Alexander Book Company is an independent bookstore located in downtown San Francisco with three floors of over 50,000 books. Get the Cheese, Avoid the Traps has received prominent placement at the Alexander Book Company. You will find us currently located in the window storefront, next to the cash register and downstairs in the business section. What does this mean for you as a business owner? Positioning. Get the Cheese, Avoid the Traps will teach you about positioning. It is important to learn about positioning and how to position your business in partnering with your ideal customer. Positioning is everything.
When you are positioned correctly it allows you the ability to get your ‘own’ piece of cheese and grow your business. If you stop by the Alexander Book Company you will get a chance to touch, browse through and see all of the wealth of information that Get the Cheese, Avoid the Traps has to offer you as a business owner to grow your business. I suggest that you pick up a copy for yourself and a friend today to learn how to best position yourself.
As a bonus once you have purchased and read Get the Cheese, Avoid the Traps I will offer you a free 20-minute personal consultation on the best way to position your business. Get your copy and get your chance to meet with me to help grow your business!
Want to learn how to demystify the elements of being a certified supplier? Join Vaneese Johnson and Vernita Naylor for our Get Your Business Certified Conference on August 28. We will take you through the steps for getting certified, reveal insider tips and show you how to market and partner with your ideal corporate and government buyer.
I wanted to save Google for last because their presence was felt and known throughout our three days in Washington, D.C. so welcome to Series 7. I was shocked to learn that they had a Google Washington, D.C. office and it was beautifully set up. On Day 2 we ended the day with a Google hosted Awards Program and Reception. This was such a great treat because not only were we able to get a chance to visit one of their many offices but we got a chance to celebrate the success of three businesses as they received the 2015 Small Business Award. Please join us in celebrating with Virginia McAllister, Iron Horse Architects who received the Technological Innovation Award; Chancee Lundy and Veronica Davis, Nspiregreen who received the Community Development Award and Beverly Hanstrom, Colorado Medical Waste who received the Sustainability Award. Congratulations ladies for helping to make this world a better, greener and sustainable place to live. If you want to read more about these ladies click here. Afterwards the party was on with great networking, music and excellent food. What a great way to end a business day.
At the end of Day 3 we attended a Google Technology Training. The training “Let’s Put Our Cities On The Map” is designed to help business owners maximize their online presence with insider tips and best practices for online marketing. Here’s an overview about the training and how the program works visit https://www.gybo.com/business. On the business page you will see either “Check My Business” or see a search box with “Does Your Business Info Show Up On Google?” enter your business name and city. Your entry will determine if you already have a business presence on Google Maps. If so your information will populate quickly like Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup) did then you will have the ability to edit the information if needed.
If your business does not currently exist on Google Maps you will see “Your Business Isn’t On The Map” then you will have the ability to add your business name and city. Once you have taken these steps you are on your way to enhancing your online presence using Google. In some cities you may have the opportunity to attend a Google Hosted Event designed to help you leverage your business online, create a free website and much more. If you are a business owner and interested in learning how Google can help you grow your business there are a wide array of tools and/or resources available visit Google Apps for Work.
If you are one of the Business Capacity Building Partners such as SCORE, SBDC or one of the Chambers of Commerce there is a program designed for you visit https://www.gybo.com/partners. As a part of this effort your organization will be considered a Google Official City Partner where you will have the ability to help businesses within your area to scale up and maximize their online presence with free resources and hosted workshops using Google tools. As business owners there are a lot of tools and resources available to help us in our businesses ask for a referral in your network or social group.
If you need a consultant to help take you to the next level in your business or need some training on supplier certification programs, building supplier-buyer-prime relationships or on government contracting call us at 1-800-865-0701 or email firstname.lastname@example.org remember these services are designed to help you with your ideal corporate or government partners.
We appreciate you taking the time to connect with us and look forward to connecting with you again soon.
In Series 5 we are winding down on Day 2 at the National Press Club. As a part of the Top 100 Businesses chosen nationwide we got a change to get up-close and personal with Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) at the National Press Club. Before giving you more information about our chat with Administrator Contreras-Sweet, we want to say thank you to our Keynote Speakers: New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Senator Gillibrand spoke about women entrepreneurship and how paid family medical leave is improving State to State while Senator Klobuchar discussed immigration reform and workforce development. Remember, don’t forget to read Small Business Leadership Summit Mixer (Series 1), Access to Capital (Series 2), Technology and Minority Entrepreneurship (Series 3) and Taxes and the Economy (Series 4).
Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet was extremely personable and engaging as she spoke with us about several things that was important to us as business owners from inspiration, innovation and access to capital to the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative. She provided us inspiration when she told of her journey to America. She came to America from Guadalajara, Mexico as a child with the inability to speak English. Once Maria began to learn English, embrace the encouragement of her family and began to gain her footing in America she established great success and prestige. Maria held several positions within the financial industry and one of her greatest accomplishments was founding, ProAmerica Bank in Los Angeles. Prior to being selected by President Obama as the Administrator for the Small Business Administration (SBA) ProAmerica Bank’s target market was the small to medium businesses within the Latino community. Maria’s goal was to bring business empowerment and to help the Latino community scale up as business owners.
As it pertained to innovation she told us that anything is possible it all depends upon how you look at it. Not only is Maria an example but she provided us several other examples of how people used what was around them to make a difference. Let me share a few of them with you:
Specialized spoon for those living with Parkinson’s, the spoon minimizes the shaking effect when eating
Sustainable mushroom products to replace Styrofoam products
Weekly quilt classes on Youtube that helped the business owner to increase sales and to become a solid brand
Maria created a new name Smart Bold Accessible for the Small Business Administration (SBA) because she envisioned a different and better path for SBA and its services. In this vision she notes a few things that can be either changed and/or improved immediately to fit into the name that she has branded for the SBA. Maria is working diligently to see it happen. She has taken on the financial industry again by seeking programs to improve access to capital and contract opportunities especially for Women Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs). For better resources in acquiring access to capital for business owners there is the SBA LINC. SBA LINC is a system that is similar to the Match.com process. Like Match.com you, the business owner answer specific questions in which you are then matched more precisely with an approved SBA lender that would best suit your business needs from staring a business and tenant improvements to working capital.
In order to help Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) to scale up Marie has taken the charge to improve the programs that focus on women. Marie realized that women were one of the most disadvantaged and underrepresented businesses and knew that in order to level the playing field that there were several elements that needed to be changed and/or improved. Marie is working on more set-aside programs for women businesses.
Another great opportunity that Marie mentioned was the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative that is similar to being certified under the SBA 8(a) Program. The Initiative is a seven-month training program designed to help growing businesses deal with the challenges of scaling up. The program is free and hosted in special areas depending upon host funds.
There are so many things that one can do to scale up from incorporating a new marketing strategy and partnering with another like business on a particular contract to either adding and/or improving an existing product or services. Share with us what you are doing to grow your business. We would love to hear from you. Of all of the submittals we will choose a few comments to post, will it be yours?
On Day 2, we are still at the National Press Club as the series continues and we are halfway done with our day. Let’s hear what is being said about taxes and the economy from a business owner’s perspective in Panel 2. Panel 2: Taxes, Budget and the Economy: Creating the Environment for Small Businesses to Thrive facilitated by J.D. Harrison, Small Business Reporter, Washington Post and including Mike Roach, Co-Owner, Paloma Clothing; Mike Brey, Owner, Hobby Works; Bill Beach, Chief Economist Senate Budget Committee, Republican Staff; Professor Caroline Bruckner, Executive in Residence, Accounting and Taxation Managing Director, Kogod Tax Center, Kogod School of Business, American University; and Evan Schatz, Staff Director Ranking Member Patty Murray, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.
Each legal business structure (sole proprietor, limited liability and corporation) has its benefits and it all depends upon several factors from State location and type of goods or services provided, to your vision and goals for the business. This panel addresses a concern that Sam Hughes, President, Capital Real Estate Group had in his letter to me for the Summit, the tax rate. Here are some highlights of what was discussed in Panel 2:
Mike Roach, Co-Owner, Paloma Clothing indicated that sole proprietors should be treated like any other business structure because they are operating similar to other business types;
The national tax codes should be changed to be beneficial to all business types and to help level the playing field. We as business owners know that these codes are put in place to do the opposite and are more beneficial to big businesses. Do your part and get your voices heard by contacting your State representative;
Several major online retailers are getting benefits due to the Marketplace Fairness Act while small business owners are being taxed heavily for the goods or services that they provide;
What is the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA)? According to the MFA Website: The Marketplace Fairness Act provides the authority for online and catalog retailers-despite its location-to collect sales tax at the time of a transaction – as in a storefront retailer transaction. The caveat is that States are only granted this authority after they have simplified their sales tax laws. To see more visit http://marketplacefairness.org/what-is-the-marketplace-fairness-act/
States have fiscal pressure by raising taxes but should it be on the backs of small businesses that in some cases can’t hide behind corporate tax laws?
