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tv   Your Business  MSNBC  March 6, 2016 4:30am-5:01am PST

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good morning, coming up, how the government is helping small businesses in flint, michigan affected by that city's water crisis. and a clothing store attracts new customers by owning a coffee bar. and some entrepreneurial geniuses. how to stop your competitors coming up next on "your business."
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>> hi, everyone. welcome to your business. the show dedicating to watching your small business grow. the serious water crisis is having a devastating impact on that city's small businesses. local, state, and federal officials are dealing with the city's contaminated water supply. rick schneider requested several low interest disaster loans to help those businesses get back
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on their feet. maria visited flint last week to get a firsthand account of how they're dealing with it. >> so you were in flint, give our audience a sense of what the ramifications are. what businesses are being affected by this. >> you know, i felt it was urgent for us to get out there. president obama has been committed, he sent the department of commerce, he sent the economic development agency and i was there as part of the small business administration. the small businesses that have been economically affected by the residents leaving the community, and it slows down the business for small businesses. so we want to say to them they have an office of disaster assistance. for them to be able to
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understand the cash they needed to keep their small business flowing. but is so important that we want to important the wonderful people in flint, and we want people to know it was opening if business. >> and what we heard over and over in the past is they're there, but i don't know how to get them. the red tape is so marred i can't get the loan fast enough. >> we're the direct lend ner that instance. we're getting loans out, loans approved in two to three weeks. and that is historic levels whether you're going to a bank or anything like that. i asked them to be assessed by outside exports to compare customer service, and we
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compared favorably to nordstrom and others. i want to switch gears and talk about news that came out about contracts and women. it said more than 20 years after the levels had been set, because of a lot of work you have done under your tenure, you finally met it which is amazing that it has been met. but 5% in 20 years? >> there are a couple things pup one is that most of you, most small businesses that women own have one employee or two employees. it has been hard for them to go through property access of being certified and finding a federal contract they can deal with and handle. many times when a woman does come in to play, they're getting what we call second tier supply
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chain opportunities. what we're trying to do is lift them up to get prime opportunities so they're at the top of the supply chain. how do we get 5% of the women to get certified and ahead of the process and get large enough to hand a federal contract. it's the floor in my mind. i know we reached it, some things were not right about it pip was frustrated that when i got here there was caps on the size of lopes and contracts we have given to women and we took that out. >> j.j., again, this is women's history month so we were so pleased that this month we were able to announce for the first time ever that the u.s. government reaching their goal of contracting for women. and the fact that we're able to
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direct one in every four dollars to small business. >> congratulations on that. i think this is the beginning and you will keep going from there, thank you. >>. >> in a perfect world, a good product and a good marketing and promotional plan grows were sales. many of us look to things like social media or direct mail, others took a wildly different approach. one shop didn't focus on jeans or t-shirts, they were all about coffee. >> no name is our game. we always did whatever it took to get one or two more people.
