robert Levin

Publication: The New York Enterprise Report

Title: Editor-in-chief and publisher

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