For economic growth and development what type of CRM or SAP tools are you using? If you don’t know what CRM or SAP tools are you should? Systems Applications Products (SAP) is the umbrella in which other software components such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) reside. These software systems are designed to help your business run efficiently. Especially if you are a mobile company and continually on the go or working in the field. Having access to these types of resources are ideal. The type of software that you need depends upon your business type. Here are some benefits for using these types of tools:
Supply Chain Management
And Much Much More
In today’s market it is best to work smarter and not harder, why not start today with a simple adjustment beginning with your tablet or even your smart phone. Tell us what tool that you are using to incorporate into your business to scale up? We would love to hear from you. Of all of the submittals we will choose a few comments to post, will it be yours?
SERIES 3 – DAY 2 NATIONAL PRESS CLUB Technology and Minority Entrepreneurship
Day 2 at the Summit continues after our morning panel: Access to Capital (Series 2). If you haven’t read Access to Capital (Series 2) yet please make sure that you do so because you are missing a treat. Next, as we move on to Series 3 you will hear about our breakout sessions. We had a plethora of morning and afternoon breakout sessions to choose from they ranged from Women’s Entrepreneurship, New Capital Opportunities: Crowdfunding, Freelance and Micro-Enterprise Economy, Workforce and Technology to Minority Entrepreneurship. These intimate specialized sessions were instrumental to us as business owners because they gave us the ability to work in small, concentrated groups to allow us an opportunity to voice our concerns.
In this series you will hear about the Minority Entrepreneurship and Technology Breakout Sessions that were personal to business owners Michelle and Todd Trotter of Trotter Industries, LLC and Remy Meraz of Maven Experience respectively. Michelle and Todd Trotter attended the Minority Entrepreneurship session which was facilitated by Rhea Aguinaldo, Manager of Entrepreneurship/Northern CA Outreach Manager (Small Business Majority); Christine Chin Ryan (Synergy Consulting, Inc); Marcia Davalos, National Hispanic Outreach Manager/Southern California Outreach Manager (Small Business Majority) and Tim Gaudette Colorado Outreach Manager (Small Business Majority).
The Trotters had the opportunity to provide their experience as being a subcontractor in the janitorial industry. For them having the ability to have their voices heard was paramount for them in moving forward in their business. Access to government contracts is a concern of Samuel Hughes, President, Capital Real Estate Group, in his letter to me for the Summit. We hope that in hearing about the Trotter’s experience, as well as some tips from me will not only help Sam but you the reader in leverage this information:
We attended the Minority Entrepreneurship break out session and during the session the panel asked a question about bidding practices and what were some of the issues that we had experienced. We told them that the Janitorial Service industry has high competition, and we noticed that the same company always got the bid award every time the contract was up for renewal and/or bid. We’re inclined to think that maybe someone is getting paid under the table because this particular company has been awarded the same contract for 25 years. It’s unfair that we are certified as a minority business and we still have not been able to get awarded this contract. We provide quality services and this should mean something, not how much you can pay to get the contract. We are the subcontractor for the prime and we do all of the work but do not get credit for it! As a subcontractor under this prime we buy all of the supplies to get the job done! After all that’s what’s done as a subcontractor, we were not given the opportunity to be a prime because the buyer believes that we are not big enough. Little does the buyer know is that we have the ability to operate as a prime because we are actually already doing it. We believe that this needs to change by giving more opportunities to subcontractors after they have been working on a contract with a prime after a few years.
We appreciated Michelle and Todd Trotter, Trotter Industries, LLC for taking out the time from their busy schedules to tell us about their experience at the Small Business Leadership Summit 2015. If you want to know more about them visit them at http://www.trotterindustries.net/, email email@example.com or call 414-446-1604.
Here are some questions that you should ask yourself to help leverage your business and to gain access to contracts with both government and corporate entities:
Who are your top three ideal customer(s)?
Do you know what it takes to partner with them (i.e. supplier diversity certification)?
Do you have the products or services that interest them?
Can you provide solutions for them with your products or services?
Can you successfully provide the deliverables as required (i.e. local, State, regional or national)?
How do you establish a relationship with your ideal customer(s) (i.e. call, register, etc)?
Do you have a solid capability statement?
First, if you are unable to fully answer any of the questions thoroughly then you need to begin working from there. Secondly, like Marcus Lemonis (The Profit) says People, Process and Product determines your capabilities as a business owner. Lastly, people do business with those that they trust; this is why referrals and word-of-mouth is so effective in anything from philanthropy efforts, getting a job and choosing a restaurant to a vacation destination. Trust and relationships are instrumental in getting a contract just like anything else in life.
