tv Your Business MSNBC November 5, 2016 2:30am-3:01am PDT
good morning, everyone. coming up on msnbc's your business, it's msnbc's show. they're living together and running small businesses to help communities improve their local economies. plus how one small business beat the big brands at their own game. we have that and more coming up on "your business."
hi, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg and welcome to "your business," the show dedicated to helping your small business grow. small business saturday is coming up, so we decided to take a look at the next generation of entrepreneurs and how some of them are focused on starting their businesses in cities that need revitalization. with some help of the organization venture from america, recent college grads are given a house, an office to work in, and a little mad money so that these young entrepreneurs can concentrate 100% on getting their companies off the ground, boosting local economies, creating jobs and rejuvenating communities.
it's got the look of a reality show. twelve 20 somethings hanging out in a house, eating pizza and letting our cameras watch their every move. but this isn't made for tv. these young men and women are venture for america fellows trying to launch businesses in cities that desperately need entrepreneurs, like detroit, baltimore, cleveland, and right here in philadelphia. >> statistics show that we're at a 30-year low of young people starting companies. >> with less millennials starting businesses, venture america is trying to encourage a new group of entrepreneurs by removing the typical barriers. >> venture for america helps to revitalize cities. the way that we do that trying
to select the best and brightest in the country, recent graduates typically, we try to provide them a successful path for entrepreneurship. >> that starts in one of america's 17 target cities. the objective is to educate and seed companies in places where there is a need for entrepreneurs to boost the local economy and create jobs. >> they can actually spend time working directly with a founder or founder as a start upin one of the cities. >> these two met as fellows in the program while in detroit. they were so eager to start their own business, they co-founded doze. >> this idea was born when we were living in detroit was venture for america and surrounded by startups. had this entrepreneurial itch. one of the best places to start is where you see problems or see inefficiencies in the world. bowe of us had experienced that kind of pain in mattress shopping and saw this huge
opportunity. >> brandon and russell's company was then selected to be part of venture for america's three-month excaccelerator prog in philadelphia. >> the whole point is to remove all the barriers to working on your company full time. >> a typical accelerator experience might include office space, a mentor and a little financing. but at vfa they've taken it a step further by giving their first-time founders a roof over their heads. >> it's almost like a fraternity or sorority house but with people starting businesses and a little bit more serious about work and getting stuff done. >> this ambitious group of entrepreneurs let us eavesdrop on their real life philadelphia animal house minus the crazy partying so we could get a glimpse of their last few days living together before going their separate ways. >> i'm co-founder of arthur. >> i'm co-founder of emile. >> i'm bill myers working on
potluck. >> i'll definitely miss the people. i think it's a typical house. it's been part of the whole experience and coming home to, you know, sit on the couch with five other people who are all, you know, typing away on their computers at 10:00 p.m. on a friday night is an awesome experience, but, yeah, it's going to be nice to have a bathroom that doesn't share with five people or to have a kitchen that's a little cleaner. >> 24 hours a day seven days a week this group has been eating, sleeping, and working together side by side as they build their businesses. >> there's something about, you know, when you see other founders, when you see other founders that are working well into the night past midnight, waking up early, something about that that gives you the energy to do it yourself, right, and kind of pushes all of us to be better. so we all try to be models for each other and i think that's
part of the really big value of all being in the same place, the same house. >> vfa's taken away the headache of food, housing and spending money so these first-time founders can focus on one thing, their businesses. >> the accelerator not only provided us with office space, provided us with time essentially to not worry about financials, not worry about renting. to be just heads down in our company. >> many others, heads down in her business, mixing batches of her all natural avocado hair care products. her company started as a youtube channel. >> always easier to decondition in sections especially if you have enough hair. >> this is a subscription business now with customers and it's quickly gaining traction. >> the most valuable thing that vsa has given me is time. time to work on this free without any fear that, you know, i'm not getting a paycheck so i
can't pay my rent, i can't eat. so that time has allowed us to really flourish and grow the company even more. >> her fellowship started in cleveland, and although she's not sure where she will end up when the accelerator is finished, she plans to run her business in a vfa city. >> i want be to create jobs and be an impact in a city that needs it. >> with the clock ticking and the accelerator almost finished, they're laser focused on pushing their business as hard as they can before they have to go back to the real worlds. >> we know there's a limited amount of time where we don't hit goals, run out of money, we'll be out of business. in order to continue doing this, we have to hit those goals. >> it's time to us to prove that we can succeed and push forward. that's our goal now. we don't want be to start a company that just exists. we want to start a company that is really successful. >> entrepreneurs are known for their perseverance.
