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Is Facebook still the king of social media? Although it’s been a difficult year for the platform, small businesses shouldn’t doubt the power of Facebook marketing. Find out why Facebook is the right place for small business owners and entrepreneurs.




Mari Smith:     Hello there, friends. It's Mari Smith here with you back again, coming to you from live sunny San Diego, and today we are going to be talking all about, is Facebook still the king of social media, and what makes Facebook the right place for small businesses to market, to grow their business, and entrepreneurs? So we have a packed session here for you today. I've prepared a lovely slide deck. I absolutely love to do educational sessions for my friends out there, and the small business world, as well as I work with major brands and a lot of different companies in different industries. We're going to talk about, is Facebook still the king of social media? Spoiler alert, it is, and I'm going to show you why, and we'll give you some great examples as well. So got any questions? Do let me know.


Mari Smith:     What makes Facebook the right place for small business owners and entrepreneurs? I know that right now, in fact, 2018, you'll see in a moment when I get into my slides, this has probably been one of the most challenging years for the Facebook team. You'll see what ... some of the things that they're doing to really support businesses. And then this session, I will tell you that it's brought to you and sponsored by the Bank of America Small Business Community, and I'll show you where you can get some terrific resources, literally thousands of articles written specifically to help small business owners and entrepreneurs, and I am one of the contributing authors to Bank of America Small Business Community. So thank you so much to be here ... for being here, my friends. Always a joy to have you with us.


Mari Smith:     So let's get on with it. I'm going to show my slide deck, and we're going to show ... Yes, I'm going live twice today. I know it was confusing for you guys, but it's all good. We've got some great content lined up for you, so let's dive in. This is a session brought to you, as I say, by Bank of America Small Business Community. Is Facebook still the king of social media, and why Facebook is the right place for small business owners and entrepreneurs?


Mari Smith:     Feel free to pop your questions in the chat as we go along. I will definitely take your questions, and anything that you have found that's working for you, in fact. I love to see examples. What's working for you in your small business, medium size business, as an entrepreneur or business owner? What's working for you, and also what challenges are you finding? Okay? So those two things. Tell me what's working for you, and also kind of what's not working. What challenges are you facing when it comes to Facebook marketing, and including organic or paid, anything you're doing with your Facebook marketing? Pop your questions in here. I'll be happy to take them for you.


Mari Smith:     Quick bio if you haven't seen me speak before. I'm sure many of you have. I know I've got our fabulous audience here today. I'm known as the premier Facebook marketing expert, hired by Facebook and Fortune 500 companies, top-rated keynote speaker around many, many major events around the country and the world, frequently top influencer and premium brand ambassador. I work with numerous brands, and always delighted to represent the companies that I work with.


Mari Smith:     So let's start out by saying some Facebook facts and stats. Many of you know this already, but let's just kind of lay the groundwork in case for some reason you've missed the boat here. 2.23 billion active users. Facebook is still the number one, and has been for 10 whole years. Ten years Facebook has been the number one social network. And don't forget, because this is where I love to help people to kind of expand their minds, all the audiences that I speak to from small, medium, large size businesses, entrepreneurs, I speak to a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs. In fact, when Facebook hired me a few years ago to go on tour with the company, all the audiences, thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs around the U.S., that's who came to these Boost your Business events.


Mari Smith:     I want to make sure that everybody knows, when we say Facebook, we're not just talking Facebook. There's an entire family of apps. And most people know this, but just a reminder, there's Facebook the main app, of course. Then there's Messenger. Messenger really is a standalone app. I just got finished leading a Messenger Chatbot summit, opening keynote for the summit that's going on today. Instagram, of course, and I've said for a year and a half now that Instagram is Facebook's next Facebook. There's now officially a billion active users, and we'll talk a little bit about Stories today, too. Stories is growing at 15 times the content in the Stories feed ... Excuse me, the content and Stories format is growing 15 times faster than the content in Newsfeed. So Instagram.


Mari Smith:     WhatsApp, of course, is the number one messaging app, outside of the U.S. Then there's the Oculus with the goggles, the virtual reality. I put Audience Network in there as well. Facebook sometimes calls ... There's not a separate app, but it's part of their family. Workplace, some of you might use Workplace. It's kind of like Slack, or it was like a project management, in house, communication platform. It's Facebook for private, internal, enterprise use, and then there's And then they even have ... I didn't even put it on the slide, but don't forget they have what's called Secret Building 8, if you've ever seen or heard of that. Facebook actually has this building, they've called it Secret Building 8 for some time, and they are working on some pretty advanced technology. At some point, they're going to be coming out with an in-home video chat device with facial recognition, and you will be able to do shopping and all kinds of things.


Mari Smith:     It got delayed. It was going to get launched this year, but for obvious reasons over all the challenges Facebook's faced, they actually had to delay the launch of that, but that's going to be competing with the likes of Google's in-home device, and of course, Amazon's in-home device. So conversational commerce is a very, very rapidly growing arena with activated by voice, and if you keep an eye on any of the Amazon stats out there, like you've got Amazon buyers and then Amazon Prime members, how they spend quite a bit more, and then even higher above that is Amazon Echo owners, being able to order things just by voice. That's a whole future arena, and Facebook has billions and billions of dollars, and so they are investing in that. They're at the forefront of many of these developmental technologies.


Mari Smith:     So when I talk Facebook, I'd just really like everybody to think expansive, and thinking about the wider range of everything that Facebook's doing. They also have 30,000 employees. I don't know if you knew that, and they've got offices in major, major cities all over the world.


Mari Smith:     So they also have this 10 year roadmap, and they've been ... They actually brought this out about five years ago, and they've been updating it. So here's Zuckerberg on stage, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, on stage at the annual F8 Developer Conference earlier this year. And you see now, they're at kind of the three year mark, focusing on Facebook and Instagram, and they're kind of in here between the three and the five year mark, where they're focusing on ... Notice the order they've got. Video first. Search was an interesting, because I've often found search to be very challenging on Facebook. Anytime I'm looking for anything on Facebook I just Google it. It's gotten a lot better over the years. Groups, massive emphasis on groups. See where my cursor is there.


Mari Smith:     Of course they've got WhatsApp, Messenger, Workplace, Marketplace. So these whole ... This array here, what's that? Seven different focus points, and we're right there. But of course, with an eye on the horizon to the future and the 10 year vision is connectivity, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality. So just kind of keeping our eye on, where is Facebook taking that vision in terms of small businesses? How can we be early adopters and integrate and maximize and optimize everything that Facebook offers? And I'll tell you, that's what today's presentation is all about. In several areas is definitely Messenger and Messenger Chatbots, and Instagram and doing Instagram Stories and Instagram Stories ads. Okey-dokey? So we'll go into that a little bit more.


Mari Smith:     So how does Facebook help small business owners? Well, these are some of the ways. To build a loyal following. Groups. If you don't have a Facebook group yet, and you're confused and not sure and kind of wondering if it's for you, well, it depends of course on what industry you're in and what resources you have, but I actually strongly recommend creating. You could create an open public group, so it could be open but you approve membership, or it could just be open, but I would recommend approving membership, and then that would be a free open group, so just really as a way to build out a different way of communicating with your audience.


Mari Smith:     I see a lot of tools that I work with, for example, Wave is a great video tool. I'm going to talk about that today, Or MobileMonkey, they're a chatbot company. They have, for instance, groups that are for users and support, and so often what happens is that you'll get a lot of peer-support, and so those are some great things to do as well. Also just even like a think tank or brainstorming, or you could have people who are early access to different products or features, and they're testers for you. So that was one way with a group, but obviously you can have your loyal following and the public on your page. Creating communities, also, in a group.


Mari Smith:     Selling products. Facebook has the shop. If you have retail, you can integrate a Facebook shop. Perhaps you use Shopify. Shopify is a great eCommerce tool that you might be integrating with likes of Instagram, with the Instagram shop tab, and then Instagram is bringing out a separate standalone shopping app. So if you have a retail store, if you're a small local business and you also want to kind of shift into selling products online, maybe you already do but you want to get more into that, keep an eye on what Instagram is doing with their new shopping app. Of course, you've got the ability to already sell products through Facebook shop, Instagram shop tabs.


Mari Smith:     Building influencer relationships. This is really, really a great, great way to elevate your reach and your results, is looking to align yourself with an influencer. They could be micro influencers. They don't have to have tens of millions of fans, or even hundreds of thousands of fans or followers. A micro influencer could be a person who has a very loyal, devoted fan base that's not competing with what you're offering, but could be a fantastic overlap and add value, whatever it is, to your product or service, and you could approach this influencer or micro influencer and start to build those relationships with them. And how it works is you compensate them. You compensate them for promoting your product or service or company.


Mari Smith:     You staying on top of trends for sure, you know, subscribing to different chatbots and/or joining different Facebook groups that really helps you to be on top of trends. Of course, a big sidebar there. I do have to say, obviously when it comes to Facebook, we've got to be extremely discerning and know that there is fake news out there. Unfortunately, the fake news is actually getting more refined. Christopher, my partner and I, we often talk behind the scenes about all the different kinds of crazy AI that's happening, and how easy it's going to be for being able to perpetuate news. Not even just news, just like videos of people that looks like it's that person, so we always have to go and check the source. Use your due diligence. Be Smart, be clever before you just hit that share button. There's all kinds of crazy memes that will happen out there, and we want to make sure we always protect our own reputation.


Mari Smith:     Be a person that can be extremely trusted. Be a person that has an impeccable reputation of always checking the source of content that you share out there on Facebook, and really all these different platforms, but primarily Facebook, right? Because then you'll be leading the way with your business, your brand, the company that you run, that people just know they can come to trust what it is that you're sharing, and that comes with sometimes a little bit of research. You have all your different sources too, and Facebook's gotten a little bit better about that. They put the little information link and you can see, and sometimes they'll even pop up a little warning and it will say, "Oh, this has been flagged as incorrect," or maybe you want to check Snopes or something like that.


Mari Smith:     So increasing SEO, for sure. On your Facebook page, you want to make sure that your about section has plenty of narrative, that you've got lots of keywords in there, you've filled it all out, lots of description and key phrases and keywords, because all of that is findable on Google. It's all findable on your searches. Now then, if I go into ... Yeah. If I go over here, and you've probably ... Every page has this little section here, it's called about. You can put an additional picture in there, and then people can pop this up. Whether anybody ever reads that or not, but this in here, this is great information. You can fill out as long or as short as you want, and you can format the text, and all of that in there is a for SEO, as well as all the information in your about tab. You want to fill this out as much as you can because all of that's really, really helpful for your SEO.


Mari Smith:      And then communicate with customers, no question. Obviously, through groups, through commenting publicly, but most definitely a very, very growing trend, a growing arena is the Messenger Chatbots. You can find out more about that actually on my page. I just recently led a Chatbot presentation with MobileMonkey.


Mari Smith:     So let's take a look now, kind of stand back for a moment. After having said all of this, we already know. We've drunk the koolaid, in a good way. We know that Facebook can help small business owners to grow, and that's important. It has all these great features, and it's been a challenging year, like I said at the beginning, and we have to talk about the elephant in the room. It's definitely been a challenging year for Facebook, so how do we rise above the noise or rise above anything that's inaccurate or that's been challenging and make the best of what Facebook really does offer us, and really take the high path?


Mari Smith:     Now this is Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress earlier this year. That was a very grueling time for him, but I thought he handled himself incredibly well, and we're actually now nine months on from when Zuckerberg, he first changed the algorithm. That was in early January. Remember he was favoring meaningful social interaction and posts by friends and family, so that was kind of the biggest ding, if you will, to Facebook page owners. You're a small business owner, entrepreneur, you have your business page, maybe you've been getting some reach, and then all of a sudden maybe your reach shifted up, and Facebook definitely does want us to spend money on ads, but at the same time, Facebook wants us to make sure that the content we're creating is adding value, it is sparking what they call meaningful social interaction, which is more than just a reaction. It's definitely more than passive consumption, especially when it comes to video.


Mari Smith:     Facebook has a mission statement just for video, and it's ... I can't remember it off the top of my head, but it's specifically ... I don't have it right in front of me, but it's specifically around generating community belonging and sparking discussion. Their video mission isn't just about getting more people to watch video. It's about creating that community, and that's why, for instance, they launched features like the Watch Party inside of groups. Watch party inside of groups is super cool. In a way, I wish they'd given it a different name because you've got the Watch platform, which is totally separate and different, but then you got a Watch Party, which is also a very different feature that is in groups, and you can create kind of like a mock up of a live, that you can go into a group, an admin or a moderator can create like a playlist, even. You can get your popcorn, sit down, watch some videos with your group members, maybe for education, maybe for entertainment, but it's all about creating that engagement.


Mari Smith:     It's also been a year of major challenges, obviously with the data breach scandal earlier this year, congressional testimony with Zuck and friends here, election interference, privacy concerns, huge stock losses. So as a small business owner, if you've been paying attention to the mainstream headlines for most of this year, you could definitely be forgiven for thinking, "Oh, I don't know if Facebook's for me. I've kind of tried. I don't know. I'm not sure if I'm getting the results I want." You could definitely be forgiven for thinking those thoughts, and however, that's the main purpose of my session here today is to help you to see the different perspective, and all that Facebook still offers, and all of the business and the growth and the sales and the customers that you can still access, and that you might be missing out on if you're not doing certain things when it comes to your Facebook marketing. Okay? So that's why I'm going to be going ahead and showing some more things.


Mari Smith:     Yeah. This is belive, I am a busy lady today, yes, and I will definitely share my slides with you and I'll get to your questions as well, my friends. Okay, perfect. So Chris Cox, who is the chief product officer. I thought this was really interesting. Earlier this year he posted that they had just announced they hired Antonio J. Lucio to be their new CMO, chief marketing officer, and he posted this real great picture. He used to be at HP, Hewlett Packard. Before that he was a CMO at Visa and PepsiCo. So he brings ... Look at this. He says an extraordinary reputation in the industry as a leader, a marketer, an operator, wise and gracious.


Mari Smith:     Now I pulled this part, it's further down in the update that Chris put, and I thought this really summarized where we're at right now with that previous slide in the Facebook landscape. Facebook's story is at an inflection point, right? This is Chris Cox posting on August 23rd this year. We've never faced bigger challenges, and we've never had more opportunities to have a positive impact on the world ... Yay, speaking my language ... in our families, our friendships, our communities, and our democracy by improving our products at their core, and then by telling the story outside that we all know to be true inside.


Mari Smith:     So kudos to Chris. I thought that was a really great statement, and you know, I've been evangelist for Facebook since early 2007, so 11 and a half years now, and my passion and enthusiasm has never wavered during that time. I've definitely had some challenging times, just like all of us here, when my ads get disproved and I don't know why, and that doesn't happen too often, but you know, I get frustrated sometimes, but it's at the core, at the core, I just absolutely believe in Facebook and all it can do for people, for consumers, and for businesses of all sizes.


Mari Smith:     So let me give you this slide on, what is working now? Having kind of just, as I say, addressed all the elephants in the room, what is working now? Well, organic posts. I'm going to share with you some of the latest research that there still is a traction that you can get with your organic posts. Definitely heavy emphasis on video, and Facebook is favoring creators. I'll show you some different resources of where you can tap in to get more involved in the creator community on Facebook. Stories for sure. I mentioned how fast that's growing on Instagram. Not so much Facebook, but it's still growing, and Facebook's bringing out ads to Stories as well, and then you've got Messenger with the Chatbots, and I'll talk about ads a little bit too.


Mari Smith:     So these components, if you do your organic posts combined with predominantly video. If it's appropriate, creator is not for everybody, I'll show you where to get your creator community and involved with that, sign up for that. Stories is something you can just start doing right away, Messenger Chatbots, and then refining your ads, and even just reducing your span. I found with me, sometimes I used to put a much higher dollar amount on my ads, and I'm experimenting right now with just a smaller amount, but doing more. More often, more promotions, but with smaller amounts, so always testing, always experimenting.


Mari Smith:     So with the organic content, let's talk about that first, and this is our good friends Buffer and BuzzSumo. They teamed up and they analyzed 43 million Facebook posts from the top 20,000 brand. Now, that was just recently, and I actually posted about it on my page, and we can get you the link of where you can go and read their study and all the stats and whatnot. I've pulled just a couple of them out here.


Mari Smith:     This is actually signals that effect the Newsfeed content rankings. Most of you know this, but just in case you don't, the average time spent on content, and Facebook knows that. I was leading a training the other day, and we were talking about this. So whether you interact with content or not in terms of reacting, commenting, or sharing, or actually hitting the play button if it hasn't auto played, Facebook knows on desktop, on mobile, if you have hovered, if you've paused, you've paused long enough to maybe gaze at a picture, or maybe it is an auto play video, and then obviously you're logged as a video view, but you might spend a while just looking at a post. And so that's a component. Overall engagement, the time it's posted, the type of content it is, how informative it is. All of these different factors go into whether a piece of content shows up in the Newsfeed for that audience or not.


Mari Smith:     One of the major factors by far is engagement, as we mentioned earlier, that Facebook's favoring meaningful social interaction, right? So you want to get your audience to comment as best you can, comment, ideally as a full sentence, maybe three, four, five, six words or more. Not just one word, not just like ... You can [inaudible 00:21:38]. I see a lot of people when they're doing a Facebook live or a broadcast, they'll say, "Tell us where you're from," and people will put the city in, and that's fine. That's a great way to kind of jumpstart the algorithm, if you will. Or you could have people ... Maybe you're running a contest and they comment to enter, and they have to answer a question. What's your number one question about our latest dresses we're carrying or what ... I don't know, whatever kind of store you are, or business.


