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Former Corrections Officer Helps Others Launch Creative Small Businesses

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-11-22 13:04

Some entrepreneurs find their niche by helping others release the creativity they have inside. Anne-Marie Faiola understands the importance of creativity more than most. A former corrections officer, Faiola turned to her hobby of soap making to deal with the stress of her day job. And now she helps other people leverage their own creativity in a similar way through her company Bramble Berry Handcraft Provisions.

Faiola recently spoke with Small Business Trends’ Ramon Ray in the latest installment of our exclusive Smart Hustle Report series. In the interview, she spoke about her favorite creative outlet and how she helps others through her work with Bramble Berry.

“Our big goal is to be a partner with you on your creative journey,” Faiola says. “I really think that creativity is essential and I think that everybody has a little do it yourself kitchen chemist inside of them whether they know it or not, because there’s something so deeply rewarding about making useful things.”

Creative Business Success Story

Currently, Bramble Berry has about 80,000 annual customers and 95 employees. But when Faiola was starting out, making soap was just a hobby that she did on the nights and weekends to relieve some of the stress of her job as a corrections officer.

She explained, “Everybody’s story was so deeply sad and pained me so much that I was going home every night and finding this solace in this creative outlet of making, again, deeply useful things.”

During the interview, Faiola shared some tips and insights about her own journey that could help other entrepreneurs leverage their creativity and build successful businesses. LISTEN TO THE FULL SHOW HERE

Here are a few of Faiola’s insights:

Look for the Lightbulb Moment

Because Faiola enjoyed making soap so much, she soon realized she had more than she could ever use on her own. So she went to a craft show and ended up selling $1,500 worth of soaps and toiletries.

She said, “That’s when the kind of light went off in my head and I thought to myself, ‘Hey, wait. I could do this for a living and more importantly, I could teach other people to do this for a living.’”

Don’t Romanticize Business Ownership

While Faiola is thankful for her journey, she does caution other entrepreneurs against discounting all the hard work and struggle that happens behind the scenes of every successful business.

Faiola said, “One really big piece of advice I always have for entrepreneurs is that quitting your day job is not always the answer. It’s so romantic to be like, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m going to quit my job, and I’m going to be an entrepreneur and it’s going to be wonderful and the birds are gonna sing and no more yucky bosses for me.’ The reality … is that being an entrepreneur is harder than it sounds and that customers don’t always come right away.”

Build a Business on the Nights and Weekends

Though Faiola did quit her own job to build her creative business, she says that holding onto a day job while building a business is actually a very viable option for most entrepreneurs.

She said, “Doing your job, your hustle, your passion project in the nights, in the evenings and the weekends is a great way to build up your company while you still have the security of a job job during the day. The average American watches four or five hours of TV a day. That is enough time to start a part-time business.”

This article, "Former Corrections Officer Helps Others Launch Creative Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends

Government says fast food chains should avoid antibiotics in chicken

Topix - Wed, 2017-11-22 12:50

Director General of Health Services Jagdish Prasad has called for small and big fast food chains in India to stop using antibiotics in chicken and other food products.Prasad also called for strong guidelines for the fast food chains in India so that the burning issue of health hazards by antimicrobial resistance can be tackled. "All big and small companies should take the initiative against using antibiotics.

Categories: Today's Food News

Clarks' new tech improves in-store response time

Store Front Talk Back - Wed, 2017-11-22 11:50
Shoe retailer Clarks announced that by using augmented reality and machine learning, the company has improved in-store response times between associates and customers.

Retail Roundup—Pair Eyewear launches for kids; Organized retail crime hits 96%

Store Front Talk Back - Wed, 2017-11-22 11:41
Pair Eyewear has launched as the Warby Parker for kids, organized retail crime was as high as 96% in 2016, and more need-to-know news from the world of retail.

Intuit Introduces Innovations at QuickBooks Connect

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-11-22 11:38

I just returned from the fourth annual QuickBooks Connect (QB Connect), an annual conference hosted by Intuit’s QuickBooks in California’s Silicon Valley. The event was the perfect combination of information and inspiration for small business owners and the accountants who help them.

The conference was kicked off by Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) CEO Brad Smith, who reminded the audience that 60 percent of all new jobs worldwide are created by small businesses. “Globalization,” he said, “has both shrunk and expanded the world, opening new opportunities and creating new competition” for small business owners.

