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76 Posts authored by: Rieva Lesonsky

With “stay-at-home” policies widely implemented across the nation to slow the coronavirus (Covid-19) spread, delivery services are quickly becoming part of the new normal. brett-jordan-phUtWl8RyFE-unsplash.jpg

So, if consumers can’t come to you, are you prepared to bring your products to them? Here’s how: 

 

Delivering food

There are plenty of existing food delivery services in many American cites to choose, and the main players are offering incentives to businesses and consumers.

Here’s a sampling of what’s available at press time:

DoorDash

 

The company launched an #OpenForDelivery campaign, reminding consumers that restaurant delivery is safe and that restaurants need orders. The campaign includes social media posts, listing DoorDash and its competitors.

 

DoorDash announced “a package of commission relief and marketing support for new and existing DoorDash partner restaurants to help them generate up to $200 million in additional sales this year.” The program includes:

 

  • Through the end of April, independent restaurants in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia can sign up for free with DoorDash and Caviar and pay zero commissions for 30 days. Merchants will not be asked to pay anything back.
  • Existing DoorDash and Caviar restaurant partners won’t have to pay commission fees on pickup orders so customers can spend less time in the store. They are “also providing additional commission reductions for eligible merchants already on DoorDash.
  • To incentivize consumers, DoorDash has added over 100,000 independent restaurant partners to DashPass, their subscription program which offers $0 delivery for consumers for free.

 

Grubhub

Grubhub is deferring commission fees for impacted independent restaurants to help “increase restaurants’ cash flow.” They are “also matching all promotions run by independent restaurants, to help make their investments in growth twice as effective.”

 

Postmates

Postmates launched a Small Business Relief Pilot program for small businesses so they can more easily use their platform. The program will temporarily waive commission fees for businesses in some markets. They are talking to restaurant associations and city governments around the country to assess how to build on this and support local restaurant corridors.

 

Uber Eats

In their statement Uber Eats says they’re “working urgently to drive orders towards independent restaurants…, to help make up for the significant slowdown of in-restaurant dining.”

 

To drive consumer orders, Uber Eats has waived the delivery fee for the more than 100,000 independent restaurants they feature and launched a daily dedicated marketing campaign promoting delivery from local restaurants.

 

They’ve also rolled out a new payment option for restaurants, allowing them “to opt into daily payments on all Uber Eats orders, rather than the typical weekly billing cycle.”

Curbside pickup.

 

Several national retailers are offering curbside pickup for products bought online. Small business can easily adopt this practice. Post information on your website that you’re offering curbside pickup. Customers order online, pay and indicate they want curbside pickup. You process the order and then send an email or text that the order is ready for pickup.

 

When customers pull up to your place of business, they call you, and their products are brought outside and, in many cases, placed immediately in their trunk. No contact is made. Some independent bookstores are offering this option.

 

Other delivery options

If you’ve previously relied on services like Task Rabbit to deliver your products locally, Task Rabbit is now “asking clients to request contactless tasks.” That can still work for your business, however, the company says, “By requesting a contactless task, clients and Taskers agree to maintain a safe six-foot separation. For example, a client can request that a Tasker delivering essential food or medications leave them in a safe place at your door. Contactless tasks can be requested in the booking details or when chatting with your Tasker.”

 

Another option

 

Local entrepreneurs can team up with other local businesses and form your own local delivery service that can be used to deliver food or other products. Contact your local chamber of commerce, city government or its economic development agency to see if they can offer assistance.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the Rieva headshot.pngblog SmallBizDaily.com. 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./servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3367-416250/Rieva+headshot.png/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3364-414071/Rieva+headshot.png

 

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: www.growbizmedia.com 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 materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

For businesses of all sizes, but especially for small businesses without large cash cushions, the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be enormous, affecting cash flow, sales, jobs and business survival rates. communication plan pic.jpg

 

As a small business owner, I know how, where and when I communicate with my clients during this crisis will greatly influence how my business will fare during the crisis and when it is over.

 

Take a moment to go over this small business crisis communications checklist to help your business remain healthy.

 

1. We are here! We are here!

 

In the words of Dr. Seuss in Horton Hears a Who, you need to let your customers know you are still running your business and making every effort to keep your services/products available any way you can. You can’t assume your customers know you’re still operating (even in a diminished capacity), so make sure you tell them right away what you’re currently offering and that you’re working on a longer-term game plan.

 

Emailing your customer list is likely the quickest and easiest option. If you send out a regular e-newsletter, include your message in there as well.

 

2. Going on hiatus?

 

What if your business is closing—temporarily? Some businesses will have no choice but to close their doors. I’ve gotten a lot of emails from retailers announcing they’re closing for several weeks. All have mentioned their websites are still operating and many have eliminated or reduced shipping fees. If you’re in retail, now’s the time to ramp up your e-commerce business, and email marketing, again, seems like the fastest way to spread the word. Also consider social commerce, selling via your social media channels. 

 

3. What should be on your website?

 

Where are your clients going to check first for information about your business? If you said your website, you are right and so you should have already posted information about any changes to the business such as new store hours, delayed deliveries and the best way to reach you. It’s also a good idea to acknowledge the crisis, offer advice and words of comfort. To be really helpful, post links to resources for more information on the crisis.

 

4. Email to stay in touch

 

After your initial outreach to your customers, it is imperative you keep the lines of communication open. If you’ve been communicating primarily by email, continue to use that channel. If you’re open for business, whether you’re selling products online, meeting with clients via telecommunication tools (Skype, Zoom, etc.), or selling food via takeout or delivery, consider emailing your customers and clients weekly. Customers will be bargain-minded, so offer incentives and promotions to persuade them to buy.

 

Many people are encouraging consumers to help out local businesses by buying gift cards now, for use later. This gives the businesses an influx of cash. So make sure you offer gift cards and visibly promote them.

 

Think about what your customers want to hear from you, in addition to discounts and other promotions. Can you offer information to help get them through the next few weeks or months? My hairdresser already texted me instructions on the right way to trim my own bangs. Depending on the type of business you operate, consider offering relevant tips, such as how to be productive working from home, tech tools, ways to entertain the kids while you work, best music or movies to help pass the time, favorite recipes, exercises, etc.

 

Consumers are stressed right now and would welcome hearing from a familiar business owner once or twice a month.

 

And make sure you let your customers know when you might be open for business again. When my dentist called to cancel my upcoming appointment, they rebooked me for a month from now, but added they’d be in touch with regular updates.

 

5. Start a dialogue on social media

 

Isolated consumers will be turning to social media for news and to make social connections. Start with the social platforms you usually use to engage you’re your clients and customers. But explore other social channels to find out where the conversations are. Ask open-ended questions to get a conversation going and make sure you answer questions customers have for you.

 

What you do not want to do is act the expert on the coronavirus. Refer people to the CDC website for the latest information.

 

6. Get creative

 

Now may be a good time to try communication channels you haven’t used before. Consider live streaming to show customers how to use your products, starting a podcast, or beefing up your YouTube channel.

 

What about holding virtual meetings with your clients over video chat, especially if your customers want face-to-face interactions, or you need to show charts or other visuals? Consider hosting webinars so you can interact with many of your clients at one time.

 

How are you planning on keeping communication going with customers during this global pandemic? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

 


 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the Rieva headshot.pngblog SmallBizDaily.com. 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./servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3367-416250/Rieva+headshot.png/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3364-414071/Rieva+headshot.png

 

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: www.growbizmedia.com 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 materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Money is the scorecard of business success. In honor of National Women’s Small Business Month, we asked women business owners to share their best advice about managing business and personal finances. women owners tips couch pic.jpg

 

What’s your best advice about business financial management?

