tv Your Business MSNBC May 17, 2015 4:30am-5:01am PDT
small businesses use data to become more efficient and more profitable. and how the national small business persons of the year helped revitalize their missouri town. news and information to help your small business make lots of money. coming up next on "your business." ♪ ♪ small businessings 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 everyone i'm j.j. ramburg. welcome to "your small business." how often do you think about data in relation to your business. every one is collecting data i i suspect many of you throw out the data. hiding in the numbers are great strategies to help your company thrive. to give you an illustration. we went to visit the owner of a lunch shop in california who showed her how data helped increase her cash flow and decrease her supply costs.
next customer. take a close look at the turkey and cheese on a roll. if we're one of these customer that sandwich looks like lunch. but if you're lindsay the owner here that sandwich looks like data. raw data. >> these are the bread choices, the spread choices, meat, cheese, like that toppings and any deli salads and sides. at the 50-year-old lunch shop since she owned and operated since 2007 she's turned everything into a number. that's catering. we track how many people are coming in. who is visiting my business? the big slice is 25 to 34-year-old demographic. that's the biggest demographic. >> a lot of data in the sandwich. >> alan is at vancouver-based open tech. how much did it cost?
who bought it? even small business owners can learn a lot from their data if they ask the right questions. >> how many times have they bought it? where did the meat come from? how much did the bread cost. >> those are exactly the kind of questions lindsey asks herself every day. in in the last 30 days i've paid 121 bills for a total of $50,523. the problem is dragging those numbers is harder than you think. >> something goes up by 7 cents a poupd. you don't notice but over time you see a difference in the money you're making. it's eroding the margin. be in the cost rise faster than the prices even popular shops like hers can go broke. very rapidly. no matter the industry they're in. >> i can't raise the cost of my sandwich up-and-down based on what the cost of tomatoes or cheese are. >> like any other high volume business. she said her survival month after month depends on
monitoring food costs because the profit margins so small. >> somewhere between 86,000 and $110,000 in sales which is a fair amount considering the average ticket price is about $9 so, you know, doing that is a lot of turn over. the first difficulty with tracking costs is suppliers don't always give notice. the second obstacle is the paper trail. the receipts listing changes comes in on scraps of paper left behind by the delivery man. no digital records at all. >> you get the paper every day from vendors but there's so much paper that it's sort of becomes pointless. because it you couldn't really find anything. they might as well have thrown it out. >> that's exactly what lindsay does. she throws them out. but not before she's carefully scanned each one into her quick books account.
>> these are my food costs here. that is e-mailed to her bill.com account for payment and society a spread sheet. vendor by vendor day by day month by month. >> there's frito lay. it's showing all the bills paid to frito lay. >> seeing the data daily sees the price responses. >> bringing them down or adjusting prices or dropping something off a menu. >> by using the data this way to revise vendor orders and update the products offered the retail business is what alan calls data driven. >> it's a difference between a business that generates data which all businesses do, and a business that strives to become data driven where the data becomes part of the decision making. >> lindsay say other shop viewers who collect their re recreates in the drawer no matter the kind of business are getting their information too
late to use. >> they may have over paid for six months or something like that. you know, so there's money left on the table when you wait until you just are noticed. >> food costs are not the only numbers she monitors. she uses bread crumb software to track the cash in the cash register. >> people mistakes and that's okay. but if there's a consistent oh she works every wednesday and every wednesday the cash register is short then, you know, you can tell. >> alan said this kind of access to data allows owners to make decisions and change plans quickly and effectively. >> the key with big and small data is getting the rapid feedback and thinking about the actions you take. >> data alone is not enough. when this vendor suggested lindsay could save 17 cents a pound on precooked roast beef she jumped on it and made a big mistake. the customers could tell it was
commercially cooked and they didn't like at it all. >> the feedback was like, you ruined my life. and i just realized, you know, it's not worth losing that business. so that's the case where, you know, i could bring the food costs down but the trade-off isn't worth it. so we went back to cooking our roast beef. >> that's where the judgment comes in. some numbers matter more than others. and every business owner must decide what to do with the data once they get it. >> i can't say i've ever had a single day of being -- about the business. there's something to do and it's never the same. twitter can be a great platform for your business but only if you use it correctly. according to the company there are more than 288 million monthly active users. here are five ways you can create an amaze twitter profile to draw in some of the people courtesy of ink.com.
