tv Your Business MSNBC September 30, 2017 4:30am-5:00am PDT
his lumber company went up in flames, find out what he did rise to the ashes and what you need to do to protect your visit from disaster. the could you founder on lyft and why he ignores his biggest competitor and make sure his employees focus on who they are and what they do. plus why e-mail marking is still an effective tool to reach current and potential customers. let's grow fast and work smart. all coming up next on your business. >> announcer: your business is sponsored by american express open. helping you get business done.
hi, everyone. welcome to your business, the show dedicated to helping your growing business. most people in business are very familiar with disasters, deals that fall through, employees that disappoint and contracts that are broken. these are challenges that go with the territory of running a company. but there's another kind of disaster that thankfully most of us never have to face, fire, flood, earthquakes, what would you do if a real disaster struck? that's what one new york furniture maker confronted one cold winter morning. [ sirens ] it was 4:00 a.m., monday january 30th, 2017. a four-alarm fire struck this commercial warehouse at the corner of lake street in yonkers new york. >> we get a call at 6:00 a.m. that your buildings's on fire. >> i was like oh, my god. this is crazy. >> it took more than 80 firemen
from 18 fire companies over three hours to bring this blaze under control. >> i remember feeling like my heart was almost going to stop because for a moment said what do we do. >> robert rising are the owners of new york slab. their furniture factory and salvage lumber company was located in that building. they got an unwelcome early morning call. >> the first thing i'm thinking is, is it my shop, am i responsible? click on the news and the top half of the buildings burning. >> i was frightened that we with might have been the cause of the fire. >> watching the fire on tv was devastating but knowing their shop was located on the ground floor, robert and jacqueline could tell one thing right away they were not responsible for it. >> i seen it's the third, fourth floor and the roof and i'm like, okay, i didn't cause a fire. >> nobody was injured but for robert and jacqueline the core of their business was gone
before sunrise. >> we have no investors, we've taken out no loans. everything that we have has been with our money. we have rated our savings accounts, retirement accounts. >> it looked like a crime scene. there was water everywhere, stuff was in wreckage. >> as dreadful as this disaster was, this was not the worse news. that came later when they spoke to their insurance company. >> and they explained to us that a fire doesn't cover us because we had limited liability. we didn't have content and we didn't have work stoppage. >> details like limited liability, content and work stoppage coverage may feel like the least enz-bajing part of renting a business but at times like this they can make or break you with unwanted surprises. >> and our insurance company said if you had -- if you had been the cause of the fire you would've been able to get coverage, more stuff back i'm like are you kidding. >> no. unfortunately insurance didn't work for us. >> typical of many businesses
they had the legal minimum limited liability, which only protects them if they cause harm to someone else, without content insurance, they get no money for damage they suffer and without work stoppage, they get no compensation for lost income. they had absolutely no safety net. >> i had no idea what we could do at that very moment. it was robert who actually started doing stuff. >> i was on the phone making calls, seeing what i could, seeing what the next move is. >> like many business owners who face disruptions, these two immediately went to damage control. >> the thing that we did first was to let people know, listen, this is really devastating, but we're not out. this is just a bump that we have to get over and we're in business and we'll continue to do business. >> and i took that cue and i got on my phone and calling people too to let them know that, you know, it was big, it was
devastating but we were around and we were going to get to their work. >> they had no money coming in, a payroll to meet and no work space. on top of that, they had to tell their clients they wouldn't make their deadlines. >> i'm thinking, okay, how am i going to pull this off? the bills are piling up and i'm trying to keep my staff working. >> their first break aim when robert got permission to move the machinery into a vacant greenhouse near the site where he stores and mills his lumber. >> thankfully the greenhouse wasn't cold. >> then came another lucky break. a building company in the bronxs heard about the fire and calls to see if robert could deliver 60 wooden park benches. >> he checked out and made sure that everything was still up and running and good and he gave us a check. so that kept us working, kept us going. we were like, okay, we got it, let's go. let's go. >> what also kept them going were several secondary revenue streams beyond the wood shop.