Mari Smith:     I don't know, whatever kind of store you are or business you are. So encouraging longer comments, for sure. And I've also seen some experts in some schools of thought out there that say if you don't get much engagement on a post, delete it. I'm not a fan of that because I just always think if someone's commented, they've interacted and maybe they want to come back and read it, or maybe even they've saved it. And then all of a sudden, you delete it, but I don't know. Some people just really like to do that and if they're really kind of trying to boost the algorithm.


Mari Smith:     Instead, I would just try adding a few dollars to get a bit more reach and more engagement, or maybe try editing the narrative a bit if it's not as enticing for engagement. But even a few dollars can make a big, big difference to your organic reach. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but as you are spending money on ads and boosting posts, even a few dollars, what happens is the algorithm will automatically kick up your organic reach. So that's a good thing.


Mari Smith:     Here's your recommended Facebook strategy. You want to focus on the ROI, the return on investment of each post. Now, I've actually been been advocating this for years, is I recommend that you never put content out there, really on any social channel, that you're not willing to put some money behind. I mean, occasionally, sure. Stories is different because really, you're just telling a story, you're narrating, and of course you're being strategic and interspersing some business content. But generally speaking, we're talking right here with your primary Facebook page posts. Don't just publish filler content.


Mari Smith:     Of course, if you're a media outlet, if you're doing news, you wanting just posting a lot, maybe you tend to post memes or inspirational motivational quotes and they get good response. That's great. But I'm going to show you an example here of what I'm talking about. The ROI of each post, so instead of just broadcasting your message saying, "Oh, we got a new post up, go check this link out." And some people I see it's just very automated, right? And they're not getting much reach. Some pages I look at, they just got no engagement, no reach, and and they're basically just putting link posts.


Mari Smith:     But instead, if you focus on increasing your engagement and interacting with your audience, I will show you an example in a moment, and then if you're creating highly shareable content and optimizing for mobile consumption. So I'm going to go into these three components a little bit more here in my upcoming slides and if you've got any questions, of course, pop them in. I will come right to your questions as soon as possible.


Mari Smith:     Let's look at HubSpot, my friends over at HubSpot. So they have a relatively new Facebook marketing strategy. They're doing exactly that with the focusing on the ROI of each post. They pretty much stopped posting link posts and they're creating viral videos and images and not doing things that don't work, such as posting links to their websites. Now these are just screenshots of some fun videos. I'm going to go actually over to their page. Let's just pull this up and you'll go HubSpot, fill it right. Fingers are not working today.


Mari Smith:     1.8 million fans based out of Cambridge and Boston. I was just in Boston a couple of weeks ago. I was speaking at HubSpot's annual conference, Inbound. I love, love, love that cover video. It's really pretty. It says, "Grow better." So pretty. It's really nicely done. I love that movement. I love when there's just a bit of movement, but it's not too like in your face. It's not too intense. It's subtle. It's almost like an animated GIF. It's really pretty. So just calling that out in terms of video.


Mari Smith:     So for example, here's one that's from two hours ago. It's already got almost 600 views, and you'll just see the style of what HubSpot has adopted now. Actually, many pages are doing. It's just more educational. You see how this one's got the lower thirds. You want to design your video content that can be consumed with sound off. You can watch the entire video without turning your sound on if you want. So you want the text overlay and/or captions. In this case, this one has captions. There's Elon Musk, our friend.


Mari Smith:     That was yesterday, almost 4,000 views. Get some good views and as I scroll on down here to some more videos, you'll see there's about hacking Instagram ads. Same thing with the captions. Nicely done. And you'll see they alternate between a landscape format and the square format. Square tends to work really well for mobile. So that's a great tip for doing optimizing for mobile is square. Of course, you can always do portrait format as well. Okie dokie.


Mari Smith:     So this is just a great example. Now then, let me just show you one more. I know that there was one in here in terms of a link because often what HubSpot will do is a put a link in or they'll put a link in as the comments. You can totally do that. So the short, short narrative tends to work well. Short narrative, video post, and you can always put a link in the comment, first comment. You can also put a link right here as well next to the narrative. So that works really nicely.


Mari Smith:     So that's just an interesting strategy you'll see. So focusing on the ROI of each post, maybe doing one video a day, if you can. One video a day would be great. If you can't do that, do maybe two or three times a week making a video post and not a link post. Oh, I just have to give a little toot of my own horn. I mentioned Inbound, that's HubSpot's annual marketing conference. They just had this in Boston two weeks ago with 24,000 attendees all over the world, marketers, and celebrities, and personalities, and agencies.


Mari Smith:     And guess who was the number one influencer? 124 million impacts with my tweets. OMG. Two and a half times more than Deepak Chopra. OMG. He was the opening keynote on the first night. So just tooting my own horn. I don't do that often, but I really like HubSpot and I liked that conference. If you get a chance to go to Inbound, they hold it every year in September in Boston, lovely city, really like Boston. There's my friend Larry too. He's in Boston, founder of MobileMonkey. And then they're great. They always have great celebrity keynotes. Great. Great. And then Shonda Rhimes was there too. She was one of the keynotes. That's great.


Mari Smith:     So anyway, switching gears again, I'm going to give you some homework, my friends. So recommended exercise in terms of focusing on the ROI of each post, organic and paid, but organic in particular, of your main Facebook page. Go through your last 20, 30, 40, 50 if you can, Facebook posts and examine each one from a consumer perspective. And ask yourself, even if you're a B2B, just consumption. It doesn't have to be a consumer. If you're B2B or B2C. I always say P2P anyway, people to people. Just look at your posts from the perspective of a person in your target market. Looking at that post and say, "If I were to see this in my newsfeed, would I feel compelled to interact with the content?"


Mari Smith:     Now then, sidebar, interacting with content obviously means reacting, liking, commenting, sharing, doing the meaningful social interaction is definitely doing the more commenting as I mentioned earlier, more in depth commenting. However, there's a whole other school of thought out there, and there's actually some studies. I don't have it right in front of me this second, but the thing is that sometimes your best customers are not necessarily your highest engagers.


Mari Smith:     So they may, especially in B2B, they might see your content, it's top of mind. They've seen your ad, they saw your Facebook live, they saw your story, they saw your ad in a story. They keep seeing you in different places. They might see you in other social platforms, maybe they're on your email list. Now they're in your Messenger chat bot, they're following you on Twitter, or whatever it might be. They see you, but they might not ever interact.


Mari Smith:      And then all of a sudden, because it takes seven to 17 touches nowadays, and then all of those things I just mentioned are touches or they're interacting, they're seeing your brand, your business, your message, and all of a sudden they're like, oh my gosh, you know what? I'm in the need for what you're offering. And then they come in, they sign up, and they've never engaged.


Mari Smith:     So I put that out there because I want to be careful that we don't get too hung up on, oh my God, I've put this post out there. I absolutely have to get 100 comments or having succeeded. Comments are good, reactions, all of that, the meaningful social interaction, that's great. We're now kind of playing by Facebook's rules of getting that engagement and getting more reach, which is a good thing. And ultimately, what we want is more business. We want more leads, we want more traffic to our website, we want more email sign ups, and we want more sales.


Mari Smith:     So always keep those points in mind and don't get too carried away on like it's only about the interaction. So nonetheless, I do want you to go and look at your past posts and just seeing how compelling they are. See if there's something you need to shift up. Speaking of sharing, my friends over there at a Marketo, Brian Carter and Marketo put together this really great PDF and like I say, I'll get you these slides, but this is just in a why people share FB, whoopsies. My links gone one over like that, but you can just click on the link and it goes, it will take you directly to the PDF. I think it's a 35-page PDF.


Mari Smith:     It's an amazing document here, and I've excerpted out seven components of it, of what people share on Facebook and why they share it. So seven functions of highly shared posts. This is just one element of that fabulous PDF that Brian Carter and Marketo put together. Marketo is also a marketing automation platform.


Mari Smith:     Give. So this is why people share. In your post, if you give offers or discounts or deals or contests, I love contests. I do contests maybe about once a month or so and that always gets some terrific engagement, great comments. The advising. Tips, especially about problems, and this is a good one because you want to look at what are some of the frequently asked questions? It's one thing for sure for FAQs, but frequently talked about issues and problems and challenges that people might have in your industry that you could speak to.


Mari Smith:     I work with a lot of companies in the financial arena, for example, insurance companies, mortgage, et cetera. And we will talk about, well, what are some of the related areas? It could be a new tax law, or it could be about tax returns, tax time. It could be about interest rates. It could be all kinds of different areas that are around the finance industry, for example. Warnings, warnings about dangers that can affect anyone. This is all the components. Seven components of why people feel compelled to hit that share button on Facebook.


Mari Smith:     Amuse, everybody knows that one, right? Funny pictures, quotes. Inspire, inspirational quotes. Amazing, amazing pictures or facts. And then unite. This is a post to act as a flag to carry or a way to brag to others about your membership and group. I can hear my birds outside. They're rather loud today.


Mari Smith:     All right, so then you also want to optimize for mobile consumption. I mentioned earlier about how square videos tend to be good for mobile, but also you've got now what's really growing trend is vertical video. More than 95 percent of Facebook users access on their mobile device and a big factor that's actually driving that is vertical video. And I know even if you're one of the old school folks, I say old school tongue in cheek, that prefers to watch video ... Oops, I just hit stop sharing. I did not mean to do that. Not to worry. Bring it back up.


Mari Smith:     Put that up there and there it goes. My apologies. Now this is going to be ... Here it comes. There it goes. If you're one of the folks that tends to watch your, you prefer to see a video, for example, like right now I'm broadcasting in landscape. So if you prefer to watch full screen on your phone, you're going to tip it, right? So you tip your phone and watch it landscape.


Mari Smith:     But what's really been growing in popularity is this whole vertical video, which is the stories format, right? Nine by 16. And so that is really, it's definitely ... You're seeing it more on Instagram. You're seeing it on Facebook. Facebook has these funded news shows that are like Anderson Cooper, you know, ABC on location, Bloomberg has one. I did a whole Facebook live recently talking about that, about vertical video. And so Facebook is paying these media organizations to produce vertical videos. YouTube has now a whole vertical video thing.


Mari Smith:     79 percent of vertical video consumers agree that the format is more engaging. That was a Facebook study. 65 percent of respondents said brands using vertical video for their advertising, are "more innovative." Very interesting. Yes? So create videos between 30 and 120 seconds, right? Two minutes max for this purpose, for optimizing for mobile consumption. There's different types of videos for different purposes.


Mari Smith:     So for example, stories on Instagram are 15 seconds. Video ads if you're going to be doing pre-roll or it's called mid-roll ad breaks, those are five to 15 seconds, usually six is recommended, six seconds up to 15 seconds. And then in a moment, I'm going to be talking about the Watch platform and creators. And Facebook's really looking for three minutes or longer to get your videos on the Watch platform.


Mari Smith:     So we have to be careful when we're talking about videos because there's a variety of different purposes for them. And certainly for consumption, just general consumption in the feed, 30 to 120 seconds and shorter captions. Captions meaning the descriptions, the narrative that goes with the video.


Mari Smith:     And then certainly increasing your use of Facebook live. Facebook is still absolutely favoring Facebook live. It gets six times engagement than regular videos whilst it's live, and then a lot more as well continuing on whilst your broadcast is, people are catching it with the replay and whatnot. And of course, you can boost it afterwards. Oh, by the way, I had the boost button on my scheduled Facebook lives about two months earlier this year, and I think Facebook was just doing an experiment and a test and that was awesome because I found that I could get significantly more reach beforehand obviously with boosting a scheduled live. And then now, now it's just basically you can't. They took it away for some reason. I guess it was just a Beta test and I was in the Beta group and now it's gone. But I'm positive it will be coming back.


Mari Smith:     So in any case, with video and with live, definitely doing more lives and then also doing more video and image posts. Then you do link posts. Saving your link posts maybe for ads or what are called dark posts, which means it goes out as an ad in the feed or wherever you place it, but not on your wall. You use the Facebook ads manager for that. HubSpot example where you could see pretty much every post they're doing now is a short video. And then definitely using Facebook live more often.


Mari Smith:     Today, I'm using This is actually a talk show platform. You can have multiple guests on, you can have actually up to four people on screen at any one time. So if it was yourself and three guests or you could have one or two guests, whatever you want, you can have 10 people in the lobby, meaning that in the green room, you can see who's coming on. You can also share your desktop like I'm doing here. So you've got and there's numerous apps out there that will allow you to do Facebook live streaming from your desktop.


Mari Smith:     And then for creating videos, many of you know I absolutely love wave.videos. These are super awesome platform that allows you to pull from 200 million assets they have, video clips and images, and then also export in multiple formats. They have all the different formats, as I was mentioning about square, and then you've got landscape, and then you've got your nine by 16 story format. So this is really a great tool. You got plenty of music in here. It's just, you can add your watermark and different fonts and colors, really great. There's no excuse not to be making more video. That's just a


Mari Smith:     Let's look at a great storytelling example because this is an element of video that you'll see HubSpot's really starting to do a great example of that, of just putting human beings, putting people on camera, integrating real people into their videos, and doing some storytelling. I love to use this example, Raleigh Diamonds, a diamond store. Now obviously, if you are a jewelry store, you've got so many stories you could tell. I think most small businesses have stories that you don't even realize that you can probably tell, and so this is a great example of this.


Mari Smith:     On the left here, a couple that got just got married at 75. How cool is that? I love this example here on the right, Marquis and Amy, beautiful love story, and then so Raleigh actually created a video. Now I'm actually going to play the video. You may or may not be able to hear the volume that well, I'll turn it up just in case. It's a short, it's about a one minute excerpt of like a four or five minute video that was produced for Raleigh. So let's see if we can play that. Should come in. Come on. There it goes.


Mari Smith:     I'm Amy.


Marquis:          I'm Marquis. This is our story.


Mari Smith:     We painted the house together. I was 16, he was 17.  This is unreal. I'm so, so lucky. I don't even know how to explain it. It was just like magic.


Mari Smith:     Okay. So that, like I say, is just as a super short excerpt of a longer video. If you get a chance, you can go and check out the longer one. But that's a beautiful example of storytelling, putting the focus on the customer, and then as people are watching your video, whatever product or service that you're selling or offering, think about how you can wrap the storytelling element around a bit and create those videos. And it doesn't take a lot of expanse. It really doesn't.


Mari Smith:     Use a reasonably good maybe $500, $600 DSLR camera, some lighting. There's like a three point lighting always works well, and a good microphone. I actually have a whole video gear list that you can download. You can just go to and that will actually get you all the different gear that I use myself for my home studio and I also take it on the road because just with your phone, your smartphone, you can have the whole mobile setup and you can be capturing so much great video content. And then you can supplement it with using Wave, right?


Mari Smith:     All right, so I promised you I would share with you how Facebook is favoring creators and I strongly recommend that if you have content that you want to create and showcase on video, you can go ahead and go to You can register there and you can also sign up for Facebook's Launchpad. And they actually say there, it's ideal if you have plans to create videos. Remember, I said three minutes or longer and that's for the Watch platform in particular. Okay? So I'm just going to hop over there. Creators, and you'll see anybody can sign up here.


Mari Smith:     Facebook brought this out not that long ago. Ready to make your thing a thing? Welcome to a new community helping video creators level up on Facebook. So obviously, YouTube has a whole community of creators. You can go in any of these things. There's also a creator app, of course. You can scroll down here and go ahead and get more information. And then up the top here, here's the Launchpad that you can go ahead and click on that, and it tells you right here what that's about.


Mari Smith:     Creators are selected for this limited program to be eligible for cash bonuses and up to four qualifying videos. And then there's an opportunity to access and use your ad break monetization product, earn money through ads, design for video creators in the US. This is just for US for now anyway, for now, right? Longer. When they say longer, that's three minutes or more. And that's specifically, this is next generation television, my friends. This is absolutely Facebook TV. So if this is something you're interested in, Facebook's really favoring that aspect of creators, and you do get early access and all kinds of good stuff.


Mari Smith:     And then Facebook Watch, if you don't yet have your show. What Facebook is favoring is these episodic episodes, right? And you might have even noticed when you go to do, you upload a video, if you go in and you edit your Facebook live, you'll see now there's different features. You can say, it'll say, "Is this an episode? Is this part of a series?" And when you do select those, your video can now show up in the Watch platform whether you have an official show yet or not, because as I say, Facebook's really favoring the videos for pulling them into the Watch platform.


Mari Smith:     And you can also apply for your own Watch show. FB Watch Form will get you there. And that's just gonna be, you just fill that in and you let Facebook know that you want to, you have an idea for a show and you just fill in the details there. But don't wait until the Facebook comes back and approves you. You can go ahead and begin your episodic content, make a playlist, and do that all right there on your Facebook page.


Mari Smith:     Speaking of Facebook Watch, this is one of my clients, Sonia Stringer, and she's an expert in teaching women network marketing. She has a business academy, and she recently got into the Watch platform. She's one of the students and participants of my Fast Facebook program, Fast Facebook Results program. And she has now her show-


Mari Smith:     ... fastest results program, and she has now her show on watch. Actually, she chose to convert her original Facebook page into a show page, and you can do that. She has over 3,000 followers. You can do that or you could build a whole separate page, like our friend Gary, for example. He has his Facebook page, but then he has a separate watch page. You see people doing that, but it depends. It may not be for everybody, but this is just something to keep an eye on, and Facebook is really favoring and just moving in that direction of Facebook TV.


