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50 Posts authored by: SBC Team

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.

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.

"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






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.

Bank of America supports the power of women small business owners this October and all year long.



Each October, Bank of America shares its support of women small business owners by celebrating National Women’s Small Business Month. Last year, we introduced the names behind women-owned small businesses by placing their names “up in lights” on a theater marquee. This year, we’ve taken the “You’re Gonna Know Me” idea a step further by showing the faces of the women behind small businesses and sharing their stories with the world. By doing so, we also show the power of working together – the more women we can support in building their businesses, the more opportunity we create for other women.


Anthem-Screen-Shot.jpgBank of America presents “You’re Gonna Know Me.”


You’re gonna value our instincts.

You’re gonna use my technology.

You’re gonna get with my program.

You’re gonna know our policy.

You’re gonna read my book.

You’re gonna face the world with me.


The world’s gonna know you.  We’re gonna help. Bank of America Business Advantage leads the way for small business owners and celebrates National Women’s Small Business Month.


Get to know the small business owners in this video by visiting their websites.


Nicole Centeno – Splendid Spoon™

Sasha Stern & Jamie Scalera – Miss Smith

Alina Haranczyk – Initech Industrial, LLC

Emma & Ramelle Massey – Massey Insurance Agency

Erin Christie – Author of Same Starry Sky

Miri Torres – Arianna Skincare



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.  Banking products offered by Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC and wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation. © 2018 Bank of America Corporation.


Bonin Bough: How would you like to win $25,000 to grow your business?


Rachel Estapa:  “This changes, like, literally everything. It really does.”


Bonin Bough:


I’ve teamed up with Mastercard and Bank of America team for the second annual Grow Your Biz contest. It’s a contest for small business owners all across the country.  Last year we only focused on businesses in Boston, but this year we’re taking our search nationwide.


The grand prize winner will win business consultation sessions with each of the judges, including me, and a chance to win $25,000 to grow their biz, provided by Mastercard.


Entering is easy.  Submit a video by September 30th telling us how you plan to grow your small business.  Remember to tell us specifics about your plan to grow your business, have lots of energy like last year’s winner Rachel from More to Love Yoga, be creative, but don’t worry about over producing.  You can even use your phone to record your video.


Four finalists will have the chance to pitch their business live in New York City on November 8th to our Grow Your Biz panel for a chance to win $25,000.


Every small business can use a jump start to get to the next level.  Go ahead. Take the leap.  Enter today.


No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.  Open to small business owners in the 50 US and DC, 18+ ends 9/30/18. Restrictions apply.  Visit for Official Rules and complete details.

The Spotlight is on Women Entrepreneurs in 2018

The 2018 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight explores the goals, challenges, and everyday realities of women entrepreneurs across the country. The Spotlight shines a light on optimism for the year ahead, access to capital, and digital transformation.


For women entrepreneurs, confidence in the economy has reached a two-year high, with a larger number of business owners expecting their revenues to increase compared to last year. This reported surge in optimism is coupled with key insights about the digital transformation sweeping across the small business landscape. One key finding is that women are adopting mobile devices for payments and other business functions at higher rates than men.


The Spotlight also examines women’s experiences regarding access to capital. While an overwhelming majority believe access to capital for women business owners has improved over the last decade, a majority still believe that it’s more difficult to secure businesses financing than it is for men.


Want to know more?


Download the 2018 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight

SBC Team

Celebrating Small Business

Posted by SBC Team Apr 24, 2018

Better relationships. Better Business. We’re celebrating Small Business Month.

During Small Business Month, we’re focused on helping you make more meaningful connections with your customers and your community. That’s why we’ve pulled together some of our best articles and interviews with fellow entrepreneurs about social media strategy and other topics to help your business. Be sure to check back on this page throughout the month as we add new ideas to improve sales, generate loyalty and build a stronger community connection.

