tv Your Business MSNBC May 1, 2016 4:30am-5:01am PDT
x1 makes it easy to find what blows you away. call or go online and switch to x1. only with xfinity. good morning. coming up on msnbc's "your business," we celebrate national small business week, and we will tell you about events around the country celebrating main street. a savvy intrapreneur turns a bus terminal into the hottest restaurant in town, and the owner of a company that makes capes gets down to his last dollar and then finds the solution to his company's problems. all that and next on a super edition of "your business."
hi, there, everyone. i am jj ramberg. welcome to "your business." the show dedicated to helping your small business grow and sometimes when you think something was a sure thing fails to take off and leaving you in debt with tough de zcisions to make. listening to what customers really wanted, the chance to make their own looks now has
this small business flying high. ♪ growing up, scott chastain's line was about sports and superheroes. >> i loved superheroes as a kid, comic books, and going to the university was around collegiate sports, and the passion that comes with the fans of sec football. >> when the real estate market crashed he decided to take the plunge head first into a passion project making superhero capes for fans so he set up shop in thomasville, georgia, and launched the business and taking a leap of faith, scott ordered
his first batch of capes from a manufacturer, and it was a crash course on intrapreneentrepreneu scott was not quite ready for. >> i remember seeing the boxes and being a little shocked, like, man, that's a lot of product. >> despite the initial interest, things quickly went south. the first shipment came in after the football season already started. >> we came in late in the game, and football ended and sales just bottom out. >> get into the collegiate product industry -- >> you are paying a licensing fee off every sale and a payment in advance, you have to do well to pay off the prepaid royalties. >> and that was not enough to get the big collegiate retail stores to pay attention.
>> you don't have the money to get the licensing for every school than a lot of stores won't give you the time of day. >> so two years in scott found himself deep in debt. >> it got to the point where, you know, my wife, we sat down, and she was like, if sales don't get better, we have $2, you can't keep doing this. >> he was devastated. >> it's a tough thing to have an idea and turn it into reality and it not be as successful as you hoped it would. >> but he already put so much in the business he had to make it work so he focused on the small part of the business that he pretty much had been ignoring and he was giving more requests from people placing personalized orders, and he was forced to turn the first few of those away. >> at the time my products had logo's on them and a huge mistake on my end was i did not give any flexibility with the products i had, and i placed an
order of plain superhero capes, and then we could do printing in-house. >> it was worth a shot. he shifted the attention away from the licenses and focused on making capes with customizable options peufplt we started on the website, and we developed a platform where you could mix and mask cape colors and eye-mask colors. design your own cape. >> and he customized capes in house. >> we were confident to fulfill an order, whether it be 50 to 5,000. >> now every fan's customer from the kid that wants to slay bad guys. >> it's a mixture of mid evil and superhero, which is really cool. >> he would sleep in it if he could. >> to bulk orders, like the one in 2015 for the nonprofit super
dave 5k race and the capes were a big hit. >> when it was over, people kept going on and on, and kids running in capes and grown adults running down with different capes on and it was a cool event. >> it's orders like these scott hopes will turn into repeat business. >> it's to create relationships over a long-goal thing, and it's something we can work with them down the road. >> he has finally got out of debt, enough for scott to think about the future and this is the first year the company has not renewed the collegiate licensing deals. >> it would be a bad decision to continue to pursue that. it was not a profitable thing for us. somewhere down the road we may get back into it when we are ready to go big and do it right. >> instead scott is looking
forward and expanding the company's product line so it could be the name in customizable costume products. >> my goal was to take the same thing with the superhero products we have now and expand that into dress up excess res, tutus, and stuff for girls, and pirates, and on and on. >> one thing he will try to do is to keep one word out of his vocabulary. we try to never tell a customer no. today marks the start of national small business week from may 1st through may 7th, the nation contra pwaoutss.