 

Rachel Braun Scherl, Managing Partner/co-founder, SPARK Solutions for Growth, a company that designs and implements practical strategies for accelerating business growth

 

Often you are going into meetings where the men in the room assume you won’t be on top of the financials. Be rock solid in terms of the business drivers and numbers of your business. Know your P&L, balance sheet, lifetime customer value and other key numbers backwards and forwards.

 

Joanna Sobran, CEO, MXOtech Inc., an IT consulting company based in Chicago

 

Negotiate multi-year contracts with your customers. This has given my organization long-term financial stability, allowing [me] to plan for the future and form a foundation for strong relationships. In 13 years, I have not had to borrow money.

 

Deborah Sweeney sold her business, MyCorporation, to Deluxe in 2018 and still runs the division.

 

Be keenly aware of the ROI on all investments and business initiatives, whether that is hiring, marketing, investing in technology or taking on a new business partner. Understand your measurements of success. Do more of what gets you a higher ROI; cut the lower ROI initiatives.

 

Donna Miller, founder, C3Workplace, a provider of coworking, consulting and educational programs for B2B professionals

 

Understand what your numbers mean and how they can be leveraged to drive the growth of your business. Learn to (or hire the skill to) think in Excel. All business decisions should start with solid financial data (which will allow you to find the most profitable projects and markets consistent with your company's products and services) and marketing data (which will allow you to determine the proper demographics, psychographics and trends that align with your company's products and services).

 

Felicia Kelly, founder, Cyrus Anointing Consulting, a personal and professional development company

 

Double your expense projection and cut your sales projection in half. This is not to say you should lower your goals. In fact, this method gives you the opportunity to always come in below budget and above revenue projections so that the time it takes to turn a profit is significantly shorter.

 

Lozelle Mathai, CEO, Closing Your Books LLC, a financial accounting consulting firm focused on women-owned businesses

 

Have a yearly budget broken out monthly. The budget should be in line with business goals, should include a significant reserve, and should be reviewed monthly. This ensures all facets of the business are financially on the same page.

 

What’s your best advice for personal financial management?women business owners pic.jpg

 

Laura Spawn, CEO and co-founder, Virtual Vocations, the largest hand-screened database of telecommuting jobs online

 

Pay yourself first. Without a traditional job that provides retirement benefits and easy ways to save, it’s even more essential for business owners to plan for the future. Whether your business is flourishing or whether you’ve hit a plateau, make sure you add something to your savings account, IRA or other retirement fund every month.

 

Sobran: Set yourself up for success by not putting all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your investments with the help of a financial advisor who can help you make more informed investment decisions. I have put together a “life plan” with my financial advisor, creating a holistic approach to my finances that balances my life and business goals.

 

Kelly: Understand that starting a business does not solve your money problems. How you handle money is typically exposed and amplified once you start a business. It’s important to master your personal money management upfront, or your business finances will be just as much of a burden as your personal finances.

 

Miller: It’s low tech, but it’s life-changing: Establish a firm budget that allows you to live within your means.

 

What’s your best advice about getting outside financing?

 

Sweeney: Maintain a strong [personal] credit score. The way you handle yourself personally is also how you will likely handle the finances of your business. You are a much more creditworthy candidate for financing when you can show that you can manage your personal finances well.

 

Scherl: Raising money is about telling a story that is motivating to your funding targets. Your audience will be listening from their own points of reference, areas of expertise and investment thesis, so one size does not fit all. Your passion for the business, knowledge of the market, awareness of competitive opportunities, points of differentiation and business strategy should be presented with awareness of and through the filter of your audience’s specific perspective.  

 

Sobran: When you apply for funding, you don’t want to be another name on a piece of paper. Create relationships with your bank and other financial institutions. When I was building my business and needed outside financing, I made sure to consistently communicate all business updates with the organizations I worked with. I was transparent on my business growth and overall vision. I expressed my commitment and made sure to show my sincere character. It made all the difference because I formed relationships with people who believed in my organization.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the Rieva headshot.pngblog SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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 materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Women entrepreneurs are looking forward to a strong 2020, according to the latest Women Business Owner Spotlight, recently released by Bank of America. In honor women share secrets pic.jpgof Women’s History Month, which celebrates “women’s contributions to America and the world,” we asked several women business owners to share their stories and best tips.

 

Meet the Entrepreneurs

Lauren Bercier and Laken Swan—founders, Something Borrowed Blooms, a Rent & Return Floral Company specializing in premium silk flowers. “We create on-trend wedding flower collections and rent them to couples saving them up to 70%!” Started 2015.

 

Gini Dietrich—Founder, Spin Sucks, a professional development business for communicators. “We provide online and in-person training to a PR professional who is looking to evolve their career and learn new skills. Started 2015. I started a PR firm in 2005 and Spin Sucks was our blog, which launched in 2006. By 2015, we discovered we'd built a big enough brand that we could roll Spin Sucks into its own P&L with its own team.”

 

Mika Leah—CEO, Goomi Group. Goomi Group provides onsite fitness and wellness programs, classes and sessions to companies and organizations nationwide with customized programs that fit any budget. Started 2015.

 

Colleen Puffpaff—Owner, Pigtails & Crewcuts, a hair salon catering to children. “We have fun theme chairs, movies playing, fun stylists and toys from wall to wall. While our main focus is haircuts, we do everything from birthday parties to ear piercing as well!” Started 2019.

 

Olga Vidisheva—Founder & CEO, Shoptiques.com. Shoptiques provides small businesses with the software and tools to streamline operations and increase sales. In addition, partner stores are featured in front of millions of customers through the Shoptiques.com marketplace. Started 2012.


What motivated you to start a business?

 

Bercier and Swan: We were both young mothers looking for an opportunity to start a business that would allow us to be in control of our future. We were motivated by the rental trends being adopted by millennials, especially Rent the Runway. We saw a gap in the traditional wedding market where couples were looking for new alternatives and we decided floral was the perfect fit! We currently fulfill over 500 wedding orders on a monthly basis. When we started, our goal was to ship 12 weddings per month.

 

Dietrich: I hate this question because it makes it sound like I’m impossible. And maybe I am. But the truth of the matter is, I have a massive problem with authority, especially with authority who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. When I left my job to start my own agency, it was because I was sick and tired of my advertising colleagues dismissing the work I did and treating me like a tactic instead of a strategic partner.

 

Leah: Three weeks after my 33rd birthday I was wheeled into emergency heart surgery. Five heart stents and four procedures later, I realized my life was short and I wanted to make a difference in the world. Goomi Group was started to make wellness simple in order to help others get healthy and happy, which I believe go hand in hand.

 

Puffpaff: I am the mom of two young boys. When they were babies, I worked part-time for my father, allowing me the flexibility to be around for my children. As my boys transitioned into full-time school, I wanted more of a career, but didn’t want to sacrifice the flexibility. Owning a business allows me to [be there for] my kids while building a business.

 

Vidisheva: Walking down the streets of Paris, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the fashion, architecture, culture—and the boutiques! Years ago while traveling for work, I came across a gem of a store in the Marais district with the friendliest, most stylish owner. The owner pointed out a pair of shoes and I knew I couldn’t leave empty-handed.

 

I still dream about visiting that tiny Parisian store again, but I’ve been lucky enough to discover so many other boutiques. Each one is special in its own way, but they all have something in common—beautiful hard-to-find pieces and a knowledgeable owner with a distinct style perspective. This is why Shoptiques was founded. We grant women access to the most stylish boutiques and replicate that same intimate in-store experience. Shoptiques is an online destination to browse, discover, and buy the best boutique merchandise in the world.

 

What’s the most important advice you got when you started your business?

 

Bercier & Swan: Don’t give up. Your greatest accomplishments are just past the most trying times. For both of us, giving up has never been an option. Although we have a lot of accomplishments to be proud of, it’s important to note there was equal or more hard work and grit.