Mari Smith:     For sure, then we want to also embrace Messenger marketing, setting up your chat bot, maybe doing some what are called Click-to-Messenger ads. That's in your ads, in the call to action, you go into Ads Manager, instead of having people click and leave Facebook, or wherever the ad is placed, it might be placed on Instagram, then you can have people click that button and it opens up in Messenger, and especially if that's connected into your chat bot where you're going to begin to engage with your audience and begin a conversation, and maybe answer some FAQ or get them to do a quiz or survey to kind of segment and give people really what they want. You can find out more about that on the session I just led on my page earlier.


Mari Smith:     This is an example. This is a screenshot right here where I've got my red arrow, this is screenshot of an ad on mobile. That actually would be a video ad, and you can see the button there just says Send Message. This is showing you, I had the same slide in my Messenger chat bot session earlier, so this is actually a company I use called Mobile Monkey. This is a screenshot of what it looks like behind the scenes of when somebody clicks on that send message, I've set it up behind the scenes so that when they click the message, it comes and it says, "Hi! Thank you for letting us know you'd like to learn more. Want the full scoop?"


Mari Smith:     Then they just click that learn more, and then it goes ahead and it tells them more information and gives them the link. So it's really a brilliant, brilliant way of doing more lead generation, relationship building, customer care, all right inside of the apps. Right? Obviously people are coming out of the Facebook main feed or wherever they're seeing the ad, they're hopping over to Messenger, but Facebook makes it very, very seamless. So this is a really great strategy.


Mari Smith:     All right, a couple more slides, and I'll get to your Q&A. I'll get to your questions, and I'll give you the A. Okie dokie.


Mari Smith:     So start using stories. I mentioned about stories, especially on Instagram but also on Facebook, because Instagram is growing. In general, the stories format is growing at 15 times faster than the newsfeed format in terms of content. Facebook is actually predicting, we've only got a few months left of this year, and Facebook is predicting that the stories format consumption, like consumption of content in stories format is going to overtake, is going to surpass consumption of content in the feed format. That's both Instagram and Facebook.


Mari Smith:     O you can put stories on both your profile and your page on Facebook, and then you definitely want to be doing more Stories Ads. How you do Stories Ads is right inside of Facebook Ads Manager. You can create them, for example, using that I showed you where you can export in the 9x16 format. That's just a screenshot over here of an example ad.


Mari Smith:     In fact, this example ad is one that's actually being placed across a variety of formats. It's not just being created as a story format because it's got a landscape picture, and anytime you see the text like this in this example, it's like white text in a little black background, that would be the narrative that goes with the image in the link. Then the sign up or the call to action button as they swipe, or you can just tap that little arrow and it pops up.


Mari Smith:     That's the example of the Stories Ad. And you always see the little sponsored thing there too.


Mari Smith:     This is examples I mentioned to you of the growth. Right? Right now, as of June 2018, the stats that are official and public and out there is Instagram stories has 400 million daily active users, my friends. The whole platform has 1 billion monthly active users, and Instagram Stories. I love it 'cause I think it's like a whole subculture. People are going in there, and they're consuming content in the stories format proactively. They're not just kind of seeing it go by in their feed. They're tapping, and they tap and consume it.


Mari Smith:     Facebook right now only has 150 million, probably a little bit more than that by now, that was back in May. WhatsApp they call it Status. I don't know about you, but I rarely consume stories in Messenger format, but they're there, 70 million. Then I notice in this, Tech Crunch put this graph together, and Snapchat, the whole app, 200 million users.


Mari Smith:     Now, then, let me talk about the ads component, and then we'll get to your questions. Removal of 3rd party Partner Categories, that's really probably one of the biggest, in terms of targeting, the biggest changes this year. Then also they've tightened up Custom Audiences, which I personally am really glad about because for instance, I know there's people out there that will go and download their LinkedIn contacts, and think that's fair game to have those emails, and then go and upload them to Facebook and create a custom audience or start blasting those emails. That's just one of my pet peeves, I wish LinkedIn wouldn't allow that. I don't know if they still do, I'm pretty sure they do.


Mari Smith:     But in any case, the stricter rules around custom audiences, when it comes to Facebook, is you have to confirm and verify and guarantee that you collected those leads, those phone numbers or those email addresses through permission base, like people have actually opted in, which is great. I've seen, for sure, there's been an increase in a tighter process of ad approval. I've had several ads disapproved, which is not like me. I usually get all my ads approved, but I guess I'm just ... I don't know, someone told be the word you're, they don't like using the word you're. I'm like, "Good grief."


Mari Smith:     So I recommend maybe you could use audience insights, using your own custom audiences for sure. That's loading up your database in segments, so people who have bought from you, prospects, warm, cold, hot, different segments of leads, certainly people who visited your website, different pages on your website. Then you've also got engagement custom audiences, which is people who have watched your videos, and then retargeting them with other content. Then also building out look alike audiences.


Mari Smith:     Now, I know I'm giving you a crash course, and some people say stop drinking from the fire hose. Many people here, you're like, "Oh Mari, I knew all that already. Yup, I'm doing that, I'm doing that, I'm doing that. Okay, here's a few new things." Other people, depending where you're at with your business development and your use of Facebook and Instagram, you're like, "Oh my gosh, the more I know I know, the more I know I don't know." Right? Familiar with that saying? You're like, "Mari, I've listened to you for an hour, and I'm like, oh my gosh, I know about 10% of it, and I need to dive deeper."


Mari Smith:     I've got more trainings coming up. We'll do more trainings on ads and on Facebook, on Instagram, and on stories, and video, and all these great things. Segmenting, for sure.


Mari Smith:     All right, friends, as I mentioned, this is brought to you by Bank of America Small Business Community, and they have hundreds of articles for small business owners. The articles in the whole Small Business Community, there's actually a whole community over there you can join, you can interact, you can consume all the great content, it's designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow online and offline. That's the full link,, or I made you a simple Bitly,


Mari Smith:     With that, I'm actually going to click it and show you. As I mentioned, I've actually been writing for Bank of America for most of this year. I'll just go ahead and sign in, like that. You don't have to sign it, actually, by the way. You can become a user or you can find lots and lots of content. But if you want to obviously interact, engage, then you definitely want to do that. So yay, look at that, I'm a Featured Expert.


Mari Smith:     I can show you my own content right here, as I just wanted to draw your attention to that. There's lots and lots of great articles. I have a related article that goes with this particular Facebook Live, Is Facebook Still the King of Social Media? I think I had a link. Oh, you know what? I think I put that link in the Facebook Live. I'll make sure to put it in the comments, too. But this is an article that I wrote earlier that goes with this Live here today. Is Facebook Still the King of Social Media?


Mari Smith:     I start to go into why small businesses must embrace Facebook Marketing. There's 80 million businesses on Facebook, only 6 million advertisers. And on Instagram, 25 million business profiles, 2 million advertisers. Massive potential for business owners. Still the world's number one social network. I talked about the family of apps, and Instagram being Facebook's next Facebook, the stories format. I talk about the past, present, future of Facebook. So a really good article there, definitely take a look at that my friends. In some ways, honestly, as I think I said down here, yeah, the 14 year old company, Facebook is going through some teenage growing pains, but they're just as strong, just as robust, and it's still a profound opportunity for everything that you could possibly think of to grow your business with all that Facebook offers.


Mari Smith:     With that, let's hop over to some Q&A, my friends. Let's do that, okie dokie. Great.


Mari Smith:     What are you saying? Hi, Ed. Yes please! What's yes please? Yeah, got it, okay, great. Guilty, I need to do more on Instagram, you got it.


Mari Smith:     Okay, so Natura's Foods, great question. She says is Watch only for US? It just in the last, I want to say six weeks or so, four weeks, Facebook now has launched the Watch platform globally. Okie dokie? Everybody should be able to see the Watch platform globally. Let's just go like this, and if I go over to my home page here, and you should see, everybody should see this around the world. If you don't see it yet, then it's definitely coming for everybody. But right here, it's the third one down on the menu, and it's going to show you all the different videos. Click the little arrow to go to the main homepage if you haven't seen it yet.


Mari Smith:     I like that they used to have categories, like what's popular now, what's trending now, what your friends are watching, what's funny, all kinds of categories. But now, to me, I don't know, it's just a big mish-mash. A big mish-mash. You could just scroll and scroll and scroll. You could just go on a total binge watch. It's crazy, right? There's everything from the Mayo Clinic to all kinds. There's Goop, our friend Gwyneth Paltrow, right? Seth Meyers, oh my goodness. Bob Proctor. Look at that, all kinds of things. Try not to laugh. Amazing what's in here. Jay Shetty, I like following him. Sad guru. Where's our friend Mike?


Mari Smith:     So is this a way of consuming content on mobile or desktop, or television? So this, where I've got overlayed is actually my phone. If I pull up my Facebook like this, and I go into Facebook, and this icon right here, if you can see where my cursor is, the exact same little icon, if you see them side by side where my cursor is up here, there's the Watch platform on desktop, and here's the Watch platform right here. For me, it's the second icon in. It might be different for you, or you might not necessarily have it yet.


Mari Smith:     If I tap on that, you'll see all different pages. They've got different. See how it's almost as if it's geared for mobile, right? It's geared for people to just totally, totally binge watch. Then they've got Today's Spotlight. So you're scrolling up and down, and then we can stop and scroll right to left from time to time. All kinds of stuff in here. They keep tweaking it, they're even ... See, you've got left and right for Live Now, and there's everything that's live now. All kinds of things going on, right?


Mari Smith:     That's the Watch platform, and they're featuring videos in there. Whether you have a show or not, you may or may not ... Oh, I hope my phone was showing there. I just realized that I don't ... Well, maybe it was showing. I think it was. Sometimes I share the phone just by itself. But anyway, that's great. So Natura's Foods, make sure you take a look and see, you probably already have the Watch platform.


Mari Smith:     Let's see. Okay, Steven. "How do you make a list from bots in Messenger or do you leave them in Messenger email list I mean?" Okay, you can do both. Beautiful thing, Steven, is that you don't have to have the email addresses because they're already messenger contacts. So you can message people inside of Messenger, within the rules, and you want to sign up for subscription messages, and you can go check out my other training I just led earlier. But over time, you also want to migrate, not migrate, but it's almost like both and, you want to give people the option to also give you their email address, give them a good reason to do that so you've got something new. You'll see the way I do it. For some of them, different opt ins or options that I have in the bot, like getting my slides or something. I might say, "Here's the slides," and I just give the PDF link, right? No opt in. But then I might also say, "Hey, go check out my video gear list," and that goes to an opt in. It's kinda like both and.


Mari Smith:     Yeah. Oh, Gayle, absolutely, yeah, creators. Creators would be great to do painting class. For sure. You have a great business, Gayle, as an artist, and I would definitely go to Creator and sign up there, and also the Launch Pad.


Mari Smith:     Yeah, and you said that you're a host on a show in YouTube, but you can, yeah, you can definitely just multipurpose those and put them onto the Watch platform as well.


Mari Smith:     Let's see what else we've got here. Oh, that's fantastic, another one. Gayle, you're so active today, I love it. She said she did a live with an organization you work with, and you were a host. You got 8,000 organic reach. That's fantastic! Everyone following the queen, you're the best. 8,000, that's beautiful. That's awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Mari Smith:     Thank you, Scott, I appreciate you putting that link in there.


Mari Smith:     No, for lives, it's funny 'cause people have different ... If you're going to go live, I'd say on your mobile, you can use the creator app and go live on vertical. I would do those shorter. But for me, when I'm doing more like this of a training and educational session, I would go maybe 20 minutes minimum, it could be 10, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, but I usually go for an hour. Sometimes if there's more questions, I might even go over. But yeah, exactly.


Mari Smith:     That's a good point Ed makes here. It goes back to ask yourself what do you want to do with the video later? Is it going to be used elsewhere? What's the layout? Yeah, good point, yeah. So even with these, like I'm in the center here, I can repurpose this as a square video, but then if I put in the questions or anything that takes up full landscape, that would be a different story, right?

Mari Smith:     All right. Anything else I can help you with here today, friends? Good, good, good. All right, excellent. Thank you, Ashley. Great!


Mari Smith:     Yeah, exactly. The call to action, the optional lead capture page, precisely. You got it, Steven.


Mari Smith:     And Karlyn, it's not about adding things to watch. The interesting thing, Karlyn, is that what happens with Watch platform is Facebook is basically pulling videos from all kinds of sources, and if you happen to have one video, whether it's live or recorded, or pre-produced, and you upload it, what they're looking for is engagement. So if you have a video, one or more videos on your page, whether it's part of a show or not, it doesn't matter at the moment, then what they're looking at is does this have engagement? Does it have views? Are people interacting, commenting, sharing? Then that could actually just show up in the Watch platform without you even necessarily knowing it, and more people could discover it in the Watch platform.


Mari Smith:     Then, Al, yeah, Facebook's definitely offered criteria. Oh, no, actually, that's a good point. It's not necessarily public knowledge, but they definitely are looking for that episodic content. Ideally, if you want a show, if you want a regular show on Facebook, then it does need to be episodic. So you're, let's say, it could be every day, mostly going to be every week. Ideally, it's what they call appointment television, but it doesn't necessarily have to be.


Mari Smith:     I just recently was watching Rachel Farnsworth, I think her name is, and she has Stay At Home Chef, and then she has recipes. Recipes Watch is her page, and that has over 4 million fans. Now, she is doing some great things, and you can definitely do well to follow her and all the cool things she's doing with the Facebook Watch and monetizing through ad placement, actually. Of course, when you've got 4 million fans, you can definitely monetize through ad placement, right friends?


Mari Smith:     Anyways, I think that's about it for now. I just want to remind you that this is brought to you by Bank of America Small Business Community, and you can find tremendous articles, all kinds of great information here. Business, general business, sales, marketing, technology. Look at all this in the resource center. Small business podcasts, celebrating small business. They've got a good one here, a spotlight on women, some great, great information here for all kinds of entrepreneurs and business owners, and then some great content, people you can follow. Actually, shout out to my fellow contributors here, Steve Strauss, Carol Roth, Ebong Eka, Rieva Lesonsky, and Karen Harrison. People who are influencers contributing content as well to the community.


Mari Smith:     Let me see, I'm just going to my content here. You can see all the different views. I think one of my most popular articles here, let's see 7,000. Oh, this one here, Facebook Privacy was most popular, followed by How to use Facebook Groups. Then we've got Facebook Messenger Chat Bot is another good one. Instagram Stories. Best Performing Facebook Ad Formats, and so on and so forth. We're just getting around to our September ones.


Mari Smith:     All righty, friends. It's been a joy and a pleasure to be with you here today. As mentioned, this is brought to you by Bank of America Small Business Community. Check out their fabulous resources for articles and all kinds of free resources to help you grow your business.


Mari Smith:     I hope by now you've figured out, Facebook is still the king of social media. Thank you my friends. I look forward to seeing you again real soon. Have a blessed rest of your day. Many blessings. Bye for now.



About Mari Smith



Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.


Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Halloween Tips for Small Business: “The Heartbeat of Main Street,” Episode 11


Is your business making the most of the season? Tune in to the latest podcast episode from “The Heartbeat of Main Street” to find out. No tricks – just treats and must-have tips from Small Business Community contributor, Steve Strauss.




“The Heartbeat of Main Street” delivers timely insights tailored to the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Featuring a rotating line-up of small business experts and industry leaders – and covering a range of topics – each episode explores the trends that have an impact on revenue creation for small business owners.


The series is hosted by ForbesBooks, and more information can be accessed through a dedicated home page. New episodes will appear regularly on the Small Business Community podcast page. Be sure to check back often – so you don’t miss a beat.


Narrator:                     Welcome to "The Heartbeat of Main Street," with ForbesBooks at, and Bank of America at


Gregg Stebben:          I am here, on "The Heartbeat of Main Street," with ForbesBooks and Bank of America, with Steve Strauss. He's the best-selling author of the book Small Business Bible and just wrote an article for USA Today called Tricky Halloween Season Can Be a Treat for Small Businesses. First of all, Steve, tell us about the story. For how long has Halloween been a significant holiday for small businesses?


Steve Strauss:            Well, first of all, Gregg, thank you for having me. Great to be here. Love the show and happy to be on it. Yeah, I was talking to my editor and we were talking about upcoming events. I always try to make the column timely. I've been writing it for a long time, and Halloween was a little ways away. When you start talking about Halloween, it turns out Halloween has changed significantly, especially in the last 10 years or so. Look, not to date myself too much, but it will never be the holiday it was when we, as kids, ran rampant over hills and dales.


Gregg Stebben:          And made our own costumes out of junk in the garage or what have you.


Steve Strauss:            Right. Yeah, it's increasingly interestingly become an adult holiday in a lot of ways. I saw this one statistic that said since 2009, Halloween spending by adults has doubled from about four billion to almost 10 billion, actually almost tripled. Last year half of all adults bought Halloween costumes. And I love this stat, twenty percent of us plan on outfitting our pets in Halloween costumes, so it's definitely changed.


Gregg Stebben:          Well and the whole pet market, that's a whole other conversation we could have because


Steve Strauss:            Right


Gregg Stebben:           That is a fast growing market as well, I understand.


Steve Strauss:            Absolutely, so yeah I think it's definitely changed and it's for the small business person, that presents an opportunity, and that's what we tried to cover in that column.


Gregg Stebben:          Well, so my first question for you, Steve, given how much Halloween spending is growing particularly among adults, here's my big question, how come I'm getting invited to the wrong parties?


Steve Strauss:            I don't know. You'd have to ask yourself that question.


Gregg Stebben:          So, then in all seriousness, I mean there's a chart in USA Today with your article that shows, spending in 2005, $3.3 billion in 2005, and 2018 projected $9 billion, so tripling in 13 years. That's a pretty exciting market, if I own a small business or I'm an entrepreneur, I want to take advantage of that so what kinds of things do I need to know? And I'm glad you published this a little early. You mentioned it being a little early, but the fact that its early gives me a little time as a small business owner to actually take advantage of the lessons in your article, and maybe not plan something that's a bad idea. So let's talk about some good ideas first.