the administrator joins us to talk about the highlights of this week's events. thank you so much for stopping by. >> always good to see you, jj. you are such an advocate of our small businesses. >> when the week started, it was pretty small and it has grown and grown every year. >> the exciting thing, everybody needs to recognize and celebrate the contributions of small businesses. these are people who have been fighting, perseverancperseveran sweat, and tears, and they are fueling the streets with energy and unique boutiques and destination restaurants and that's what we are asking people to do, dream small business, if you are not happy with their job, how can we help them grow, scale, and even start their business, and this is the time to celebrate the restaurants and the moms and pops across the country, so what i will do is travel across the country, and i
will start in washington, d.c. and go to new york, and phoenix, denver, and then off to california, northern california to join silicon valley, such a hotbed of start ups. >> everybody loves the story of a small business person and or the intrapreneur that started in the garage and hit it big, and it's hard to be a small business owner, and what are the biggest struggles? >> the biggest thing that i am finding is that we now finally breaking loose of the capital, and they need the right counseling, and so what we are traoeug to do is amplify all the sbdcs, the veteran offices that we have to give people the right counseling and what we know is that 95% of the world's consumers are outside of the united states, so really
encouraging small businesses to take a bold step and consider trade and spa can help guide them through that journey. >> we have been through a few presidential elections on the show and often times what we hear during the election seasons is uncertainty leads to uncertainty, right? we don't know who the next president is going to be, the next administration, and so as a small business owner, people often say i feel uncertain about my business and should i be hiring? are you seeing that right now? >> i have had really positive experiences on the republicans and democrats side, getting appropriated and limits raised, and it's hard to argue when you are creating billions and billions of dollars of capital, and creating millions of jobs at zero taxpayer cost and this is the time people should feel confident the u.s. government is
there, and we had 73 months of consecutive job growth, and two-thirds sl behind the small business community, and i love what president obama has been doing, and he is amplifying the global opportunities there and he is hosting a global entrepreneurship summit in silicon valley in late june that we want to invite everybody out to. lots of activity going on. >> if the confidence was at a low, what do you say to those people? >> what we have to say to them is it's in your own destiny, it's in your own control, because that's what entrepreneurship is, it's about getting over obstacles so when i see somebody that has the passion and, we can give them the skills and the capital and access to markets, we control 23% of the federal spend and we direct it to small businesses, so if they come and get
certified, we can introduce them to department of defense, energy, education, and introduce them to corporate supply chain, and into the marketplace, and if you are focused don't let a silly poll drive you away from your dream. >> and we want people to know there are resources out there, and if you are having trouble, go somewhere and try to get a contract and there are resources out there, and here's a week where we can all talk about it. >> the most important thing we can be doing this week and every day of the week is to shop small, and i don't mean a little, i mean spend a lot at small family stores, and that's how we are going to create the uniqueness and destinations we all want. >> thank you. >> dream small biz. small business week is the perfect time to recognize the passion that fuels many
entrepreneurial efforts. that passion led to the pursuit of a life-long dream from a man with a troubled history and turned it into a culinary hot spot. harry smith paid him a visit. >> he has a way with food, and her way has made savannah's the grey. >> how would you describe it? >> southern soul food european swirl. >> which means the ingredients, and the praise is warranted. >> i want to be sure i am being honest with myself and the food that i am cooking. >> reservations especially on the weekends can be hard to come by, and people want to eat here and see the gray. savannah newcomer bought the long-abandoned bus station and didn't know what he was going to
do with it. >> i saw my wife and i said i think i am going to put a restaurant in there, and he went, you have officially gone crazy. i started the design work the next day. >> an audacious makeover, leaving no doubt to what this had once been, down to the entry. >> if we could salvage it in its form, then we would. should have the shape of the dog and the original greyhound logo is great. >> what was here? >> we are walk into what was known when the station opened in '38 as the colored waiting room. >> blacks were only allowed through the backdoor. >> it's like being on an island, and everybody notices it but me. >> all of this may seem like an unlikely strategy for success, the old bus station, and soul
food with style, and savannah. >> to be a successful intraprene intrapreneur, one of the key strengths you need to have, is the ability to believe that the grey can be more than good. >> can't be great in a year. famous takes time. like wisdom. >> has to sit on the stove for a while? >> yeah, have to simmer, right, yeah, could be just a flash in the pan and i want to prove we are not that. you shouldn't have to put your work on hold just because you are on the road. ink.com has tips to help you stay productive to the next business trip. >> check in with staff, and schedule calls with employees and get updates on their progress and download what you need in advance, and you can't count on having wi-fi everywhere you go, and use your phone for