one, view it like a business card. keep your profile professional short, and sweet. focus on the information you need to convey. two, imagine your audience. know exactly who it is you want to reach on twitter and cater to that group. three, draft your minirésumé. highlight your greatest accomplishments but remember there's a word limit. four, use key words and hashtags. it will increase the number of people who find you when they search on twitter. five, add links. take advantage of the option to gain more credibility and followers. a tight-knit missouri fans named national small business persons of the year. we met the family last year and i was personally so inspired by their story of founding the missouri star quilt company. not only have they built an incredibly successful business but along the way they revitalize the community it was founded in. it started with a retirement
gift of a quilting machine and a viral video which made the company's matriarch a star. ♪ ♪ >> welcome to hamilton, missouri population 1800. until now hamilton has been known for the birthplace of jc penney. today the city which is about an hour away from kansas city is known for something different. quilting. it's been dubbed the disney land of quilting. that's because of the vision of one family which started the missouri star quilt company. people have come all over the world from as far away as australia. once they get here turns out there's not much. missouri star broadened their vision now they're working with local partners to turn the sleepysleep sleepy town into a true destination. >> how many buildings do you own? >> downtown hamilton we have 12. >> you're taking over this town. >> we kind of are taking
advantage of people not using them and letting them just kind of run down and fall apart and putting together something new and exciting. >> some i see you have the sewing retreat. and sow seasonal over there. >> we're focussed on quilting. we want the most quilt shops of anywhere in the town. >> what do you my the missouri star quilting company is doing? >> they bring in employment. they brought in over 100 now. they came in and improved a lot of our buildings that were in disrepair and actually, you know, maybe delap dated and going to fall down. it's been a good situation for the city. >> and the city of hamilton has been good for the done family. 20 years ago ron and jenny were barely making ends meet living in california when they decided to pack up their large family and head to missouri with the hope of finding a slower pace of life and lower cost of living. with a fresh start jenny stayed
home and raised her seven children and found herself with an empty nest. she took a class in quilting and fell in in love and found she was a natural. inventing shortcuts faster than anyone else in her class. >> everyone was finishing her quilt and i had made about 12 by the time i was done. i was so addicted. with the economy shaking in 2008 and ron nearing retirement. the done children were concerned the parents had little money for the golden years. since jenny was spending some of time on the hobby the kids thought perform-- purchasing a professional quilting machine might help generate a small business income for their parents. >> the machine cost more than the building we're in. that was the cast list that got us going. >> and from those humble beginnings, the missouri star quilt company was born. alan, his sister sara, and
another partner boot strapped a website. when they gained traction they realized jenny's larger than life personality was perfect for youtube. >> competition begins now! ? >> i know it looks a little crazy but i've done crazy things before. >> it turns out jenny is the real star at the missouri quilt star company. >> all i was hoping for was here is jenny! >> the business do you. she has a devoted following of more than 150,000 sub describers and her videos have been watched more than 28 million times. something totally unexpected started to happen. >> last time jenny wasn't here. but today i got to talk to her. >> people started making the
pilgriming pilgrimage to hamilton to meet jenny in person. the family saw an opportunity to grow their business and town. >> we can't all just be quilting. right. we know we have to build an ecosystem. we have a couple of buildings that will be refinished into retail space or space can rent and run their business in there. that's really exciting to me because it means everybody gets a chance to succeed here. >> would it have been possible to open the restaurant without the missouri star quilting company? >> no. >> they provided the building we lease from them and finance us get the business started and running. >> i'm proud of my children. they were at a town meeting and somebody said it's going to be a one dimensional town and said alan isn't it better than no dimensional dimensional. i'm just as tickled adds i can be to see it happening. i think most everybody is too.
