tv Your Business MSNBC July 4, 2015 2:30am-3:01am PDT
this is mazing business woman has done just that called the shark whisperer, her thriving business gets people up close to the underwater creature she loves while funding her conservation work. swim with the sharks in hawaii on this special edition of "your business." small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help. that's why we are proud to present "your business" on msnbc.
hi everyone i'm jj ramberg and welcome to "your business," the show dedicated to helping your small business grow. talk about heading into the shark tank. a small business owner we met in hawaii does that every single day. but there's no tank. when she says shark, she's not talking about investors, she's talking about real sharks. a few years ago, conservationist ocean ramsey had an idea to introduce people to the animal she loves. today she's got a thriving business. the idea of getting this close to a shark might be a nightmare for most people. but for ocean ramsey the
co-founder of hawaii-based one ocean diving is a dream come true. >> the first time i ever saw a shark i was really young. i just remember seeing it and thinking, wow, this animal is so beautiful and graceful. i ended up falling after it. i think i've been in love with them every since. >> ocean is a conservationist focus on sharks. she's been called the shark whisperer, she's been called crazy. just look at this photo. that's ocean swimming with a great white. >> what makes you love this animal that so many other people fear. >> i get to see them on a day-to-day basis, i get to see the reality of them how incredible they are. it's inspired me to speak up for them. >> ocean and her partner created a nonprofit called water inspired to study sharks but they quickly learned they needed to do more, so they come up with a plan start another company, a for-profit venture which takes people like me and my fellow adventurers swimming with the sharks. notice there are no cages.
unlike most shark swimming tours, with this one, you are up close and personal. it's so crazy. you're on the boat and you see that iconic picture of the fin. that dorsal fin. you think instead of running away from this i'm about to dive in with this which goes against every single thing anyone has ever told me to do. >> exactly. >> ocean and juan figured giving people this experience and having them come away with it with all their limbs intact would do more for sharks than any research they could publish. >> i didn't get eaten. >> you find out how amazing they are, you want to do something to help them. i see the switch every single day, the switch from fear to fascination. >> a fear that hollywood has fueled. >> the way that hollywood generally portrays sharks is similar to that blockbuster
"jaws" which is all teeth and it's very exciting and sensationalized and demonized. >> i just think of one drop of blood in the water, if i cut myself, there's going to be blood and the sharks will come after me. >> that's exactly what they are trying to sell. i can tell you that i've been in the water with over 200 sharks and my leg has been bleeding. >> shark attacks are real. two kids were recently bit off the coast of north carolina. and so ocean spends the entire boat ride out to the site explaining the rules. she says if you follow her instructions, the sharks will not bother you. and that most shark attacks are a case of mistaken identity where sharks believe you're prey because of how they see you in the water. >> the ocean is the shark's environment, their home. when you enter the ocean, you should factor in and play by their rules. >> ocean and juan use the funds from one ocean diving to pay for their work. >> there's no way we can find
all the work we want to do without having that business help fuel the conservation work. >> i love the business model of it actually being able to -- we'd have to go out there and do it anyway. >> as much as they feel one ocean diving contributes to water inspired it works the other way, too. >> i've seen a lot of operations throughout the world that utilize sharks and draw to sharks to generate income. it could grow without the conservation but the passion that drives me and ocean to go hard every single day is the help to benefit the animals. >> ocean and juan have been savvy about the way they've gotten the word out about the company. their marketing expenses to date, almost nothing. >> we don't have a budget for marketing. i know through another girl in our conservation group that social media is an extremely powerful tool. >> juan is an award-winning photographer. when you're a customer of one ocean diving you get photos too. and ocean encourages people to share them. >> do you get the people who
come on your trips to utilize their social media? >> we actually ask them if they post photos or video to write something nice about sharks. >> we just ask if you wouldn't meaned saying something nice about sharks because they could use all the good press and media they could get. >> utilizing hash tags and search engine optimization. our business card has suggestive hash tags. >> it's how they get most of their business right now, too much business to keep up with. >> juan and i both work seven days a week. we get maybe four or five hours of sleep. i'm currently 250 texts behind. that's just text messages that's not voicemail or e-mail. >> like any entrepreneur ocean and juan have had to try and balance the part of the job they love with the part that is less fun. >> you know challenging stuff for me i think would be the paperwork. >> paperwork. paperwork. >> as they grow, they hope to expand their team.
but for now, they both feel everything they have to do is worth it. just to be out there. >> i can get up at 5:00 in the morning and go to bed late at night. it's my way of getting back. and i think it's successful because we are so passionate about it and willing to work hard for it. and it's our life. it doesn't feel like work when you love what you do. >> for a lot of owners the sharks taking a bite out of their business is their competition. the great white sharks of competitors for small businesses are often the corporate giants. whether you're selling a product or a service, it takes something extra to get someone to come to your business instead of a well-known big brand. that challenge can be particularly daunting in a small community, one like aspen, colorado. once a small rural enclave, it's now a glamorous ski resort with a booming luxury market. for some of the town's small independent real estate companies, there was only one way to compete against the biggies of their industry, join forces.
