tv Your Business MSNBC November 10, 2013 4:30am-5:01am PST
small businesses are revitalizing the economy, and american express open is here to help. that's why we're proud to present "your business" on msnb msnbc. >> hi, there, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg and welcome to "your business" this show dedicated to giving you tips and advice to help your small business grow. entrepreneurial work spaces have come a long way from the original concept of cheap desk, internet access, and a business address. these members-only hubs are popping up all over the country now helping start-ups get their businesses off the ground faster than ever, by offering education, mentorship and a community. now even big businesses want to get into the act. having small offices located within these spaces to keep
their organizations fresh and tapped into these high-energy, innovative, environments. >> we're really standing on the brick of really the largest shift in the workplace dynamics that we're seeing in 100 years. this is the industrial revolution of our time. >> and that revolution is happening all across the country. most notably behind the walls of a new generation of cutting-edge co-working spaces where entrepreneurs are creating, flaunting, and running their companies. >> the way we work, is dramatically changing. across the next ten years, more than half of the american work force will be independent workers. >> that shift in the way we work is leading more and more entrepreneurs to ditch the desk and abandon the traditional
office setup. instead of locking themselves behind closed doors, they're setting up shop in places that foster collaboration and innovation. the alley in new york city is one of these new types of work spaces. at any given time, the place is buzzing with activity, from mostly 20-somethings who are working on their ideas. >> this is a whole different way of looking at work. >> right. >> right? you're not -- it's not your company in your offices. you're purposefully setting yourself up to a whole bunch of other companies. >> right, right, right. collaboration, we find, leads to innovation, and the people in these spaces really like to be around other people that are like-minded. if you put people in the same space together you can interact and bounce ideas off them. it can actually aid in the growth of your business. >> here people are not assigned in office or even a desk. you come in and work wherever you want, for a $450 monthly fee. >> you say membership, not rent.
>> right. it's not just an office space. it's much like a community and works like a gym membership where you work wherever you want to work. instead of using a treadmill you have access to our events or office hours. >> christian anderson who co-founded the speak easy in indianapolis. another co-woulding space says this is how ideas happen. >> it's important to engineer the process of innovation. cities around the country are trying to figure out how do they attack more startups. i think at end of the day, the best way to do that is create an environment where there is things that can happen between smart people. >> which he why he opened up the speak easy which he now calls home. >> it's a place for folks who support the start-up community to spend time and connect. >> it's nice to get a
perspective on scaling, on legal issues. on art direction issues, on coding issues. you got somebody around that who is an expert in everything. >> the alley and speak easy are two co-working paces. there's also tony shay's container park in las vegas and the grind in new york city. and developer town is taking the creative office space to a new level. clustered inside a giant indianapolis warehouse is a neighborhood of small, unique, houses. filled with developers and entrepreneurs. >> i saw pixar has little houses, i thought that's a cool theme and i could put them on wheels. we are using developers around trying to make them productive. they need to collaborate and also need to ek to us for a long period of time. you own that space as long as you're at developer town. >> every space attracts a
certain type of person. at the grind in new york, the space is clean and simple. the atmosphere is chill and the carefully kerrated community is mature. >> our community is made up of seasoned entrepreneurs. it's a group of people where this is not their first business it's their third business. >> we got to the point we could not afford an office. we were stuck in our room. i walked into a network of people that weren't competitors for me. they were all potential collaborators. >> bigger companies are trying to tap into this collaborative mind set by relocating some co-working spaces. even for just a day. felicia from danny meyers union square hospitality group chose the grind for a meeting to look at marketing ideas. >> we are talking about trying to keep innovation fresh as a company grows. when you're a start-up it's about collaboration, brain
storming and net work. as it gets bigger, sometimes you end up being tied to a desk. it's time to step out of our day-to-day and to think. >> big companies have a hard time innovating. i think a lot of businesses, large businesses in particular, find that just by being in proximity to smaller companies, hyper entrepreneurial company, some of that rubs off. >> bottom line in all of these co-working spaces is that you're not going at it alone. >> can you give me an example of something that's happened here that might not have if someoone the companies might not have? >> every day something happens here. a venture capitalist walked into the cafe and meet a startup they want to invest in. in the event something happens or someone meets their co-founder. every day something happens that changes the direction of the company that's about to go there. >> small business saturday is coming up on november 30th and
retailers across the country are preparing for the day where customers are encouraged to shop local. today, we take you to new hampshire where we met the owners of an online gift registry working to keep this mentality going all year round. when alice and her husband got engaged, they knew they didn't want a traditional weddi regist. >> we wanted to support the community. we went to our favorite shop, and we want some out of the box things and we put it all together in a google doc and the guests loved it. >> so much so that allison started a company that made this whole process simple. nearby registry. it's a gift registry and wish list service for people like her wanted to list products and services from unique local companies not just the big box stores and national chains. >> so you can get rock climbing