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>> he was never afraid to take risks. he launched their clothing company in the middle of a downturn. >> how can we -- the owners refer to the line as apparel for the drai. >> we sell men's and women's, denims, accessories. >> and they wanted to create a focal point. >> we were going well, but we want today do better. >> they decided today build a boutique. >> when you brand, you want to establish brick and mortal. >> we can control our identity
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and our brand so we can do a better job connecting. >> the owners were well aware the area is known for their night life, not shopping. >> we knew if we could not get the foot traffic, we could not accomplish our brand at a higher price point. >> they standing a second company to benefit the first. >> we knew we were getting into the coffee business. >> the blind tiger was creating to boost their other business. >> the name blind tiger is a reference to speak easies during the prohibition. it is a tip of the hat to black denim. >> i would say they're
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intertwined because of the historical aspects in both of them. >> the shared staff says these companies operate independently, but have become a perfect pair. >> on the outside, each business has their own branded entrance. >> we want to tack it will from all angles. inside, there is 3,000 square feet of shared face for coffee and boclothing. i think someone that want as really good cup of coffee will come in and then see some great apparel here. and someone that comes in for a pair of jeans or a high quality t-shirt will also grab a cup of
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coffee. originally wanted to split the space 50/50, but there was not enough space for sitting. the move had the exact effect they intended. >> we discovered when ever they had an opportunity, that our sales went up. >> everyone was asking saying where is this t-shirt? that's what brought us into the co-branding. >> people are encouraged, they say they have never seen or experienc experienced anything like that. >> internal competition is not
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something they worry about. >> they're so separate in the actual businesses that they live together just fine. i don't think they compete. i think it is something people enjoy. >> each brand is independent on it's own. >> even on social media, each business has their own identity. >> it can be overwhelming to manage two brands at once especially when they are such different products. we have plenty of people that drink our coffee and tee but don't wear denim, and people who love our clothe that's don't want coffee. >> every couple of weeks, we just move things around if may seem like we have all of the same products out, but when people are coming back to the
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store, it looks different to them. >> customers may or may not know the companies have the same owners, but it doesn't seem to matter. >> i think it would have been a failure not to open the shared space, and i think it was misunderstood. that is feedback, not failure. >> the lucrative outcome is helping them set their sights higher. >> we took the skills we learned in our first business, and we have aflied it had to other business. i think black and denim pairs great with blind tiger. for the second day in a you, msnbc has partnered up for the
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seven days of genius. we talk to leaders in a variety of fields including those that have inspired small business. here are seven business geniuses for even days of genius. >> a great idea, what you have to try to go is get on front page of the newspapers, or to try to look smarter at the same time. >> we're just going through a period where people didn't believe in what we could do. we would face around with teammates trying to plot out what our next move could be flp is always a next move. >> vision, i think it is really important to create a vision with meaning that goes beyond just being number one or making
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money into for zappos, we went for the vision of being the number one sell ner in shoes to being the best company for customer service. >> and we find that employees gravitated towards it and they're more enthusiastic and passionate. >> when i started the business, our words were inspire and informati inform. you create a beautiful picture, a lifestyle, and then you to tell them how to get it. that is the teaching part fop be that inspirer, that inspiration, you have to know a lot, you can't fake it. so i learn every single day. one of my mottos is learn something new every day and.
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it is all about informing yourself. >> i thought what if we sold these in the united states, and for every pair we should, we give one back to the children who don't have shoes. >> we didn't make money for many many years. we were just an artistic success. great ice cream, people loved the shop, our expenses and profits increased every year. what started to happen was we started to make more unusual flavors. flavors with big chunks and cookies and candies. and it was like a overnight success, but it was not overnight at all. >> you become satisfied with your success, you become
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complace complacent, may arrogant. maybe too comfortable. we have a philosophy in the company and it is that every season has to be better than last. we do a survey where we're number one in a certain category or a certain country, or we're number two in designer names in america or something like that, and i never take them seriously because i think okay, that was written yesterday. you have to think of tomorrow. and the minute your stop thinking about tomorrow, you lose. don't forget about the past, think about tomorrow. how well do you really know your ideal customer? truly understanding who you're messaging can really help you. we have five ways to better know
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your target audience. >> one, create a customer persona. someone with the traits of an average member of your target audience. conduct surveys to the widest cross section of clients. look to your competitors. they may have already done the research and put it into action. four, listen to social conversations. zero in on what people are saying online about your brand so you can adjust accordingly. five, allow some room to grow. your target audience will evolve and change as you go. make sure your company is still catering to their needs. imagine if you could turn any top in your closet into a
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warm and fashionable hoodie. our elevator pitch guest has just the product. and we have jeffrey who is author of "think big, act bigger: the rewards of being relentless." >> hello, i'm the designing behind the wild mantle. it means a loose fitting hood or cloak. to launch, i raised $40,000 over kek start ee eer act and i'm ge
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ready to launch my summer collection through a kick starter. because they're currently made on antique machine. production is very expentive. we would like to upgrade to a computer system. . >> nice job on that pitch, and i love them personally. you two, two numbers between one and ten. what did you think of the product, and what did you think of the pitch? >> how old is the company? >> two years. >> i made myself one, and people
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started saying where are there. >> i want the product, i want one, i'll buy one. i thought your pitch was great. i love your enthusiasm and all that you have done. i am concerned about your competitive advantage. and barrier to sententry into t market. you will have people coming in and knocking you off and this is a concern of mine and it could be as an investor. >> i gave her a niep and ne and. the product has heft, soft and warm. the price point is really high, you're smart to get that down and work hard. the other thing i would like to hear is tell me about the market. you opportunity get to that, you need do that if you want to get into my pocketbook.