40 years ago, aspen, colorado was a hard-to-reach back water, far way from the world of big business and international tourism. >> it was much smaller, much more intimate. the businesses were all small, the shops were small. it had a wonderful scale and feeling. >> that's when bill sterling first arrived and opened up his own independent real estate business called sterling homes incorporated. >> i started it with a borrowed loan from the bank of about $5,000. that's how it all began in 1978. >> b.j. adams is a long-i time aspen-based independent real estate company owner. >> i thought, well, i'm going to strike out. i was young enough naive enough to think i could do it and i just started off on my own thinking i could do this better. >> dale came to aspen for the ski slopes. he started selling property on the side more than three decades ago. >> it's evolved. it's become a luxury market. we're selling people luxurious homes like this.
>> donette smith is bill's partnership she loves the small-town world of real estate. >> standing on the porch and looking around these houses are gorgeous enormous and they're on this amazing hill. you can see the gondola in the background. >> what does something like this cost? >> which one? the one we're in it would probably sell for about 9 million, 10 million. the one across the street 15 million to 20 million. >> with millions of dollars at stake, and a growing international clientele, it's no surprise that big companies took notice. local independents like bill's stir ling homes, bj's and dale's peak properties of aspen face stiff competition from christie's sotheby's and coldwell broker. >> i got the price reduction. >> for bill sterling and donette smith from stir ling homes and
dale and shay from peak properties, the answer was to form a single four-person agency. >> did you feel like you had to merge in order to compete with some of the other stuff that was ahappening in aspen? >> yes. >> it was time. >> i think we needed to figure out ways where we could operate with a critical scale that saved us money and by merging, that enabled us to did that. we get more bang for our buck in the promotion. >> today they're fully merged. they share office space, share leads on buyers and houses and they say that together they're each doing much better than they did alone. >> being big in my mind isn't better. the biggest problem, in my opinion with all that is that the culture changes when you're big. >> bj owned her own agency for nearly 20 years. and with 13 employees, she says there's not much mystery to how to stay ahead of the big guys while bj says flexibility to quickly react to market change
is one of the natural advantages that comes with being small. she says there's a second advantage, too. the knowledge that comes from being a long-time member of the community. >> if i only had one afternoon with that buyer before they go home, i have an opportunity to show them six, maybe ten properties. they better be the best properties on the market. if not, the buyer will get discouraged. >> she says she's closes deals and wastes less time than the big guys. she says that's the strategy to win the game. >> you get handed off to some assist and. bill is there for the beginning, for all the showings. that's the way we decided we want to work with every one of our clients. business travel can get expensive and complicated and checking out a number of different sites to do a price or
time comparison could get overwhelming. our website of the week helps make this easier, pin trs triptrips.com is a pinterest-style site. you can quickly compare prices and routes without having to navigate between a bunch of different websites. are you trying to attract more b2b customers? here are online marketing ideas that have proven effective courtesy of entrepreneur.com. >> one, updates on linkedin target company size seniority levels, job titles and employees of specific companies. you can promote your own articles or blog posts to advertise your business page and brand yourself at the same time. two, banner ads. fine out what your ideal group is reading online and advertise on those industry-specific pages. three, promote google hangouts. you can record them automatically to show them on
youtube. four, contribute to online magazines. publishing outstanding content on the right website is a cost effective way to leave your mark and put a face to your name for potential customers. and five, advertise during how-to videos on youtube. while video ads are great, they can be time consuming. consider producing content that provides helpful information while also showing usefulness of your product or service. between linkedin and twitter and facebook, we're all doing a lot of networking online. this can lead to clap rags 0 are partnerships with people we've actually never met in person. like a web designer in another state or maybe a marketing partner on the other side of the country. our next guest has a checklist for you to use in order to protect yourself when forming working relationships with people over social media. maria ross is chief brand strategy. she's also author of the book
"branding basics for small business, how to create an irresistible brand on any budget." good to see you, maria. >> thanks for having me. >> let's talk about the idea of this, first. i go to linkedin all the time when i'm trying to meet people. see who we know in common. does it happen often in your experience that somebody meets someone over social media, creates a relationship with them and something goes awry? >> yes, i've actually heard both really great success stories and have experienced them myself. also heard some cautionary tales. that's what i'm hoping to share today, how to protect yourself and make sure you're doing business with people so you get more of the success stories. >> all right. the first thing you talk about is your social home work. you met them onlane, now do a little research online. >> absolutely. check out their social footprint, their social media profiles, their linkedin their most recent tweets their facebook page have they not updated it within six months