Steve Strauss:            Sure, there really are all sorts of things. It's just the idea of getting into the holiday spirit, and this is a great holiday because, it's a nondenominational holiday. Who doesn't like Halloween, right? Decorating the store or even the office in some Halloween decorations, for example is a really easy thing to do. Adding a little orange and black to the windows, or putting pumpkins on the stoop, whatever the case may be. You know just adding Halloween.


Gregg Stebben:          Right, and going to a party store to find great decorations is also, it's an hour of time, but it's going to make a big difference.


Steve Strauss:            Well yeah, and then you're creating kind of a culture and a vibe around your store, that it's a fun place to be. Of course this applies to a retail store, for sure. But it can also apply to an office, also the other advantage of it is besides getting your customers excited, and maybe giving them a reason to come shop with you if you want to start stocking supplies that are maybe a little Halloween, or beyond that you can just create a culture in your office that allows people to have fun. So maybe some of your employees dress up, and you have some decorations in the office, and people who come in to your office also are in the holiday spirit. It creates a nice, happy thing. People like happy offices, and happy offices create happy employees, and happy employees create happy customers. Happy customers are repeat customers. So it works all the way around.


Gregg Stebben:          What a beautiful recipe you've come up with there.


                                   You know, I was actually visiting a friend who is in the medical services, so in a sense retail, in the sense that they have medical professionals and clients or patients come to visit, and what they were doing that I thought was really fascinating is, they're having the medical staff and the office staff have a pumpkin carving contest, and the clients get to vote in advance on who will carve the best pumpkin.


                                   RELATED CONTENT: How to Host a Successful Event for Your Small Business


Steve Strauss:            So that's a great idea. I love that idea. And aside from making it festive, and fun for the customers and all of those things, it does double duty as something that you can post on your social. You know, you have this great pumpkin carving contest and then next thing you know it's on your Instagram page, or on your Facebook page, and you're getting a little more love that way from it as well, I suppose.


Gregg Stebben:          Well, and in fact they're even leveraging it in social media before Halloween and before the pumpkin carving contest because, they're promoting it in social media now. And people are actually betting, and it's becoming a rivalry and so this kind of good-natured competition, which is also great in social media to build some anticipation, and excitement, and get attention. So it's worked out really well for them, and I think even the people in the contest who are carving the pumpkins are kind of sharing little teases of their designs, and things like that, so it's got a lot of leverage leading up to Halloween, and then of course they'll have the leverage afterwards, and the engagement with the customer.


                                   RELATED CONTENT: The Small Business Owner's Guide to Social Media


Steve Strauss:            I think that word that you just used, engagement is so key. When we talk about social media, and we talk about using social media to promote your business and get some attention to your business, the word we use is engagement. Well what is engagement? You don't want to just tell people oh I'm having a sale. You don't want to just talk about your business. But if you're having a contest it's a nice thing to be sharing, and doing. Posting the pumpkins or posting the costume contest, and while people are paying attention to you it's not show off-y, it's not salesy, and so it really works to create some social media love, I think.


Gregg Stebben:         Yeah and the interesting thing about this contest is it's actually two contests, because there's the pumpkin carving contest and then they're getting the patients, or the customers involved by letting them, in a sense, bet on who the winner will be in advance, so that's another contest. So everybody has a way of winning here. So, if I'm kind of a curmudgeonly person and I own a small business, does it say something about me or have a negative impact if I do nothing for Halloween, and encourage nothing, either for my customers in my store or amongst my employees, even if we're in an office setting?


Steve Strauss:            I don't think it says something negative about you, but I think you're missing really a great opportunity. There is so much competition now for people's attention in the small business world. I'm going to say there's 30 million businesses in the United States, 99% are small businesses and that's not even looking at the online world. That's not even looking at the competition you face, you know, the internet. And then getting people's attention and getting them to find, and choose you is increasingly challenging for the small business person. So a holiday like Halloween presents you with an opportunity to standout a little bit.


                                   To get some attention, as we were just talking about, to get people to pay attention to you, notice you. And if you really want to do it right and you have the kind of store that lends itself to this, then you start stocking some Halloween treats, or themed items, or themed products, and then you're creating another profit center out of the Halloween holiday. So it's an opportunity. I don't think anyone's going to think bad of you if you don't do Halloween at your store, but they'll think better of you if you do. That's how I see it. Would you agree, disagree?


Gregg Stebben:          Well I think that's really well said. I mean it is a lost opportunity, and in business can you afford to lose opportunity? Especially given the amount of money and enthusiasm we talked about, $3.3 billion in 2005 up to $9 billion in spending in 2018.


                                   We're talking with Steve Strauss, here on "The Heartbeat Of Main Street," with ForbesBooks and Bank of America. He's the bestselling author of The Small Business Bible, he's written 16 other books as well. He's USA Today's small business columnist, so you've certainly seen him there. He's also a keynote speaker, an entrepreneur, a thought leader, a spokesperson. He's at, @stevestrauss on Twitter and Steve Strauss on LinkedIn, as well @theselfemployed on Facebook. He's just recently written a story as one of his columns for USA Today, Tricky Halloween Season Can be a Treat for Small Businesses.


                                   I want to change gears here a little bit, Steve, and I want to ask, what are the worst things you've seen or heard small businesses do to take advantage of Halloween? What could I do to really shoot myself in the foot, because I want to make sure I avoid that.


Steve Strauss:            One thing you want to avoid doing is, people like to encourage costumes, for example, at the store, but you have to have, I think, a limit on what you allow and that's hard to do. You don't want to censor your employees and nevertheless, you don't want them to wear something to a costume contest, or maybe it's the week of Halloween and you're letting everyone dress up, and that seems really festive, and then all of a sudden they come into the store wearing something inappropriate. In whatever way, maybe it's political, or maybe it's religious, or maybe it doesn't look right, whatever the case may be. Then you don't want to have to reprimand your employee, or maybe you're not there and they're wearing this at the store and, your employees are a part of your brand.


Gregg Stebben:          So, the lesson here is set ground rules for people so they understand that these things are great, these are off limits, this is why they're off limits, make it common sense and just tell them in advance so you don't have to correct them later.


Steve Strauss:            Absolutely, and I do think that's the biggest mistake I've seen. Other mistakes people can make is not using social media right. Social media is a challenge for a lot of small businesses. They want to use it. They know they're supposed to use it. That message certainly has gotten through, but figuring out how to use it effectively during a holiday, like Halloween, it can be the challenge. So it's not as much of a mistake, as again when we were just talking about, lost opportunities. If you are doing something within your store to promote Halloween, maybe you even have a Halloween sale make sure you're using your social properly to get that message out there and, you're sharing your costume contest and things like that because it would be a waste to do those great things in the store in the other hand and, not share them and not get the social media attention you might be able to get out of it as well.


Gregg Stebben:          I'm glad you brought up the use of social media because when you think about a holiday, like Halloween, it’s easy to imagine a retail store, or an office where people are working together so there's some physicality to it, but what tips can we offer to businesses that are online? Or even b-to-b businesses who might want to use this, not in a retail environment but with their customers even though their customers, maybe their customer are all remote. Are there things they can do as well? Starting probably with social media.


Steve Strauss:            Absolutely, well let’s think about how we can use the online world to grow our business, and then how Halloween might play into that. So one thing you can do is, most of us have an e-newsletter, and if we’re good with our e-newsletter we're using the 80/20 rule, and the 80/20 rule in this case is you want to make 80% of your newsletter about your customer, about what they're thinking about, about what they're doing, or in this case maybe about Halloween and 20% about you and your sale and your business. If you use that ratio, then you can use Halloween in your e-newsletter, and maybe you create some Halloween themed sales, or maybe you have some Halloween themed content, or you found some content online that you just thought your customers might find interesting, you share it via your e-newsletter. And then you use a Halloween template for your e-newsletter and then you're all of a sudden part of the Halloween conversation.


                                   I think that's really what we're talking about. We want to be part of the conversation, not be left out of the conversation. And it's not so hard to do online, you can update your website with some appropriate decorations or sales or products or things like that, but I really think the idea of using your e-newsletter as a way to get ahead, and get attention works really well.


Gregg Stebben:          We're talking with Steve Strauss, he's the best-selling author of the Small Business Bible. He's also USA Today's small business columnist, and we're talking about a column he wrote for USA Today, Tricky Halloween Season Can be a Treat for Small Businesses. Steve, you actually gave me an interesting idea, which is, and this is probably more for someone in the b-to-b environment, but what you might do, is take your article from USA Today and send it to your customers with the idea of “hey did you know how big a market Halloween is? I wanted to make sure you saw this so you are thinking about how to take advantage of it for your business.”


Steve Strauss:             Well I think that's a fine idea.


Gregg Stebben:          I mean I thought you might. But in all seriousness sometimes our customers love it when they see we're thinking of them and we've identified something that can help them in their business, even though it has nothing to do with them buying something more from us.


Steve Strauss:            Malcolm Gladwell has a name for what you're talking about, and it is connectors, and to be really good as a connector, to create tipping points in your business, means that you're going to be sharing information to your customers that have nothing to do with you, but has everything to do with them. So this idea that you just shared, whether it's my column or any column, or any kind of content to grow their business


Gregg Stebben:          Let's stick with your column.


Steve Strauss:            Great. I agree, that's a fine idea. You take my column and you share it with your customers, and here if you have a b-to-b business and here’s some ideas you can use in your business, well they're going to love you for that. And you can certainly do that and it makes a lot of sense, and it's going to create good will and good will goes a long way in a lot of ways.


Gregg Stebben:          All right, so we're talking about Halloween it's kind of obvious, right? I mean it's a holiday that almost everybody gets excited about it. There's opportunity for a lot of participation and engagement, but I also want to kind of step back and talk theoretically about how do I think about, and identify other opportunities like this for my small business? You know Halloween's a national thing, and everybody's participating at the same time, so of course you, as the USA Today small business columnist, are going to write about it because it's a big deal. But sometimes there's local events or local news that we can take advantage of as well. Do you have any tips for people so that they can just hone their ears and eyes for watching for those opportunities, so they don't miss out on those?


Steve Strauss:            Yeah, I think that's a really good point, and it's a matter of being tuned into your community, so if you're not part of the local Chamber of Commerce or business association, I think it would behoove you to do that, for all sorts of reasons. There's networking opportunities available, and there's business seminars that would be available, and you're going to learn about activities that you otherwise may not know about and then you can become part of that community. In the case of Halloween, here's one thing you can do, because kids now go to safe places to trick or treat, one idea you might want to think about is using your store or your office or your business to become part of that. So you team up with other businesses in your area and you decide you're going to be a Halloween go to place, and you're really going to decorate and you're going to hand out candy on October 31st, and you're going to be a destination.


                                   And then you're going to one, work with other companies, other businesses, you're going to make those connections, that's great. Two, parents are going to love you and you're going to get the word out that you're going to be part of this community, and three, you're part of the community. So this idea of working with the community on a very local level certainly reaps a lot of benefits.


Gregg Stebben:          And to that end, a friend of mine with some small children just told me that she took her kids over the weekend, so really early, to a trunk or treat.


Steve Strauss:            What is a trunk or treat?


Gregg Stebben:          I said "What is a trunk or treat?" Yeah I didn't know either, but it was at a, it was exactly following along with what you just said. A group of businesses opened up their parking lot for a trunk or treat and the idea here, this might be a local thing just in my community, but the kids and the parents each decorate the trunk of the car, that's the trunk, and then they fill it with candy, the kids show up in costumes and they all run from car to car to car to car, but it's in a sense been vetted for safety. It's a safe environment. You come and you park and there's no more cars. And I'm guessing it's all parents that know each other, or clients of the businesses so you're not worried about any candy problems or anything. And that would be a great opportunity for a company with a parking lot, and if you don't have a parking lot, you could certainly get together with other businesses and have a Halloween party that worked the same way but within your retail establishments.


Steve Strauss:            That's a very clever idea.


Gregg Stebben:          I wish I could claim it but, I'm just showing up to the next one for the candy.


Steve Strauss:            You know my sweet grandfather just, apropos just a little bit, had in his trunk this box called the magic box, and whenever he would drive over to the house and we would see him, he would open up his trunk and we'd open the magic box, and the magic box was always full of candy. And it was never empty, and I guess at eight years old we never figured it out but we thought it was the greatest thing we ever knew. So we were trunk or treating all year long with my grandfather.


Gregg Stebben:          Little did your grandfather know that he invented trunk or treat.


Steve Strauss:            Right.


Gregg Stebben:          All right, we're talking with Steve Strauss. This is "The Heartbeat of Main Street" with ForbesBooks and Bank of America, he's the best-selling author of the Small Business Bible. He's USA Today's small business columnist. I want to ask one last question. You have such a deep background in small business, and I'm just wondering away from the subject of holidays and Halloween what is the single greatest piece of advice you could offer our listeners that you have learned about small business, that you wish everyone who was a small business owner knew and knew today?


Steve Strauss:            I love that question and I'm going to give you an answer kind of like you couldn't take credit for trunk or treat I can't take credit for this tip, but it's nevertheless the best tip anyone ever gave me so. One of the first books I ever read when I was getting ready to start my first business and this is back when I was practicing law. I don't anymore.


Gregg Stebben:          That came from left field. I wasn't expecting that.


Steve Strauss:            Many years ago I came to my senses and I don't practice anymore, but my first business was my own law firm and at the time I was working at a big law firm in the big city, quote unquote, making the big bucks and I was big time unhappy. I really hated it, so I was trying to figure out how to venture off and start my own law firm.


                                    So I read a book called Making a Living Without a Job, by a woman named Barbara Winter, and it kind of just gave me the blue print for how to leave the gig I was in and start what I really wanted to do which was be my own boss. And I love this book, and one of the things Barbara said in that book is you need to have multiple profit centers.


                                   If you're going to be successful in your business whether you're going to be a solopreneur or you're going to have 50 people work for you, you need multiple profit centers. That is, it's kind of like a stock, you'd never just own one stock because that stock could go up and that stock could go down. You diversify your portfolio so that when one part of your portfolio might be down a little bit, the other part is up. The same idea is true in our businesses, You want three or four or five different ways of bringing money in the door, so in the case of my law firm I started out doing a wills and trust practice, and then I started doing a bankruptcy practice, then I started doing a little p.i. I did a little bit of everything, but when one part was down the other part was up and when that part was down the other part was up. And it kept money coming in the door all year long, and I think for any small business, I think it's one of the best things you can do, cause it's going to ensure your long term viability, it's going to keep your business more interesting and more creative for you, you're going to have a more diversified client base. So to me that's what I think works best. If I was going to give one tip, I think that's my favorite tip ever.


Gregg Stebben:          And you know what's really fascinating about that, Steve Strauss, is here's multiple revenue streams. No, in all seriousness, I think


Steve Strauss:            It's true.


Gregg Stebben:          You model this right? Best-selling author Small Business Bible, he's written 16 other books, there's 17 streams of revenue. USA Today small business columnist, another stream of revenue. A global speaker, a keynote speaker, there's another source of revenue. Entrepreneur so you probably have your fingers in other pies, entrepreneurially speaking. You're also a spokesperson, so you have multiple ways of bringing money in under the umbrella of Steve Strauss. His website is it's M R A L L B I You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn @SteveStrauss on Facebook, oh you'll love this now that you heard what you just heard, the ex-lawyer is on Facebook @theselfemployed. It all makes so much sense now Steve. Thanks


Steve Strauss:            I practice what I preach.


Gregg Stebben:         Yeah thanks for joining us. Thanks for talking about Halloween and things we can do and things we should avoid within that holiday, and how to take advantage of other events and holidays around us. Thanks so much for being here.


Steve Strauss:            My pleasure. Thanks for having me and keep up the great work.


Narrator:                     Thanks for listening to "The Heartbeat of Main Street" with ForbesBooks at and Bank of America at




About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot New.png


Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success. © Steven D. Strauss.


Web: or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

You can listen to the Bank of America Small Business Podcast, hosted by Steve Here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

“First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Shakespeare, Henry VI


My colleague ended up with a huge problem. The owner of a very popular local pub around for decades,  she never once ran into any major problems. For the most part, her employees were happy, and her customers were happy.


One day, a server dropped a tray and spilled a few drinks. No big deal – this is commonplace in the restaurant business. However, here’s where the story goes south: In the very small window between the spill and going to fetch the wet floor sign in the back, a customer slipped and fell. This is every restaurant owner’s worst nightmare.67504037_s.jpg


To complicate matters, her insurance company refused coverage, so when the customer proceeded to sue, my colleague suddenly faced a two-front war: A battle with her own insurance company and a lawsuit from a disgruntled customer. The legal fees she was facing were potentially enormous. My colleague was terrified.


She spent sleepless nights obsessively thinking about the problem. The legal fees were piling up. Social media was killing her. The stress was, too. In the end, although she had legitimate legal claims to rely on (the insurance company should have paid, the customer likely was at fault), she settled both claims, but not before almost going under.


It took two years, but eventually the business clawed its way back.


The fact is, every business eventually encounters big problems, sometimes catastrophic ones. It could be the big contract that got cancelled or a hurricane that severely damages the store.


What do you do? Here’s what:


1. Assessment: Even though it’s easy to panic, you can’t. The first thing when faced with a catastrophe is to properly assess the situation. Think rationally. What has happened? What is at stake? What needs to happen in the short term, and what needs to happen in the long term? What can you control and not control from this point forward? Make lists. Do your research.