even when things are at their very worst, the most successful small business owners say they're not giving up. we met two in upstate new york who are truly survivors. they chose to fight the good fight after their business went bankrupt. they chose to reorganize, a long and hard road, but they had a hunch and a strategy and they went with it. that's how a brand-new brand was borne out of bankruptcy. >> we really launched the liberty tabletop brand on a wing and a prayer. we had no idea what we were doing so we had to sort of make it up as we went along. >> matt roberts and greg owens know what it's like to be small business owners on the brink. >> how are we going to survive? how are we going to hold this together? what are we going to do? >> matt and greg found themselves in a place no business owner wants to be, filing for chapter 11. that certainly wasn't the plan
when they bought the company, carol manufacturing, from industry giant oneida five years earlier. >> we manufactured for oneida and other flatware marketers. >> when the recession hit in 2008, orders for forks, knives, and spoons simply dried up. >> they stopped buying from us or in some cases they would buy things they didn't have a whole lot of. it was dribs and drabs of orders. >> it was a disaster, and with barely any cash coming in, the pair took drastic action. they closed the factory, let 100 employees go and shifted production for their remaining clients to mexico. >> we were left with a severely reduced revenue stream and really a revenue stleem couldn't support the amount of debt that we had. >> we were slow paying people and we were behind on our bills. we received a letter in the mail from one of our creditors
basically suing us so that forced our hand. >> once the bulk of their business was gone, bankruptcy became the only option but these two refused to just walk away. matt and greg started hatching a plan b. >> before we turned out the lights we had several coils of steel, many coils of steel lying around the factory. instead of letting them sit there, we decided to turn it into flatware and that's the inventory that we started with. it was about $23,000 worth of flatware that i recall. >> that $23,000 worth of flatware marked the beginning of liberty tabletop. going through bankruptcy with a new brand was incredibly complicated. >> we actually created liberty tabletop and our wives own it. the bankruptcy court knew about it. we told them, this is how we're going to survive so let us do this. >> working with creditors who backed their plans, greg and matt mapped out their exit from the bankruptcy by launching their new consumer line in three steps.
>> the plan was to sell the land and the buildings and become a tenant. sell any asset that we didn't need to become liberty tabletop and then the third part was to find someone to invest in us. >> it was an incredibly emotional time. on the one hand, they were entrepreneurs creating something new. on the other hand, they felt like they had failed. >> i would always go to the store with my wife and look at the flatware. during the bankruptcy i avoided the flatware departments because i felt so -- i just felt bad. >> they had to compartmentalize and look on the future. >> we were very good at survival. looking back i can't believe we survived. >> i'm not going to say there weren't days both matt and i looked at each other and said, you know, is today the last day? somehow we managed to make it through it. >> as excess equipment and steel was sold for cash, liberty came to life. unlike during the oneida days,
now the factory was only open as needed. >> i believe we ran six campaigns, each one larger than the one before. we would bring back people temporarily, turn on all the machines, fill up the shelves, turn them back off and sell through it until we had to do it the next time. >> these were hard times for the company and the owners. >> the biggest problem we had is capitol. greg would come to me and say, matt, we're not going to be able to make payroll. we need to come up with $12,500. we need to come up with $11,000. what i'd do is go down to the factory and start scrapping. >> their strategy of being an online only business that sells directly to consumers started paying off immediately. >> our first sale on our website was halloween of 2010. we literally started our business right after we filed bankruptcy. sort of crazy. >> the liberty brand itself was self-sustaining and quite profitable from its genesis. >> we're bypassing all of the other middlemen and actually
it's the most efficient way to get products to the cone summer. sort of like farm to table, this is factory to table. >> the business owners got a break when the property was sold and leased back to them. they paid up their secured creditors and exited bankruptcy in 2014, but matt and greg want to do even more. >> our goal is to become so successful that we're able to pay every dime that we ever owed back to everyone. >> with carol manufacturing out of the woods and liberty tabletop showing signs of success, new investors have provided the capital necessary to expand the brands. >> we went from eight patterns to about 24 now in four different price points. the good, better, best, lux model. >> remember the production they had to move to mexico? well, they've been able to bring that back to the united states, which has strengthened the company's story. >> if you were just launching the generic brand with no
particular story or no -- nothing special about it, i think it would be next or near impossible, but since we had a unique situation, we were the only ones in the united states that were making flatware, we had a special story to tell. >> a story to tell consumers and a story to tell themselves. while bankruptcy was nothing they would have wished for, both matt and greg feel they've come out stronger on the other side. >> we would rather be strong and profitable than big and clumsy. you don't learn things through successes, you learn when you fail, and we failed a lot over the past seven, eight, nine years, but you dust yourself off and you just keep going. it is fall and that means it's time to put away the rose and break out the cider. over the last few years cider sales have been booming. we met the owners of two small companies who are competing with big brands and they've decided