 

Dietrich: Oh, man. It was so long ago...and there has been so much advice. I remember when I was starting out, I would read the typical entrepreneurship magazines and they freaked me out. So much to think about—and so many failures! So I stopped reading them and just started doing my job, as I’d been taught to do. Of course, that came with its own set of challenges. I didn’t know, for instance, that I had to actually set up a business with the state and with a bank. I didn’t know what P&L stood for. I had a lot to learn.

 

Leah: Since we have no overhead costs because we bring everything on-site to companies, I was advised to, “Just start and see if it will work; what have you got to lose?”

 

Puffpaff: Take it one day at a time! I didn’t have a clue what this meant until we actually opened. The first year of business ownership is a rollercoaster. One day is great—you feel like you’ve got this down and the next day all your stylists and receptionist call out and you’re scrambling to find someone to come in so you can open your doors. Trying to always see the forest through the trees is really important!

 

Vidisheva: If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. We are all guilty of sometimes talking ourselves out of pursuing an idea or asking for help. The best advice I got was, “Go for it, because if you don’t, you are guaranteed a no.”

 

What was your biggest challenge?

 

Bercier & Swan: Changing consumers’ mindset in a very traditional market was a big undertaking, but through e-commerce and digital advertising we’ve been able to connect with today’s brides who are more accepting of change and open to eco-friendly alternatives. Utilizing real bride reviews has been one of our most powerful sales tools in breaking the traditional mold.

 

Dietrich: Sales. Not because we don’t have them, but because I cannot figure out how to train someone to sell like I do. And I don’t love it, so I’d really, really like to figure that out. I hired a crackerjack professional late last year who shows incredible promise so we may very well be on our way.

 

Leah: There were times it felt as if the company was growing faster than we could keep up. However, we solved this by revising our workflow process to make sure everyone on the team had their own swim lane and no one drowned.

 

Puffpaff: There are so many challenges opening a business. We had difficulties securing an SBA loan. We had a faulty sprinkler system go off in our salon four months after opening, flooding our entire salon, causing thousands of dollars in damages and forcing us to close for two weeks.

The most challenging thing for me is opening and running a business while dealing with a lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression. As I said before, it’s important to always try to see the forest through the trees and that can be hard when you add those to the mix. Solving this challenge goes back to taking things one day at a time and having a strong support system. My husband is the crux of my support system.

 

Vidisheva: When you start a business, the challenges are never-ending and ever-changing. You learn to accept them as part of the journey. My biggest challenge was managing my busy professional life when my grandmother was ill. It was challenging emotionally and physically, but I am grateful I got to spend time with her before her passing. That wouldn't have been possible without my amazing team, who went above and beyond to make it doable for me.

 

Did you/do you have a mentor? Other female entrepreneurs you admire?

 

Bercier: My old boss, Gina Babineaux who has started several successful businesses.

Admire: Sarah Blakely of Spanx.

 

Dietrich: I’ve had a ton of mentors throughout the years. I had a boss at the agency where I worked who was incredible. Then, as I started my business, I hired coaches and joined Vistage. Both of those things were incredibly helpful. Today, I study more on my own— everything from marketing and customer experience to business growth and sustainability.

 

Admire: Michelle Obama, Brené Brown, and Susan Cain are the ones you’ve heard of. In my industry, there is Ann Handley, Michele Linn, Cathy McPhilips, Mary Getz, and several of our women entrepreneur clients. They inspire me daily.

 

Leah: Oprah once said that she surrounded herself with people smarter than her, and I can say that I do that every day. Everyone has something to teach you, you just have to listen. Admire: Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, Rachel Hollis, Sara Blakely, Brené Brown, Vera Wang, Taylor Swift, J.K. Rowling, Sheryl Sandberg and Barbara Corcoran—to name just a few!

 

Puffpaff: My Aunt has always been a huge influence in my life. As a young adult, she found herself in a male-dominated field where she had to fight to make a name for herself, even though she was more qualified than most of the men she worked with or worked for. Her drive to work through tough situations and keep going even has helped push me when things are hard.

 

Admire: I’m a part of a lot of mom blogs full of female entrepreneurs and I admire them all. Being a mother is challenging. Being a partner is challenging. Being a businesswoman is challenging. Trying to mix and find the balance in all of these is nearly impossible and yet I see women doing it successfully and to their fullest every day.

 

Swan: Kristi Brocoto, founder of The Basketry. Kristi was my first boss and the biggest influencer in my decision to pursue a degree in marketing and later take the entrepreneurial journey. I was inspired by her Kristi’s passion, commitment and drive to grow her specialty gift basket service and her generosity to the community she operates in. 

 

Vidisheva: Pauline Brown is a friend and mentor. We first met professionally when I interviewed at The Carlyle Group where she was a partner. Over the years, Pauline has become a close friend. I made a leap to pursue Shoptiques at her house, and her support, advice and encouragement has helped me tremendously. Today, Pauline sits on the board of Shoptiques and guides and advises me and our team. 

 

Admire: Jessica Livingston, Anne Wojcicki, Reshma Saujani, Sara Blakely.

 

What keeps you going?

 

Bercier & Swan:  Songs: Do the Next Right Thing from Frozen 2 and This Girl is on Fire by Alicia Keys. Podcast: How I Built This.

 

Dietrich: I’m a cyclist and, and while I’ve taken a sabbatical from racing while I raise a kid, I cannot focus without a good ride every day. The other day was a rest day but I was in such a bad mood, I needed to do something. So I went to SoulCycle where the instructor was dressed in an Elton John, sparkly Dodgers jumpsuit. That made me much happier and I was able to lead my team without being a grouch.

 

Leah: My favorite quote I tell myself almost daily is, “You only fail if you stop trying.” It’s also important to remember: If you don't go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, then you are always in the same place. You only fail if you stop trying.

 

Puffpaff: I had a tutor in middle school who always told me to “go the extra mile.” I apply this everyday with my customers and my employees. Most people think haircuts are just haircuts. But when a parent comes in with a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism or a general fear of strangers cutting their hair, the haircut becomes much more. I’ve watched my stylists lay on the floor playing with kids for an hour before attempting to cut a kids hair.

I push my stylists to have that mentality with our customers, but I also have that mentality with them. Most of my stylists are young and just starting out in the “real world.” We go the extra mile for each other.

 

Vidisheva: Our team and our partners. Each time I step into the office, I am grateful to work with such a passionate and driven team who wants to help small businesses around the world succeed and who raise the bar of excellence every day! I am challenged by them, proud to work with them and excited to create something so impactful together.

 

Also, our partners. Small businesses have so much passion for what they do. We feel so grateful to work with them and help them grow and succeed in today’s world. Every time a boutique tells me they didn’t shut down because of our tools or grew 30% more than they expected because of our software, it just makes all the hard work worth it!

 

Writer’s Note: I have met many women entrepreneurs in my career who have inspired me . Here are some motivating quotes from some of them:

 

  • Sara Blakley, founder,Spanx: “The smartest thing I ever did was to hire my weakness.”

 

  • JJ Ramberg, Founder & Managing Director, GoodShop, Cofounder, Goodpods: “A lot of us start out nimble. You need to stay that way. You want to have that in your culture. Check to see why things are going wrong and fix them. Understand what’s going on in your business so you know if there’s a drop somewhere.”

 

  • Anita Roddick, founder, The Body Shop “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” And, “If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just.”

 

  • Muriel Siebert, founder, Siebert Financial Corp, first woman to own a seat on NY Stock Exchange: “When a door is hard to open, and if nothing else works, sometimes you just have to rear back and kick it open.” And, “Do your homework all of your life.”

 

  • Martha Stewart, founder, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia: “When you’re through changing, you’re through.” And, “Without an open mind, you can never be a great success.”

