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Entrepreneur Gives Business Lesson at Centenary

By: Don Carswell/The NJ Herald
11/19/2013, 04:24 PM

Hackettstown — Stephen Bienko admits to being a dreamer. Luckily, he dreams big. Then he builds what he dreams.

Bienko is the largest franchisee in the College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving brand, owning franchises in the New York/New Jersey area, plus Tennessee and Ohio. Now 36, Bienko started his first business at age 20, a health food store in his college dorm room.

Bienko shared some entrepreneurial advice with Centenary College’s senior Business Strategies students recently in a talk entitled “It’s not WHAT but WHO — How Entrepreneurs Discover Themselves.” Business Strategies is a final course for graduating accounting and business majors, given by Professor Lee Esposito.

Bienko, past owner of Parisi Sports Inc., was the franchisee who recommended and developed the moving component of College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving, which has since been adopted by the franchise. Before that, the company’s focus was junk hauling.

“Entrepreneurship will lead you down a different path than other people,” explained Bienko, illustrating his statement with examples from such successful start-ups as Nike, Apple and Google, of how they defined their businesses, who their customers were, and how they would serve them. The people who conceive such businesses often see what others don’t.

“When Twitter first came out, how many of you thought it was stupid?” he asked, in his straightforward manner. A sea of hands was raised. Reminding the group of how Twitter was used during the recent overthrow of dictators in Libya and Egypt and the revolution under way in Syria, he simply said, “Twitter changed the world.”

Bienko’s enthusiasm and energy gripped his audience as he stressed the importance of defining careers in terms of who they are, rather than what they want to be. “The ‘what’ can be anything — it doesn’t matter,” he explained, “But the ‘who’ never changes.”
There are endless possibilities for those who decide to build their own business.

“Businesses are like buses,” he said. “There’s another one coming in another hour.”

The life of an entrepreneur is different. “Once you become an entrepreneur,” Bienko asserted, “you become 100-percent unemployable. That is because you have decided to pursue your own ‘who’ rather than somebody else’s ‘what.’ ”
Bienko, who confessed to taking 45-minute showers “because that’s when the thoughts come,” said the same “who” principle applies in sales and when trying to secure financing for a business. “Sell who you are first; then pitch your product.”

Attending student Pecolia Everette said Bienko’s presentation, “was very motivational and encouraging. Getting the concept of ‘who’ and ‘what’ is important.”

Bienko’s most important advice for would-be entrepreneurs: “Be observant when something is there in front of you.”