Usually, insurance must be assessed immediately. Even if you don’t realize it, there’s certainly a chance that you are covered. Speak with your agent and your attorney. There are lots of stipulations and fine print when it comes to insurance.


2. Fix the immediate problem: There won’t always be a clear-cut solution like my colleague’s, and even in her case, it was not clear cut. But whatever the case, immediate issues must of course be addressed first.


3. Think long-term: This could mean finding experts or going through the correct bureaucratic processes. After a catastrophe, you will very likely need help. This likely means leaning more heavily on your staff. It can also mean asking your customers to give your business some extra love. People want to help, and you should let them.


4. Learn your lesson: Bad things happen. Sometimes the best you can do, like our restaurant owner, is to cut your losses, learn your lesson, and move on. Other times, it means gutting it out. Either way, surviving a catastrophe is typically a two-step process:


  • Initially, the big problem must be overcome.
  • Then, once things settle down, you need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.


If you lost that huge contract, that means diversifying your client base so you are not dependent on one customer going forward. If you were flooded, it might mean relocating.


While you can’t prevent bad things from happening, at least learning your lesson and making necessary changes reduces the likelihood that a particular problem will happen again.



Read next:    

The Types of Insurance Your Small Business Really Needs

Q & A : Fighting is Expensive. What to do if You Are Sued



About Steve Strauss


Steve Strauss Headshot New.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.


Web: or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Women like Nicole Centeno, CEO and founder of Splendid Spoon, inspire confidence in the young women who work for her.  Nicole is featured in the Bank of America National Women’s Small Business Month video currently running in Times Square and here on the Small Business Community.





My name is Nicole Centeno, and I’m the CEO and founder of Splendid Spoon.


Women lead differently. We need male leaders, and we need female leaders, and unfortunately, there is a dearth of female leaders, especially at the very top right now, so there’s an imbalance. What I have found growing my business is that I’m able to inspire confidence in the young women who work for me to be truly themselves, and to lead in the way that is truly right for them.


Much has improved for women small business owners over the past 30 years. At the recent NAWBO 2018 National Women’s Business Conference, women business leaders discussed this progress and remaining challenges, with a spotlight on HR5050. HR5050 addressed the needs of women entrepreneurs and business owners – giving them recognition and resources, while eliminating discriminatory lending practices. On this episode of "The Heartbeat of Main Street," Jill Calabrese Bain discusses the recent conference, the doors opened by HR5050, and the path forward.




“The Heartbeat of Main Street” delivers timely insights tailored to the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Featuring a rotating line-up of small business experts and industry leaders – and covering a range of topics – each episode explores the trends that have an impact on revenue creation for small business owners.


The series is hosted by ForbesBooks, and more information can be accessed through a dedicated home page. New episodes will appear regularly on the Small Business Community podcast page. Be sure to check back often – so you don’t miss a beat.


Jill:                  The big buzz at the conference this year was around the celebration of a very special anniversary if you work in the small business space, and that was the passage of the Women Business Ownership Act, which is really commonly referred to as HR 5050. Thanks to folks within NAWBO who helped get this legislation passed, it was, for the first time, the ability for a woman to apply for and secure credit without having a male relative cosign. It was not that long ago, it was in 1988, so it was a very short 30 years ago.


Narrator:          Welcome to “The Heartbeat of Main Street” with ForbesBooks at, and Bank of America at


Gregg:             I'm here with Jill Calabrese Bain, she's the Managing Director, Head of Wealth Management Banking and Lending for Bank of America. This, of course, is “The Heartbeat of Main Street” with ForbesBooks and Bank of America.


                        Jill, welcome to the show. You were just out in Spokane, Washington, and you were speaking at the annual conference for the National Association of Women Business Owners, or NAWBO. Welcome home, first of all. Tell us about the conference starting with the theme and what you were speaking about while you were there.


Jill:                  Great. Thank you Gregg. It was really an exciting time for us. We've been partnering with the National Association of Women Business Owners, informally known as NAWBO, for many, many years. Every single year they have and host an annual conference. We've had the pleasure of hosting that conference with them for the past six years.


                        For those who don't know, NAWBO has been in existence for many decades. It's just celebrated its 43rd year. They really came together, initially, in the early '70s as a way for women entrepreneurs to come together, to share best practices, to talk about public policy, so we were out there together in Spokane, Washington. The really wonderful thing about the conference is that it creates an opportunity for women business owners across the US, and sometimes across the globe, to come together and tackle issues, conversations, what in fact is facing small business owners today. They have the opportunity to spend time on different thought leadership pieces with different presenters, and really different opportunities not only to talk about what the challenges, but what are some of the successes that they see, and how do they share that as a best practice?


                        We're always happy to partner with those guys, and this year the theme of the conference was Work Well, Live Well. The way I think about it, if you want to live well you’ve got to work better, and if you want to work well you need to live better, so that theme was completely integrated. Female entrepreneurs they have a journey, it's really never a destination, they're all running businesses, they're all managing households, they're giving back to their communities, and they're advocating for a lot of different causes, so this was really an opportunity to take a pause for just a bit, have an opportunity to refocus, nurture what it is that they're doing. We were just excited because it really brings together wellness, and wholeness, and how we approach our business from a strategic perspective, but also what we need to do every single day to deliver for clients. 


                        This year the keynote speaker was Liz Gilbert. Many might know Liz as the author of the bestselling book Eat, Pray, Love, which-


Gregg:             Who doesn't? Who doesn't know her as the author of Eat, Pray, Love?


Jill:                  Exactly. I was thrilled to have an opportunity to spend a little time with Liz and introduce her to the broader group of women business owners. She really encouraged everyone to embrace their curiosity, and let go of certain things. She really showed everyone how to be creative, tackle what they do, to face down what they most fear, so she was just a great speaker, and great representation of the theme Work Well, Live Well.


Gregg:             You've been going to this conference, it sounds like, for many years. I'm curious to know how you found this year's conference relative to others? What were particular themes, or issues that women were talking about this year that seemed to be new issues or new topics?


Jill:                  Gregg, it's always interesting. There's one prevailing theme, no matter if it's male or female, but the prevailing theme is always around access to capital. Although I would say, in reflection, that women have made significant progress over the years, in fact, we just released the Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight that we issue annually and that really takes a look at goals, and challenges, and experiences of women. What was most interesting to many of us is that this year's report found that while an overwhelming majority of women business owners believe access to capital has improved over the last decade—in fact 84% of them believe it improved—the majority still feels like it is more difficult to secure financing than it is for their male counterparts.


                        The big buzz at the conference this year was around the celebration of a very special anniversary if you work in the small business space, and that was the passage of the Women Business Ownership Act, which is really commonly referred to as HR 5050. Thanks to folks within NAWBO who helped get this legislation passed it was, for the first time, the ability for a woman to apply for and secure credit without having a male relative cosign. Think about that.


Gregg:             I have a hard time even thinking of that as being possible in my lifetime, and I have a feeling you're going to tell me it wasn't that long ago that that was passed. What year was that?


Jill:                  It was not that long ago, it was in 1988, so it was a very short 30 years ago. When I have this conversation with my children who are teenagers they can't even fathom this as a thing.


Gregg:             I'm not a teenager and I'm having the same problem.


Jill:                  That is cause for celebration, but it is a chance to look back and say, "Okay, well progress has been made over the past 30 years, but there is still so much work to be done."


Gregg:             I guess, one of my questions, because I have to be honest and I'm sure partially because I'm a man and wasn't impacted by this in the way that women business owners were, it took a law to make that possible? Or it took a law to remove the requirement legally?


Jill:                  It took the passage of legislation to enable the ability and to eliminate the barriers that once existed around securing credit, so that is, in fact, what it was meant to do. What was really wonderful is that we had about five women who were really the pioneers of helping to support this legislation 30 years ago and they were all there at the conference this year, and they all got to tell a little bit of their story, and it was absolutely fascinating, and educational, and inspirational to hear what their experience was, and a real lesson for women business owners today that you never really can give up. You always have to go after your passion.


Gregg:             It also seems, to me, that it's an opportunity for younger entrepreneurs, and younger business owners, in this case women entrepreneurs and women small business owners, to really understand you don't want to take things for granted that you have today. As you said, you also want to look ahead and say, "You know, there's still things that are unjust, or there are still any qualities, and we have to keep working on those too. Look, it may be a lot easier for women today, but the playing field should be level, and we have to keep working."


Jill:                  Yeah, and I believe that an organization like NAWBO does create the ability to pull together women such that there is critical mass and thinking around a topical issue, and gives us an opportunity nationally to be better informed around what it is that we could do differently to help accelerate growth for women. We do know that women are the fastest-growing segment of the small-business space and of the small business economy.


Gregg:             Even more reasons to encourage them for all kinds of reasons, because it's the right thing to do, but it's also better for all of us including the economy itself.


Jill:                   Exactly.


Gregg:             Interesting.


                        Previous to this year's conference, what have been themes even the actual formal themes of the conferences? What have been the topics of big buzz? Obviously, access to capital always, and this being the 30th anniversary of HR 5050, but can you just think back and hit on a couple of other major themes, so we get a sense of what these events are like, and the things that are on the minds on the members of NAWBO?


Jill:                  Yeah, absolutely. The women business owners are always looking for opportunities for how do they improve upon themselves, and how do they improve upon what they can do for their businesses, and what they can do for their communities? The conferences always take on different themes, the themes that are always critical and essential for women. One thing that has struck me over the years is just the diversity in the type of businesses that we see, and it's everything from what one might think of nontraditional for women like construction management, to legal, to HR staffing.


                       The beauty of the opportunity to get together on an annual basis, and this always comes through, is that despite the fact that we might have somebody who is managing a bakery versus somebody who is managing a dental practice, some of the themes are always the same. Everyone is very proficient at whatever their technical discipline is, but then as it relates to business, that's where sometimes they need more support. How do we think about and plan for the next 12 months, the next 18 months? Throughout the conferences there are breakout sessions, and workshops that really hone in on wherever a business owner is in the maturity of their business, there's usually something for them that will allow them to think about: how do we get to that next level?


Gregg:             You know, what's interesting as you're talking it seems, to me, that one of the obvious things for you and I to talk about is why women entrepreneurs and small business owners who are not members of NAWBO should really consider it. I want to throw out the website for NAWBO, it's I'm talking with Jill Calabrese Bain. Of course, we're here on “The Heartbeat of Main Street” with ForbesBooks and Bank of America.


                        Can you speak to the kinds of benefits women might immediately enjoy as a result of becoming a member of NAWBO? Do you hear from women there, "Oh, I just joined in the last year, and here's how it helped me, and boy was I surprised at how much value I got out of this"?


Jill:                  Yeah, absolutely. It's always a great opportunity to speak directly to women business owners, and I have that opportunity with my colleagues across Bank of America and Merrill Lynch US Trust every year. What we hear is that they get a lot of leverage and opportunity within their own community, so if they're Chicago-based, or Columbus, Ohio based, or Cincinnati-based, wherever they might be there's a local network that they built, and then with the umbrella of NAWBO, at national level, there's opportunity then to not only learn from business owners in your community, but then learn from business owners across the country. NAWBO does make available in addition to local membership access to different partnerships and different alliances, and how you might be able to secure thought leadership on a topic that you might not be able to secure on your own. There's online resources, and there's also timely communications of things that impact business owners across the board.


                        What I would say is that I think there's a great local and national opportunity that might not otherwise be afforded, and there's tons of great networking opportunities, and the ability to really step up in your community, or at a national level to address and influence policy.


Gregg:             What's interesting about this is as you're talking about NAWBO and Bank of America's long relationship with NAWBO I'm realizing that for many small business owners and entrepreneurs there can be a tendency to actually put your head down, even though in this interview we're really focused on women because NAWBO of course is the National Association of Women Business Owners, but for both men and women for many entrepreneurs and small business owners there's a tendency to just put your head down and just keep working, and going at it alone. One of the things I'd like to hear you talk about both in terms of women supporting women but small business owners getting support from a community, wherever that community may be, the benefits of not just putting your head down and going it alone, but really getting involved in a larger community, not just for what you can get from the community, but what you can also give, and by giving getting even more.


Jill:                  I think that's a really great point. What happens with the business owners and anyone who works within any type of establishment, what happens is we always get focused on what is the day-to-day necessary thing that needs to happen or else your business shuts down? What are all the tactical things that you need to do to make sure that your employees are happy, your clients are happy? Sometimes what that doesn't afford us the opportunity to do is take a step back, and think very strategically about the business, and what the priorities are both personally and professionally because those two do interact with one another.


                       When business owners allow themselves to take a broader view of their business, to think more strategically, they can better plan for the future. They can better plan for the way the market might be changing around them, or the competitive or client appetite, or dynamic might be. It's so critically important to be able to work and live well together such that we afford ourselves the opportunity to think about our business, and what it is that we want to do short-term and long-term. That goes for all business owners and anyone who's part of a business establishment.


Gregg:             That's really well said. I'm talking with Jill Calabrese Bain, she's the Managing Director, Head of Wealth Management Banking and Lending at Bank of America. This is “The Heartbeat of Main Street” with ForbesBooks and Bank of America.


                        Jill was just at the annual conference of the National Association of Women Business Owners or NAWBO, NAWBO's at What's interesting, when you talk about not just looking at what I need to do today to make my business a success, but looking into the future and being part of a community to do that. I would imagine for some small business owners there's both “I don't know what to do next,” but “I don't even know how to go about figuring out how to know what to do next.” I think just putting yourself in a position of being part of a group just surrounds you with lots of people who have been where you have been, and just formally, or informally having those conversations is going to empower you, and then give you a group of people to check in with so that they can support you in going to the next level, or the next step, and you can then do the same for others.


Jill:                  Yeah, absolutely Gregg. I think that's so well said because one of the biggest challenges for business owners, male and female alike, is that they don't often ask for help. There's nothing wrong with asking for help to taking a little bit of a pause, looking around, looking at your network and saying, "Okay, there is someone who has walked in my shoes, let me just ask." I know that you probably feel the same way, when somebody raises their hand and asks for help we'll always help them, we'll always talk to them. That's really a culture that I believe that we need to continue to nurture.


Gregg:             Yes, and when you're part of an organization like this it's actually one of the things that's at the core of the organization is I help you, you help me, we all help each other, and we succeed together.


                        I want to ask a question just based on your experience at the NAWBO annual conference, could you pick one piece of advice, or one lesson learned that you learned at this event, or you heard others talking about that you wish all small business owners and entrepreneurs knew? Was there one key thing that you think could make a difference for almost anyone who owns a small business?


Jill:                  That is such an important question. I think of really two things that come to mind just based upon our experience at Bank of America with clients. Business owners really need to create a plan, but essentially goals and strategies that are achievable and measurable in both the short-term and the long-term. The second thing I would say is never give up. Just to provide some context around that, when we set goals for ourselves that we really can't measure and seem out of the spectrum of possibility that just doesn't create a lot of confidence, and doesn't really keep us on the right path. When we see business owners are very clear on what it is that they would like to be able to experience, and they have a measurable goal around it then they're going to be willing to try different things because if plan A doesn't work, and we know that a lot of times plan A does not work, that's not a failing, but there's an inherent learning in that around how to move forward. I would say create a plan that's actionable and measurable and two, don't give up.


Gregg:             That's really great advice. I'm talking with Jill Calabrese Bain Managing Director, Head of Wealth Management Banking and Lending at Bank of America.

                        I want to take this one step further Jill, and that is what kinds of things is Bank of America doing with small business owners, women small business owners beyond things like the NAWBO partnership?


Jill:                  I am so lucky to work for the company that I do, and at Bank of America we are committed to providing women entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners with the tools, advice, and funding that they need to be successful. When we think about our portfolio of clients we have 3.3 million small business clients, 40 percent of them are women, and so I know I don't need to do the math, but that's over ... we have the opportunity to serve over 1 million small business owner clients. When we think about the opportunity that we have in front of us, and the learnings that we have, we've been able to build and tailor programs that really support women.


                        For instance, we have The Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program. Through that program we've loaned over $40 million to nearly 2000 women business owners since 2014. We also have a supplier diversity program, $2 billion supplier diversity program where we extend opportunities to women business owners, and we have other programs, both domestic and globally, global ambassador Cherie Blair. These are all foundations for women to help them succeed. Last but not least, what I'm really excited about is just this past April we announced a partnership with Cornell University to launch the Bank of America Institute for Women's Entrepreneurship at Cornell. This is an amazing opportunity where we are establishing an online learning portal that provides women at all stages of their development, and their entrepreneurial skill set with more knowledge, more resources. It is a 12-month certification course, there is no fee up front, or no fee at all to actually participate, and we really are looking to help build and manage into a small part in helping women be successful.


Gregg:             You shared a lot of different things with us. Is there one place on the Bank of America website where women can go to find out about all of these programs?


Jill:                  All of these programs are on the website, bankofamerica/women, and anyone can access them, and look at any of the programs that we sponsor or support, so I encourage everyone to check that out.


                        In closing Gregg, just thinking about this conversation and thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to have the talk today, but we believe it is critically important for us to invest in women. When we invest in women we invest in our communities, and we invest in our future.


Gregg:             That's really well said. Jill Calabrese Bain, we're here with “The Heartbeat of Main Street” with ForbesBooks, and Bank of America, she's the Managing Director, Head of Wealth Management Banking and Lending. She was just at the annual conference of the National Association of Women Business Owners or NAWBO, NAWBO's at, and she did the opening remarks for Elizabeth Gilbert who, of course, everyone knows as the author of Eat, Pray, Love and was portrayed in film by Julia Roberts, which has to be a thrill, in of itself.