if you're doing things right you spent a lot of time thinking about your company's brand and everything you do helps reinforce the message. the brand doesn't have to be and look maybe shouldn't be set in stone for the entire life of your company. our next guest will high light several telltale signs that it could be soon time to rebrand. dory clark is a frequent contributor to the harvard business review and forbes and author of a new book "how to find your breakthrough idea and build a following around it ". we think of brand you something you do in the beginning and it's there forever. it you may tweak it a little bit. >> actually times it's not a good idea to keep the brand for the entirety of your company life. in one instance, of course, is where you're actually being
dragged behind you with a past. there's a consultant who tells a story about the time a client pulled him aside and wanted to council him and say your brand doesn't the present you well anymore. your logo. and a logo is a visibility manifest yags. that's the smallest piece. even something like that can give people an impression of you. sometimes if your company moved in a different direction. if you're doing slightly different things, you want to update how you're perceived. >> it makes me think of the rad radio shack commercial. you're stuck in the past. >> absolutely. >> you talk about being trapped by circumstances. give me an example. >> yeah. absolutely. sometimes society is just moving forward and there may be things you absolutely can't control. if we think back to a decade ago, the atkins diet was a huge crazy. everybody was doubling down on
protein. they were getting rid of carbohydrates. if you were running a bakery, for instance, that could be a huge problem. lirm literally there was news stories about business dropping off. what do you do? what the best strategy is sometimes when you're looking around and the circumstances have changed it's to say, you know, we serve lunch too. we're going to start promoting this a and advertising that. it's no longer all about the morning danishes that nobody wants to eat anymore. >> it's interesting it's not about looking back but looking forward and say are we keeping up with the times? >> one place where you may want rebrand if you feel like the essence of your brand has gotten confused in the marketplace. you may want to go back. a few years back was having trouble. gangsters essentially were wearing burberry and consider it cool. they had a lot of licensing deals. especially in asia or if they
were slapping the burberry logo on everything. people said is it supposed to be a luxury brand? what they did instead in order to reclaim the essence of burberry is they cut the licensing deals they got strict about what they would put the burberry check on. went back to basics. they emphasized the trench coat which is the essence of their brand. and now they are back to health and profitability. >> then we talk about when opportunities emerge. so how do you determine the shiny object i should ignore it versus the opportunities this is worth changing my brand. >> from my own life changing. when i started my business was coming off being a spokesperson for a presidential campaign, and i decided to become a consultant and i thought i'll work on political campaigns. i'll be a political consultant. it turned out that actually a lot of people that i knew in the business world and the nonprofit world came to me and said would you consult for us? and at first i thought no i'm going to be a political consultant. but then i thought about it and
i realized it would be foolish because the essence of what i was about wasn't just politics. it was about how do you communicate your message effectively. that's something i could do whether it was for a campaign or a business. and i opened it up. i changed the way i started talking about my business and it opened up a new line of revenue. >> i end this by saying that rebranding is a big deal. and so you shouldn't be doing it lightly. >> no. you don't want to just plunge into it willie nilly. you risk losing your customers. if you rebrand strategically it could lay the groundwork for a decade or more for successful business growth. >> thank you. when we return we'll answer your small business questions on the pros and cons of crowd funding. and we'll take you to miami where women and minority entrepreneurs gathered at the emerge conference.
