tv Your Business MSNBC September 7, 2014 4:30am-5:01am PDT
we're here in ft. collins, colorado, on the main street in town and this place is on fire. with a bunch of new businesses opening up and a bunch of old businesses expanding, we came here to ask people what they're doing right so that we could share it with you. that's coming up next on "your business." 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 msnbc. ♪ hi there, everyone. i'm jj ramberg and welcome to "your business." every week here on this show we feature the best in american entrepreneurship and focus on how small businesses can attract more customers. and that's why we like to hit the road and visit main streets around the country to find out what owners are doing to distinguish their business districts. our recent travels took us to beautiful and historic ft. collins, colorado, whose main street was once the model for disneyland's main street usa. businesses there discovered the secret against competing against big corporations providing unique selection and an entertaining shopping experience. ♪ at the ripe old age of 150,
downtown ft. collins, colorado, absolutely refuses to slow down. ♪ >> we're in the process of opening up a kitchen here and excited to become part of the community. >> that's hugo mathisen. the newest kid in town. he's one of three that own the farm to table restaurant called kitchen. lately business on this main street has been booming. but not so long ago it was a struggle. >> when i first started in 1972 it was 25% vacancy. the mall was just opening. everyone was going to the mall. this place was desolate. there were no trees out here. >> kerry hewitt owner of the cupboard has been on main street more more than 40. >> a lot of people didn't have a belief in downtown. banks almost red-lined us like why should we invest downtown. we don't know if it's going to make it.
>> a lot of the businesses hasn't been renovated. >> ellen has owned the perennial gardener for 19 years. while you could call kerry and ellen old-timers they sure don't act that way. they both recently computerized their inventories and doubled their main street retail space. >> the cupboard in the next block down has been hugely successful. he's the standard for retail downtown in my opinion and he's more than doubled his space over time and he's been in business over 40 years. >> you've been here for 25 years. has downtown change aid lot. >> it has, yeah. it's totally come to life in the last 25 years, you know, what was a typical dying downtown has totally became the gym of ft. collins. >> greg haul co-owner of cooper smith's brewing company off main street is also part of the ft. collins-based boom in business. he's one of a dozen artisanal beermakers making their home in ft. collins. dwight says the turnaround is
due in part to their innovative tax program. it's been used to finance many fixups and build outs and hooplas like this daytime summer concert series. ♪ glory >> the city invested a lot into this downtown in the '80s and they established an urban renewal authority and i think that really kind of turned things around. >> we made center parking. we made side parking. we made it pedestrian friendly and bumped out the sidewalks and we created an oasis in the middle so you can walk across two lanes of traffic and be safe so to speak and then across two more lanes of traffic. >> you guys are the only hotel, the only place to stay here in the main street area. did it feel like a risk? >> for me it was a big risk and actually it was kind of -- there was a tug and pull between us because my vision for the building was to turn it into apartments and she was so -- she was like, no, this needs to be a hotel and i'm like we don't know
anything about a hotel and she said, well, it's 38 rooms. how hard could it be and there's nobody else down here so unless we really screw it up we should be able to make it. >> so far steve and missy are make it. >> we have rooms here monday and tuesday. >> they own and straight the armstrong hotel. they rehabbed the place with financial help from the ft. collins downtown development authority. have you gotten customers who want to come downtown instead of going to the mall. >> i try to have the best selection you can at good prices and great service. and that's been the motto for 40 years. >> for many main street businesses, having a big selecti selection, a very big selection seems to be the key factor for survival. walk into al's newsstand and you'll see more magazines in one place than you ever even knew existed. >> you get the customer in here who says, i've never seen this many magazines. >> pam has run al's for 40 years. while the magazine industry
itself may be in trouble she says that a successful main street retail store can compete with the web if it creates an experience so immersive that a customer doesn't want to leave. >> we call it the deer in the he headlight look because they're lost. all they see is a sea of magazine covers. >> walk into ellen's perennial gardener and you'll see the same thing. watch these shoppers get lost here in her shop's immess sieve experience. >> just listen to that that's really wonderful. >> bricks and mortar businesses need to know we're in the entertainment business as much as anything else. we're about creating an experience for our customers they can't get anywhere else and all of a sudden they do think they want this. like with this cat bag you wouldn't know you needed this. if you go on the internet you won't look for fun but it's fun and exciting and suddenly you have a cat bag. air not going to get that experience on the internet. >> this is the exact kind of thing that i imagine makes you successful. you can't buy this. i wouldn't even think to look up
ghost peppers. susan kirkpatrick is the owner of this savory spice franchise shop and keeps her customers coming back by introducing them to new products like ghost pepper which they wouldn't know to search for on the web. >> i like to see the people come and, you know, get an earful. >> sku runs the aggie theater and produced live music on the main street for more than 20 years. while he's not a retail business, he says his main street success results from providing something not available at the mall or on the web. >> the difference is there's -- you have a cold beer in your hand and got 110 d b's and some lights and your favorite musician looking at you and saying, are you having a good time? you know, do you like my music? will you come back and listen to me. >> we see exuberant day life, night life. people are always looking for something to do.