Glaze Fire Interview The Appalachian Comeback Story The 5 Strategies for Improving Cash Flow Management Hot Skwash Interview How One Social Enterprise Transformed a Community Small Business Owners Optimistic About Future How to Increase Authentic Business Reviews on Facebook Steve Strauss interviews the CEO of Warschawski, the U.S. Small Agency of the Year Small Business Profile: Scott Snyder Law The Small Business Owner's Guide to Social Media How to Boost Positive Online Reviews for Your Business Post Some Love Small Business Podcast: Pollen Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know Spring 2018 Small Business Owner Report 9 Ways to Discover What Your Customers Really Think of Your Business The Digital Resources Small Businesses Should Use Now to Grow 7 Questions to Ask Your Customers Immediately How Good Is Your Customer Service? 7 Ways to Boost Engagement from Your Social Media Posts Schedule an Appointment

Veteran_Resources_body.jpgby Robert Lerose.


Military veterans who are either starting their own small business or already running one are in a unique category. Their training, service, and discipline are highly regarded by prospects and clients. The government also regularly awards a significant number of contracts specifically to businesses owned by veterans.


The following list of selected resources can provide information, assistance, and services to military veteran small business owners. Some of these overlap in their coverage of topics, so check them out thoroughly to find those that can help you best.


Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization: A comprehensive resource run by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that promotes small business participation in VA procurements.


VetBiz: Run by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, it provides information about the verification process to qualify for VA contracts.


Veteran_Resources_PQ.jpgService Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses: The Small Business Administration resource that provides contracting support for veterans and service-disabled veterans, with information on how to qualify for veteran contracts.


Office of Veterans Business Development: Operated by the Small Business Administration, it provides help on availability, applicability, and usability of administration small business programs for veterans, reservists, and their families.


National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA): Advocacy group that fights for more opportunities for military veteran business owners. Offers a registry for consumers looking for veteran-owned businesses, a magazine covering the veteran-owned business movement, webinars, and an index of "Buy Veteran" companies.


V-WISE: A program operated by the Institute For Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University that provides women veterans with tools and resources to start and grow their own businesses.


Hivers and Strivers: An angel investment group that supports start-up companies founded and run by graduates of the U.S. military academies.


These and many other resources are there to help military veterans succeed in the marketplace. Take advantage.

Small Business Story Collection: Celebrating the Power of Women

Women small business owners are paving the way.  We’re celebrating their accomplishments during National Women’s Small Business Month this October.  This collection highlights how to embrace the unique challenges women face and thrive as small business owners.

Client Spotlight: Emma Massey and Ramelle Massey, Massey Insurance Agency Women-owned Small Businesses Keep Growing Yet Revenues Need a Boost. How You Can Help Client Spotlight: Nicole Centeno, CEO and founder of Splendid Spoon 3 Fundraising Tips for Women Entrepreneurs to Raise Capital Celebrating a 30-Year Milestone at NAWBO’s Women’s Business Conference Her Mission: Save Lives: “The Heartbeat of Main Street,” Episode 9 Women Have Come a Long Way, But… Women Entrepreneurs Seeking Professional Guidance Should Join These Organizations Bank of America supports the power of women small business owners Client Spotlight: Rachel Estapa, Founder and CEO of More to Love Yoga Women Business Owner Spotlight: “The Heartbeat of Main Street,” Episode 8 Women and Financial Wellness: Beyond the Bottom Line Women's Entrepreneurial Journeys The Myths and Realities of Millennial Women as Entrepreneurs What Every Woman Should Know Before Starting a Business [ebook] NAWBO: The Power of Connections: It’s time to rise! 3 Tactics Women Entrepreneurs Can Use to Grow RevenueForget Work-Life Balance and Learn to Enjoy the RideWomen Entrepreneurship in a World of Change, Moderated by Susan SolovicSix Tips Women Should Follow to Succeed as EntrepreneursWhat Every Woman Should Know Before Starting A Small BusinessWork-Life Balance Tips For Women EntrepreneursMeet 5 of America’s Most Influential Female EntrepreneursWomen-Business-Leaders-Path.png 

Additional Resources


Small business expert Carol Roth shares her biggest piece of advice for female entrepreneurs and asks a question that’s crucial to business growth.



If you have questions for Carol, please scroll down and ask in the comment below.  Carol will do her best to respond.