e-mails and keep everything else off-line, and grow your skills and set aside talks on the road, and subscribe to podcasts on keep up-to-date on the latest news in your market, and get caught up on the industry-focused news letter you have been waiting to lead or the book your mentor recommended. waiting areas could be great places to meet new people, and brush up on your communication skills and you might meet your next business contact. in 2001, celebrity lawyer, robert shapiro alongside other attorneys launched legal zoom. they had a vision to disrupt the legal industry, and under the guidance of a ceo, the company is a far cry from its beginnings as a site that helped to people create their own official
documents, and it's the legal brand for small businesses and consumers, and it branched out to the uk. we sat down with john to talk about what guides innovation and what boundaries are necessary when disrupting an industry. >> we never set out to disrupt an industry. we were trying to solve a problem at scale with an original eye, and i think if you have innovative thinking and it's original sometimes you can come up with elegant or radical solutions and if it's a large enough jump in quality, or a large decrease in price, at some point it upsets the apple cart, right? but the fact that it's disruptive is not the intent. you have to do one thing better than other people, and sometimes you want to be best at everything, and over time we realized the more focused we are and the more true we are to one
customer and one value proposition, and then thinking innovatively within the boundaries, we can do more. what guides our motivation is listening closely to the customer to, what they say and what they don't say and sometimes the solution has to anticipate what they are not saying because they didn't think you could solve that one but that's the issue they are going after. if we acquire a customer, will they talk to people about it, and can we provide an experience that people can actually talk about? maybe three to five customers could come out of 20. technology can do the same thing consistently 10,000 times in a row, and good people makes sure it can be done 10,000 times in a row. we are building a special kind of customer experience. as a market leader with a lot of experience, there are many problems you see and you can't solve all of them, but you have
to keep your eye on the big problem to solve and keep your company focused on that, and think about your intrapreneurs as leaders, not just inventors but leading people and what you have to ask yourself, are you spending 80% of your time on your strengths, if you could have 100, 500, or 5,000 people on when 80% of the time they are doing what they do best, things will roll. you have to unlock the value of a team. if you interfere all the time you are like the spider in the middle of the web and every decision comes back to you and you are a bottle. one team can swing five times while another team in the same resources and timeframe can swing 25 times and if you learn from each swinger going to get better and better, so a lot about innovation is not thinking
about it as a mistake but a learning experience, and a lot of innovatioinnovation, you nee boundaries because the blue sky and greenfield is sometimesis, the easier it is to innovate and think big. when we come back, advise on how to hold on to employees getting offers from bigger companies and how to say no to your customers. 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. 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 what is the best way to keep the best people in your team stick around when they get offers from huge companies like facebook and microsoft that you cannot match? >> you want to keep your best people, you have to make them an offer that they can't refuse. go godfather on them. seriously speaking, you want to find out what are the things that motivate your employees, not every employee is motivated just by cash. some of them want flexibility. some of them want to be able to work from home. some of them want to have more responsibility or the opportunity for upward mobility. you have the ability to compete on a relationship by understanding what it is that your employees really want from
their business and it's not always cash. so i think as an entrepreneur, you have a great opportunity to compete with the big boys by understanding your employees and what it is that drives them. >> we now have the top two tips you need to know to help your small business grow. let's introduce this week's board of directors. al fred edman and angela kim, organic skin care line and spa. so good to see both of you. >> great to see you. >> alfred, let's start with you. >> entrepreneurs are motivated by money and making their customers happy. this tip is for those, learn to love to say no. it's not about how often you say no but when. if you overpromise, let's say
you say yes to ten things but can do five, it's a 50% followthrough rate. not good. follow through on those five and have 100% followthrough rate. a lot of entrepreneurs and new entrepreneurs, they say yes too much. it's better to manage that prioritize and say no upfront rather than failing on the back end. >> how do you say no in such a way you don't lose your customer? that's the fear, right, if i say no i'm going to lose this customer. >> the key is two things, know what's in your lane. don't be tempted to say yes to things you probably could do but not associated with your brand. most of the time your customers will understand. two, with your best companies, they are not counting on you to say yes all the time but what you say yes to, you do and do it well. they will forget if you said no. but won't forget the yes and did it poorly or not at all.