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business@msnbc firstname.lastname@example.org. please don't forget to use the attendees were kept engaged from start to finish at sessions with investors accelerators and tech tell lent who shared their wisdom. >> the emerge americas conference provided five days of access to new technology and innovative actions to those who shared their ideas on how to help small business move forward. it showcased businesses resulting in a global idea exchange that focused on how technology in particular is disrupting many industries. the chief of the u.s. small business administration gave a keynote address and was on hand to get the word out about the sba's resources. >> we have counseling across the
country. which means billions of dollars going to small business contracting opportunities. >> attendees have gotten an indeath look. how they identified big opportunities. >> you want an entrepreneur or a team of founders who is 100% passionate committed. they work hard, listen, but also have their own opinions and they are really really focused on ux cushion. when you don't see that in the very, very beginning it's really hard to be engaged and excited with the opportunity. >> mary founder of a tech company spoke at a session called entrepreneurs building empires. her advice is always look for what's next. >> the next big thing that is
around the corner is virtual reality. >> the university has an initiative called tech runway and that is designed to take some of the fledgling companies that are just winning the business plan competition and moving ahead. >> it was minority and women owned businesses that took center stage. >> you can't just run an entire company women alone. you can but it's probably not go to be as successful. in fortune 500 companies there is a perfect mix. people have a different point of view and the best way to serve your customer base is to have all of those views.
>> and pit bull wrapped up the conference with words of wisdom and encouragement. >> can't is can don't is do, won't, is won and the word impossible is possible. >> let's get our board of directors in here to help us out. thanks so much for being here you guys. >> great to be here. >> good to see you guys. >> it is about access to capital. >> i would love to hear more about crowd fund inging. >> obviously this question is
directed right towards you. >> definitely crowd funding is a great alternative in terms of being able to get access to capital. but i would say, number one, you want to have a good pitch. you want to be able to create a video you want to be pro active. have an update every five days or less. you will raise four times more money if you update every five days or less. don't expect if you build itthey will come. in terms of the don't don't expect to put it up there and walk away and hope thattel fs will come with bags of money. >> i think that is the best point of all. you need a network.
you need a base of people to get it out to so that they can share wit people as well. >> but people shouldn't be intimidated to think that they need thousands and thousands of twitter followers. >> that's a wonderful question. there are two types of crowd funding. sometimes people think of it in terms of a kouz or non-profit and other times it's really to get your business going. if i'st's rewards based then you have got get it set up. you're giving away an appropriate part of your business. i want to echo what you said about social proof.
they haven't mobilized the people who have basically obligated to help them because their friends or family to really create that momentum that makes everyone else want to go meet you. >> i think that's a great point. for some people it's so natural and others feel like it's a burden. >> i want to do it on my own. >> and they want to see you succeed. they love you. >> just put out the ask. just doing that ask is i would say, 90% of the job. >> okay. this next question is about franchising. >> what are the top three characteristics we should look for when selecting franchise brand partners? >> i would say culture fit,
culture fit and culture fit. of course they have to have the capital and the skills but bringing on franchise brand partners is no different. are they going really uphold the values on your business. and just one franchisee takes the business in a different direction then it's really going to hurt. it's going to poison the whole well. >> maybe start with one that's close by where you with can work very carefully. >> i think you should always start with a pilot and be able to test. speaking of feed back, one of the most important things is really reference checks to understand what is the feed back.
it's not just to be able to get into the business but to be passionate about that specific area. >> one thing i will throw in and maybe they don't want to hear that but if something isn't working in terms of the system or some of your franchise problems the problem could always be on the other end of the leash. you have to set up your systems and procedures so clearly that you don't leave room for people to second guess what you would do if you were in their shoes. >> which gets to the point of start small. all right. thank you guys so much. it was a really great conversation and so great to see you. >> great to be here. >> if any of you have a question for our experts we answer them every single week on this show. please send us an e-mail with your question. just head on over to our website, open forum.com/your
business. you will find all of today's segments. you can find us on facebook and instagram as well. >> next time a skin care company doesn't want to sell products over the counter. we will tell you why a big business sales model has been successful for this small business. remember, we make your business our business. american express for travel and entertainment worldwide. just show them this - the american express card. don't leave home without it! and someday, i may even use it on the moon. it's a marvelous thing! oh! haha! so you can replace plane tickets, traveler's cheques, a lost card. really? that worked?
american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here. >> understanding the enemy. >> all right. and good morning to you. thanks for getting up with us this sunday morning. a lot to get to in the show including that daring u.s. special forces raid into isis territory. the wife of a senior isis now in custody. what officials may be hoping to learn from her in just a moment. tornado alley hit with more than a dozen twisters overnight.