About Carol Roth

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.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Inaugural Report Highlights Optimism in 2017 for Hispanic Small Business Owners


Hispanic entrepreneurs are one of the fastest-growing segments of the small business sector, making contributions to the economy and job creation like never before. In order to more acutely understand the unique experiences and perspectives of this group, Bank of America surveyed approximately 300 Hispanic small business owners from across the country about issues ranging from their economic and business outlooks for 2017, to their views on lending and the role that their communities have in the success of their businesses.


For additional insights, see the Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight infographic below.  For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s Hispanic small business owners, download the full 2017 Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight (PDF).


When you’re self-employed, investing for retirement is entirely up to you. Here are some ways to put away money for your future.


  • Start a savings plan. A popular option for the self-employed is a Simplified Employee Pension, or SEP IRA, says Thomas Carter, vice president of Personal Retirement Strategy & Solutions at Merrill Lynch. "These have a much higher contribution limit than traditional IRAs." Generally, a sole proprietor with no employees can make deductible contributions of up to 20% of her earnings from the business, up to the maximum annual limit ($53,000 for 2016).

    Callout.gifFor traditional and Roth IRAs, the maximum is $5,500 ($6,500 for those aged 50 and older). As with traditional IRAs, you contribute pre-tax dollars to a SEP IRA, which won't be taxed until you withdraw the funds in retirement.

  • Contribute steadily. Freelancers often contribute one lump sum to a retirement plan at year's end, says Carter. "But that means investing a year's worth of savings all at once," he says. Regularly contributing smaller amounts may allow you to capture lower prices as markets fluctuate, depending on the market prices at the time you contribute.


  • Seek additional income. If your gig doesn't let you sock away enough money for retirement, look for other ways to generate income. "Perhaps you have a spare room to rent out," Carter says. "Or you might consider driving for a ride-sharing company a couple of evenings per week."


3 Questions to Ask Your Advisor

  1. Could a SEP IRA be right for me?
  2. How much can I afford to put towards retirement savings each year?
  3. What are some more ways I can boost my retirement savings?


Keep in mind that dollar cost averaging cannot guarantee a profit or prevent a loss in declining markets. Since such investment plan involves continual investment in securities regardless of fluctuating price levels, you should consider your willingness to continue purchasing during periods of high or low price levels.

SBC Team

A Guide to the Gig Economy

Posted by SBC Team Jan 4, 2017

Header Image.jpgNEARLY A CENTURY AFTER JAZZ MUSICIANS of the 1920s coined the term "gig" to describe a temporary engagement at a club or concert hall, it has reentered the workforce lexicon. In today's booming "gig economy," millions of people, empowered by advances in digital technology and often motivated by difficulty finding full-time work, are relying on temporary engagements to earn a living.


While estimates vary, a recent study by prominent labor economists Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger reported that 16% of American workers are involved in gig-type "alternative work arrangements," up by half from just a decade earlier.


The prototype could be the ride-share driver, a contract employee who's primed to pick up passengers at the buzz of a smartphone. There's also the recent graduate getting a foot in the door by doing project work at a company. Or a woman easing back into the workforce after raising her family. They're all joining mid-career professionals looking for a more flexible lifestyle, aspiring entrepreneurs, moonlighters and retirees whose talents remain in demand.


Pullquote0 PM.jpg"Many retirees aren't quite ready to stop working, so they've created gigs to stay busy and enhance their finances," says Karin Kimbrough, head of Macro and Economic Policy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.


How to Succeed in the Gig Economy
Thriving in the gig economy takes a combination of skills, hustle, good luck and sound advice. Here are three people who are making it work for them.


Just starting out. Matthew Daray, 25, of Palatine, Illinois, studied journalism and creative writing in college and is currently on a six-month contract as a medical writer for a large pharmaceutical firm. "It's not a bad gig—for now," he says. "But full time is definitely the goal."


Daray is making his present situation work by living with his parents and staying on their health-care plan for as long as he's eligible. Meanwhile, he's talking with his family's Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor, Randi Merel, about ways to boost his savings so he'll be prepared for emergencies—not to mention long-term goals such as buying his own home. To bring greater discipline to Daray's savings strategy, "we've set up a regular transfer from his check-ing account to a savings account. We can then withdraw those dollars to invest," Merel says. "That way, he doesn't really miss the money."