 

  • Lillian Vernon, founder, Lillian Vernon Corp.: “Don’t spend more money than you’ve got. Don’t spend money before you’ve got it.”

 

  • Oprah Winfrey, founder Harpo Productions, OWN, Oprah.com: “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” And, “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.”

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the Rieva headshot.pngblog SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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 materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

 

Whether you’re a mentor or a mentee, being part of a mentoring relationship is powerful. The American Psychological Association says having a mentor can be “lifechanging.”mentor pic.jpg

 

According to Bridget Weston, the acting CEO of SCORE, the country’s premier source of free business mentoring and education, “Entrepreneurs who work with a mentor are five times more likely to start a business than those who do not have a mentor. And, small business owners who receive three or more hours of mentoring report higher revenues and increased growth.”

 

Mentorship can take many forms. But for small business owners, getting assistance from successful entrepreneurs (like at SCORE) or corporate giants can be especially helpful.

 

Imagine getting advice (and more) from one of the most successful American companies—Procter & Gamble, a multinational consumer goods corporation, founded in 1837. Sound like an impossible dream? It’s not. P&G Ventures is the internal startup studio within Procter & Gamble. Established in 2015, it “partners with entrepreneurs and inventors to discover and create consumer products, brands, and businesses that solve people’s needs in categories new to P&G.”

 

P&G Ventures has created a unique partnership model, “providing funding and access to their experts, resources, and capabilities to help partners find their best customers, prove their technology, and create their brand.” The idea is to marry P&G’s many decades of business expertise with the “scrappy entrepreneurial approach.” As a result, the partners are able to develop their products with the full force of P&G’s consumer insight, branding, and regulatory expertise behind them.

 

The core belief at P&G Ventures is that great ideas can come from anywhere—which is one of the reasons they created the Innovation Challenge, an annual event taking place during the Consumer Electronics Show.

 

Lauren Thaman, Director of Communications at P&G Ventures, says the Innovation Challenge is a great opportunity to reach entrepreneurs and inventors. Companies that are chosen to participate in the Challenge are flown to Las Vegas, given access to CES and pitch their idea. The winners are chosen and get $10,000 on the spot. 

That’s when the mentoring kicks in. P&G executives are there to offer advice. Thaman says they’re “committed to helping entrepreneurs. Sometimes they don’t know what they don’t know.  [We help] them understand what’s possible.”

 

Sometimes partners get seed money; other times they need marketing help. The partnerships, says Thaman, are a “win/win for the partners and us.”

 

Committed to women

 

Mentorship at P&G Ventures goes far beyond the Innovation Challenge. P&G Ventures teamed up with Vinetta Project, a chapter-based organization that connects women founders to capital and resources to scale their businesses.

 

Betsy Bluestone, the Commercial Discovery Leader at P&G Ventures says gender equality is incredibly important to P&G, and they weren’t seeing a lot of deal flow from female founders. So they teamed up with Vinetta Project to help female founders scale.

 

Vinetta Project holds pitch events, dinners and boot camps. They pair founders with “coaches” within P&G. Bluestone says this helps them “understand the challenges [the founders] are facing.” They had their first official cohort last year, but Bluestone says, “many of the relationship continue informally.”

 

Madelaine Czufin, Director of Platform for Vinetta Project says, “There’s a funding gap. Less than 3% of VC [venture capital] money goes to women.” By creating a platform that provides programming, networking, mentoring and more, it’s about “what will allow female founders to get access to growth.”

 

Bluestone underscores the power of mentoring. “People don’t think about strategic partnerships or how corporations can be a supportive partner” for small businesses. Helping with “brand building can be as valuable as giving money. Plus, there are “other ways to provide resources to help their businesses grow, such as paying for clinical trials or doing consumer testing” for their products.

 

Vinetta and P&G are “looking to support product driven, consumable companies with recurring revenue models” in eight areas:

 

1.      Sleep

 

2.      Menopause

 

3.     Pain

 

4.     Aging

 

5.     Male Wellness

 

6.     Performance

 

7.     Skin

 

8.     Non-Toxic Home

 

As a Vinetta Project mentor, Bluestone advises her mentees to “think about what your potential exits are and to build relationships with those targets early.”

 

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

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 SmallBizDaily.com. 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. Rieva headshot.png

 

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: www.growbizmedia.com 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 materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

All entrepreneurs dream of hitting it big. But building a successful company based on a fad is different from building one based on prevailing trends. It’s more crap shoot than sure thing. fad pic.jpg

 

When I first started writing about entrepreneurs, people were still buzzing about the man who made millions from a rock. Yes, a rock. The Pet Rock came on the market in August 1975. It was a rock cleverly packaged in a small cardboard box designed to look like a pet carrier, complete with air holes. The rock retailed for $3.95. Sounds silly, right? Well, sales were meteoric—millions were sold immediately after its market debut. Pet Rocks had a strong Christmas season, and then sales slowed.

 

The creator of the Pet Rock was hailed as a successful entrepreneur. But it’s not the kind of success you can predict—or easily duplicate. (Can you imagine writing a business plan for a rock?) The Pet Rock was a fad. And while you can make money from a fad, you can also lose your shirt.

 

The difference between trends and fads

 

At a glance, trends and fads may seem like the same thing. It can be confusing since we usually describe the latest thing as “trendy.” Fads and trends often emerge the same way—a new product or service suddenly becomes popular and generates a lot of buzz. It’s what comes next that marks the difference.

 

Fads have a half-life, while trends boast some staying power. Trends can last a decade or more and even when they do end, they tend to fade away more slowly.

 

Sometimes something starts as a fad, becomes a trend and then morphs into a solid business. Think Uggs. Or a trend loses its buzz, but becomes entrenched in our daily lives, like cupcakes.

 

Fads are not bad

 

There’s nothing wrong with investing in a fad. The problem arises when entrepreneurs mistake a fad for a trend and put all their eggs in that basket. Remember, the life cycle of a fad is short. They burn bright; then they burn out.

 

Timing is everything. If you hit it right, you can make a lot of money, but it’s risky business. Success is really a matter of serendipity. You not only need to know when to get in, but more important, you need to know when to get out. If you don’t time your exit right, you can end up with warehouses full of expensive excess inventory.

 

Becoming a trendwatcher

 

Trendwatching is not complex. It’s simply about paying attention and being proactive. Here are some things you can do to become a trendwatcher.

 

·       Read. To stay in the know, check out newsletters, magazines and websites of your industry and related ones. Read your local newspaper and regional magazines. Follow influential bloggers and business thought leaders on social media.

 

·       Hit the road. Attend conferences and go to trade shows. But, realize products you see at trade shows could be fads that have already peaked. Two years ago unicorns were all the rage, only to quickly be replaced by llamas.

 

·       Pop culture. Movies, TV shows, etc. offer a treasure trove of clues. In 1995, a new haircut worn by Jennifer Aniston on Friends, quickly swept the nation. Women demanded “the Rachel.” Hairstylists who were out of the loop instantly seemed old-fashioned and clueless. Fast forward a decade and in New Moon, the first book (and later movie) in the mega-popular Twilight series about a teen falling in love with a vampire, the girl wore lots of plaid shirts. Within months teens girls across the nation were snapping up plaid shirts faster than retailers could keep them in stock.

 

·       Listen to your customers. Often the easiest way to know what’s hot (or not) is track your own sales trends. What’s selling? What’s not? Which of your products are your customers talking about?

 

·       Research. Regularly check out Google Trends, Bing Keyword Research, the most popular Pins on Pinterest or the Pinterest 100.

 

The thrill of the fad

 

There’s no real science to picking winning fads or trends. You can play it safe or you can take a leap. For many, the risk of embracing a fad is part of the thrill of being an entrepreneur.