>> we get trees turned into lumber, we sell ross labs. the that's pretty beautiful. i think maybe you need two boards. >> robert's company also salvages antique beams in the new york area. he then sells 130-year-old beams unfinished to other builders and back in his shop turns them into high end furniture and antique flooring. >> it's one thing to make you versatile. it pushes you to places where you may not have known that are workable. >> today, he's still not 100% back. much of his machinery needs repair and his staff has been working overtime to make good on the unfinished orders that were destroyed and never delivered. >> fortunately for me we've been busy enough to not really get bogged down with the stress of it all, so we're probably at 60%
now. >> going forward, robert and jacqueline have taken out a full set of insurance policies. >> no one prepares for a fire, no one plans for a fire, but you should always be prepared because you never know what happens. >> selling new products to existing customers is generally easier then getting new customers to buy something, so here are five ways to increase your repeat business. one, get to know your customers. send them a note on meaningful days like birthdays or the anniversary of their first purchase with you. also get to know their preferences based on their purchases, so that you can suggest particular products or content to them. two, be a source of useful information. use news letters to send your clients relevant articles, how tos and tools to keep them informed about your industry and the ways you can help. three, brag a little bit. if people love your brand don't keep that to yourself.
consumers flock to popular products. use that social proof to your advantage. four, overdeliver. ship your products out as soon as possible and make customer service a priority. also, a little surprise can go a long way to instilling loyalty. so when you can, throw in a little something extra into their order. five, reward loyalty. give your best customers special deals, points and discounts on your new products and help them to save on their old favorites. when social media marketing started to show serious engagement a lot of people thought that e-mail marketing was on its way out but it wasn't. e-mail it turns out has some of the highest returns on investments for many companies. maria sample is the founder of a prospect finder that specializes in e-mail marketing. we caught up with her to get ideas on how to make your e-mail work for you. how important is the subject line? >> subject line is very
important. after the from line who it's from, the subject line is the next most important thing. you've got two seconds to get somebody's attention and actually the first two words will matter most in that subject line and you also can't forget an area known as preheader text which is that if you're looking at your e-mail inbox on your mobile device you'll see the from line, the subject line and then the first line of text from that e-mail. so if you can work their name into that preheader text you've got an even greater chance of getting that e-mail opened. >> let's talk about tricks of the trade. is there anything we should think about in the subject line. there used to be like must-have or these sort of big statements that i feel don't work any more. >> right, right. so one of the tricks that you might try and use is using a number and then the word you or your and that works -- that works really well. so five reasons why you need whatever. >> that still works.
people aren't on to that yet. >> well, it still does to some scents, it does and again, if your e-mail service provider allows you to use the person that you're sending it to their name in that subject line, then again anywhere you can personalize it, you, your. >> so if -- in the subject line you would put jj, your best tips for great skin, i feel like that makes it seem more spammy but is it proven that people open it more if there's name's in the subject. >> yeah. this is about permission based marketing. so somebody has opted into the list that means they want to hear from you. so absolutely, you're looking to continue that rapport, cultivate that relationship so in any way that you're able to do that is going to be very helpful. >> and who should neighboring from? let's say my companies is flowers.com, should it come from information at flowers.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org. >> if that is your business and people have built that rapport with you you want to make sure that your name appears in there otherwise just put the company name in there if it's a larger company. >> if it's just -- if the customer service team but it's still from someone, information, customer service. >> i would put the company name, actually. >> got it. let's talk about building your list. do you think that you should buy lists from other people? are you a fan of that? >> actually, no. the big thing to keep in mind is this is about permission based marketing and there are laws in place, the can spam act here in the united states, there's a castle is the canadian laws, so you have to pay attention to those laws. >> but you can still buy lists where people have given permission for them to sell their name. >> you would want to still have a one off communication with them first and give them the opportunity to opt out. >> absolutely. but do you think it is worse buying those lists that are legal to buy?