passes, or you can do flight lessons. and those are all local. >> currently, nearby works and towns in new hampshire and seattle, and only list local independently owned bases. >> we don't look at it as competing against the big box, we look at it as supporting another part of what people want. so they might want adventures and they might want services that literally they can't get anywhere else. we see ourselves as a nice complement to existing gift registries. >> here's how it works. company pay a start-up fee to be listed and transaction fees. customers can add items from these stores to their registries. it's attracting companies who care about shopping small. >> my fiance is 30. i'm 29. we have all of the stuff we want to use, we started to think what we want from the registry it's more things around us and things to do, experiences and things to support our community. i think it's 0 so much more
about who we are than just a set of plates of what a big box store would be. this is about what we do and what we value. >> so, how did allison get businesses to sign on? she teamed up with organizations that have a similar local mind set. >> the local shopping movement is real. it's been around forever. there's local business groups everywhere from chambers to local first movements, shop local movements. we work with all of those organizations and they have a following of anywhere from, in small towns, five members, to large towns of 200 members. >> for some of the businesses, it's been a way to modernize their registry systems. >> prior to joining my registry, we did use this type of forum, and somebody would come in and physically have to come in and fill out the form. we are getting more people than we would originally. not a lot of people come in here and do the bridal registry but
with nearby registry, it allows it to be a much smoother transition for people wanting to do better. >> for others, it's a way to start having a registry offering in the first place. >> people are so used to buying online with amazon and big registries which are great but this is this great way of shopping online locally but across lots of different stores. >> part of nearby future growth lies in changing the definition of local to mean much more than the mom and pop stores down the street. >> our site was built with the idea that it would be nationwide and we see a lot of opportunity for sales, across the country. local is what people define it as. so i might define local as a 20-mile radius outside of new hampshire. others might think the entire northeast is local to them. they have family members and friends in other locations and they want to buy something or buy a gift certificate to a restaurant in that location for them. >> they are getting customers to
think local no matter where you consider home. that's why tom holbrook, one of the owners of community-owned river run book store uses nearby as not only a great way to reach residents but to get tourists in the door. >> we have customers that are here seasonally. or they stop in. nearby helps them make local independent choices. >> local no longer stands for just the location but guarantee of unique and one of a kind creations. >> there's nothing you can buy here that you can't buy yong line. >> we know people like to browse local. we know they like to walk around town and enjoy what we have here. it's important to make that link that spending your money at those places you like not only keeps them in business, but makes the whole economy strong. >> nearby registry plans to set up shop across the united states
and with their upgraded definition of local, the sky's the limit. >> i think independent businesses will remain unique because not just because of the services and products they offer, but also because of who they are. they are your next door neighbor who owns the shop. and you go in and meet the owner. the owner is working there and it just has a different feel, different customer service. >> people always shop local. >> they look at things differently. i think things have changed and will continue to change. >> nearby registry is not the only organization trying to keep the spirit of small business saturday alive 365 days a year. proactive business owners in south carolina's low country are doing the same. they're educating friends and visitors on the importance of putting small business first. >> christine osbourne, the owner of the toy store wonderworks,
says running a small business is more about cooperation than ever before. it is truly about not competition but camaraderie. >> the third generation of the jewel box agrees. she said when the economy is down, she and her peers turned to each other. the result was south carolina's own buy local movement. >> i often tell people we're about preserving a people and place. i think it gave a collective voice to the local businesses here in this community. >> executive director, jamie haley says thinking small wasn't something a lot of people talked about in 2007. >> there was nobody add voe tating for them. nobody educating the community on why it was important. and while trying to get started wasn't easy -- >> nobody was working together to try to get that message out. so, we just did a whole lot of knocking on 0 people's doors and
saying, hey, will you meet with me. love to talk to you about this. >> since then, lowcountry has grown to 500 members each with a vested interest in getting residents and businesses to shop local. >> it's so grass roots other people were were telling their colleagues about it and it just sort of snowballed. >> in order to best support local outlets, members have to meet certain criteria. >> you need to be locally owned and independent. that you have to have 50% of your ownership living here in the low country. you have to be head quartered here. you have to make your own marketing advertising decisions, et cetera. >> once accepted those members can start telling people about it. >> look for the buy local decal in the window. >> low country packs a handful of initiatives. >> it was originally just a week long. >> the main idea is that we are trying to get people to make
very conscious decisions about where they are spending their dollars. >> christine said the ripple effect from buying local is staggering especially when it's locally made products flying off the shelves. >> for every dollar you spend in a local business three is made for the community. >> to ensure success of lowcountry events, it promotes all of its members. >> the net work of local businesses that support each other is very important. >> this type of cooperation is here to stay. for many members, it's a different way of doing business. but now they wouldn't do it any other way. >> i think we've gone past the point of competition and into collaboration now. and people understand the value of it. when we come back, we'll have had vice on increasing client el when transitioning from a part-time to full-time business. and how to get customers to forego technology and instead
participate in face-to-face meetings. and rallying the panel to help former student athletes enter the workplace through job fairs and counseling. ♪ ♪ you get your coffee here. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses, you support all the things that make your community great. the money you spend here, stays here. in this place you call your neighborhood. small business saturday is november 30th. get out and shop small.