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

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 SmallBizDaily.com. 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. Rieva headshot.png

 

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: www.growbizmedia.com 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 materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Ya gotta believe!” While this was the rallying cry of the 1973 New York Mets, it also serves as an entrepreneurial mantra for many. If you want to succeed in business, it helps to be optimistic. Optimism is what allows small business owners to surmount sometimes impossible odds to achieve improbable outcomes.

 

According to the just-released 2019 Bank of America Small Business Owner Snapshot, “Entrepreneurs remain optimistic about the strength of their local economies” and 82% mike-petrucci-c9FQyqIECds-unsplash.jpgsay they’re “poised to end 2019 on a high note…anticipating higher revenue” than last year.

 

They’re not quite as confident about the national economy, with 49% saying it will improve, down from 55% in last fall’s Snapshot. The political climate in the U.S., GDP growth rate, inflation and interest rate concerns have impacted their national outlook.

 

Trade Winds

 

Nearly half of the small business owners (44%) report being affected by “recent U.S. trade tariffs and policy.” Of those affected, 19% experienced a negative impact, 16% said the impact was “mixed” and 9% claimed a positive impact.

 

Put Adam Rizza, Chief Creative Officer of Sunscape Eyewear, in the negatively impacted bucket. Tariffs have affected his business—and what’s worse, he doesn’t think they’re going away anytime soon—if ever.

 

“The tariffs were inevitable,” he says, “and they’re here to stay. Sunscape currently manufactures their eyewear in China and Rizza says the factories there have “been advised not to give discounts” to American companies. Companies like his are “being squeezed,” he says. Retail buyers don’t want to pay more for wholesale goods and consumers don’t want to pay more for products in-store or online. “So ultimately,” he adds, “we’re going to have to eat it. Small businesses will suffer. The big guys have ways to get around it.”

 

But being the quintessential entrepreneur, Rizza found a solution. “We had to adjust, so we cut overhead and operational costs. But we can’t jeopardize quality, so we have to look outside China.” Sunscape, which has been doing business with Chinese factories for nearly 20 years, is now looking at moving production to Vietnam and is already manufacturing a new line of products here in America.

 

Like Rizza, the Snapshot shows 61% of small businesses have experienced an increase in the cost of goods. Most (55%) have raised their prices and 24% have lost customers as a result.

 

Tis the Season…

 

And while the Snapshot shows small business owners intend to enjoy the holidays (38% are going on vacation), 54% are stressed. Some are worried about balancing work and life (42%) and staffing issues (18%). To combat these concerns, they’re embracing some extra self-care (48%) and hiring seasonal employees (15%).

 

Other holiday season challenges are more customer-centric, such as creating customer demand (37%), keeping prices competitive (36%) and competing with the big box stores and online retailers (15%).

 

How will they cope with these challenges? Some plan to power through by developing new processes to handle a business influx (25%) while others, like me, will just guzzle more caffeine (21%).

 

Developing a 2020 Vision

 

What comes next? Despite those holiday stressors, as we head into the new decade, the entrepreneurs are embracing their inner Pollyanna – 80% plan to grow their businesses next year. Their top three goals: significantly increase revenue (47%), prioritize their online/social media presence (28%) and expand into new markets (23%).

 

Marketing smarter can help small business owners achieve those goals. Consider:

 

  • Embracing digital marketing. According to The Performance of Small and Medium Sized Businesses in a Digital Worldmall businesses that use digital tools are three times more likely to experience customer growth and two times as profitable.
  • Personalizing your emails. Instapage82% of marketers have reported an increase in open rates through email personalization. Plus, personalized email marketing generates a median ROI of 122%.
  • Increasing video marketing. According to HubSpot, 56% of 25-34-year-olds and 54% of 35-44-year-olds would like to see more video content from businesses.

 

For a better 2020, you’ll need to combine a positive outlook and practical business solutions.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business Rieva+Lesonsky+Headshot.pngand entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

A new year is on the horizon—along with a whole new decade. If your business brand is in need of a makeover, now could be the perfect time to shake things up.drawing-feedback-logos-critique-17845.jpg

 

Here are six reasons you should consider rebranding your business in 2020.

 

1. You’ve added a new product line or service to your business. Does your current brand fully convey these new additions? For instance, if your pizza restaurant is now brewing its own beer, incorporating that into the overall brand could attract new customers. Alternately, you might want to develop a separate, but related brand for the new products or services.

 

2. You’ve narrowed your focus. If your business originally was trying to be all things to all people, but now you’ve found your niche, rebranding to emphasize that change is a smart move. For example, if your general tutoring business now focuses on prepping high school students for the college entrance exam, you need to refocus your marketing efforts to reach that new demographic.

 

3. You’re expanding into a new market. If you’re expanding geographically, a brand that’s too locally or regionally oriented may limit you. You also need to make sure your brand resonates with prospective customers nationwide—or even worldwide—which probably requires some adjusting. For instance, international expansion may require a logo that conveys meaning without words.

 

4. Your brand is inconsistent. Due to budget issues, small businesses often update their marketing materials piecemeal, over time. Eventually, you can end up with a hodge-podge of logos, fonts or taglines that are all slightly different. If this sounds like you, either choose the most current brand identity you want to focus on or start fresh. Either way, you need to bring all your marketing materials in line.

 

5. Your brand is easy to confuse with a competitor. A new business copying your name, logo or brand isn’t the only thing that can confuse your customers. As you expand to new target markets or locations, you may suddenly be competing with businesses you never knew about whose brands are similar enough to yours to cause confusion.

 

6. Your brand is outdated. Every brand needs a refresher from time to time. If your logo was cutting-edge 10 or even five years ago, it probably looks pretty dated now. You might need a new look to fit in with current design trends or create a logo that reads well as a small online icon. If you’re too close to your brand to be impartial, try conducting customer surveys or calling in a focus group to give you their honest opinions.

 

How to make your rebrand work? Try these tips:

 

  • Go slow. You don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Small changes can be more effective at freshening up your brand while still retaining its value and familiarity to customers. If you want to modernize your brand, for instance, try updating fonts or taglines while retaining basic elements like colors.
  • Stay connected to your roots. If you rename your business, maintain a connection with your old name. For instance, co-working company WeWork recently announced it will be rebranding
  • Build anticipation
  • Involve customers in the rebrand. Give customers a stake in the rebrand by getting their input. Share potential logo designs or new business names for a vote or to get feedback. Customers can tell you if your new brand accurately conveys the message you want to send. After all, they’re the ones you need to please!

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and Rieva+Lesonsky+Headshot.pngentrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

As every small business owner knows, referrals from trusted connections or past customers are one of the best ways to get new business.

 

Building a strong local community network can help. Creating a local network has other business benefits as well. It provides a support system to encourage you and offer advice when you need it and exposes you to new ideas that can help grow your business.photo-of-people-doing-handshakes-3183172.jpg

 

How can you build a stronger business network in your local community? Here are three ideas.

 

1. Join local business organizations: Even if you’re already involved in national organizations such as your industry association, joining local business groups can have additional benefits. It doesn’t have to be an organization for your industry; the local Chamber of Commerce, leads club, Rotary club or other service organization are all great ways to meet other business owners, professionals and community leaders.

 

BNI, a worldwide networking organization, has a unique focus. Each local chapter allows only one member from each industry to join. Members focus on referring business to each other. Since you’re the only representative of your industry in your chapter, you won’t be competing with other members for customers or referrals. Also consider joining local organizations targeted to your own special interests, such as groups for women in business, Hispanic people in business or business owners under 30.

 

Can’t find such a group? Consider starting one. Whether you’re joining an existing group or starting one of your own, taking on a leadership role is the best way to get to know others and the most out of your membership.