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>> great job, good luck with everything. i think you a few new customers. so thank you and thank you for modelling. do you a great job. just send us an e-mail, the address is your business at msnbc.com. in that e-mail, please don't forget to include a short summary of what your company does, how much money you're trying to raise and what growering groweoing to do with that money. when we come back, how to protect your brand from counter fitters on amazon. our cosmetics line was a hit. the orders were rushing in.
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i could feel our deadlines racing towards us. we didn't need a loan. we needed short-term funding fast. building 18 homes in 4 ½ months? that was a leap. but i knew i could rely on american express to help me buy those building materials. amex helped me buy the inventory i needed. our amex helped us fill the orders. just like that. another step on the journey. will you be ready when growth presents itself? realize your buying power at open.com one of the challenges is counterfeiting and the amazon resource. we have registered for patents, filed to get fraudulent listings removed. are there other things we could
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do to help protect our brand. >> in a weird way, you might look tat and think this is a horrible situation. it is unfair, it needs to be stopped and it should be. at the same time you have to look actually an indication that you have a very successful product to the point that someone can actually do so what i always say is that just proves there's incredible consumer demand for it. if you're an up and coming hand bag designer for example and you discover that in a shadier part of the city you're in you find towner is fit versions of your back, but at the same time you're trying to crack open or get into, let's say a major luxury retailer that you're having problems getting into, that bit of information actually can be very useful to show that there is a consumer that's dying to buy your product to the point that they're willing to knock it off.
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>> we now have the top two tips that you should know to help your small business grow. jeffrey and cozy are back with us. i'm excited to hear what both of you have to say. coming from really different industries. but both of you guys have done a great job growing your company. >> thank you. >> so jeffrey let's start with you. >> well, stalk them. and i'm talking about your competitor. go on their website. take a look at their testimonials. you'll find out there's a lot of customers listed there. some of those could be potential customers. i'm not talking about stealing them. but you might find a new industry, a new vertical. go on youtube. look at the videos they have. see about their products. you might pick up a hint or two of a new thing that you want to add or certainly look at social media. you'll see customers who are dissatisfied and that might be a great opportunity for you. >> one interesting thing about stalking your competitors or just knowing what they're up to is not being scarce if they're going into something feeling like you need to follow them. >> you have to have a really good sense of who you and that's the most important thing in
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business, because you're going to get distracted by what i call squirrels. popping up all the time and it's like whack-a-mole so you've got to knock those things down. you've really got to stay focused in order to be very successful. >> i like this idea of looking at customers and seeing is there a type of customer, a industry that you haven't thought of yourself. >> what's your profile? when i was at kodak. when i was head of marketing for a big multinational company we used to profile our customers and have different names, and personify them so that we know fiona was this. she was a 45-year-old mom who had two kids. spoke, you know, was hispanic and so forth and so on. you can do those things for yourself, too, even in a small business. >> right, cozy? >> be green and growing, not ripe and rotting. and what i mean by that is your business is alive, and it's growing, and you need to branch out and evolve your business over time. and otherwise, you don't want to die on the vine. and so, you know, for my business, in the children's hair care business, i started in kid's salons, and you know, that