>> i typically will advise my clients to try and build their lists organically so they can do that through their social media following, they can do that by -- even their e-mail signature line that they're using for their one off communications, certainly at different types of trade shows, you can build your list that way, speaking, there are lots of ways, text to join, even an opportunity now to allow people to use their cell phones to opt in to your e-mail list. >> and how big should your list be when you start segmenting? when it's small you don't want to waste your time doing too much segmenting, now it's time to give different messages to different people? >> you can start seg meanting from day one, from day one. if you already have any type of crm or just using outlook to house all of your e-mail addresses, however you've got those list segmented there you can export them and import them right into your e-mail provider. even when people are opting in on your website, you can let
them opt in to the list they want to be on. >> thank you so much. we all really need to be paying attention to it. >> thank you. >> thank you. it was just a few years ago that the idea of picking up your phone and pushing a button and then having a car magically appear to take you home seemed like something from the space age. now, services like uber and lyft with its famous pink mustaches have become part of our daily life. but as nbc's willie geist tells us the ambitions for lyft go far behind just sharing rides. >> how's it going? >> how are you, man? [ horns ] >> look at this traffic. >> like most of us john zimmer hates traffic but while most of us just curse and pound the steering wheel, zimmer is doing something to fix the problem, the 32-year-old president and cofounder of ride sharing company lyft got hooked on cars as a kid but not just because they looked cool and went fast,
zimmer loved what they represented. >> i think it's the idea of freedom and exploration. i just remember being on the z-bround playing with cars getting over any obstacle. >> and is there a direct line then to lyft. >> i think what i realize is that that freedom wasn't really there and that the car's become more like a $9,000 ball and chain with all the maintenance, the parking so i wanted to go to that original idea that got me so excited about the car but actually delivered the real freedom. >> john first noticed the number of empty seats the in cars on the highway during his drives home from cornell university in upstate new york. >> ten of us would be going back driving with just one or two people, i started thinking about occupisy. how much are these cars used. 96% of the time the car is parked. >> in 2008, zimmer left his job just before the company crashed to pursue his vision of ride sharing with partner logan green. four years later lyft was launched with the signature pink
mustache on the front of its cars. today it operates in 200 cities across the country, provides about 13 million rides per month and is valued at $5.5 billion. >> carpooling to most people with strangers was a nonstarter just a fuel years ago. everyone's doing it now. when did you see attitudes start to change more broadly? >> we had a tag line your friend with a car and we encouraged people to sit up front because we realized we had to change behavior. right eye people started getting excited and meeting new people it took off so fast we had to create a wait list. >> now 30% of young americans use ride sharing services and 15% of adults of all ages do the same. that's according to the pugh research center but even as americans embrace this new frontier of transportation, the taxi commissions entrenched in our city were not as welcoming. >> i'm sure you got some great stories of sitting across from a taxi commissioner and him giving you the dressing down, you have
no considered what you're getting in to? >> there was an enforcement leader called the general in california and there was some really stern conversations where he said, look, son, you're going to shut down, aren't you? >> i said back to him, respectfully, what we're doing is legal and we're going to continue to operate. >> to which he said what? >> look, son, you're going to shut down. >> beyond the general, the biggest challenge for lyft is the uber. >> when people think about your sector of the economy they think about uber first, probably and then they think about lyft. what is the relationship like between uber and lyft? >> they got started first with the vision of being everyone's private driver with black cars and limos. we want to bring down the cost of transportation. we want to bring people together. >> you know you're doing something right when uber starts paying attention to you. they put up billboards trying to lurer some of your drivers away. what is your reaction to that?