 

Read next: Small Business Networking Plays Vital Role in Growth by Joel Comm

 

2. Get involved in a community-based social networking group: Sometimes it’s surprisingly hard to meet other business owners just down the street. After all, you’re both busy running your businesses, and if you’re in different industries, you may not belong to the same organizations.

 

That’s the problem Alignable, an online social network of over 4 million small business owners, was launched to solve. Joining Alignable is free and you can connect with other local business owners to get referrals, build relationships, spread the word about your business and get advice from your peers.

Townsquared is another free site that offers similar features to help small business owners make connections. If you’re already on LinkedIn, use it to search for other business owners in your area and get connected with them.

 

Many small business owners lack the time to physically get out and attend local business events. If that’s you, an online social networking group that’s focused on your local area is a way to accomplish many of the same goals without leaving your office.

 

3. Hold a networking event at your business: Often, the best way to meet other business owners is to make the first move yourself.

 

Get the addresses of local business owners in your area and stop by in-person to introduce yourself and invite them to a special event at your business where they can get to know lots of other local entrepreneurs. Hand out your invitations well in advance so you can plan for the appropriate number of people.

 

At the event, make it easy for people to network by planning some icebreaker activities or playing games. Provide refreshments, music and drinks to make it feel festive. Ask attendees to bring their business cards, share product samples, be ready to do a demonstration or otherwise find a way to bring their businesses alive to the others. Try holding a contest or giving prizes for the newest business, oldest business, most unusual business, etc.

 

If you’re having trouble finding local business owners to invite, you can try using Meetup, a social network that helps people connect for real-world activities.

You’ll never regret forming new relationships, and the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to do so. Start planning your community-building activities now and you can start 2020 off with more support than ever before.

 

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 SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Photography by Robert Meares

 

Kara Goldin was on a personal quest. She left her job at AOL in 2001 to start a family. And she “wanted to make a difference in the world.”

 

The family part came first. Then Goldin “found herself overweight, low energy and suffering from adult acne.” The culprit, she decided was diet soda—so she quit cold turkey.

She also was worried about the sugar-laden beverages her kids were drinking. The solution to the beverage problems was water, but water is bland, and Goldin didn’t think it would be a long-term fix. So she started “cutting up fruit and throwing it into pitchers of water.”

 

Hint-051320190577_PInk.jpg

When a friend noticed Goldin’s water with fresh cucumbers in it, she said, “Someone should bottle that.” That’s all the motivation the former tech exec needed. While pregnant with her 4th child, Goldin traveled halfway across the country to find a bottler who would make her calorie-free flavored water with no sweeteners or preservatives.

 

In 2005 she launched hint water—water with a “hint of fruit.” When I first met her in 2013, she admitted she was a little naïve. She had to battle the big guys (Coke and Pepsi) for shelf space, particularly in the big grocery chains. One of her first big breaks came when she landed a deal with Whole Foods. Today, her lines of hint waters (still, sparkling, kick and kids) is on the shelves of grocery stores nationwide.

 

In 2017 Goldin had some pre-cancerous cells on her nose. She didn’t like the sunscreens on the market and, once again, motivated by a personal quest—she created hint sunscreen.

 

What drives Goldin? I caught up with her a few weeks ago to find out.

 

Rieva Lesonsky: When I first interviewed you in 2013, you were well on your way to success. Since then Hint has experienced explosive growth.

 

Kara Goldin: We are [now] a thriving and expanding company with 200 employees. Today we’re the largest independent non-alcoholic beverage company in the country that doesn’t have a relationship with Coke, Pepsi or Keurig Dr Pepper.

 

Lesonsky: When you launched you didn’t “know anything about beverages.” What gave you the courage to keep going?

 

Goldin: I thought if Hint could make me drink more water and get healthier, then it would help others too. All along we had to educate the consumer. I figured out that “diet” wasn’t necessarily healthier. So we focused on having a great-tasting product with no sugar or sweeteners of any kind. If you have a great product, the consumer will tell you whether or not it’s good. We even created a new category called “unsweetened flavored water.”

 

Today, more than ever, people actively choose a healthy option if they don’t have to compromise on enjoyment, or, in this case, taste. Hint has always been ahead of the market and Hint’s mantra “Drink Water, Not Sugar” has caught on. We led the way and continue to innovate by offering more options to more people, reaching every generation, every demographic, every ethnicity, everybody.

 

Lesonsky: Now the company is branching beyond water, introducing kids water and sunscreen. Why these products?

 

Goldin: It’s always about solving a problem that’s personal. I had a bout with skin cancer, I couldn’t find a product that didn’t contain ingredients dermatologists told me to avoid including oxybenzone and parabens. So it always starts like that.

 

Lesonsky: Do you plan to introduce other products at a future date?

 

Goldin: Yes, deodorant is on the way very soon and we are always thinking about innovations to make it easier for people to be healthier. There is definitely more to come.

Lesonsky: Seems to me you take the ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary. How do you look at it?

 

Goldin: I try to remember what really matters, why we started Hint and what keeps us inspired—helping people lead healthier lives without compromising on enjoyment.

Lesonsky: Business history is full of examples of entrepreneurs with great ideas who were able to start and grow but weren’t capable of scaling their businesses. You’re an exception. How have you avoided the problems so many others experience?

 

Goldin: Passion trumps experience. Trust your gut. Develop a network of people who can help you figure stuff out.

 

Lesonsky: Back in 2013, you told me your philosophy was being “scrappy” is what it takes to be an entrepreneur. How would you describe your philosophy today?

 

Goldin: I’m still scrappy. I tell entrepreneurs all the time that I never said to myself, “I want to be an entrepreneur” or “I want to be a beverage entrepreneur.” I never take “no’s” as an answer, I solve problems and give people irresistible solutions.

 

Lesonsky: You wanted to “make a difference” in the world. You obviously have. What drives you to keep going?

 

Goldin: I just thought if I could actually get people to enjoy water again, instead of drinking all those other things that not only have sugar, but also diet sweeteners, then we could actually change health. I ultimately want to help make everyone healthy.

 

Lesonsky: What has been your greatest challenge and how did you solve it?

 

Goldin: My main challenge was mass producing our flavored water without adding perservatives or sweeteners. Everyone said it couldn’t be done. Frankly we had no idea, because the industry experts didn’t have any idea how to develop a product without using preservatives. But we researched how fruit juice is pasteurized to extend its shelf life and went on to devise a similar technique for our waters and the rest is history, as they say.

 

Lesonsky: Any advice for startup women entrepreneurs?

 

Goldin: Find a problem that needs to be solved and go do it. If you can solve the problem, like I’ve done with drinking water, you can help millions of people.

 

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 SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

To what do women business owners owe their success—and what remains to be done to help the next generation of women entrepreneurs?

 

Bank of America recently released its 2019 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight, its fourth annual study exploring women entrepreneurs’ goals and challenges. Here’s a closer look at the findings.

 

Women Business Owners Are Optimistic

 

Women in the survey are optimistic about their businesses’ futures, with ambitious growth plans. In fact, they are more likely than men to plan to hire, expand or apply for a loan in the next 12 months. (The survey polled both men and women entrepreneurs with $100,000-$4,999,999 in annual revenues and two-99 employees.)

 

Some 84% of the women surveyed expect their revenues to grow year-over-year. What’s more, 52% expect their local economies to improve, and 47% expect the national economy to improve.

 

Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Concerns

 

However, women business owners also have significant concerns about the future. Over the next 12 months, their biggest concerns are:

Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 4.24.45 PM.png

 

Digging deeper into how women feel about access to capital, the report uncovered some unsettling news.

 

  • Although most women entrepreneurs believe access to capital has improved over the past 10 years, 58% say they don’t have the same access to capital as their male counterparts.
  • Only 34% of women surveyed believe women business owners will ever gain equal access to capital. On average, they believe it won’t happen until 2033.
  • And 24% of the women surveyed don’t think women will everhave equal access to capital.