>> gabe yield armstrong owner of the crooked cocktail -- >> not to say there isn't competition but it's constructive. people help each other along as a whole. >> thanks to the initiatives nurtured over the years and the sharp focus on competing against the web in big retail, this main street is flourishing. now a new generation of businesses are discovering that their main street location is exactly what gives them their edge >> that's the key to having a successful business, this great location and there's no amount of advertising, marketing in the world that can beat that. >> as we continue this main street usa series we'd love to hear what's happening in your community. if you think we should come to main street in your neck of the woods please write us. the e-mail address is yourbusiness @msnbc.com. now the businesses on main street in ft. collins figured out what they needed to do to target prospective customers.
one of the most important things entrepreneurs can do is focus on who the consumers of your product or service will be and then how you can reach them. that was the case for the owner of a texas-based bath and body product line who discovered that marketing to upscale customers was the wrong way to go. >> we do not know cuss on the high-end at all. we have an amazing quality product that we want accessible to as many people as possible. >> debra myers didn't intend on selling her organic bath and body line enfusia in grocery stores but that's exactly where they are lotion, hand made bath balms and sauls have ended up. enfusia based in woodlands, texas was made with spas and boutiques in mind. having worked in cosmetics for big brands like chanel, calvin klein and elizabeth order sdmrn
that was the only job i knew and it was all about prestige, had a certain level of snob appeal and i really wanted to go after that. >> it was during her conversations with some recognizable brand names that she was dealt a little blow to her entrepreneurial ego. >> i was told that the products were not high-end enough, the price point was not high enough and that was quite devastating, frankly. but then i took it as a blessing. >> going forward it became myers' plan to make sure enfusia's products were available to as many people as possible. >> once we guided we wanted it to be affordable luxury for everybody, it became a real simple i guess a no-brainer for me as a business owner. >> she said she's made a conscious effort to market to customers in the middle. >> we actually do not seek out the high i have end and do not seek out the low end. >> working with whole foods and h.e.b., the products are seen by
countless shoppers every day. >> everyone has to go to the grocery store sooner or later and you could have hundreds come through the door at any given moment. >> with so many potential customers she knew her products needed to stand out. the first way was through pricing. even though high-end retailers said enfusi. 's products in reality they were good for grocery store. >> we do keep everything under a retail of $10. >> the company hasn't really raised its prices but that decision hasn't been easy. >> most difficult aspect of dealing with grocery in general is keeping the price point where it needs to be. >> pricing isn't the only concern. enfusia has had to pay close attention to packaging. in the grocery chapel the hope is clients can look at the product, know what it is and how to use it with little explanation. kerry attar is the owner of hubble and hudson which carries myers' products and says
enfusi's has been a draw for customer. >> people eat with their eyes and consume with their eyes as much as they do with the content so packaging is super important. especially food trade and health and beauty aids. >> what has happened make it the best-selling name in some spaces is the allegiance many customers have shown to the product. >> the middle has a loyalty to products that the high-end never will. >> with enfusia services 75 stores she has her sights set higher but wants to make sure the company grows in a controlled manner. it has found success in marketing to the middle and that's the customer base that will continue to get the company's attention. does a gap in small business lending still exist? banks will tell you they're making all the loans they can to credit worthy borrowers but a lot of small business owners out there say their credit worthy
and loanability remains a problem. getting access to capital is their top growth concern, many say. so here to talk about the contributing factors to this situation and why she can be optimistic that it will change is karen mills. she is a senior fellow with the harvard business school and the harvard kennedy school of government focused on competitiveness, entrepreneurship and innovation and was the sba administrator from 2009 to 2013. so great to see you. > great to be back here to see you. >> congratulations on the new job. >> thank you. >> okay, let's talk about this small business lending. so if you look at lending, lending to big business has recovered somewhat but small business, according to the fdic is still at prerecession levels. what's going on? >> we have a recovery but it's not even and small business once again is lagging. and you know because you and i talked all during the years of the recession that small business got hit extra hard in a financial crisis like the one we
had, small businesses just got crushed. and we did a lot of things when i was at the sba to help them, but now when i look at it from a position at harvard business school and really take apart the data, they aren't fully recovered. so what's to be done about it? well, it turns out that some of the pressures are what we call structural. they're not going to change. community banks which really have been the backbone of lending -- in all these community bank failures where the small business had a relationship with their banker. >> right. you know, if you went into a bank and you went for a loan, you had a banker who knew your business and there were all these intangibles that the banker knew about you that would allow them to make a loan. well, now many, many small banks have been console dated into big banks and it's not economical for the small banks to make the loans under $100,000 so what do they do? they'll decision this loan based on a score.