Next, is the Technology Breakout session the panel included Jenny Backus, Google, Head of Strategic Outreach & Engagement; Senior Policy Advisor and Zachary Davis, The Glass Jar. Now let’s hear from Remy Meraz of Maven Experience as she tells us what the Technology session taught her as an ecommerce business owner:
The biggest challenge I have faced as a tech startup is the lack of variety in Internet providers in my region and the unreliability of the telecommunications infrastructure in the US. After doing some research, I have come to understand that the reason for this can be traced back to the laws currently in place. Prior to launching my company, the Maven Experience, an online education and entertainment company, I never gave much thought to the importance of information technology services and/or providers. In fact, I took it for granted. When I worked in corporate, I had the convenience of relying on the IT department of the company I worked for. Now, when I have a service related issues, I must deal with my Internet provider, who are not always the most reliable or responsive to my needs. Now that I am running a startup that relies 100% on the Internet to operate and generate revenue, that telecom infrastructure has become a vital organ to scaling our business successfully. Slow or zero access to the Internet can literally paralyze our operations for hours or days at a time, something we’ve experienced on a regular basis since launching in April. It was encouraging to see that Google and policymakers have invested interest in the technology needs of small businesses. Participating in the Technology breakout session has allowed me to look at and explore the laws and policies surrounding technology, telecommunications, and e-commerce and their effects on small businesses. As small businesses continue to voice their needs, I hope the laws of our nation will evolve accordingly. The digital economy is here to stay and it is evolving at a rapid rate, quicker than the laws and policies are able to keep up. It’s time for our policymakers to make this a priority.
In the article it was mentioned about Google having a vested interest in helping small businesses and they are doing so with their introduction of Google Fiber. Google Fiber offers fast internet speed up to 1 gigabyte for about $100 per month. To find out more about Google Fiber or to see if the services are located in your area click here https://fiber.google.com/smallbusiness/.
What are some of your thoughts on the access to government or corporate contracts or prime vs subcontractor relationships? How has technology affected your business? We would love to hear from you? Of all of the submittals we will choose a few comments to post, will it be yours?
SERIES I – ARRIVAL DAY NETWORKING MIXER AT SLIPSTREAM
We as business owners do a lot from staying current on policies and other matters concerning us and supplying the demands for our goods and services to continually providing quality customer service. But we can’t do it alone; we know that it’s our team that helps us to stay the course. As you work in the passion of your visions and make those tough decisions do you realize that people are always watching? Well they are.
Recently, I along with other business owners was chosen as the top 100 of the most innovative small businesses nationwide. We received a special invitation from Founder and CEO, John Arensmeyer of the Small Business Majority to join him, the Small Business Majority Team and policymakers at the White House for the Small Business Leadership Summit 2015 where we were the voices for other business owners. Let the JEGroupZone take you on a journey as we lay out the series of the three-day Summit in Washington, DC. In this series you will not only get a chance into our world but have the ability to meet some of the other business owners that were represented there.
Arrival Day – Informal Networking Mixer at Slipstream which I missed due to bad weather throughout the U.S. in coming from California. I instead went to Meiwah Restaurant located extremely close to the hotel and had a delicious meal of Chicken and Black Bean Sauce with Rice. Now even though I missed this special event let’s hear from Hipatia Lopez, Owner, Empanada Fork (New Jersey) tell us about her experience at the mixer.
”I took the Amtrak Train from New Jersey and arrived in Washington, D.C. just in time for the mixer. I got my name tag and started to meet a few of the Small Business Majority staff which was great to finally be able to put a face to all the emails going back and forth. I decided to literally go around the room and introduce myself to the other small businesses. The energy in the room was great. We all seemed excited to be there and experience this great opportunity given to us. It was interesting to hear what States were represented in the room and to learn a little bit about their business.”
This whole experience to me was “Meeting of the minds.” “If you have the passion to succeed and willingness to learn then you will” “Dream Big.”
Thank you Mrs. Lopez, Owner of Empanada Fork from New Jersey, for sharing your experience with us on arrival day at the Slipstream Networking Mixer. If you are interested in learning more about Mrs. Lopez and Empanada Fork visit her at www.empanadafork.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-985-0379. Also, you can stay connected with her on Twitter or Instagram: Empanadafork.
In our next series you will hear about all of the wealth of information that we received from access to capital and tax rates to our breakout sessions, as well as, a few surprises. So remember everything that you do, do it with greatness because you never know who is watching you. How do you define greatness? Drop us a line and let us know. Of all of the submittals we will choose a few comments to post, will it be yours?
Connect with us on Twitter @JEGroupBiz, or LinkedIn: Vernita Naylor or Facebook: Jabez Enterprise Group to see what we are doing next. We will be meeting at the Sacramento Black Book Fair, Underground Books, Sacramento, CA Saturday, June 6 12 noon. If you are in the Sacramento area tomorrow come and chat with me and other women as we talk about the challenges that women face as business owners.