>> my trip is treat the press like people. thy think the media is this big con glom rat. press is everywhere, social media, online publications are exploding. instagrammers, facebook and traditional everything from local papers to the radio stations to tv, all the way to "the new york times." the most important thing they need to understand right away, it's not about us. it's not about the entrepreneurs, it's about what the press needs to do to feed their audience valuable content. so when i say treat the press like people, read what the editor is writing. if you're going to pitch the editor, understand what his or her beat is. and provide valuable content, not just my product, my product. it's more about why is the product relevant. what is the fresh new content. what's trending and if you do
that, the editor is not going to hit delete, delete and put you into spam but start reading your valuable content and start featuring you, thus giving you the visibility. >> how do you get them to read it in the first place? if there's an editor getting 1,000 cold pitches a day and he or she doesn't have time to read them all, how do you get them to read the first one? >> the trick is to understand exactly what you're pitching. oprah magazine, for example has gratitude meter. in the subject line if you say for gratitude meter, immediately that editor is going to understand that you know what you're pitching and it's specifically solving a pinpoint he has or she has to create more content for that specific sessi segment or article. >> thank you so much. there are so many online tools that provide resources to your small businesses but which
actually deliver. we asked them to list what they depend on the most. >> one app i use all the time, instalayout, you have to bring what's new and hot. instagram is hot. it's great to have these filters and it goes out really quick. >> one of the websites i use digital signage today.com. they do indoor and traditional signage and latest trends and options available and helps me market to my customers the things they can use digital signage for. >> help a reporter.com. they send inquires to businesses and they are from reporters and freelancers throughout the country who are looking to do articles on various topics and you can become an expert and help reporters answer question and quoted in articles.
it's a graeat way to get free advertising for your company. >> i use an app called zopim. it allows me to appear much larger than i actually am. if i'm not available, a customer who visits my website is able to open a chat window and from wherever i am, i'll receive a message on my phone and then can respond to my customer immediately. i don't need an entire room of people sitting at their computers ready to answer customer ace questions. >> one app that i use is omni focus and it helps me keep my personal life and business life organized, whether or not i need to order stuff, what tasks i need to manage for that day or in the future. >> one of my favorite apps is what's app. it's helpful because we can text for free. my factory owner lives in india,
each morning and evening we're able to talk freely and send little video chats and pictures. it's very convenient and i love that app. i use it every day. >> this week's your biz selfie comes from joshua taylor who owns salty scales. it's a line of fishing and outdoor wear that uses microfibers to protect customers from the sun's harmful uv rays. smart idea. like joshua, why don't you pick up your cell phone and take a picture of you and your business. no professional pictures please, just take a selfie and send it to us at your business at msn msnbc.com. thanks for joining us today, we would love to hear from you. if you have any questions or comments about today's show, e-mail us. you can also go to our website. open forum.com/yourbusiness, we posted all of the segments from
today's show and a lot more. don't forget to connect with us on all of our digital and social media platforms, next week, you've got questions and we've got answers. >> how many square feet do you think i need per person? >> depends on the type of business you have. this is -- we have about 4500 square feet here and fit up to 42 or 43 people. that's what we call start up comfortable. >> we'll tell you everything you need to know when it's time to rent an office. 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 materls. 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 >> is this dinner too tacky for the donald? is he at home eating a trump steak, tweeting out insults to angela merkel? >> president obama's big night of political lunch lines. >> they say donald lacks the foreign policy experience to be president. in fairness, he has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world, miss sweden, miss argentina. >> also, what does bernie sanders want? and what to expect from a general election brawl between hillary clinton and donald trump. >> i think the only card she has is the