Quoting New York Times columnist and bestselling author Thomas Friedman, Smith reminded the crowd that we’re living in an era of “exponential change” which can be, at once, exhilarating and disorienting. Change is, Smith says, “a two-sided coin, with challenge on one side and opportunity on the other. Our job as entrepreneurs is to flip the coin from challenge to opportunity.”

Smith acknowledges that is not an easy task, but we don’t have a choice. “We can either wing into the future,” he said, “or get lost in the past.” So, how do we do that? Smith recommends we find our moral centers and give ourselves permission to change. Want to find your center? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are your values? What do you and your company stand for? How do you treat others?
  2. What is your mission? What impact do you want to leave on society?
  3. How do you define success?

Smith says while this exercise might seem “too California-y” for some, at Intuit they regularly look at their core values — the three B’s: be bold; be passionate; be decisive and the three We’s: we learn fast; we win together; and we deliver awesome.

At the heart of it all is giving back. Smith believes “when small business owners thrive, we all thrive.” And in that spirit, Intuit announced a slew of new products and product enhancements designed to help small business owners (and their accountants) succeed.

Innovations at QuickBooks Connect 2017

Here’s a quick look at some of these innovations.

Small Business Payments

The sad truth is 64 percent of small businesses have invoices that go unpaid for 60 days or more. Intuit believes one of the primary reason for this is most small businesses create and send invoices by “outdated, manual methods.” Now, that’s a thing of the past as Intuit introduces “effortless invoicing” where small businesses can electronically create invoices which are “payments-enabled,” which means their customers and clients can click a link to send payment. Intuit says this process allows you to create invoices in less than a minute and enables invoices to be paid two times faster.

The company has streamlined the set-up process, allowing small businesses to create a payments account in one minute with three clicks, instead of the typical 48-hours and 33 clicks it takes now.

There’s also a Gmail integration, so you can send an invoice, view its status and get paid online — straight from Gmail. This feature is available to any business that uses Gmail. You don’t have to be a QuickBooks customer.

If you’re a GoPayment user, you can now use a Bluetooth-enabled mobile card reader that accepts both magnetic strip and chip credit cards, and works with iOS and Android devices.

QuickBooks Assistant

This is a virtual assistant or chatbot, similar to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, that “combines data-driven insights and natural language processing” so you can ask — via smartphone — questions ranging from how much money you made last week, last month or last year to your profitability, your tax obligations and more.

Using the QuickBooks Assistant saves business owners time, giving them instant access to their financial data and allowing them to retrieve this information from anywhere at any time.

Currently the Assistant is available for iOS and Android devices and will be released for QuickBooks online next year.

QuickBooks Capital

As previously discussed on Small Business Trends, Intuit launched QuickBooks Capital, a loan program designed to offer loans to small businesses that might not otherwise qualify. Rania Succar, head of QuickBooks Capital, told me that Intuit is looking at other potential applications for the QuickBooks Capital credit model, which could more broadly transform the small business lending experience.

Alex Chriss, QuickBooks’ Chief Product Officer, also pointed out the power of “Smart Connections,” which helps connect the more than seven million QuickBooks users, 500,000 accountants and 5,000 app developers. The “Find-A-ProAdvisor” program already connects nearly 1,000 business owners with accountants every day. Chriss says QuickBooks customers should look for a new program that will connect freelancers and independent contractors with small businesses in need of help.

All these innovations are designed to help you thrive. Running a business can be overwhelming and too often small business owners feel isolated. But Smith says Intuit wants to make sure “no one is alone  — that you have the power of many at your back. Like they say in Game of Thrones, ‘winter is coming.’ But when the snows fall and the winds blow, the lone wolf dies — but the pack survives.”

Images: Intuit

This article, "Intuit Introduces Innovations at QuickBooks Connect" was first published on Small Business Trends

Anthony's Pizza, Asian Box, Melt Shop, Teatulia clear up confusion over food transparency - Wed, 2017-11-22 11:34
Consumers today don't just want restaurants to "tell all" when it comes to their food sources.They demand it.

Out Of The Box

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2017-11-22 10:41
Anaheim Marriott Attracts Meeting Planners With Unique Experience

Brother Business Survey Highlights Challenges of Small Business Management

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-11-22 10:30

When starting your small business, you hoped you’d be able to create a new culture leaving behind some of the problems of the big corporate world.