by now, almost all of us are taking advantage of the web by promoting our businesses online. but, are you doing it well? here now are five tips to help you out courtesy of inc.com. >> one, promotions. offer limited time offers with big savings to drive customers to the website. two, tell your own best stories. let your profile, blog, and post, let your customers know who you are in a compelling way. three, leverage other influencers, knowing the right people can go a long way in getting the word out about your business. spend extra effort making sure they know what they're doing and connect with them on linkedin. four, constantly test, track, and improve. if you're posting and blogging, traffic matters. so, find out what's working and what's not so you can make the necessary changes.
five. e-mail. direct e-mail is still very effective if done right. so, send out well thought-out messages to engage your customers. it is time now to answer some of your business questions. let's get to this week's board of directors to help. mike is the ceo of a consulting group that helps companies that have plateaued, continue to grow. he's also a best-selling author and michael goldburg is a director at case western reserve university and cofounder of bridge university. and you're writing another book, right? >> yes. we look forward to hearing about that. let's get to the question. this is about making a switch it full-time work. my question is, in transitioning from a part-time to full-time business, what should i do to gain more cliemore clientele?
>> what do you do to gain more customers? . i would go to my existing clients to see if i can work with them. i would say i'm going full time. what else can we do together. if you try to seek adding more people. you find these people and not serving the ones you have now. >> is this the kind of thing you should think about before giving up that part-time job? >> not necessarily. i think it's building off the strengths. one of the things i talk to my students about and social media tools like linkedin. see who your connections are connected too. great, let's move on to the next one. it's about the value of face time? >> how do i get my clients to value everybody is too busy and
>> i think nothing beats doing stuff in person. she's talking about a service she's providing. what can you say? >> i think in some ways embrace the webinar, embrace the technology. i'm actually developing a new -- a massive open online course, mook, at case western reserve on entrepreneurship. one interesting thing is you can use the webinar or in our case video to connect with people. then there is the follow-up. how do you engage at the webinar. maybe at her business, she's using that tool to engage with folks and then there is that face to face follow-up. maybe they're taking a webinar and she's coming in with actual real life training that goes hand and hand with that. >> that's a good idea. >> you need to do a coba.
i made up that term because you used mook, cost benefit analysis. if people see no difference between a webinar and a person, a webinar is less expensive. show the benefits of a person face to face type meeting. i would suggest pier to pier benefit. having -- these meetings where you benefit from networking with other appeapeers and foiace to stuff. >> the next one, a question from a financial services professional. >> my biggest challenge is convincing potential clients that i'm really there to help them with their finances, rather than to take money away from them and get them to do something that they don't want to do. so my question is, how can i better overcome that to convince people that i really am there to help and protect their wealth? >> interesting, right? he's doing that sales job. if he's the financial guy and
thinks people just think he's charging them for nothing. >> yeah. i don't know if you saw, as he was talking, his title below is insurance and financial services. that's a generic label. when a consumer sees that, they say i know what you do, you don't have to sell me anymore. are you cheaper? one thing lawyers can do, for example, you hear someone is a loirks lawyer, you know what lawyers are. if you call yourself consultant services. >> i think one of the challenges in that industry in particular is the lack of transparency often. financial advisers are saying they're doing x, y and z and people don't understand how do they make their fees. how is there alignment between the advice i'm getting and the returns i want. an advice i have and i have a number of friends in financial services industry, make sure you're transparent about the fee structure and that may build the relationship with potential client and give people more comfort. >> thank you for your advice.