>> we've been focused on who we are and what we do. the differences speak for themselves in you don't we focus on the people that are involved in our business and the fun that we're trying to have in the process. >> whose your favorite basketball player? and some high profile stars have joined in on the fun as undercover drivers. >> i actually met them one time. >> it's good to see you again. >> oh, my god? >> odds are you won't get shaquille o'neal but you may get someone like robert henderson the company's most prolific new york driver. >> what's a typical day for you like? >> a typical day anywhere between eight to 12 hours but it's the eight to 12 hours that's fun and you just look at the time, and oh, my god, i've been out this long and you laugh about it. >> but zimmer's goals are much bigger than getting us to work or home from a bar. he wants to change the way we live. >> at what point do you believe all your cars will be self-driving? >> i believe in about five years the majority of lyft trips will
be in autonomous vehicles. >> five years! what does the experience look like? >> just like you purchase a monthly subscription from netflix you'll purchase a lyft plan. if you're taking a family trip for the weekend you'll have a large vehicle maybe with a screen to watch movies. if you're on your personal trip to work you can be productive, maybe take a nap. >> you do understand this still blows peoples' minds. >> yeah. >> the high line say new york public park built on an unused railroad elevated above the streets of manhattan. from these old railroad tracks, zimmer looks down at the roads as the next frontier in obsolete modes of transportation. >> in ten years i believe that personal car ownership will all but end in major cities. >> ten years, that's a quick turn around. you really believe that's going to happen? >> i do. people are already starting to move away from car ownership, order lyft when they need a ride in their city and autonomous vehicles come out and it makes no sense to own a vehicle. >> and it seems not just a good
business but a necessity at some point for our culture. we can't fit all the cars we have on these roads. >> we're at a turning point where more and more people are moving to cities and there's just not enough space. it's absolutely going to happen. it has to happen. and the good news is it's going to be better for all of us. >> new york city 20 years from now, what does it look like? >> all the parked cars on the side of the road, imagine those all gone, the majority of parking lots and spots gone instead of a parking lot it could be new housing or a park. imagine more of this and a lot more happy people like we're seeing out here. >> can you hurry up and make this happen? >> we're going fast. we have an exciting announcement. we are offering five people the chance to come on the show and give an elevator pitch in front of two buyers from sam's club. they'll be judging the pitches and they'll vote on who will be invite today their headquarters to make a more comprehensive presentation. this is a big opportunity.
so send us an e-mail or a video of your pitch or in that e-mail send a link to that e-mail. our address is your email@example.com. be sure to include a short summary of look forward to seei pitches. when we come back, how to weigh the benefits and the risks of collaborating. >> and two very successful founders talk about how to come back from a slowdown in business. thank you so much. thank you! so we're a go? yes! we got a yes! what does that mean for purchasing? purchase. let's do this. got it. book the flights! hai! si! si! ya! ya! ya! what does that mean for us? we can get stuff. what's it mean for shipping? ship the goods. you're a go! you got the green light. that means go! oh, yeah. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we're gonna hit our launch date! (scream)
thank you! goodbye! let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. i got an opportunity to collaborate with a colleague to he grow my business, but i don't know if it's the right move or not to collaborate or stay on my own to try to grow it even more. >> so when you're thinking about bring anything a business partner, there's a couple things i would think about it. is this going to bring something you don't have in terms of experience. second, do you need somebody to help you? do you not have enough time to grow the business and will their resources allow you to grow faster? you want to sit down and have the hard conversation. how much does this person want in the business? how much time can they commit? how do you split things up in
terms of salary and ownership. it is is important to have the conversations up front is and sit down can and be honest with each other. if you can't have the hard conversations today it will be much harder to have them when you're in the business trying to figure on out what's going on and facing a challenge. it is a good idea. you have to do your homework up front, sit down, and get real with your partner. >> it's now time for the brain trust. we get to dig into some of the tough issues you deal with and find out how successful people dealt with them. founder of the inside and dwell which you sold to way fair. >> thank you. >> i wanted to bring you together. you both experience meet orric rises in your company. incredible to watch. then at some point you hit a plateau. and i want to know what that was like and what you did to get yourself through that time, plateau or decline.
2008 hit. >> 2008 hit. and i think everybody had a plateau or decline. it was a really scary event. just because i remember standing at a trade show and there were no attendees. and i'm thinking to myself, oh, my goodness, the whole thing is over. for us what we really did is we retrenched our core values, which were design, beautiful customer service, really speaking to our audience. and we sort of did that consistently over and over and over again, kept delivering on the promise. skpeuplg that's what helped us weather the storm. >> was it scary? >> it was beyond scary. because it was overnight. it wasn't really overnight but it felt like it was somewhat overnight. >> for both of you, you just had such success that it find of feels like this is working. everyone likes it. and i know how to do this. >> right. >> and then you also didn't see a decline overall. >> in some environments.