Well, the results (PDF) of the 2017 Brother (TYO:6448) Business Survey show that small business and big business alike share some of the same problems just on a different scale.

Small Business Owner Challenges

Take, for instance, this one highly relatable stat: 90 percent of small business owners believe their employees are lifting office supplies and taking them home.

The most commonly stolen item? A pen (or pencil). According to the 500 small business owners and decision makers surveyed by Brother, 62 percent say they believe employees are taking pens and other writing implements home with them. Other commonly stolen office supplies include sticky notes (according to 46 percent of respondents), printer paper (according  to 42 percent), and paper clips (according to 41 percent).

It makes you wonder … what are they doing with these things at home?

Outside of office supplies, probably the most valuable thing to your small business that’s being taken by employees is your time. And that’s a hard thing to replace.

Whether it’s showing up late or leaving early (or both), 69 percent of those surveyed by Brother believe this is the top office crime. Tied for second place in the Brother survey were two other “crimes”: talking loudly on the phone and not refilling the paper in the printer when it’s empty.  Fifty-seven percent of small business owners surveyed indicated one or of these were a problem.

Speaking of printers and other office equipment, if a Millennial tells you they know what they’re doing, you’re right to be skeptical. In the Brother survey, 63 percent of millennials say they fake knowing what they’re doing around office equipment until they actually learn how to use it. This could possibly explain the rash of broken or malfunctioning office equipment, too.

Paying the Cost to be the Boss

Being the boss of the company is probably one of the driving factors that led you to start your own business. Well, heavy is the head that wears the crown. You’d better start exercising that neck to make sure it can sustain the pressure.

In a small business office, 85 percent of owners believe they’re the most productive of all the workers.

So what can small business owners do to alleviate some if these problems?

According to the survey, 97 percent of small business owners believe better management is the answer. Improving process remains one of the top ways to improve management, the survey suggests. The survey identifies staying organized and creating better budgets as two other ways management can be improved.

But probably the biggest problem faced by small business owners, the survey suggests, is not being able to step out of the day to day. In fact, 58 percent of those surveyed say they can’t be away from their business for more than two days before they need to be called to solve a problem.Colored Pens Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Brother Business Survey Highlights Challenges of Small Business Management" was first published on Small Business Trends

Spotlight: Circle of One Marketing Focuses on Events

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-11-22 09:30

Events can be a great way to market a business. But it takes a special type of entrepreneur to really make the most of event marketing Suzan McDowell discovered her love of marketing and event planning by accident while working for a radio station. Read about her journey and how it led to her company, Circle of One Marketing, in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides integrated marketing, public relations and event services.

McDowell told Small Business Trends, “Circle of One is known especially for engaging events and brand activations on behalf of our clients. Bringing their brand, services and products to the public in an effective experiential manner affords greater engagement opportunities for our clients.”

Business Niche

Creativity and multicultural messaging.

McDowell explains, “Our creativity and execution makes these events and activations memorable which affords our clients the benefit of having their brand, services and products become memorable. Our expertise in event management is also enhanced by our fluency in multicultural messaging and engagement.”

How the Business Got Started

Because of a successful event.

McDowell was previously a successful account executive selling radio advertising for a top tier station. While at that job, one of her clients asked her to help execute a promotional event for her business. That event helped McDowell realize she had the skills and ability to do that type of work full time.

McDowell says, “That was over 15 years ago, and Circle of One Marketing has used this foundation to assist numerous companies of varying sizes and types grow their businesses.”

Biggest Win

Delivering great results to a big client.

McDowell says, “The biggest win for Circle of One Marketing was getting the contract to market the Jazz in the Gardens festival in Miami Gardens. As the Circle enters its 13th year of marketing the festival, it is amazing to reminisce about the first year that we were involved. It was a desperate situation for the young event, and ticket sales were not moving. Circle of One Marketing took on the challenge and helped to drive 1800 attendees to that year’s festival. Fast forward over a decade later, Jazz in the Gardens has garnered as many as 70,000 attendees. The work with Jazz in the Garden solidified the Circle as the “go to” agency for event management and marketing. With the continued growth of Jazz in the Gardens, Circle of One has been able to offer quantifiable evidence of undeniable expertise in developing and executing marketing and Public Relations strategies that deliver results.”

Biggest Risk

Taking on a big project at the last minute.