 

Part of the problem: 54% of men entrepreneurs surveyed think women business owners alreadyhave equal access to capital. Business financing options such as venture capital, angel investment and bank loans are still predominantly overseen by men. If men don’t see a problem, it’s hard for the situation to change.

 

What Would Help Women Business Owners Most?

 

The survey posed several societal changes that could possibly occur in the next five years, and asked women which one would have the biggest effect on leveling the playing field for the next generation of women entrepreneurs. Here’s what they said:

 

  • Having more women in powerful positions of influence 35%
  • Pay equity 22%
  • Creating stronger networks of women 12%
  • Redefining gender norms 10%
  • Achieving equal access to capital 8%

 

Fortunately, there are things we can all do to help these changes come about.

 

  • Seek opportunities to promote women into leadership roles in your business. Mentor female employees or match women employees with mentors in your business to cultivate their skills.
  • Commit to pay equity in your business. Learn more about pay equity and do a self-audit of your business.
  • Grow your network of women. Join organizations for women business owners such as NAWBOeWomenNetwork or the American Business Women’s Association. Look for a local networking group for women or start your own.
  • Get involved in organizations that mentor girls and young women. (More than half of women in Bank of America’s survey say having a mentor was key to their entrepreneurial success.) Mentor girls in STEM careers, help girls “be bold” through Girls Inc., or be part of the Enterprising Women Foundation’s mentoring initiative.
  • Be a role model for girls and young women in your life. It doesn’t have to be all about business: The top factors women in the survey say contributed to their entrepreneurial success include getting a college degree (62%), participating in the arts (35%), playing competitive sports (30%) and serving on student council (26%).
  • Put your money where your mouth is by investing in women business owners worldwide through Kiva or Women for Women.

 

Women entrepreneurs can take heart in knowing we have the power to effect change. By helping other women, you can create a better world for all women entrepreneurs. 

 

    Read next:

 

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 SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Americans have long had a passion for pets, but millennials are taking that interest to new heights.

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Since 2017, when millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest single group of pet owners (35% vs. 32% respectively), they’ve been spending lavishly on “luxury, high-design and high-quality products and services,” JWT Intelligence reports.

 

Seven in 10 millennials own a pet; they spend $67 billion annually on pet dogs and $33.5 billion annually on pet cats.

 

What’s different about millennial pet owners, and how can you capture your share of this booming market? Read on.

 

Why Millennial Pet Owners Are Such a Hot Market

 

According to a Wakefield Research survey, there are three characteristics making millennial pet owners an especially promising target market:

 

    • Exhibitionists: Nine in 10 millennials are on social networks; many have a social media account just for their pets.
    • Conscientious: Millennials strive to keep their pets healthy with organic pet food, wellness supplements and dog day-cares for exercise. Not surprisingly then, 60% of millennials say their pets eat better than they do.
    • Impulsive: Millennials are more likely to splurge on pet products and services, such as fancy pet beds or expensive treats, than other age groups. In fact, many millennials say they splurge more often on their pets than on themselves.

 

What Pet Products and Services Are Popular?

 

Food

Food is the biggest pet-related expense for millennials, who prefer foods that are grain free, have “superfood” additions or limited ingredients for special diets. Millennials seek authenticity and demand transparency regarding pet food ingredients and where the ingredients are sourced.

 

Technology

Millennials use tech to stay connected to their pets. More than half of millennial pet owners use pet-related technology, including health and nutrition apps (24%), pet monitoring cameras (22%), smart toys (20%) and tracking devices (20%). Rover connects pet owners with pet services; PetSafe sells high-tech pet gadgets like training collars.

 

Home Goods

One-third of millennials who bought their first homein 2017 said needing more space for their dog was a factor. Among non-homeowning millennials, 42% say their dog (or their desire to get one) would be a factor in buying a home. Millennials seek home goods that not only serve a pet purpose (like hiding a litter box) but look good doing so. They also want products that help their pets get exercise, be comfortable and be safe at home.

 

Health Care

Veterinary care is the second-biggest pet-related expense for millennials; many are turning to non-mainstream alternatives to help keep their pets healthy. Nearly a quarter pamper their pets with aromatherapy, reflexology or naturopathy; 26% have given pets massage, chiropractic, acupuncture or physical therapy. Anti-anxiety products to reduce pets’ stress, natural wellness and healthcare products, and CBD products are all popular.

 

Pet Care

Dog day care, pet hotels (that is, boarding), pet-sitting and pet walking are all reliable business opportunities, but you need to add a touch of luxury. Millennials expect a high-end, personalized experience, such as cameras to watch their pets remotely and detailed reports on the pet’s day.

 

Transportation

Whether they consider pets an accessory or think of them as part of the family, 61% of millennials say pets must be portable. (For example, 53% believe eating with their pets at restaurants is “essential.”) Pet strollers, tote-style carriers, and backpack or front carriers are popular, and retail site Zulily regularly sells out of “pet-pouch hoodies”—sweatshirts with a front pouch to carry a pet.

 

Pet Clothing and Accessories

Some 92% of millennial pet owners buy their pets gifts such as toys, clothing and treats; 51% do so at least monthly. Millennials are twice as likely as boomers to buy their pets clothing (60% do so). Essentially, any pet accessory that can create an Insta-worthy pet photo is likely to sell well.

 

Pet Parent Accessories

More than eight in 10 millennial pet owners have bought merchandise to advertise their proud pet parenthood. The most popular are calendars (43%), clothing (42%), cups/mugs (37%), door signs or welcome mats (33%), and wall art (32%).

 

Zulily reports millennials generally prefer to buy pet food, accessories and toys online, but would rather buy treats, bedding and clothing in person. If you’re planning to start a brick-and-mortar pet store, keep it “boutique” with unique, authentic and upscale products. Make sure you and your employees are knowledgeable about pets and product lines—almost two-thirds of millennials think they know more about pets than pet-store employees do.

 

 

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 SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Is work/life balance easier to achieve for small business owners? Or is it harder? The answer is both, depending on who and when you ask.

 

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Owning your own business seems to offer greater potential for achieving work/life balance, but especially in the early years of starting up, reaching that elusive goal may seem impossible.

 

In a survey by GetResponse, almost one-third of small business owners cited work/life balance as a reason they started their companies. How did that work out for them? The numbers speak for themselves:

 

  • 25% work more than 40 hours a week
  • 69% answer business emails in their free time
  • 91% work weekends
  • 26% never stop thinking about their business
  • 16% haven’t taken a vacation in over 4 years

 

Personally, I don’t think work/life balance is possible to achieve. Instead, I like to think of it as a work/life seesaw. Most of the time, either work or your personal life will predominate; there’s only a very small fraction of time when everything will be equally balanced.And unlike riding a seesaw, there are times when both work and your personal life are making extreme demandson your time.

 

A survey by FlexJobs found employees value work/life balance more highly than salary when considering taking a new position. There are some ways you can help both yourself and your team find better work/life balance.

 

For your team’s work/life balance:

  • Allow remote work. Set your employees up so they can work outside the office at least some of the time. Using cloud-based data storage and collaboration tools such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft’s Office 365 makes it easy for you and your team to work from anywhere you have an internet connection.

 

  • Be flexible: If you can’t allow employees to work remotely, try to offer as much flexibility as possible. For example, can your employees work from 7 to 4 instead of 9 to 5? Can they work four, 10-hour days and have the fifth day off? At a minimum, giving employees time off for things such as doctor’s appointments or children’s school plays will help improve your employees’ sense of work/life balance and keep them happier.