                        Jill, thanks so much for joining us.


Jill:                  Thanks so much, Gregg. I enjoyed it, thank you very much.


Speaker 2:       Thanks for listening to “The Heartbeat of Main Street” with ForbesBooks at, and Bank of America at


Read next:

At 13, Dave Lavalle realized he could combine his passion for woodworking with his desire to make money. That led to multiple businesses, from furniture making to lawn care to light remodeling, before Lavalle started Mr. Handyman in 1996 and franchised it in 2000. In 2004, he branched out yet again by launching Dryer Vent Wizard, which began franchising in 2006. The first company to focus solely on dryer vent cleaning and maintenance, Dryer Vent Wizard has grown to nearly 100 franchise locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. We talked to Lavalle about building a successful franchise operation. Next month, we’ll discuss (with Lavalle and others) how to franchise your business.


Rieva Lesonsky: How did you get the idea for Dryer Vent Wizard?


Dave Lavalle: While at Mr. Handyman, people would ask, “Hey, while you’re here, can you clean the dryer?” So there was an untapped need. I was educated by the consumer, which is how I approach all my businesses. [Listen to] what the customer is asking for. Find a need and fill it.


Before I started the business, dryer vent cleaning and maintenance was being handled in a chaotic manner by many different services – from carpet cleaners to plumbers. I knew if I spent the time to develop the business model properly, follow the correct codes and develop technical processes and procedures, homeowners would benefit from a higher quality of service.


Q: How was franchising Dryer Vent Wizard different from your experience with Mr. Handyman 10 years earlier?


A: With Mr. Handyman, I didn’t recognize that it was a franchise opportunity until people kept asking, “Is this a franchise?” I worked [with Service Brands International] to franchise it, and we had to take every piece of the business and dissect, reengineer and systematize it.


With Dryer Vent Wizard, from the very beginning I expected it to be a franchise, so I systematized everything down to every product SKU and the tools we used.


Q: How do you develop a franchise system?


A: I looked at where my stumbling blocks were when I started the business. Look at what takes too much time for you [as an independent businessperson] or what was a challenge for you. That’s where you can assist the franchisee.


For example, [businesses] spend all this time and money on marketing, but sometimes a call comes in and they can’t answer the phone. So, I decided, we’ll answer the phone for the franchisees, we’ll schedule the [client appointments] for them. Sometimes it’s hard to recruit, so we have a recruitment program. Getting a new vehicle set up takes time, so we get it ready for them—tools, their name on the side, keys in the ignition.


If you don’t have any stumbling blocks, look at where the non-transferable skill sets are. Maybe you’re fantastic at spreadsheets or social media, but is the general populace good at those things? If not, provide support in those areas to make it easy for the franchisees to grow the business.


Q: How do you know if your business is franchisable?


A: Ask yourself:


  1. Does it have wide geographic appeal, or is it geographically specific? An igloo-building business only works in Alaska.
  2. Does it have a transferable skill set? In other words, can you teach the person down the street to do it?
  3. Does it have margin? You need [to provide enough] value to the consumer to create margin for the franchisor and the franchisee.


Q: What advice do you have for would-be franchisors?


A: I’m sure someone told Mailboxes Etc. and the UPS Store, “That business isn’t a good idea—we already have the Post Office.” But they added outstanding service to make it worth using them instead of the post office.


Don’t you dare believe anybody who tells you your idea isn’t good. Believe yourself, beta test everything, try it out, and look for opportunities to add value. Business is a set of challenges to overcome. You can look at it as a lemon or turn it to lemonade.



About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.


Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.


Web: or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Sage advice for women small business owners from Ramelle & Emma Massey of Massey Insurance Agency.  Emma and Ramelle are featured in the Bank of America National Women’s Small Business Month video currently running in Times Square and here on the Small Business Community.





“I am Emma Massey, and this is my daughter, Ramelle Massey, and we are Massey Insurance Agency.


“It’s extremely important to have female business leaders that you can look up to. This is my mom. She was a female business leader, and I followed in her footsteps. Having a strong role model is very important. Lift as you climb. The glass ceiling is shattered, piece by piece, and we are the ones who are chipping away at it.”



Bank of America is not affiliated with any business featured herein.

Bank of America and the Bank of America logo are registered trademarks of Bank of America Corporation.  All other logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and used pursuant to license. Member FDIC.  ©Bank of America Corporation.

The power of women is changing the world. Throughout our culture, from the #metoo movement to the growing (and record) number of women running for office, women are flexing their power like never before.


Women-owned businesses have been growing steadily for the last 11 years (even during the recession). The number of women-owned businesses rose 58 percent from 2007 to 2018, according to a 2018 report on women-owned businesses from American Express, and now account for 40 percent of U.S. businesses. During that time, employment, revenues and new business starts all grew substantially faster for women-owned businesses than for businesses overall.



Why is it so important to encourage the growth of women-owned businesses?


Despite their growing numbers, just 1.7 percent of all women-owned firms have revenues of $1 million or more. However, those businesses contribute a disproportionate share to the economy and to employment. In other words, the more the better!


When women-owned businesses reach $250,000 in revenues, growth in both employment and revenues begins to take off, according to the same report. Supporting businesses that are approaching the $250,000 threshold (or have just crossed it) can help increase the number of $1 million-plus women-owned businesses—and that benefits us all.


How can you support women in business?


Here are five things you can do to help other women-owned businesses—and your own.


1. Show support with your dollars. Seek out women-owned businesses to buy from. If you can’t find entrepreneurial sources for what you need, look for businesses that have women in top leadership positions and show real commitment to a more equitable workplace. Support them by buying from them, and encourage others to do so, too. 


2. Learn and share the history of women in business. Women business owners are sometimes treated like a recent development, but in fact, we’ve been contributing to America’s economy since our nation began. Consider Madame C.J. Walker. Born to freed slaves in 1867, she built a business that was valued at more than $1 million when she died in 1919—yet her story isn’t shared in most history books. Change that by learning about Walker and other groundbreaking women business owners and sharing their stories.


3. Take advantage of government programs. Linda McMahon, a successful entrepreneur in her own right as former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO, has long been involved with helping women entrepreneurs. Now, as Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), McMahon is proud of the 109 Women’s Business Centers across the country, where women can get business training, advice and counseling, assistance competing for federal contracts, and access to credit and capital. Learn more about programs and assistance for women business owners from SBA. 


4. Are you just starting out in business? Get a boost for your startup from business incubators, accelerators and boot camps for women entrepreneurs.  (Here are six of the top programs to check out.)


5. Are you a successful woman business owner? Give back to other women entrepreneurs by mentoring a startup entrepreneur. Become a SCORE volunteer and mentor other business owners, or contact your nearest Small Business Development Center to see if they need help providing advice and consulting to small business owners.


As women, we’re stronger when we work together. Reach out to give to other women and get help from them in return. That’s the real power of women in small business. 


     Read next:

               Check out our Spotlight on Women Entrepreneurs article collection.



About Rieva Lesonsky


Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.


Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.


Web: or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Every business needs to foster a tolerant culture by promoting diversity and inclusiveness. Apart from making perfect business sense, promoting diversity creates a personally enriching and excellent environment for the staff, suppliers and clients.

Benefits of diversity are still compelling in today’s business, regardless of the size of an organization.
What is diversity? Diversity is the distinct difference in gender, nationality, religion, education, race, age and sexual orientation, among others. While such differences create a beautiful entity if handled well, it can turn chaotic be a and source of deep hatred curtailing the business. 

There are three ways diversity strengthens a business.


It decreases conflicts

The Internet has turned the world into a global marketplace. As a result, you are most likely to interact with people from a diverse cultural background in your professional assignments. One of the most invaluable workplace skills today is cross-cultural communication. A great message can cause adverse effects if conveyed in the wrong way. To get a positive response from clients, financers, and other stakeholders, you need to put the message out in a pleasant way that depicts tolerance.

Communication within the workplace also promotes a conducive culture that increases productivity and individual output. Also, address policies and values that may suppress a particular community or individuals.

A culture of tolerance promotes unity in small businesses, which increases productivity.

It promotes innovation

Employees have rich ideas and problem-solving approaches. Employers can tap into this by making employees feel respected, connected and involved in the business. Tapping into the power of diversity will help the company respond well to clients, empower teams to collaborate, and retain high-performance employees among others. With the right environment and support, individuals will give the best and offer solutions that will take the business to the next level.

Every business seeks to offer unique products and services. Getting every team member involved in the running of the company will help you create a unique product or brand.


There is power in diversity. To deliver to clients, different thinking, talent, and views that reflect the society is crucial.

Increase market base


The critical goal of any business is to increase its customer base. One sure way of pushing sales is through diversity. Being able to meet customers at their point of need while talking their language is a great plus. As a business, you can employ low-cost and straightforward ways like recognizing different holidays and ensuring that your staff represents different cultures.

When business respects and appreciates the differences in individuals, more people feel comfortable doing business with them. Leveraging diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and lifestyles will drive a company to success.

Diversity is fast becoming a strategic priority. It is an enabler that helps businesses survive in the ever-evolving marketplace. The business world today faces geopolitical shifts and complex challenges which makes diversity a necessity.




About Ebong Eka



Ebong Eka is no stranger to the world of personal finance. As a certified public accountant and former professional basketball player he offers a fresh perspective to small business planning and executing. With over fifteen years of accounting, tax & small business experience with firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and CohnReznick, Ebong provides practical money solutions tailored to the everyday person, the aspiring entrepreneur or the small business owner.


Ebong is the founder of EKAnomics, a sales, pricing and leadership firm. He is also the founder of Ericorp Consulting, Inc., a tax and management consulting firm. Ebong is the author of “Start Me Up! The-No-Business-Plan, Business Plan.


Ebong is also the founder of The $250 Tax Pro, which provides tax preparation and consulting services in the Washington, DC area.


Web: or Twitter: @EbongEka.

You can read more articles from Ebong Eka by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Ebong Eka to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Ebong Eka is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Ebong Eka. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Gaining access to capital is not as difficult as it may seem, but you should make sure you’re checking all the right boxes. In this podcast, Charlotte Business Resources sat down with Jacob Pezold from Bank of America to dive into the 5 C’s of credit. Tune in to find out what you need to do before applying for a loan.


Listen here!


Joseph:           Hey, I’m Joseph and I’ll be hosting this episode of CBR’s B2U Podcast, presented by Bringing Charlotte’s business resources directly to you. Running a small business is no easy feat. From staffing to operations to sales, it all falls on you as the business owner. And the same is true for your financials. And when we’re just getting started, access to capital can be very critical and challenging, but it’s accessible if you understand what banks are actually looking for. In today’s podcast, we’re going to be helping you do just that. And now, I’d like to welcome today’s special guest, Jacob Pezold, small business banking manager for Bank of America. Jacob, thanks for joining us today.


Jacob:             Thanks for having me, Joseph.


Joseph:           To get started, can you tell our guests a little bit about yourself?


Jacob:             Yeah, thanks. Thanks for having me again. I’m the small business market manager for Bank of America here locally. I reside here in Charlotte and oversee the Charlotte Market for all our clients in the small business segment. And I’ve been here in the local market for going on about three years.


Joseph:           Great. So Jacob, what do banks look for when considering a new credit application?


Jacob:             Joseph, that’s a great question. We look at numerous things. Some of the most important that we focus on is the five C’s of credit, that’s what we call it. So it’s capacity, capital, collateral, conditions, and character. So, capacity. Capacity is essentially the analysis of whether or not the business has the financial capacity to support the debt and expenses. Typically a business we want to show from an income perspective has a dollar and a quarter coming in to support every dollar going out in debt payment. The extra 25 cents in question there, it’s there to support and provide a cushion for the business to absorb unexpected expenses or a downturn in the economy.


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             Capital. So what’s capital? Capital is the business’s capital assets, such as cash and equipment. And what we’re looking at is whether or not there’s enough there to help support the financing that you need, right? That’s what backs the loan and the asset that you’re looking for. 


                       RELATED CONTENT:  Learn more: Learn about working capital and why it's important. 


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             You and others may have invested capital in your business, but how much? Right? So the answer says a lot about whether the business is one in which the banks want to invest.


        1. Collateral. So collateral is a…there’s many forms of collateral. Some of the key ones in components that we look for from a business finance perspective is accounts receivable, inventory, cash, equipment, and commercial real estate. Those are all acceptable forms of collateral that banks typically look forward to leverage to secure financing.


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             In addition to that, we like to look at the value of the collateral in comparison to the loan and use that as a measurement on the amount we’ll extend out.


Joseph:           Makes Sense.


Jacob:             Absolutely. Conditions. So we talked about conditions. Conditions are sometimes things that are outside or are items that are outside the control of the business, such as the economy, trends in your specific industry and any pending legislation relative to your business are all conditions that we evaluate. A lot of these factors are out of your control at times, and they may affect your ability to make payments. And then lastly, character. Character is rather robust and it is an incredibly important and a key conversation for us today. So character can include experience in owning and operating a business that you’re in, and then ultimately your personal credit history, which is incredibly important in what banks will consider. Personal integrity and good standing are essential for starting out with obtaining business credit.


Joseph:           Okay, that makes sense. So the five C’s flow into what type? If our business owners get everything together with the five C’s, then what type of business loans or financing should they look at? 


                       RELATED CONTENT: Get answers and information about business financing. 


Jacob:             Yeah, and another great question. There’s so many different forms of credit available to small business owners. Some of the main ones that we see clients leverage and offer vary across the board, right? So there’s also business stages and life cycles. So whether your business is starting out or you’re in growth mode or sustaining or even working on an exit plan, there’s multiple different formats of financing available. Speaking towards clients that may be starting out, right? So we can look at options from a business credit card. And a business credit card is not just necessarily for a client that doesn’t have established credit history, it’s also an excellent cash flow mechanism, right? So, to support the payables process and provide a float for the business to bridge the gap from the receivable process.


So, a credit card is also there to establish credit, right? So it could be the first form of credit that you have as a small business owner.


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             It really is a universal tool that is essential to any business operation. Not only does it provide you a necessary breathing, the breathing room when you’re working through your business cash flow cycle, but it can also provide you with robust rewards if you’re in the right credit program that you can instill back into the business.


Joseph:           Makes sense.


Jacob:             Yup. And then there’s lines of credit, right? So that’s another really popular form of credit for a small business to use. A line of credit is really a…it’s somewhat of the Swiss army knife of the business finance world. What it can do is provide you ultimately with the monthly cash flow tool, it can provide you the ability to go out and make short-term expenses and handle accordingly. But ultimately what a line of credit is there for is to help bridge the receivable and payable cycle, right? So how quickly can a business get the money paid to them after they’ve paid the money out to render services?


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             And what a line of credit can do, Joseph, is it will actually give you the ability for the business to float money to itself, and payback accordingly when they receive payment for the work rendered.


Joseph:           Okay. So kind of similar to a credit card but a little bit more robust.


Jacob:             Yeah, with a credit card, you’re going to want to use that for eligible expenses that a vendor or a client can accept card, right? If not, you would be looking at pretty steep cash advance fees as opposed to with a line of credit, you can advance cash at a low-interest rate.


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             In comparison. The main difference there is that a credit card, within a statement cycle if it’s paid in full, you don’t pay interest. Lines of credit are…the interest is accumulated from the moment that the cash is advanced, but typically at a lower rate.


Joseph:           Okay, makes sense.


Jacob:             Yup. And then a secured loan. So a term loan financing is really, it’s there for so many different reasons, all the way from working capital to financing a piece of property, right? And everything in between. So really common needs that a term loan would fit, so if a business is currently leasing a space and paying high rent, I mean being here in Charlotte, we’re in a really competitive real estate market. So all those business owners out there listening know what I’m speaking towards.


                       RELATED CONTENT: Buying vs. Leasing Property: What You Need to Know


Joseph:           Yeah.


Jacob:             Oftentimes, you know, when you’re operating a business, you’re thinking about the day-to-day, but also out there, you’re, paying rent to somebody else. A term loan, you know, either leveraging the Small Business Administration or conventional financing to secure real estate collateral, can really help you build equity in a tangible asset that you can utilize for the long run, right? So build your own equity into a piece of real estate and that’s a really common need for a small business owner looking to leverage term loan financing.


Another format would is to use equipment that’s necessary to grow and expand the business, right? So if a client needs to purchase a piece of equipment and doesn’t want to deplete their capital or their cash reserves, it can give them the ability to finance that equipment and grow the business and grow revenue while paying a low monthly fixed cost rate. And then ultimately we can finance working capital, you know, cap cash injection to the business to grow organically. There’s multiple different ways that you can leverage bank financing. I would heavily recommend that you take that opportunity to sit down with your CPA or your accountant and your small business banker at any time you can to discuss your goals when it comes to all those different opportunities.


                         RELATED CONTENT:  Get the equipment your business needs.


Joseph:           Okay. It does definitely make sense. And so to actually secure credit, we know the importance of having a great credit score or a good one. So what are the things that business owners can do to maintain their good credit score or improve their credit score?


Jacob:             Yeah, there’s several things you can do and all of them are somewhat equally important, right? So first and foremost, make sure you pay your bills on time.


Joseph:           That’s the biggest one.


Jacob:             That’s a big part of the character that we talked about earlier and the ability to pay back, not just creditors, right? So conventional banks and finance companies, but also your vendors. Sometimes our clients or business owners don’t realize that there are vendors and that they can report them just as easily as a creditor can.


Joseph:           I didn’t know that.