that their size is actually an asset. >> these look great. you've got john's, macs, sort of the goldens. >> greg hall of benville, michigan, is very picky about which apples go into his hard seider. this morning he and peter clyne, the owner of nearby seedling orchard of testing. >> you can see how they cluster. >> and tasting. >> as a seider maker, we're looking for aroma and flavor, acid and tannin from the apple. >> as an independent brewer greg is part of a small but rapidly growing beverage category, hard site ter, where his virtue cider label has been thriving. >> three years ago nobody knew where it was. now it's all over tv, all over the supermarkets. >> no surprise, all this rapid growth has not gone unnoticed by big players in the beer category. greg's now getting stiff competition from big beer brands
who have recently acquired cider brands to market along with their other products. >> sam adams with the angry orchard, miller coors with a couple of brands and anheuser-busch. they have the stella and johnny appleseed. >> they have vast production facilities, marketing budgets and distribution channels. this puts all of the smaller producers in a bind. how can an independent compete against that? he's not competing with the big brewers for the mass market. >> we'll never be able to compete with those guys on price, efficiency, or marketing so we're going to have to do this. >> great apple. >> instead, he's concentrating on the high end or premium market. his strategy starts with feature placement at upscale restaurants at nearby salt of the earth and partnerships with celebrity
shelves, jason french. >> the acidity is there. it's awesome. like oyster shell. >> greg has found that creating exclusive blends like this one has a ripple effect. it gives him access to many other key entry points to the premium market, places not interested in featuring ciders from the big brewers. >> that opens doors to the retail trade, bars, restaurants, you know, even the liquor stores. they know him. they know his restaurant and if it's good enough for him, it's certainly going to be good enough for them. >> he also says he puts very little money into advertising and instead relies on others to build the buzz around his product. he said receiving awards and reviews like this one have much more impact. >> when we get a magazine like saveur says virtue's ciders unfold like fine wines, that's
fantastic. we could never say something that good about ourselves that anyone would believe, but when one of the best food magazines in the country says that, we're golden. >> this kind of press not only reaches the consumers but also registers with retailers and distributors. >> and we started getting calls from distributors all over the country saying, hey, when are you coming to california, texas, washington, pennsylvania because we want to have your cider. >> greg says his brand survival depends on staying out of the mass market. >> what we're doing now, they can't do. they'll never do there, so we have a sustainable production advantage that they'll never be able to recreate. and if the market changes dsh so we look at those market changes and we adapt as quickly as possible. >> cheers. as baby boom joers aers areg
and younger work force is doing the work for us, the race is on. entrepreneur.com has five tips of things you should consider offering to bring in and keep millennials at your small business. one, offer student loan debt relief. young talent burdened by the stress of paying back their financial obligations will appreciate the help. two, let them work remotely. millennials want the flexibility of choosing when and where they complete their projects. three, give them gadgets. devices help them stay connected to co-workers and necessities to this generation. four, restore the 40-hour work week. many young people aren't prepared to show loyalty if they find there's no work/life balance. find ways to emphasize quantity over quality. five, let them be social. these days people don't see anything wrong to take a break posting on social media. you can either accept this or
possibly lose your talent to a company that will. when we come back, what else can you do when listings on google and yelp aren't generating enough business. and how new technology is helping the hearing impaired owners of a business communicate effectively with their business. will your business be ready when growth presents itself? american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com.
deborah writes us, we prepare legal documents. we are advertising through yelp and google but are not getting enough business. what can we do to generate more business? >> i wish i had a little bit more information on whether you're preparing legal documents for other legal firms or for the consumer, but either way, i don't know where you're advertising and where your potential customers are looking for the information that relates to your business. you're doing something that is legal and that means that it has to engender a lot of trust so if i'm trying to get trust, i'm not looking to yelp the same way i might be looking to them providing a restaurant suggestion, i'm looking to my trusted network. if you're working on a b2b basis, i would be working with other businesses that are happy with your referrals or using
them in your advertising with the chamber of commerce or things like that. if you're going direct to consumer, you also want to be talking to trusted advisors of the customers you're going after. so maybe you're partnering with accounting firms where you're not directly competing with them but you're serving the same customer. that way you can create the cross referral. but it's always about what you're doing in terms of the business which is creating that trust as well as where your customers are so good luck. there's a pits ser residential rea in san francisco where you can order without saying a word all thanks to a new technology company. the owners are deaf and are using this to communicate with customers. as nbc's joe lynn kent tells us, it's a great example of one business helping another making both successful. it's the sound of oven baked authenticity with just the right amount of crispy, but what you won't hear at mozzeria is the
phone ring. melody stein and her husband russ are deaf. making neopolitan pizza is their passion. over the last two years they've employed an all deaf staff. >> our goal is to build bridges with the community and various cultures. >> to reach more customers they've installed tech. convo answers the phone. >> translator: we wanted to make sure we could communicate with our customers, the majority of whom are going to be hearing. >> call up the pizzeria and instead of a ring, a green light. convo signs your reservation or order to melody in real time. >> hello, mozzeria, melody here, how can i help you? >> she responds through the service. >> we weren't sure how it would work for us and be we took the gamble. >> translator: we used to miss 50% of our callers. now with our current technology, we only miss 5%. >> that's what sets convo apart.