are they engaging with people are people interacting back? are they saying anything controversial? maybe sure they're active. if they're a legitimate business, they should be presenting themselves the same way they're presenting themselves to you. >> and their website. >> yes, scour their website. do your due diligence, check it out. is it up and running. does it look good professional? are the links all working? and see if you can find some references or testimonials on their website and make sure those people are real and legit as well. >> you talk about putting things in writing. so while you may have met somewhat informally make the relationship formal. >> for sure. i've worked with a lot of web designers, copywriters, people i've never met in person. . anyone on the up and up will not bulk at this. put the terms in writing. this is a great screener if they
get hesitant to put anything in writing or to accept an advanced deposit, you might know you're not dealing with someone that does business professionally. >> and then finally, protect your ip when working with someone else. >> absolutely. so a lot of times people are asked by people they've never met to speak at a webinar or speak at an event. you'll be presenting your trade secrets or ip. protect your intellectual property. make sure you have copyright s on your tools. lose tools like go to meeting or join me to show them your desktop before you send them actual files. this will not stop particularly clever people but it will make it harder for them. >> also think about your reputation. if somebody is asking you to be a part of a, webinar or speak at something, you have to understand their organization and see if you want to be associated with them. >> for sure. it's all about protecting your brand. you want to align with brands that will elevate you, not bring
you down. what are they doing out in social media on their website? what kinds of things are they saying or attractioning? you really want to make sure this is a partner that is lines with your values and your brand is when help you succeed. >> i want to add one other thing. if you're going to have somebody do work for you, particularly on the creative side make sure you own the ip, if they're doing it for your company, that you own the product, not them. >> you want to have something in the contract a clause in the contract that says they're doing the work for hire and you own everything they're creating. >> maria, great to see you. thanks for the tips. >> thanks so much for having me. still to come more on partnerships. a viewer asked how to know when it's time to end one. and today's elevator pitcher, a competitive kick boxer has some sweet, all-natural desserts.
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. this week's your biz selfie is from kevin kimmel wichita, kansas kansas. he owns including bug and rug. now, we would like to see yours, too. take a selfie of you and your business and send it to
email@example.com. or tweet it to us @msnbcyourbiz. don't forget to use the the #yourbizselfie. today's elevator picture was a competitive kick boxer who had a strict diet regimen but still wanted dessert. our friend rod kurtz returns, he's a small business consult and the and media strategist. >> hi. i am a chef. we specialize in making healthy delicious dessert. would you like to try some? >> dessert for breakfast. >> everything is raw, wiigvegan, gluten-free and paleo.
i develop recipes for a healthy dessert to satisfy my sugar craving without sacrificing my weight. we gained a majority of customers from word of mouth started from the gym community and spread out to corporate events restaurants and with social media playing a big role we've been operating for just over a year. we have sales roughly of $50,000. and we are looking to raise $100,000 to expand our capacity and hire pr and marketing. we believe we can be profitable within two years with 15%. >> fantastic. congratulations on the pitch. i'm going to give you guys these so i can try one of those. do you want me to hold them? so scale of one to ten, the product and then the pitch. >> congratulations on this exciting year into business. >> yes. >> i want to taste it. i have a big sugar -- that's good. wow, that is good.
okay. product first. i know what mine is. alish lish alicia, the product and the pitch. >> i love the product. it's delicious. you're on the trend of healthy foods. that's great. for the pifr within i gave you a seven. it was succinct what you do. i got a sense of your background and i understand about your sales and marketing approach to date. i would love to hear more about the market overall. how big is this market? who are the major players in it how fast is the overall market growing. >> right. >> overall i thought it was pretty good. >> thank you. >> rob? >> i put both on one side. for the product i give it a 7. it's tasty. i'm always surprised i get pitches and companies in any kind of consumer product, they don't bring samples. it's great to have that. a healthy dessert is something i haven't seen. there's a lot on the shelf these days. the product has promise and we
can get to the pitch. >> go ahead. >> i thought it was a six. you knew your stuff. the perron is you crammed a lot in there. this is a quick ride in the elevator. you have to highlight, something i advise companies on take two or three of the most engaging and interesting things. what i heard is you're talking about a healthy dessert, how much money you need. hook us in first with the food. all you're trying to do in an elevator pitch is pique our interest. what's the most impelling thing for investors out there. >> i'll give your product a ten. i've been eating while you are talking. what is this one? >> this one is berry bombs. >> it is so good. >> yes. >> congratulations on that. they had good advice on the pitch. good luck with your company. >> leave those behind for us. >> exactly. >> we have more. >> thank you. if any of you out there have a company and you want feedback from our elevator pitch panel on your chances of getting interested investors, please