Jacob:             Yeah. And that’s a key difference between a personal credit report and a business credit report is you’re not only just being measured for your payback on conventional credit, but also too from potential vendors. Also, reduce your debt. If you’re showing that you’re consistently over-leveraged and you’re not making any type of principal pay down, it can show a bank or another lender that you’re really not making the right steps to reduce debt and retain more capital. And that can cause a red flag.


And then what’s really important ultimately as well as that you’ve got to check your credit report regularly. If you’re not checking it consistently and looking at it and looking how vendors or creditors are reporting you and your creditworthiness, you really are leaving it up to chance. And there’s inaccuracies out there and it’s really important that you’re on top of it and can understand it and check that. And then a big one that’s, I think universal, whether it’s a business or personal credit is, make sure that you have multiple forms of credit and that you can show the repayment history at handling multiple forms of credit. Oftentimes when we pay something down really quickly, we want to close it down and show that, hey, I’ve paid that obligation and I’ve closed the account.


It’s really important to not do that.


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             And the big reason for that is to show that you’ve got your age of your accounts and your ability to hold an account open, is at least scrutinized. So when you pay down an open trade line, like a line of credit or a credit card, first and foremost, don’t close that down from the perspective of an age trade line, but also too, that’s accessible capital for your business that you may need at some point.


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             Some of the most important parts is to update your business profile, which is a little bit unique in comparison to your standard credit report is making sure that your business profile’s up to date.


Joseph:           That makes sense. Now, you kind of mentioned a couple of things that seemed very similar to your personal credit score or your personal credit report.


Jacob:             Mhm.


Joseph:           What would a business credit report kind of look like versus a personal?


Jacob:             Sure. So a business credit report is going to be a little bit different and unique compared to a personal credit report as there really isn’t any standardization in it, right? So a report from one vendor, it may include information from a vendor that’s not choosing to report to the other agencies.


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             So it’s really important to make sure that you’re checking on the main key ones, which would be Dun’s and Brad’s or LexisNexis are two main ones that the banks use, all those should ring a bell. But the variation between the two and then the, ultimately the business profile that is updated by you as the owner is something that’s a key difference.


For a personal credit report, you know, it’s reactionary. You make payments, creditors either tell you, tell the agencies, which is Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax that you either paid them or you didn’t.


                       RELATED CONTENT: How Your Personal Credit Impacts Your Business Credit.


Joseph:           Right.


Jacob:             And it’s rather seamless process for us as consumers.


Joseph:           Right.


Jacob:             What’s really important for a business owner is that they actually create and update their business profile. It’s essentially them telling the story to the agencies to report to us as lenders.


Joseph:           Okay, makes sense. So something that may be kind of new for our listeners is a business profile.


Jacob:             Sure.


Joseph:           So what should be included in someone’s business profile?


Jacob:             Yeah, another great question. And this is something that, you know, when I’m around in the market, I actually get these questions quite often, and exactly what is in a business profile or you know, when we go to reference the information that might be on Dun and Brad’s, they say, well, I don’t know where that came from. And it’s really interesting to know that you actually have to go in and update these agencies, right? So you have to go in and provide your business profile. So that’s the first thing to discuss is that you actually have to go in and provide the information necessary. It might be reported, but it’s not your story. So you wanna’ make sure you tell it.


But in a business profile, what it does, it helps banks determine how much credit to extend and whether or not to approve you for credit essentially, right?


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             Your ability to handle business debt. Your profile can include things like the size of your company, the number of employees you have, and where you are located.


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             A big part of that is how we evaluate is the size of the company. How do we segment and size you into a relationship at a bank or how do we handle the amount of employees and the needs that you have on that side? So it’s really important to update that information, so banks can leverage it and make sound decisions.


And then ultimately what you need to do is you need to contact the major bureaus and ask for your company’s profile. That would be a great first step. Find out what actually is being reported about you if you don’t know, that would be a great initial step. And then take necessary steps and get advisement from either a small business banker or your accountant or just a trusted adviser in the small business community about how you should properly update your profile and reflect with the agencies.


Joseph:           Okay. So before applying for credit, what is one of those things that you think that all business owners should know or kind of take the step to do right before applying for a business credit?


Jacob:             Yeah. This is a question I could probably expand on for quite awhile, but again, it kinda goes back to the stages and life cycles of the business at hand. You know, again, whether you’re starting out or you’re in growth mode or you’re winding down or even exiting, there’s so many different formats in financing available. It’s really important to understand where you’re at in your business life cycle and what your priorities are. When you’re starting out things that are really important, items that are really important are personal creditworthiness. Oftentimes, you know, when there’s a lack of business history or there’s a track record there to show that you’ve operated and owned a business and you have a financial backlog to show it and your ability to effectively grow a business, your personal credit is leveraged. It’s what we have to go off of. And it goes back to that character thing again, right? So, how you’ve handled your personal debts, how you’ve handled your personal finances are critically important to obtaining financing. And it can even be in the form of a business credit card when you’re starting out.


                       RELATED CONTENT:  Building credit for your small business. 


You know, if you’re in a growth model and you’re trying to grow your business and expand, you know, what type of capital have you used and what kind of capital do you have? How are you handling your income as opposed to debt? Are you reporting enough income on your returns to show that you can support the debt that you’re trying to obtain? Right? That’s really important. We definitely leverage the business reported income and the personal reported income to service both the personal and business debt. And that’s a really important facet of it as well.


But again, going back towards all of these different items, it goes back to the five C’s, right? Pay attention to the request in hand, you know.


Joseph:           Right.


Jacob:             Seek out the credit opportunity early and get the advisement early on. And the more you’re prepared to go into an application to obtain financing, the better. So if you have a goal in mind, whether it’s, you know, next month or two to three, four or five plus years out, it’s really important to vocalize that with the individuals that are here to help. Because our job and what I so passionately teach and educate my folks on is that you are aware of what your client’s needs and goals are. You have to know what your priorities are and know how we can help accommodate them. And the earlier we know that, the more that we can help better prepare and that’s so important. Being prepared for obtaining credit and going into it is almost everything, right? You don’t want surprises. So meet early and often with your accountant, your banker, anybody that’s a trusted adviser in your small business community and just vocalize about what your goals are and seek advice from multiple different channels on how to obtain them.


Joseph:           Makes a lot of sense. Now in a perfect world, everybody’s going to get approved.


Jacob:             Sure.


Joseph:           But sometimes people won’t. And so if a small business owner is turned down for credit, do you have any advice for them or what their response should be?


Jacob:             To your point, it’d be great if we could extend financing to anybody that needs it. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. And one thing I would just want to educate a small business owner on is to, don’t be dejected, don’t take it personal. There’s typically a root cause to it and there’s typically a solution to it, right? And it’s what you do after that point that’s important. How much more education can you have? How could you remedy the situation at hand? It could be for multiple different reasons as to why we weren’t able to obtain or give financing to you at a certain time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible with a little bit of work and attention to what caused the decline in the first place. Some different reasons that a client could get declined could be issues with the personal credit. If they have a bankruptcy on file or some negative information being reported about payment history.


                      RELATED CONTENT:  What to do if you get declined for business credit.


Joseph:           Mhm.


Jacob:             Or it’s simply if they’re over-leveraged on as an individual.


Joseph:           It kind of flows into the character part.


Jacob:             Exactly, right. It’s a big part of that. And then whether or not we can even finance your industry type. Or, we talked about the conditions, right?


Joseph:           Right.


Jacob:             So there are some things that are out of even your control as an owner, right? Or the business operator that our economic conditions or industry regulation that arises and that can heavily impact a business, depending on their client base. So that could be out of your control. And then also if there’s issues with your business financials, right? So maybe you don’t have enough income on display to cover the debt that you’re seeking or the finance structure that you need. All those are different reasons. But again, all of them are an opportunity to look at it in the future and continue to work into a place that you can obtain financing in the future.


Joseph:           Okay. So sometimes you won’t get the financing from a traditional bank. Are there any other options for small business owners if they can’t get approved with a traditional bank?


Jacob:             Yeah, there absolutely is. You know, if a business has been turned down by a bank, we always want to recommend a community development financial institutions, often referenced as a CDFI. These are great options for clients. They are lenders that help certain small business owners gain access to capital, right? So Bank of America works with many of them. For example, here locally we have a partner in Charlotte. It’s the Carolina Small Business Development Fund.


Joseph:           Okay.


Jacob:             The approval rates with CDFIs are typically a little bit higher, and they’re geared towards, you know, all different facets of the business life cycle, but typically where they really help is the early stages of a company or a startup. And they also, in conjunction to providing possible financing, they offer education, support, and in a lot of different areas that we talked about earlier that can get a business geared up and ready for conventional bank financing.


Joseph:           So before we wrap up, is there any other advice you would give our small business owners?


Jacob:             Yeah, I have a lot of advice. I would love to expand and, you know, just know that you know more than anything, there’s a lot of resources available to you when it comes to lending advice, support, and guidance. The one thing that’s great about the local small business community is it’s a passionate group. There’s so many different network opportunities and it’s just a wonderful small business community here that we have in Charlotte. So take advantage of those opportunities, right? It doesn’t always just have to necessarily be with a banker or your accountant. There’s just so many different great, excellent groups to be a part of. For example, NAWBO here locally is the National Association for Women Business Owners. Actually not local. A national organization with a local chapter here in Charlotte, where they provide a ton of great resources and education and just peer to peer networking, as just an example. But also to meet routinely with your small business banker and do so in conjunction with your accountant or your CPA or your trusted advisers.


But that should be at a minimum, a biannual review of your business. You know, oftentimes we field requests and are reactionary to them, as opposed to help prepare. And I feel that it’s necessary if you really are looking to grow and establish a business and obtain financing, you do so through the proper preparation. And that includes just communication and advisement, with your advisers, right? Or your trusted advisers. But there’s also a lot of different resources here that we have at the bank for the small business community. You can go to our website to review these. It’s And with that, there’s a ton of resources for our clients to leverage, and in addition to meeting with their local banker.


Joseph:           I appreciate it. I think our listeners are going to really enjoy getting some additional information in regards to business financing and thanks so much for joining us today, Jacob. Listeners, if you have any questions after this episode, tweet us @CBRBiz. This has been CBR’s B2U podcast, brought to you by Until next time, we mean business.



Learn more about business financing from Bank of America.

What advice does Nicole Centeno, CEO and founder of Splendid Spoon have for other entrepreneurs? Nicole is featured in the Bank of America National Women’s Small Business Month video currently running in Times Square and here on the Small Business Community.





“My name is Nicole Centeno, and I’m the CEO and founder of Splendid Spoon.


“My advice for young entrepreneurs is really to just start. The best school is the school of life. There is no one path for any entrepreneur. The sooner you get started, the sooner you start getting comfortable making mistakes, the faster you’ll learn, and the faster you’ll gain confidence in yourself to keep moving forward.”




Bank of America is not affiliated with any business featured herein.


Bank of America and the Bank of America logo are registered trademarks of Bank of America Corporation.  All other logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and used pursuant to license. Member FDIC.  ©Bank of America Corporation.

Women entrepreneurs face challenges and opportunities every day on the path to building a successful business – and raising capital is a major hurdle for your new business. In her latest video, Carol Roth details some important tips that women entrepreneurs can use to raise capital for their businesses. Download the 2018 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight for more on the goals, challenges, and everyday realities faced by women entrepreneurs across the country.



Hey it’s Carol Roth, and Bank of America just came out with their 2018 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight. It is chock-full of amazing information about the state of women business owners. And the great news is that women business owners are very optimistic right now about everything from the state of the economy to growth in their own businesses.


But the one area where women are still struggling is the area of raising capital. So I’m here to give you a couple of tips that will help make raising capital even easier for you. So if you’re a woman business owner or if you happen to know one – listen up.


The first tip is for you to think bigger. I don’t know why it is, but women tend to be more conservative, particularly as business owners – that means everything from the scope of their business to their projections. And having this conservative attitude does not jive well with investors who really want you to be going and scaling the business. So make sure that you’re presenting that front – that you’re somebody who is up for a bigger task.


Second, make sure that you’re finding relevant introductions to investors. If somebody doesn’t know you, at least have them have an introduction to make that connection. So, find a trusted advisor – your business banker is a great place to start, but it could be your accountant or financial planner, or just somebody in your network – to make introductions to investors. This will increase your credibility in their eyes, it will take some of the risk out for them, it will move you to the top of the pile and make it easier for you to get in front of them and to pitch them.


And last but not least you need to round out your team. At the end of the day investors are never investing in just a great idea; they’re investing in great entrepreneurs, which means they are betting on you. But you aren’t going to be able to do everything yourself, which is something that a lot women business owners like to do. They need to know you have those full team members and resources to pull off the plan. So, ideally, get them on board before you raise capital, but if you don’t have the money to do that, at least have them identified, so you can say to investors, “As soon as I get that money, here’s the person who is going to be on my team, and this team is ready to execute.”


So, I know this takes longer and is harder than you’d like it to be – but with those few tips it should make your capital raising a little bit easier. And be sure to check out the 2018 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight for even more great information on women business owners.


Read next:


About Carol Roth


Carol Roth Headshot for post.png

Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File ® legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness.


Web: or Twitter: @CarolJSRoth.

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Carol Roth to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Carol Roth is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Carol Roth. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Just 30 years ago, it was the law in many states that a woman applying for a business loan needed the guarantee of a male cosigner – be it a father, a brother, a son or a friend. Then came passage of the landmark Women’s Business Ownership Act (H.R. 5050) on Oct. 25, 1988. This game-changing legislation did away with the rule and paved the way for more women to pursue entrepreneurship, and as a result, drive significant growth in the U.S. small business sector.


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending time with some women who were a driving force in influencing the development and passage of the legislation. They joined me in attending the annual Women’s Business Conference sponsored by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Held Sept. 23-25 in Spokane, NAWBO members from around the nation gathered to celebrate the successes of women entrepreneurs.


I can respectfully say that as a woman who is passionate about women’s advocacy, I only wish I had a front row seat to see these women in action 30 years ago! They single handedly changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of women business owners. Virginia Littlejohn, a conference attendee and one of the primary architects of H.R. 5050, said it best. “[H.R. 5050] truly was the Big Bang, it transformed the landscape for women’s entrepreneurship.” Indeed, today’s women business owners stand on the shoulders of those who came before them – women including Kathleen Diamond, Virginia Littlejohn, Dr. Terry Neese, Susan Hager and Phyllis Hill Slater.


The theme of this year’s conference was “Work Well, Live Well.” During an empowering and inspiring few days, attendees heard from notable speakers such as Eat, Pray, Love author Liz Gilbert, as well as a diverse and knowledgeable group of business owners. As designed, there was a lot of conversation about how women entrepreneurs “live” as well as they “work.” I thought the theme was an interesting juxtaposition against the backdrop of H.R. 5050’s 30th anniversary. This conversation devoted to “living well” was made possible in part by the trailblazers who sacrificed so much in the summer of 1988 – in an effort to help women “work well.”


As we celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month and the 30th anniversary of H.R. 5050, we are reminded of the importance to maintain momentum in ensuring women entrepreneurs have the resources and opportunities to bring their talents to the table – because doing so drives greater innovation, expands choice for consumers, employs more people, propels economic growth and enriches communities and lives. I am immensely proud of the work that Bank of America, NAWBO and other organizations are doing to support this momentum.


What key milestone will we be celebrating 10, 20 or 30 years from now?


     What to read next:

               Learn how eight women found entrepreneurial success, their impact on society and the challenges they faced building their businesses.

               Check out our Spotlight on Women Entrepreneurs story collection

               Learn more about how Bank of America supports women.



About Jill Calabrese Bain

Image result for jill calabrese bank of america

Jill is the Managing Director and Head of Small Business for Bank of America Merchant Services. In this role, she is responsible for managing Small Business from an end-to-end perspective, leading sales and providing the oversight, development and delivery of critical business priorities. Jill joined Bank of America in 1992 and has been in the financial services industry for 26 years. Prior to her current role, Jill was the Small Business National Sales Executive for Bank of America responsible for delivering banking, credit and cash management solutions to small business clients. Previous roles include leading Affinity Banking, Employee Banking & Investments and Strategic Planning for Preferred & Small Business Banking. In addition, she held the role of chief operating officer for Americas’ Corporate Banking and held positions within Energy & Power and Environmental Services. Jill is the co-chair of Bank of America’s Domestic Violence taskforce. She serves on the Board of Directors of Susan G. Komen New England and is a member of the national advisory board for the National Association of Women Business Owners. Jill graduated from Tufts University with a Master’s degree in Economics and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Clark University.



Forty-thousand lives could be saved each year with widespread access to defibrillators. Jane Gonzales is on a mission to help save these lives. Her company, MEDwheels, provides mobile automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and training where they’re needed most.




“The Heartbeat of Main Street” delivers timely insights tailored to the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Featuring a rotating line-up of small business experts and industry leaders – and covering a range of topics – each episode explores the trends that have an impact on revenue creation for small business owners.


The series is hosted by ForbesBooks, and more information can be accessed through a dedicated home page. New episodes will appear regularly on the Small Business Community podcast page. Be sure to check back often – so you don’t miss a beat.



Jane Gonzalez:          Working with their county, where they didn't have any AEDs, and so we worked with them, side by side, gave them recommendations, this is how many you need, these are the locations that you need. They took our recommendations, we installed the AEDs.  Three days after we installed our AEDs, a high school student went down with a sudden cardiac arrest. And, we saved his life.