 

For your own work/life balance:

  • Prioritize. When you feel swamped, take a look at what’s on your plate and focus on what’s truly important. Usually, that means work only you can do, that delivers high value (such as growing your business), and that serves your most important customers.
  • Negotiate. Do you have a dozen deadlines all hitting on the same day? You’d be surprised how often clients are willing to be flexible. If you know the project is not an urgent priority for the customer, see if you can talk to the customer and extend your deadline. Use this tactic only with established clients who know your track record—and only in dire situations—so it doesn’t damage your reputation.
  • Get help. Many small business owners hate to delegate work, even when they have perfectly capable employees who could handle it. If your work/life balance is out of whack, identify tasks you’re currently doing that someone else could handle, and train them how to take over.
  • Don’t have employees? Look into hiring part-time contractors or virtual assistants or handing off some of your personal life duties, like cooking, cleaning or picking up dry cleaning, to your family. Make sure you are taking advantage of business apps that can automate and streamline time-consuming menial tasks, such as scheduling blog posts or email blasts, coordinating meetings or generating invoices.
  • Schedule some downtime. Whether it’s a short meditation every morning, a vigorous game of tennis on Sundays, or a weekly lunch with a friend, build in a little bit of time every week to decompress. Even when you’re working your hardest, having that downtime in your calendar and sticking to it will make you feel like you’re not just a work machine.

 

Work/life balance may be almost impossible to attain, but trying to get as close as possible will give you more energy for both your life and your business.

 

 

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 SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

After spending a summer looking at your friends’ and colleagues’ vacation photos on social media, you might be itching for a little time away yourself.

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For busy small business owners, a two-week trip to Europe may be out of the question. Just 9% of small business owners surveyed by OnDeck say they take two-week vacations. But that doesn’t mean you have to go without any R&R. More than half (57%) of small business owners surveyed plan to take a vacation of some sort and combining business and leisure on a long weekend trip is a great way to get the best of both worlds.

 

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your get away.

 

Look for a destination with plenty to offer. Is there an industry convention coming up in Hawaii or New Orleans? Do you have a client in New York City or San Francisco? If so, see if you can’t combine a business trip with some time off in one of these popular vacation destinations. If you’re planning to bring your spouse or children along, make sure there will be activities to occupy them during the times you’re meeting with the client or attending your business events.

 

Plan ahead. For many small business owners, the idea of completely unplugging from their businesses increases panic. If this is you, you’re not alone: more than two-thirds of the business owners in the OnDeck survey say they check in with work at least once a day while  on vacation. A trip that combines business and pleasure gives you the perfect excuse to relax a bit while still checking your emails. On the other hand, if you do want to enjoy some real downtime, make sure your team back at the office is prepared to handle things during the days you’ll be vacationing.

 

Keep good records of your expenses. Some of your business travel expenses may be deductible, including the cost of transportation to and from your destination, lodging, meals, tips and taxis or other transportation at your destination. In order to claim these deductions, you’ll need to keep careful records and separate business from personal expenses. Shoeboxed is a great, simple app to scan, digitize and organize your receipts.

 

Know the tax laws. In order to be deductible, your travel destination has to be outside your business’s “tax home” (the city where your business is located) and the business purpose of your trip must require an overnight stay. Any expenses you deduct for business must be considered “ordinary and necessary” and directly related to your business.

In order to deduct any part of your trip as business travel expenses, the business portion of your trip has to be longer than the vacation part. A day counts as a business day if the majority of your time during business hours are spent on business purposes. Traveling to or from the business location also counts as a business day; so do weekends if they are in between two days that are devoted to business. This makes a Friday to Monday trip a perfect way to maximize your deductions and your downtime, as long as you conduct  business on Friday and on Monday.

 

The IRS has strict rules for what you can deduct as a business travel expense, and recent tax law changes have affected many formerly allowable deductions. Visit the IRS website for more on deductible business travel expenses and talk to your tax professional before making travel plans.

 

As busy entrepreneurs, we all need time to rest and recharge to keep our businesses functioning at peak performance. Combining business with pleasure over a long weekend can help you re-energize while growing your business. What could be better?

 

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 SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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

Are you passionate about health, fitness and nutrition? So are millions of Americans. According to The Global Wellness Institute, the wellness industry grew by 12.8 percent between 2015 and 2017 and accounts for 5.3 percent of the global economy.

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This could be an ideal time to launch a wellness business.

 

What is wellness? From organic skin-care products to meditation apps, the concept encompasses just about every product or service you can think of that affects the mind, body and spirit. However, the following key sectors identified by GWI are most promising for entrepreneurs:

 

  • Personal care, beauty and anti-aging ($1,083 billion in 2017)
  • Healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss ($702 billion)
  • Wellness tourism ($639 billion)
  • Fitness and mind-body ($595 billion)
  • Spa economy ($119 billion)
  • Workplace wellness ($48 billion)

 

Here’s an overview of some of the fastest-growing wellness trends that have the greatest potential as business startups.

 

Personalized diet and nutrition counseling

 

“Personalized” is the key word in today’s diet, nutrition and weight loss industry, a market that some estimates project will hit $11.5 billion by 2025. Successful entrepreneurs will tailor nutrition advice to clients’ specific goals, genetic makeup and food sensitivities, as well as special diets such as keto, vegan, paleo or Mediterranean. There’s a focus on improving overall health and performance rather than simply losing weight.

 

Meditation

 

Like yoga 20 years ago, meditation is just starting to explode, according to The 2019 Global Wellness Trends Report. Already, meditation is tied with yoga as the most popular alternative medicine practice in the country, but there’s still potential for more growth. In the coming year, look for drop-in meditation centers, fitness programs that incorporate meditation, and a wider range of ancient meditation practices to enter the mainstream.

 

Wellness travel

 

In contrast to “overtourism,” (tourists flooding popular vacation spots), wellness travelers seek to boost both mind and body with vacations that enhance their physical, mental and spiritual wellness. That could mean traditional spa activities such as daily yoga and meditation with a vegan diet prepared by a chef or going “off the beaten path” to experience little-known wellness practices of local cultures. 

 

Workplace wellness

 

Anxiety disorder is the top mental health issue in America. Not only does anxiety cause personal problems, it also cuts into business productivity and reduces employee satisfaction. As businesses strive to retain employees in a competitive market, a workplace wellness business that helps promote happier, healthier employee lifestyles will be in demand. You can provide everything from massage and yoga to meditation and fitness training to office workers.

 

One-stop wellness centers

 

“Holistic” is the buzzword for wellness in 2019 and beyond, according to The 2019 Global Wellness Trends Report. That’s behind the trend of wellness centers that incorporate medical treatment, fitness classes, nutritional advice, personal trainers, yoga and meditation and other wellness activities in one place. Similar to co-working spaces, one-stop wellness centers provide a place for members to drop in and have all of their wellness needs taken care of in a community of like-minded people. Consider partnering with other wellness entrepreneurs to start a center or locating your business in an existing center.

 

Wellness apps

 

Would you rather write code than do crunches? There’s still opportunity for tech startups to create apps that help people track their fitness progress, monitor their food intake or stick to their meditation practice. Just be sure to check out the competition closely before you start developing your big idea, so you don’t enter a niche that’s already saturated. Female reproductive and sexual health are areas with promise, according to The 2019 Global Wellness Trends Report.

 

Pet wellness

 

The same wellness trends that humans embrace quickly trickle down to our furry friends. According to CB Insights, high-grade pet food, pet health products, pet fitness trackers and pet nutritional supplements are all growth areas attracting attention—and venture capital. If the market for a particular wellness concept is already saturated in the human space, pivoting to pets could give you the edge you need.

The global appetite for wellness isn’t going away. Starting a business to serve consumers’ quest for self-improvement offers the opportunity to help others while also making a healthy profit.

 

               Related Links

 

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 SmallBizDaily.com. 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: www.growbizmedia.com 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

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