Not ready to retire. Another of Merel's clients, 59-year-old Ric Noreen, joined the gig economy at a different stage of his career. Five years ago, he took an early-retirement offer from his job as a senior marketing and strategy executive. "It was an opportune time to start what I call a virtual consulting business," he says.


Thanks to technology, his new Chicago-area business, Waypoint Strategic Solutions, is able to serve a wide variety of clients across the country. And Noreen is loving the challenge. "One of the surprises to me is how transferable my skills are across industries," he says.


Noreen and his wife and business partner, Sarah, are empty nesters; their health insurance is covered by a provision in his early-retirement agreement. Still, with concerns about the uncertainty of their future income, the Noreens have worked with Merel to remove some of the risk from their portfolio. Says Noreen, "When the steady paycheck goes away, asset preservation becomes a bigger part of the strategy."


Jumping back into the job pool. After 15 years devoted to raising four children, Jane MacKeen of Sudbury, Massachusetts, was ready to return to the workforce, but not to her previous career in media sales. Instead, she earned a masters degree in dietetics. Starting in 2014, the former college swimmer began her current gig teaching corporate employees and private clients about wellness.


"Jane and her husband, Mike, did all the right things when she was younger—opening an IRA, putting money in a 401(k), starting to save for her kids' college," says Mary Mullin, MacKeen's Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor. Combining experience in sales with her love of wellness, gig work "has afforded me the opportunity to explore a new field, while still having time with my family as I transition back into the workforce," MacKeen says. And using her gig work as a bridge, she recently landed a full-time position at a company that uses wellness programs to help employers improve the well-being of their employees while reducing health-care costs.


Working Without a Net
Whether you're making the move by necessity or choice, supporting yourself without such traditional benefits as paid vacations and employer-sponsored health-care and retirement plans requires careful planning and a clear sense of what's ahead. Here are some basics to consider if you're contemplating diving into the gig economy.


Pullquote1 PM.jpg

The health-care puzzle. Rising health-care costs are especially challenging for self-employed people if there's no employer chipping in. For some, the answer may be joining the plan from a spouse's job. Others may find coverage through, or through professional organizations that offer plans for freelancers. "You can also try to negotiate health care with some of your gig employers, perhaps in exchange for a lower salary," Mullin suggests.


An emergency fund. Keep in mind that in the gig economy your main client can cut payments, extend payout periods or even go out of business with little notice. "You'll need an emergency fund to be able to withstand those unexpected gaps between gigs and checks," says Thomas Carter, vice president of Personal Retirement Strategy & Solutions at Merrill Lynch. Finally, don't underestimate your regular expenses. Most of them, from your computer to your business car to tech support, will now fall on your shoulders.


Attention to taxes. "When you're working gigs, there's no automatic withholding," notes Carter. Instead, you'll likely be paying quarterly estimated taxes. This requires a greater degree of control over your spending, so that you have enough to cover taxes when they're due. Work with a tax professional who can help you set a strategy for paying taxes, taking advantage of any appropriate deductions.


Equally important advice, once you've gotten all your financial ducks in a row, is to enjoy being your own boss. As Ric Noreen puts it, "I am working harder, making more, and am more satisfied than I ever was. And my pedal is still to the metal—maybe even with a little bit more resolve."

The best way to get ahead in 2017 is to review what worked in 2016. But how should you go about it? Taking you step-by-step through the process, our new infographic will help you discover past trends and reveal challenges that you can prepare for now, as well as help you move forward with momentum into the new year.



Click here to download a PDF of this infographic.

Bank of America Survey Finds Family, Friends and Community Core to Small Business Success

Small Business Owners Remain Lukewarm on the Economy, Growth, Hiring


Small business owners are getting by with a little help from their friends, family and community, with 83 percent reporting they receive financial, operational and/or emotional assistance from their family, according the fall 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report. For an overview of the insights of the nation’s small business owners, see the national infographic below. For additional insights, download the fall 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report here.



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