stick around. we're getting you in the elevator with our elevator pitchers a little later on. we were just talking about asking your customers what they think you're doing that's right. this pretty much applies to everything you do. what you think is right for your website may be completely different than what actually will work. luckily, there is an easy and cheap way to test this. user testing.com is a cost effective web tool that ensures your website is working the way it is supposed to. get videos of real people, speaking their thoughts as they use your website or mobile app. ask follow-up questions so you can find out what users want. and you can customize the survey to focus on what statistics are most important for your business. we like to check out twitter from time to time to see what's trending about small business from entrepreneurs, innovators and disrupters. usa today small business columnist rhonda abrams with some good retail advice ahead of the holidays. mobile payments help collect
money faster during holiday rush. todd satcher, ceo and founder of bright roll tweets, it is important to have mentors to guide you when being a first time ceo. i'm very blessed to have had those. and major influencer david carp, founder and ceo of tumblr with th this insight. an entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create. it can be a rough transition for college athletes when trying to enter the workplace. today's elevator pitchers have created a company to help them out. >> hi. i'm ralph deschillo, president, athlete connections. >> my name is dan crouse, found irand ceo of athlete connections. i created athlete connections as a service to help student athletes transition out of sports into the business world. over 400,000 student athletes attend colleges each year. less than 1% will be going pro.
that means 99% will be looking for jobs. we have three revenue streams. our career fairs, student athlete career fairs, we bring in companies to hire student athletes, life skills curriculum and internet based job board. >> we're looking for $300,000 investment to be used for marketing, advertise and pr. we signed an agreement with 285 universities to bring our services to their campuses. that's a fraction of the 4,000 universities in the united states that have sports programs. that accounts for 20% of our revenue. other 80% comes from our national job board, our curriculum and tv series. the return on investment for investors is 10% equity, which will give a 266% return annually after year three. >> all right. you guys, the time is up. thank you, you did a really nice job. let's hear what the panelists think. mike? >> very well prepared, things i like and don't like. i like been there, done that, you got the experience, you can speak to it, and clearly
professional experience in growing a business is a great combination. the thing i don't like, $8,000 to $9,000 per event and trying to reach $300,000, the money is on stuff you haven't done yet. you need this money for investing and marketing, that's like throwing money in the fire sometimes. i'm a little trepidatious about that. >> michael, did they miss anything in the pitch for you? >> couple of things i thought were very powerful. i had former princeton linebacker as an intern for me. his work ethic, that link between discipline around athletics and in the workplace worked for me. another thing i liked about what you're doing, there is a social aspect to what the mission offers. dan, you got a foundation side where you're doing things to help athletes on the foundation side of the business. i think linking that to the business side that will appeal to some investors that want to see more than just return on investment and sort of seeing good for the community. >> did the pitch get you? would you take another meeting? >> definitely.
>> what about you? >> yes. >> sounds like you're on to something. appreciate you coming on the show and pitching us. the two mikes, mike and michael, thank you for all of your advice, really loved having you and hope to see you guys again soon. did you know that you too can have a chance to pitch our panel right here on the show? all you have to do is send us an e-mail. the address i is firstname.lastname@example.org. in that e-mail, include a few things. what your company does, how much money you're trying to raise and how you're going to use those funds. i look forward to reading those pitches and seeing some of you here on the show. thanks, everyone, for joining me today. i hope you took some notes that will help your small business. now if you missed anything, just go to our website, it's openforum.com/yourbusiness. we put up all of today's segments as well as some extra ones just for online. you can also follow us on twitter, it's @msnbcyourbiz and on facebook too. next week we travel to main
street in great barrington, massachusetts. we'll talk to local business owners getting ready for small business saturday. they tell us how they're trying to get the berkshires community to shop small. while we're there, we'll also talk to actress karen alan. you know her from "indiana jones," "animal house." she turned her passion into a small business. i'm j.j. ramberg. remember, we make your business our business. ♪ ♪ you get your coffee here. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses,
you support all the things that make your community great. the money you spend here, stays here. in this place you call your neighborhood. small business saturday is november 30th. get out and shop small. where will enda end up? the start of this sunday morning in mid-november, we're thinking a lot about rights. the senate passed a bill thursday that would make it illegal to fire someone for being gay. whether it will actually become law is an open question, but the roots of this bill go back a lot farther than you might think, more on that in just a moment. democracy means every political office is open to anyone. and philadelphia last week, a member of the whig party was not only on the ballot, he won.