McDowell explains, “The biggest risk that was taken by Circle of One took place in 2016 with the acceptance of the Many Rivers to Cross concert in Georgia. Sponsored by legend Harry Belafonte’s social justice organization, Sankofa, Circle of One was contacted 30 days before this mega concert after the coordinators realized that they were tremendously underselling tickets. The event was on the brink of disaster, so Circle of One went to immediate Code Red, all hands on deck mode. With a significant social media and PR blitz, we were able to scale engagement in short order. With some strategic alliances and creative connections; the concert gained significant momentum in the final weeks and it turned out to be an amazing and well-covered event.”

Lesson Learned

Be more financially disciplined.

McDowell explains, “Though fiscal responsibility has improved throughout the Circle’s evolution and maturity, realizing this discipline earlier in the process would have positioned the company on a more solid foundation sooner. Time management has also been a work in progress. Servicing clients effectively requires a mastery of time management, and in retrospect, that would have been an operational priority in the earlier stages of Circle of One’s development.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Hiring key team members.

McDowell says, “The extra 100K would be used to hire both a full time Business Development Director and affiliated sales assistant. Ideally, there would be a percentage left to put into financial reserves to be used on a discretionary basis. The primary deployment in Business Development represents an investment on the Circle of One attention to growth. Investing in a full time committed effort to develop more business opportunities and increased revenues would position the Circle to purchase a building that would serve as our official headquarters and diversify our assets to include a substantial real estate holding.”

Favorite Team Treat


McDowell says, “In addition to the endless cups of coffee which are typically the mainstay of any creative organization; The Circle is obsessed with tacos. We don’t really know how it evolved, but in our most stressful times, tacos are often brought in to calm the masses and get us back on track.”

Favorite Quote

The one who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the ONE doing it – Confucius

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Circle of One Marketing — Top Image: (left to right) Kimberley McDowell – Executive Marketing Assistant, Suzan McDowell – CEO/President, Flora Sweet – Director of Special Events, Gabby A. Reid – Assistant General Manager/ Overtown Performing Arts Center (OPAC); Second Image: (top row, left to right) Tariq McLean – Executive Assistant, Andrea Cookhorn – Managing Director, Circle Rising, Sidney Hannibal – Intern, Richard McCulloch – VP, Brand Development, Carlos Shiera – Intern, (Kneeling) Kimberley McDowell – Executive Marketing Assistant; Third Image: Calvin Hughes – Anchor, WPLG/Channel 10, Suzan McDowell – CEO/President, Robert Townsend, celebrity comedian

This article, "Spotlight: Circle of One Marketing Focuses on Events" was first published on Small Business Trends

Only 4% of U.S. Small Businesses Are Exporting, Missing Out on a $424 Billion Opportunity

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-11-22 08:30

Foreign markets such as China and Malaysia hold immense potential for small businesses in the U.S. Yet only a small percentage of businesses are exploring this opportunity.

According to data compiled by London-based financial services company WorldFirst, the total value of worldwide B2C cross-border ecommerce is expected to reach $424 billion by 2021. Only 3.9 percent of U.S. small businesses, however, are exporting goods today.

In comparison, eight percent of European small businesses are trading abroad.

Small Business Export Opportunities Why Small Businesses Must Look Beyond North America

With more than 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power, foreign markets offer lucrative opportunities for businesses to thrive.

But it’s not just profitability making foreign markets desirable. Sixty-nine percent of U.S. small businesses say it’s “easy to moderate” to begin selling internationally.

What’s more, U.S. companies selling internationally are 8.5 percent less likely to go out of business.

Businesses Need to Focus on Ecommerce

Ecommerce plays a crucial role in reaching foreign markets data from WorldFirst shows.

Sixty-six percent of consumers worldwide make ecommerce purchases from sites outside their home countries. But the majority of small businesses remain ill-equipped to reach these customers as 74 percent of small business websites have no ecommerce.

Of even greater concern, WorldFirst finds 28 percent of U.S. small businesses lack even a website. Clearly, these small businesses lose out on some very attractive growth opportunities simply by failing to develop a web presence of any kind.

With a solid export strategy, small businesses in the B2C domain can achieve success.