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worked out and a wrote a book on kid's hair, then i created a line of kid's hair care products, always staying true to my core to the roots of what i was doing but branching out and growing. the world is moving and changes and if you're not you're stuck. >> what's interesting about the way you've grown your business, though, is it could have gone a different way. you still would have grown but with your core product. you have a salon you could have -- you could have branched out around the united states. you could have franchised. there are all kinds of things you could have done but you decided to go into products instead. >> there's a million different ways that any business can grow. and i do think part of that also is not going with the new, shiny object. you can't just jump on every idea. but really staying true to what you're doing. i mean there was a time when i was thinking of, you know, my salons are for children. i was thinking of opening teen salons. i said wait a minute why would i do that? i have a kid's business and it's working so let me, you know, really go with that. and so, it's so cozy my kid's
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hair care line has turned out to be the biggest part of my business. >> and i think if you don't have any new ideas because you've been doing it for a long time, you feel comfortable where you are, bring people in who do. >> absolutely. >> mix it up, whether that's an advisory board. whether it is employees, somebody -- >> or hire a consultant. >> listen to your customers, your clients, your employees, everyone has ideas. you have to be open to them. >> you do, all right, great. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> this week's your biz selfie comes from aaron and danielle barnes who own absolutely juicy in vancouver, washington. aaron says that he developed a product when he was searching for healthy ways to deal with his irritable bowel syndrome. hmm. now why don't you pick up your cell phone and take a selfie of you and your business and send it to us at yourbusiness@msnbc.com. or you can tweet it to us @msnbcyourbiz. and please do not forget to use the #yourbizselfie. thank you everyone so much for
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joining us today. here's something that i learned on today's show. put yourself out there and take risk because you never know what's going to happen. when our cameras turned off in the elevator jeffrey hayzlett asked the elevator pitcher if she had a mentor in the fashion industry and she said no. jeffrey said listen e-mail me and i'm going to connect you with someone. jeffrey is pretty well connected in this world. so she took a risk by writing us to get on our show and as a result she's probably going to get a great mentor in that field. so always take risk and put yourself out there. nothing happens if you don't let it happen. now, we'd love to hear from you and hear what you learned from today's show. and if you have any questions or comments about today's show just e-mail us at yourbusiness@msnbc.com. you can also collect on our website openforum.com/yourbusiness. we posted all of the segments from today plus a lot more. and don't forget to connect with us on all of our digital and social media platforms, as well. next week, in the heat of this presidential election season, we
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travel to the warmth of daytona beach, florida, to hear what the owners of main street small businesses there are thinking. >> i think there's so much taking place nationally, and internationally, that i think small businesses fall off the radar of the national politics. >> on the eve of their primary, we'll hear what the small businesses in this colorful town want to learn from the candidates. till then, i'm j.j. ramberg, and remember, we make your business, our business. our cosmetics line was a hit. the orders were rushing in. i could feel our deadlines racing towards us. we didn't need a loan. we needed short-term funding fast. building 18 homes in 4 ½ months? that was a leap. but i knew i could rely on american express to help me buy those building materials. amex helped me buy the inventory i needed.
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our amex helped us fill the orders. just like that. another step on the journey. will you be ready when growth presents itself? realize your buying power at open.com gop civil war. the republican campaign to dumb donald trump. >> we have beaten donald trump not once, not twice, but seven times. >> i would love to take on ted one-on-one. that would much so much fun. >> who can do it? how to do it? and why it could lead to a showdown at the convention also, the abcs of the trump u. controversy. we'll talk to new york's attorney general about why he's taking trump to court. >> it was a bait and switch game designed to get people in saying you can get rich in real estate. people who are desperate during some hard economic times. this is something he can't bully his way out of. >> and the politics of the flint water crisis. republicans defend governor

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