send us an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. include what your company does how much you're trying to raise and what you intend to do with that money. we look forward to hearing the pitches and seeing some of you here on the show. it's time to answer some of your business questions, rod and alish sha are back with us. the first one is about deciding how to grow your business. >> being a small business that's starting to grow i've been doing everything i know that some parts of my business i need to stop doing and i need to discern which parts of my business are scaleable. my question is how do i make that decision? >> all right. you are often the first money into a company, the first outside money. you probably see this problem all the time. >> all the time. it is so hard to transition from being a jack of all trades to a manager who delegates. incredibly hard. the two bitz of advice that i often give think about what really makes you happiest in the
company. if you're able to direct your time more towards that and hire someone that takes on things that you least like it's easier to give up control. the second question is where can you add the most value? that cowl be in driving sales or relieving bottle necks in areas like operations or helping the culture in hr. if you think about what makes you happiest and how you can drive the growth of the business, it's a little bit easier to bring other people in and let them take the reins in other areas. >> the interesting part about bringing people in in the early stages because you are so involved you have to make sure you get someone who's on the same page as you, but yet someone who is better than you. >> i'm a huge fan of post-it notes. take four of them make lists of things you're good at things you love things you're bad at and things you hate. be honest with yourself. you're start to see overlap,
there might be something that you love to do that you're not so good at. once you find the commonalities on the list you're almost putting together the job description for that person. that's something that really any entrepreneur that's looking to scale their business they have to have a candid conversation with themselves. >> that's good. i like that process. >> post-its. >> or just a piece of paper. >> or the white board, yes. >> or maybe even the computer, right? >> i'm dating myself now. >> let's go crazy. next up, a viewer who wants to know about going into business with others. >> one question i have is about partnerships and how to navigate it when you have different personalities with someone that you own a business with, how do you navigate that and potentially when do you need to decide you need to step away maybe do something on your own and end the relationship even though you've put a lot into it. >> i want to divide this question up into two parts. number one, how do you navigate it in the beginning? what things do you need to talk about, et cetera? number two, assuming you have
that in place, how do you navigate day to day. >> i think a partnership is the best example of dating. you're looking for a complimentary skill set. obviously someone you get along with personally. i would encourage that. but you do have to have that sort of chemistry and sort of experience good times and bad times early on to see how you react to it. you're right to ask the question about early on it sounds like she might be further into it which gets tricky. >> sa what does she do now? sounds like she's having problems. >> i completely wholeheartedly agree. partnerships are like marriages or long-term relationship. it's key to have mutual respect and constant communication. that's the first thing. have we made the effort we need to in these in-depth relationships, showing our grievances and mutual respect.
are we in an environment where every day it's toxic and the whole is not greater than the sum of the parts? if instead you feel like you're better off on your own, it's time to have that hard conversation. you're only holding each other back from something better if it's a toxic environment every day. >> i feel this is one of those cases that's easier said than done. i know many people who are in partnerships, a good friend of my is in a partnership. she's mad at her partner every single day but she fears not being with her because she brings something to the table that i woman i know doesn't have. >> you can't bottle it up. it's better to speak more quickly and address something. one thing we should mention about the early on as well sometimes a lot of times people start companies with friends or family and it may seem like we're growing the business so quickly, we're so excited, get that partnership agreement, talk to a lawyer. it's like a prenup to bring it back to the dating and marriage analogy. you'll be happy you did it because you want all the bases
covered. it's a reality of doing business. >> if you go back to the four post-it notes, what does this person bring to the table? >> sure. >> if they weren't there, how could i fill in the holes? then it becomes less scary. you have something concrete saying i think i can do this on my own. >> i know plenty of partners are complete opposites but make it work. >> this was great advice. thanks so much both of you. if any of you have a question for our experts, we answer them every week here on the show. you can get great advice. all you have to do is send us an e-mail. send it to yb email@example.com. thank you for joining us. go to our website, openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find exclusive pieces with more information to help your business grow. follow us on twitter twitter @msnbcyourbiz. we're on facebook and instagram
too. next time, one business just wasn't enough for two entrepreneurs. they now own five different companies that operate under one roof. >> i would say that they all work together and they all feed off each other. >> each business is able to give back and forth in ways that are beneficial to all of the businesses involved. join us for a special episode where we devote the entire show to the challenges of running multiple small businesses. until them i'm jj ramberg. 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. >> out of nowhere too quick to react. >> no are you kidding me? >> without warning speed boat passengers are thrown with tremendous force. >> i thought the boat was going to flip. i'm going to fly out of this boat. it's way too fast. >> in a flash, lightning strikes. and fireworks detonate. but not like they are supposed to. >> this was like a nuclear bomb went off. >> a politician stairs down the barrel of a gun.