To understand how cross-border ecommerce can benefit your business, check out the infographic below:

Logistics Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Only 4% of U.S. Small Businesses Are Exporting, Missing Out on a $424 Billion Opportunity" was first published on Small Business Trends

Food Cues May Hike Cravings, Lead to Overeating

Topix - Wed, 2017-11-22 08:05

As the holidays approach, so do the challenges for keeping weight under control. But food cues can nudge some customers to overeat due to increased cravings and hunger, a new University of Michigan study suggests.

Categories: Today's Food News

12 Examples of Invoicing Mistakes – and How Cloud Services Help Avoid Them (INFOGRAPHIC)

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2017-11-22 07:30

You send an invoice to a good customer and it has taken longer than usual to get paid. You go back to review the invoice and you realize you have made a couple of mistakes.

Being able to catch these mistakes while you are in the process of filling out the invoice can save you a lot of headaches. According to a new infographic from cloud-based accounting service provider FreshBooks, having the right solution in place will help you identify the mistakes before you click send.

For small businesses unable to afford the delay in getting an invoice paid, this can be invaluable. Cloud accounting applications provide real-time services for all of your employees no matter where they are. This allows them to issue invoices out in the field to your customers without making simple and trivial mistakes.

Avoid these Accounting Mistakes With a Cloud Solution

Here are some of the mistakes your business can avoid with a cloud solution:

Failing to Specify Due Dates for Payments

This is a surefire way to ensure you will not get paid on time. While your regular customers may recognize the mistake and pay on time, others won’t.

By customizing the due dates, you can make sure to get paid on time.

Not Updating the Dateline

Once again, the problem with dates shows up. Sending an invoice with the wrong date is as bad as or worse than sending one without any dates.

The app can make sure you have the right date by issuing updates automatically.

Not Updating the Invoice Number

Invoice numbers serve a purpose, especially come tax time. If you can’t remember what the last invoice number was, make sure to get an application capable of generating sequential invoice numbers. 

Miscalculating Taxes

Miscalculating taxes not only creates problems for you but also your customers. If it continues with many invoices, the wrong amount can result in penalties for both of you.

An application that can calculate tax percentage and fill out the results will solve this problem.

Not Following Up

If for whatever reason you don’t receive a payment, you should follow up until you do. By creating customized reminders, you can send them on set dates automatically from your application.

You can see the other mistakes a cloud accounting software can help you avoid in the infographic below.

Accounting Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "12 Examples of Invoicing Mistakes – and How Cloud Services Help Avoid Them (INFOGRAPHIC)" was first published on Small Business Trends

Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Celebrates Ten Years On The Las Vegas Strip With All New Rooms

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2017-11-22 07:23
LAS VEGAS--Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino has completed a $100 million room renovation, pairing dynamic entertainment and dining offerings with 2,496 ...

Interval International And Singerman Real Estate, LLC Subsidiary Enter Into Long-Term Affiliation Agreement

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2017-11-22 06:49
MIAMI--Interval International, a leading global provider of vacation services and an operating business of ILG (Nasdaq: ILG), and West Bay Hospitality, ...

Brazil Hospitality Group (BHG) Starts Partnership With AccorHotels

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2017-11-22 06:41
NEW YORK--Brazil Hospitality Group (BHG) announces today the beginning of its partnership with AccorHotels, which will manage 17 of BHG’s owned ...

Menu Tracker: New items from Charleys Philly Steaks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Eureka

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2017-11-22 06:00
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, Cotton Patch Café, California Pizza Kitchen, Curry Up Now, Dat Dog, Farmer Boys, Jimboy’s Tacos, Nékter Juice Bar, Project Juice, Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern and Starbucks also introduce new menu item

Levin Pre-Holiday Survey Shows Positive Seasonal Outlook for Retail

PR Web - Wed, 2017-11-22 04:30

Bricks-and-Mortar Focuses on Engaging Consumers in a Digital World

(PRWeb November 13, 2017)

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Franchise Business Review Names You’ve Got Maids® one of Top 100...

PR Web - Wed, 2017-11-22 04:30

For the third-straight year franchise industry market research firm Franchise Business Daily has named Charleston, SC-based franchisor You've Got Maids as a top franchise for veterans in 2017 as...

(PRWeb November 13, 2017)

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Listrak Releases Email Marketing Predictions for the 2017 Holiday...

PR Web - Wed, 2017-11-22 04:30

Digital marketing platform predicts seven key trends set to impact the consumer market, retailers and brands this holiday season

(PRWeb November 12, 2017)

Read the full story at