>> in north america, the united states, which was your biggest market. >> yeah. >> what did you do at that point? >> the first thing is remind yourself that all businesses go through this at some point. >> yeah. >> all companies have a rapid growth. they plateau, on or they go backwards. nike and apples have been through. resilience is so important. reminding yourself why you started the business, reminding yourself that the business is more than just putting on events and thinking about what's the values of my company. and then being creative. being auntal again. doing things that got you started in the first place. that meant going to new countries, growing our media business. doing tv shows. and that worked for us. it was a worrying time. >> i have to ask the same thing. was it scary for you? >> very much so. you start questioning yourself. did i just get luck? was i just in the right place at the right time.
>> right. so you have these people. when you have a company that is just killing it, doing really well, everyone is along for the ride. >> everyone. >> and you just wrote a book. >> that's right. >> in that book you talked about when you saw the first decline, suddenly people internally started to question. >> oh, yeah. >> so this happened to both of you. how do you keep people's enthusiasm when you were doing so well? >> you never choose to go through that. but positives come out of on it. who are in for the right reasons and who only love you if you're money, so to speak. but, no, i think the people that really thrived are for reasons above and beyond being an economic machine. the best companies exist to serve a higher purpose.
we are not pretending to cure cancer. but the people who stick around believe in our pheugsz. >> how did you deal with it. though people don't believe it, you need bodies in the chairs to do the work. >> at the end of the day, with the best companies, the most valuable thing you have is the people that work there. those are the people that have grown the culture and been part of the story. i was really fortunate i think we had developed a sort of kind of collective, caring, corporate culture that i lost very few people. they sort of did the transition with us. but i think it was -- these were things that i was very, very sort of careful about in the beginning, wanting to make sure people felt like they were -- that the company was there for them as well as them being there for the company. and i think it's really important. otherwise, when times get tough, people will just look for something better. >> you both weathered the storm very well.
very successful. it's nice to get to hear. frankly, it's really nice to hear there was a moment when you were scared. people look at you both and think success. you sold your company to wayfair. $100 million in revenue. it is difficult for people to understand there were scary moment stphrs and if you create this instagram world where everything is perfect you can find yourself very lonely and alienated. >> things are changing quickly. even just the way we communicate with each other. you have to be on top of it. having these membershipy crises on the all the anyway. people need to be resilient and micro pivot a lot is important. >> thank you both so much. >> thank you. >> this week's your biz selfie from jim pearce who owns image
360. they provide high-quality graphic solutions. he is posing with the beast, a new large flatbed printer. why don't you pick up your cell phone and take a selfie of you in your business, no professional shots, please. send it to yourbusines yourbusiness @msnbc.com. thanks so much for joining us today. here's something that i learned from today's show. earlier in the show he we talked about a couple that didn't have the right insurance. when disaster struck, it was a big problem. it is complicated or it's boring. but it is our job to understand everything. i don't care if you're running a team or a business. you cannot put things aside and hope it all works out for the best. that's the stuff that comes back to bite us. put time aside every week to go
deal with those things that you have been ignoring. we would love to hear from you. if you have any questions or comments about today's show, e-mail us at yourbusines yourbusiness @msnbc. we posted all the segments from today's show and a whole lot more for you. and you can find even more on all our digital and social media platforms as well. we look forward to seeing you next time. until then, i'm jj ramberg. remember we make your business our business. thank you so much. thank you! so we're a go? yes! we got a yes! what does that mean for purchasing? purchase. let's do this. got it. book the flights! hai! si! si! ya! ya! ya! what does that mean for us? we can get stuff. what's it mean for shipping? ship the goods.
you're a go! you got the green light. that means go! oh, yeah. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we're gonna hit our launch date! (scream) thank you! goodbye! let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. the chair wishes to mark the return to the chamber of our dear friend and colleagues from louisiana, mr. steve scalise. [ applause ]. >> the gentleman is recognized for as much time as he may consume. >> wow. thank you, mr. speaker. >> morning glory, america. i'm hugh hue et. steve scalise returning to the house marked by terrible images out of puerto rico and bad news for the