Narrator:                     Welcome to “The Heartbeat of Main Street,” with ForbesBooks, at and Bank of America at


Gregg Stebben:          I'm here with Jane Gonzalez, thanks for joining us on “The Heartbeat of Main Street.” She's the president and CEO of MEDwheels of San Antonio Texas. And, Jane, welcome. We're going to hear all about what you do at MEDwheels, how you started the company, and things you've learned over the course of the years since 2005, but the first thing I want to ask you, as you introduce yourself is, tell us about the statistic on your homepage that says an additional 40 thousand lives could be saved each year, in the U.S. alone, with widespread access to-


Jane Gonzalez:          Defibrillators. And it's, really amazing, because the defibrillator, the term AED, which is Automatic External Defibrillator, and it's been proven that sudden cardiac arrest, apply CPR strictly, does not save a life. The heart essentially has stopped and so essentially you're kind of deceased, your body is not producing any movement at all.


                                   The AEDs, what it does, is it kind of resets the heart and so they have become very, very instrumental in saving lives. That, schools now, throughout the whole United States, from Kindergarten all the way to 12th grade, are required to have AEDs, that's how important they have become in saving lives.


Gregg Stebben:          So, your company, MEDwheels, I want to read part of the mission statement of your company. "To provide all facets of an AED program, including products, services, and training to consumers and to ultimately help save lives." Help save some of those 40 thousand lives a year, and you know, just as you were talking about how important AEDs are, I was thinking to myself the training must be as equally as important as the devices themselves, because in that moment, is probably not the best time to start reading the instructions.


Jane Gonzalez:          Well, that is a true statement. Interestingly enough, there was a study that was done by one of the largest manufacturers, the three largest manufacturers of AEDs are Stryker, Philips, Zoll, you have Cardiac Science. And they did a study, and they put citizens in a room and they said, "Okay, here is the AED, go operate it." And, the instructions tend to be very simple, that should there be an emergency, and someone's down with a sudden cardiac arrest, normal layperson person, pulls the AED, I believe that there's going to be a very good chance that, that layperson person will be able to use it effectively.


                                    Although, if you are going to put an AED like in a school, for example, typically what they'll do is that they'll do the CPR training, because it's pretty important. CPR and AEDs go hand and glove. So, they'll do the CPR training, and then they'll have the AEDs to do a training session strictly on how to do use the AEDs.


Gregg Stebben:          That is a big part of your mission at MEDwheels. Tell us about how you came to create this company, MEDwheels, and how you came to see this mission as what you should devote your business and your life to.


Jane Gonzalez:          You know, it's really interesting. I was born in San Antonio, and after I graduated from college, ended up in Philadelphia, worked for corporate America. In my early 30s I heard the Holy Spirit say, "You're going to own a business." Now, I'm working in corporate America, owning a business was not even in my radar. Doing some financial analysis work.


                                   In the meantime, my brother and my sister-in-law, live in San Antonio, and they had experience working with a Medicare, Medicaid company. Well, in 2005, my mom got very, very ill, and I ended up in San Antonio, where my brother approached me about starting a business. And, I said, "For sure." So, they had some background with Medicare, Medicaid processes and billings, and I had the corporate America experience, there we created the seed, MEDwheels.


Gregg Stebben:          And, did the company start with ... Well, it couldn't have started with programs focused on AEDs, because I don't think the industry was anywhere near where it is today? Or perhaps, I'm wrong about that.


Jane Gonzalez:          No, you're exactly right, and so, this is phenomenal how a company like ours, a family operated business has been able to survive, because keep in mind, what has happened in corporate America from 2005 to today, 2018. So, we were doing pretty well in 2005, we started the business, we were billing Medicare and Medicaid, we're serving patients here in San Antonio with diabetes, with cardiology, with mobility problems, we were helping veterans with vehicle lifts, we would install them onto their vehicles. But then, the financial crisis, the regulations, health care regulation came in, and it put a lot of strain on the business in 2008. To the point that it would cost us more money to buy a piece of equipment before we added all the additional operating cost to it, than it was the reimbursement.


                                   And, Medicare put all this regulation in place, that the administrative cost to operate it also went through the roof, because we would go bill to get paid, and the insurance providers would not pay us, give us several reasons why not to, so then we would have to go back and spend more additional man hours, working with the providers and the doctors, and everybody involved just to get reimbursed for that delivery that's already been done.


                                   So, we began to pivot, we had to pivot. We had to take a real hard look at our business model and that's why we, in 2009 and 2010, we started looking at distribution.


Gregg Stebben:          And so, it was around that time, that you also realized what a big, not just business, an entrepreneurial opportunity, this was, but also what a big life-saving opportunity it would be?


Jane Gonzalez:          Life-saving opportunity is a critical point, it's something that I want to share with you. The mission of MEDwheels, is much bigger than me.  The purpose is really to have an impact in our community. My company is located in a very distressed neighborhood, multi-generational poverty, illiteracy, a high drop-out rate, drugs. But, I chose to be embedded in the middle of a community because I want to have an impact. And so, it's really interesting. We had just put in the AEDs, our company at a high school here in San Antonio.


                                    Three days after we installed our AEDs, a high school student went down with a sudden cardiac arrest, and we saved his life.


                                   I had so much passion and enthusiasm, that I know that I'm doing what I need to be doing when something like that happens. There is a mission and a purpose, and it is to make a difference in our community. To do whatever we can to save a life.


Gregg Stebben:          As I'm listening to you, Jane, I'm talking with Jane Gonzalez, she's the president and CEO of MEDwheels in San Antonio, it's As I'm listening to you, I'm thinking to myself, I'm looking around and I'm saying, I'm sort of filling in here for our listeners as well, there are no AEDs here. So, if I'm with a company or my kids go to a school, where there are not AEDs, how does that conversation begin? I mean, before a company or a school, or a school district, or a government agency, can reach out to you, there must be some internal conversations as well. You must have some insight into the kinds of things, for instance, I might want to get my company talking about so we can get ourselves to a point where we should reach out to you to talk to you about this.


Jane Gonzalez:          Absolutely. And it starts with ... That's one of the areas that we're working with, because keep in mind, we just saw hurricane in North Carolina, and you've got people with disabilities, so, that you're talking about a facility, I don't know if it's one floor or if it's two floors, three floors, 10 floors, I have no idea. But, the other piece of equipment that is critically as important as an AED in a facility would be evacuation chairs. So, that if you have somebody with disabilities up on the 10th floor, and need that chair, can permit that person with disabilities to be taken down the stairwell, with minimal possibility of injury. So that, the conversations typically would begin with whomever is operating the facility, typically that would be the person in charge of making those kinds of decisions.


                                   And, we would be glad to communicate and support, in terms of what we recommend might be a good need and location where to put them.


Gregg Stebben:          Well, part of what you're telling us is, even though we've all seen AEDs at the airport and other places, there's actually, this is actually a much bigger conversation than that. There's other things, a company or an organization should be thinking about, to make sure that they are prepared.


Jane Gonzalez:          Right, I mean look at the violence that is happening. Before I came onto this podcast, there's another shooting that happened in Maryland, the other thing that I am very passionate about is that people are dying from bleed-outs, because by the time the police can get into an area that's been subjected to violence, that person, if there's nothing in there that's going to stop that bleeding, potentially may not make it, right?


                                   So then, what I'm recommending to all ... especially in the school districts, where we have so many kids that are facing this dilemma, is that I encourage everyone, not only to get the AED, you're going to have the automatic electronic defibrillator, that's awesome, fantastic, but I'm also encouraging everyone to put at least one stop-the-bleed kit at a minimum inside of that cabinet.


Gregg Stebben:          Inside the AED cabinet?


Jane Gonzalez:           Inside the AED cabinet.


Gregg Stebben:           So, I have to confess, I've never heard of a stop-the-bleed kit. What is that?


Jane Gonzalez:           So, stop-the-bleed kits, let me walk you through a scenario. Wherever you're sitting at, somebody walks in, they bust the door open, they have a gun pulled, they shoot and they hit you on the leg, okay? So, now you've started bleeding you're bleeding right now, they're calling 911, "Police, can I get in there to provide you aid?" No one can get in there to provide you aid, because that area is still a crime scene. 


                                   If you had a stop-the-bleed kit, there could be a tourniquet in there, so that you can get that tourniquet, wrap it around where the bleeding is at, tie it really good, it will stop bleeding. Or if it's hit in the chest, there's also something called a chest compression, so that you can get that ... like a gauze, and you apply it to your chest, wherever that bleeding is at, wherever the gun shots at. You press it down, it will stop the bleeding.


Gregg Stebben:          You're opening up this whole area of, I'm sure in most cases, it's probably an HR function or an Operations function, but I think, I mean for me, you're really opening my eyes to things I had never thought about. And of course, the worst possible time to be thinking about things like this is when it's too late.


                                   She's Jane Gonzalez, she's the president and CEO of MEDwheels, I want to ask you to look back, over the years, since you started your business in 2005, and I'm wondering if there's one thing you learned, that you wish you could share with other small business owners. And share with folks who may be thinking about starting their own businesses, is there one lesson that you've gained, that you just wish everyone knew, because you knew their journey forward would be more successful?


Jane Gonzalez:          You know, that's a very, really fantastic question. And, thirteen years of business, I use this analogy, football. You're in a football field, and you're a running-back, and you're running down the field, suddenly, there's going to be this big guy coming at you, the train's coming at you, right? And when a train's coming at you, you're going to have to pivot to the right, you're going to have to pivot to the left, you're going to have to do something, because if you go head on, something’s going to give.


                                   And so, my advice is that, create that business plan. It is very important, especially for new companies, to have a business plan. And, create that strategy. One thing that I've learned is that how can I pursue something if I don't have it in writing and I'm going to be committed to the perseverance to make sure that I achieve those goals. So, then create that business plan, but then also, life is gonna happen. We're a family run business, my business company has gone through deaths, it's gone through sickness, it's gone through adversity, it's gone through challenge, and then you've got government regulation where we had to look at government policy, then you have financial regulation, so that all these things are going to be happening as all of these things are happening, the company moves on in years, it's going to be important to update that business plan and modify it, adjust, based on the current conditions that are affecting the continuity of that original business plan.


Gregg Stebben:          So, your advice is, get it down in writing in a business plan, because without that, you're constantly going to be reacting to things without going back to the very foundation of the thing that you started.


Jane Gonzalez:           Exactly.


Gregg Stebben:          When you started MEDwheels, did you have a written business plan? Are you speaking from experience of, not having a business plan, or we had one and boy am I glad we did?


Jane Gonzalez:          Well, I'm talking from experience in that I did have the business plan originally, but in the middle of know, companies are going to go into the valley, they're gonna go through the fire, are you gonna have enough money to meet your payroll? What is your balance sheet looking like?  Are your payments going out the door more than the money that's coming into the door? So, there's a lot of these things that are happening, and I'm talking from experience, in that during those very critical times, when we were totally stressed, when Medicare changed regulation and the gross margin that we're making slowly has been taken from under our feet, the administrative costs are going through the roof, I don't have enough money, I gotta go get my line of credit to pay my payroll. And what is the company going to do to survive? And so, creating that business plan, changing that business plan, updating that business plan, during that dark, dark time that we were going through was very important.


Gregg Stebben:          And, might have determined whether MEDwheels would even be here today, or not?


Jane Gonzalez:          Yeah, if we had not, on the grace of God, by the grace of God, if we had not taken a really hard look at the stress that the Medicare regulation was having on our business, and if we had not updated our business strategies, we probably would have gone bankrupt.


Gregg Stebben:          Well, what's really fascinating about that, Jane, Jane Gonzalez, the president and CEO of MEDwheels, It's fascinating to hear you say that, because I'd go back to your mission statement, which includes, "To provide all facets of an AED program, including products, services, and training to consumers and to ultimately help save lives." And then, the statistic on your home page, "An additional 40 thousand lives could be saved each year in the U.S. alone, with widespread access to AEDs." I'm thinking to myself, that if you had not had that business plan and been able to use it to make that successful pivot, there are people alive today, who would not be alive today, if you had gone bankrupt instead of found a way and the will to go forward, and I wanna thank you for that.


Jane Gonzalez:          Oh, thank God, for that. I'm a steward of the assets that I'm being provided, and I hope every day that I do a good job of it. I hope every day I make a difference in somebody's life. I hope every day, that this company is in business, can make a difference, and leave some kind of legacy behind.


Gregg Stebben:          I can't think of a better place to leave it than that. Jane Gonzalez, thanks for joining us on “The Heartbeat of Main Street” with ForbesBooks, and Bank of America. MEDwheels is at She's the president and CEO, Jane, thanks so much for joining us.


Narrator:                     Thanks for listening to the Heartbeat of Main Street with ForbesBooks at, and Bank of America at

It amazes me that in my lifetime—only 30 years ago—women business owners needed a male co-signer to get a business loan. In 1988, the Women’s Business Ownership Act helped open up access to capital for women entrepreneurs by prohibiting sex-based discrimination in lending.


A lot has changed for women entrepreneurs in the last 30 years. In fact, a lot has changed just in the past decade. The overwhelming majority of women entrepreneurs surveyed in the 2018 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight believe access to capital for women business owners has improved in the past 10 years.


But, there’s still a long way to go. Although 84 percent of women say their access to capital has improved in the past decade, 68 percent say it was more difficult for them to get financing compared to male business owners they know.



However, women entrepreneurs aren’t letting this challenge hold them back. Here’s what the survey found:


Women entrepreneurs are confident


Women business owners are increasingly confident, both about their own businesses and about the economy in general. Economic optimism hit a two-year high in this third year of the survey: 48 percent of the women believe the national economy will improve in the next 12 months and 49 percent think their local economies will improve as well.


The women entrepreneurs surveyed are even more confident about their own businesses’ economic outlook. Some 58 percent expect revenues to increase in the coming year, and 21 percent plan to hire in that time period. In addition, 56 percent plan to expand and grow their businesses over the next five years.


Women entrepreneurs are taking the lead in technology


Contrary to stereotypes, the women business owners in the survey are embracing digital transformation as a means of growing their companies. Women entrepreneurs are more likely than men to use mobile devices for complex business tasks, such as financial transactions, hiring and social media updates. They’re also more likely than men to accept mobile payments from customers, issue refunds to customers on mobile devices, or pay employees via mobile transactions.


This willingness to implement new technology isn’t surprising considering that over three-fourths of women entrepreneurs believe the success of their business depends on continuing innovation. Overall, 42 percent of women surveyed say their businesses are currently either using or exploring at least one advanced technology, including the Internet of Things, data analytics, 3D printing or virtual reality.


What’s keeping women entrepreneurs up at night?


Despite their positive outlook and enthusiastic approach to technology, there are quite a few areas women business owners are more concerned about than last year.


  • 78 percent are concerned about healthcare costs, up from 62 percent last year.
  • 55 percent are concerned about the strength of the U.S. dollar, vs. 44 percent in 2017.
  • 52 percent are concerned about interest rates, compared to 39 percent last year.
  • 37 percent are concerned about the availability of credit, up from 29 percent in 2017.


How to close the gender financing gap


The survey asked women entrepreneurs who believe there is a gender gap in access to capital what they believed would make the biggest difference in closing the gap. The majority (42 percent) believe gender-blind financing would have the greatest impact.


Just 4 percent think angel investors and venture capitalists would make a difference. (In fact, the National Women’s Business Council notes research has shown that even women investors and venture capitalists tend to be biased in favor of male business owners.)


What’s the solution to enhanced access to capital? Bank of America is doing its part: Since 2014, its loaned over $35 million to more than 1,700 women business owners through the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program.


I’ve been privileged to have a ringside seat during the rise of entrepreneurial women these past decades—and maybe played a little part in that transformation. I’ve seen so many significant changes and have no doubt women entrepreneurs will continue the progress we’ve all made.


About Rieva Lesonsky


Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.


Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.


Web: or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

"It's important to feel that your natural self is perfect the way that it is,” says Rachel Estapa, Founder and CEO of More to Love Yoga and Bank of America client. In this video Rachel talks about turning her passion for yoga and body positivity into her business. Learn more at


Check out our other Small Business Spotlights:







It's important to feel that your natural self is perfect the way that it is and that was very hard for me growing up because I was always larger. Through practicing yoga I'm at peace with myself. I want to help other people wherever they are in their body love journey.


Title: Rachel Estapa, Founder and CEO, More to Love Yoga, Bank of America Brand Ambassador


More to Love Yoga is for people that consider themselves unable to do yoga.


MoreToLove.jpgI help usually larger bodied people learn yoga, but also experience their body in a way that's not going to feel intimidating.


What's really important to me is allowing people to feel like they can cherish their bodies through their own experience with yoga, but also sharing the More to Love Yoga community.


Turning your passion into a business, it's very easy to get overwhelmed. I had a lot of fear around the money aspect. I can't take this great idea and bring it to more people unless I get this business part down.


When I started working with Lisa from Bank of America she was just not like any banker that I ever met. It was like a having a friend that is a banker.


I've always gravitated to the small business owner because I think it takes a lot of courage.


Title:     Lisa Carroll, Senior Small Business Banker, Bank of America


In Rachel's case I was really intrigued by the company. I wanted to talk about her business priorities, and see how we can help as a bank.


I want to grow More to Love and Lisa's definitely helping me with ways that the financial systems can support that growth. I've never felt that any question I asked, or anything that I needed was too small and she had all of this wealth of knowledge from Bank of America.


It's important to have a relationship with your bank. Someone that you could trust, that you can talk to about the business, the challenges that you're facing, because that's really where we shine. We're able to actually provide suggestions to help.


Lisa knows who I am as a person, what my business is about, and when I grow, Bank of America's going to be a great partner in that.


When I think about the future, I'm really excited to have more people become part of the More to Love Yoga community.


I have the power to have a business that I'm proud of in the world. I mean, that's the dream for everyone, right? To do what you love.




Check out More To Love Yoga at


Make an appointment to talk with a Bank of America Small Business Banker.

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