maybe it's your credit score. your fica score and for a lot of small businesses that's not going to allow them to get a loan. >> you're optimistic and it's not like these community banks are going to start popping up all over again where our kids play little league together, i know you're a good person i'm going to make you a loan. >> well, in fact, technology may change the game in small business banking just the way it's been changing the game in lots of other parts of our life and the reason is that lots of entrepreneurs have come into the business and they are challenging the way things are done. they've put on online marketplaces and they're doing something interesting on this score. they're using big data and algorithms to try to get more information about you that is more indicative of your creditworthiness. >> the small business owner looking for a small loan is no longer, banks aren't going to be the place for them to go ten years from now. >> you may see banks learning from the new technology marketplaces or participating as
a lender on one of those marketplaces so it's still the wild west out there. we're not really sure who the winners and losers are going to be, but all i know is that this is good news for small businesses. >> okay. >> here's the problem. nobody is regulating these new marketplaces. they fall in the cracks, in between the bank regulators and the new consumer protection regulations, nobody is looking out for small businesses, so if you're a small business owner you better know what the terms are and what you're paying, because you don't want to overpay. >> and make sure you're with a trustworthy organization. so nice to see you. thanks for stopping by and congratulations on the new job if thank you so much. great to see you. when we come back, we'll have a lot more great entrepreneurial information and advice including five ways you can attract more customers. we'll tell you when to know it's time to fire yourself and hire someone to take over some of your responsibilities.
and today's elevator picture gets a verbal workout as she shows our panel her new line of yoga apparel for all body types. if i can impart one lesson to a new business owner, it would be one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up. be your partners best partner. we built it for our members, but it's open for everyone. there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. when i worked at the
airlines this is the '6 os airlines. that's like the peak business you want to be in like pan am. well, service was the ultimate goal for everything. i am now sitting with the -- we call them special agents for kamali culture and i'm teaching them everything i ever learned at the airlines so that we develop a reputation of having extraordinary service and that we never let anybody down. >> as a busy entrepreneur, chances are you may not have the time to learn html and limited funds may mean hiring someone to maintain a professional looking website is out of the question so if that's the case check out our website of the week. getbarley.com makes changes and fixes directly as if you were working with a document. instead of having to sign into word processor or another system
you can add, update content from your page and offers site templates so you don't have to start from scratch. while recruiting new clients is important making sure your current ones become repeat customers is equally essential. so here now are five ways to focus on getting customers to come back courtesy of sma smallbiztrends.com. get mobile and partner with belly to get your business found. these companies use an intelligent map that highlight participating merchants nearby. two, focus on loyalty. implement a loyalty program that rewards frequent visitors, customers are likely to spend more with each visit and they may spread the word about your business. three, cross promote. network with local businesses who have complimentary products or services. it could lead to new rereferrals and new loyal customers. four, get social. informed customers of upcoming
promotions and post once a day to show customers you're engaged. and, five, activate and manage reviews. post as much relevant information as possible about your business on all available review sites. adding signs on your window is also a great way to remind visiting customers to share their positive feedback. it's time to answer some of your business questions. let's get our board of directors in here. barry maltz is a small business consultant. find him online at barry maltz.com. 25 ways to get your business going again and dwell studio acquired by way farer.com where she now serves as the executive creator director. so great to see both of you. >> let's dive right into the first question about moving on.