the company's ceo is also deaf. >> translator: that's the kind of technology advancement that convo is always looking to make. improving the quality of life for deaf-owned businesses. >> it's provided by the fcc. >> i'll go ahead and confirm your reservation for 8:00. mozzeria has a solid four stars on yelp. customers don't realize it's deaf owned until they arrive. >> translator: you'd be shocked how many people come in and don't know. it's another restaurant. >> the food is good. that's why i'm back. >> translator: it's really delicious. i'm really enjoying it. >> translator: as they're putting that pizza in their mouth, their face tells you everything. you don't need a interpreter for that. >> proving pizza is a universal language. the goal of the hiring process is quite simply to find the best candidate for the role,
but we can often trip ourselves up without even realizing it. that's because we're hijacking the process with our own biases or getting to know the person we're interviewing. our guest explains how. susan david is a psychologist at harvard and the ceo of evidence-based psychology. she is also author of the new book "emotional agility, get unstuck, embrace change and thrive and work in life." so great to see you. >> thank you for having me. >> i love this topic because hiring is so hard. i find it very hard. it's hard to get to know one right away, and if you are getting to come into the process without an open mind you might miss out on people. >> absolutely. hiring makes or breaks a business. >> right. >> and often in the hiring process what people do is they come into the process without recognizing that they actually have biases. so what this can look like is we might hire someone who we're
comfortable with. if we are extroverted, we're more likely to hire someone who's extroverted. what we're not thinking about is who is the best person for the job. who is most suitable in terms of this particular context. >> it goes into number two which is don't make snap judgments. you're just like me. i'm having so much fun, i'm going to hire you and down the road you're missing on red flags. >> when i speak with business owners, i find business owners will say one of two things. the first is, i just go with my gut. i connect with the candidate. i like them and i go with my gut feel. other business owners say, i really try to discount any emotional reaction to the candidate, i just try to be logical and rational. really the sweet spot with hiring comes with both. it comes with both. >> then you talk about being present in the conversation. so if you're making a snap, quick judgment your mind may wander off because you've
already said he or she is in or they're out. >> absolutely. it is so important to be focused, and open and present in the interview process. when we are sitting in an interview and our mind is wandering to a meeting that we've got to go to or a presentation that we've got to give or when we are thinking about a conversation that we had earlier on in the day, we are doing ourselves in the hiring process a huge disservice. and we are also doing the candidate a disservice. >> right. >> because they're not feeling that we are hearing them. >> right. they're not going to be their best. >> right. absolutely. if they might be the best person for the job, they are more likely to leave that interview feeling a sense of disconnect. you know, one of the other things that i think is really important in the hiring process is to move from the mindset of feeling like this is an
obligation. business owners talk about hating the hiring process. they come to it with a sense of stress and checklists and obligation, and this is something i have to do. >> right. unfortunately we have to end this. you're right, look at it as an opportunity, not an obligation. >> absolutely. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> so good to see you. i appreciate you stopping by. >> thank you for having me. this week, your biz self-if i comes from james costello. he's the owner of nokado of northport. it teaches kids and adults this ancient art of self-defense so do not mess around with james. now like james, why don't you pick up your cell phone and take a picture of you and your business. no professional pictures, please. you can send it to us at your email@example.com or tweet it to us. don't forget to include your name, the name of your business, the location and #yourbizselfie.
thank you for joining us this morning. we'd like to hear from you. send an e-mail to your business @msnbc.com. we read all of them. openforum.com/yourbusiness. we put all of the segments from today's show up there plus more. you can connect with us on all of our digital and social media platforms which you can see on the screen. we look forward to seeing you next time. until then i'm j.j. ramberg and, remember, we make your business our business. will your business be ready when growth presents itself? american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office
and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. thanks for being with us here this friday night. this friday before the election. it's very exciting. i'm very excited. when john f. kennedy beat richard nixon in 1960, that was really close. the electoral college numbers don't look all that close, the electoral map didn't look that close. but that election was very, very close. there were basically 100,000 votes in total between kennedy and nixon across the whole country. election night, that night in 1960, it went on forever. nixon appeared at a hotel ballroom at 3:00 in the morning east coast time. he kind of, sort of talked about conceding. but he didn't actually concede. nbc ws