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Spotlight on Diversity Doing business in N.J. is harder than doing business as a woman Marketsmith founder

Meg Fry//September 4, 2014//

Spotlight on Diversity Doing business in N.J. is harder than doing business as a woman Marketsmith founder

Meg Fry//September 4, 2014//

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The chairwoman and founder of Marketsmith, Inc., says that “being a business in New Jersey today is much harder than being a woman-owned business.”Monica Smith created the Parsippany-based direct response marketing firm in 1999 to improve her clients’ return on investments by at least 25 percent, landing her a spot on the Inc. 500 list for multiple years.

But even though Smith is a die-hard South Orange native, she doesn’t believe New Jersey is the best place for her 25 employees to work.

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“New Jersey makes business nearly impossible — you wouldn’t start one here if you were from out of state,” Smith said.

Smith says that, in addition to higher taxation and insurance rates in the state, her employees — who often include college graduates, working mothers and older females — face too many logistical challenges in New Jersey while traveling to work due to traffic and poor highway infrastructure.

“When you’re in Manhattan, you know you’re not going to be able to make your kid’s play or softball game,” Smith said. “In New Jersey, you say, ‘Maybe I can do it.’  

“But now we’re dealing with employees who still feel guilt or fatigue about not easily getting from one place to another.”

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In order to improve employee work/life balance, Smith implemented some changes within her company.

“I established flexible hours a long time ago, because it relieves stress,” Smith said. “Everyone is responsible and does what they have to do, so we never clock-punch. We like to start the day when we want and leave when we have to.”

In addition, she’s come to the resolution over the last 15 years that folks require the ability to work from home.

“I’ve had to make that critical choice based on an employee’s talent and years of experience and the money I’ve already invested in them as part of my team.”

RELATED: Women- and minority-owned firms are finding that being certified as such can pay off in a big way

Now, her 3-year-old incubator I.Predictus — an algorithmic software program that analyzes and predicts media ROI for direct response television advertisers — is actively seeking a new location in New Jersey for its 24 employees and contractors.

But Smith isn’t exactly gung-ho about it.

“If you are a business in New Jersey, it’s because you truly love this state,” Smith said.

“Doing business in New Jersey is not easy, but I am born and raised here, and therefore committed to the state,” Smith said.

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