>> they were wearing most of the hats when we opened our business. when is a good final to fire us for certain jobs. >> i love how he puts it. fire us for certain jobs. it's hard. first you need to know which one to fire yourself from and then you need to do it. >> right. >> how do you know? >> i think that as a entrepreneur myself and somebody who started by myself doing everything from the accounting to taking out the garbage at a certain point you realize that there are people out there that are a lot better than you at tasks that you're performing. and i think that at a certain point, you doing them actually hinders the growth of the company. so i think at that moment you start to feel when do you hire your first bookkeeper or when do you hire the right salesperson. getting lieutenants to help you out is sometimes the best investment you can make. >> what did you decide? did you do it before you had
enough money knowing you'd be able to earn more if you hired people. >> i felt my way through it so really specific skill sets like accounting, i did that long before i could have afforded it and maybe the best move ever because i would have been -- it would have taken ten times as long to do the job versus me fumbling my way through it. so i think a lot is gut and intuition or doing tasks you're less qualified to do that take more time, it's time to hire somebody who is an expert. >> i have to imagine, barry, you talk about getting unstuck and probably one way they're stuck is doing all this my unusual that taking longer than someone else. >> you have to fire yourself as soon as possible. entrepreneurs are control freaks and want to do everything ourself and that's a problem. if you do everything yourself you only have a job and only ever have a company. as chrshe said maybe shipping o
reordering from vendors. don't outsource too soon. you have to stay close to the customers. >> also to your point very true. if you're not doing what you're good at and you're doing other tasks, the company just doesn't grow at the same speed. >> let's move on to the next question. it's an e-mail from a viewer. lou writes -- glenn greenwald put your city and state in your twitter profile. you're from chicago, use #chicago. tweet about what your legal people really care. if your local mayor did the ice bucket chalths. tweet about it. >> i think it's helpful to see who is influential and engage in
a conversation with them. talks about things in your community to barry's point. that's your driving force. let's move on to the last question. doing business with other companies. >> for b2. b leads. how do you get past the gatekeeper and to the decisionmaker. >> a great question. >> don't worry. >> chances are somebody will answer you. even if they pass it off to the right person. never starty bottom. start at the top. >> really? i think a lot are nervous about starting at the top or just sta top or think it's never going to get answered so i should start at the bottom. >> my father-in-law once told me a crazy story about how he had a cell phone and it didn't work and the ceo answered his phone. they are the people that really
want to hear the problems, the issues, solve them. they're invested and invested in a way that sometimes the gate keepers just aren't. >> if you have to get past the gatekeeper, you have to treat them like gold, show you respect them. show that their role has value. you can take the lead from the pharmaceutical companies. they have been getting to doctors for tens of decades. what they do is bring in lunch or bring in samples to the administrative staff. that's their key to get to the doctor meeting. >> all right. thank you, guys, so much for all this advice. we're bringing you back in a little bit to do something in the elevator with us. >> thank you. that was all great advice. it is much too short. we're taking this off hair and online. barry is going to be answering all of your pressing small business questions in our live twitter chat which is going to happen tuesday at 5:00 p.m. eastern. tweet us your question to@openforum and use
#msnbcyourbiz. then you can join us tuesday as barry and i provide you with some answers. today's elevator pitcher loved yoga, but couldn't find the right clothes to wear to class. she started a company to make sure she and other women could be comfortable. >> hi, i'm tracy. >> nice to meet you. >> founder and ceo of haven collective, a yoga wear brand where refined fit meets luxury, meets the supportive shape wear. we are poised to meet two important overlapping demographics, the 17 million women that practice women and 100 million that are over size 12. in teaching my own yoga classes, i realized there was nothing
nothing on the market for a woman like me, curvy, stylish and with fashion. it was created for me, average american women and we customize the fit from size 4 to 18. the collection was sold to five boutiques within the first three weeks. we launch our own site in october this year. we raised $450,000 in our seed round and require $1 million to increase our marketing and eventually launch aqua haven swim. we are projected to reach $30 million by 2018 with a $10 million roi. >> nice job, tracy. i'm going to give you each these. i want you to rate the pitch, not the company, but the pitch from one to ten. i don't know if you know this, but you have a seasoned panel when it comes to yoga here. so these guys know a little bit about what you do, also. barry, one to ten? >> i rated you an eight. i think the pitch was fantastic. my wife, sarah, she's a yoga
teacher. i wish she would have thought of this idea. i think there's a real need for it and i think it would be really successful. >> i'm giving you a seven because i want you to push the concept further. i think the pitch was very good. it feels authentic to who you are. i want to know about what differentiates you from the market, more about your distribution plan and i want to know more about how you're going to scale this business. >> seven and eight out of ten. good job. >> thank you. >> congratulations on your business. >> you two, so great to see you. thanks for all of your advice today. >> thank you. >> if any of you out there have a product or service and you want feedback from our elevator pitch panel, send us an e-mail. the address is firstname.lastname@example.org. please include a short summary how much money you want to raise and what you intend to do with that money. to learn more about today's show, click on our website, it's
openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's segments plus web exclusive content with information to help your business grow. you can follow us on twitter, @msnbcyourbiz. we're on facebook and instagram as well. next week, two los angeles small business owners discover the secret to luring customers away from amazon. how they partnered up with up-and-coming artists to establish a unique lifestyle brand. until then, i'm j.j. ramberg. remember, we make your business our business. if i can impart one lesson to a new business owner, it would be one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up. be your partners best partner.
we built it for our members, but it's open for everyone. there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. the new coalition of the willing. thanks forgetting up with us this first sunday in the month of september. a busy day already in iraq where the u.s. military has launched air strikes against isis fighters trying to gain control of the hadifa dam. the group has marched eastward from syria across iraq in recent