tv Your Business MSNBC January 16, 2011 7:30am-8:00am EST
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small businesses are revitalizing the economy. hi there, everyone, welcome to "your business. "we give you tips and advice for helping your business grow. once again, this year, we are coming to you from geek heaven, the 2011 consumer electronics show. now, of course there are a lot of big companies here. but this year, more than ever, small business owners are occupying the booths in these halls. for most, the road to ces takes
years. but for one oklahoma tech company, it took just months. how? one part inspiration, one part sheer force of will. the people behind the zom took their idea for locating a lost cell phone and turned it into a ces success story like no other. one year ago, laurie pennic, mother of three, and an entrepreneur with what she knew was a great idea was packing her bags to go to the consumer electronics show, or ces for the very first time. >> i love technology and love gadgets, so i would watch it every year and think, that would be so incredible to get to go to ces. just a few months before, laurie had an oprah-induced epiphany while she was on the treadmill. >> one of my girlfriends called me and said her husband had lost
another iphone. and i started thinking, there's got to be a way -- >> with help from her husband, laurie's aha moment moved from inspiration to business. >> everybody said, do you know how large the market is for something like this? this is a global business you're talking about. and so when i got over that shock, we started to concentrate on what it would take. >> in that moment, the zomm was born, named for zachary, olivia and madison's mom. the concept was a simple wireless leash, to help locate those impossible-to-find cell phones. although they had a great idea, laurie and henry's next idea was to figure out how to make it work. >> surround yourself with people smarter than you are. which wasn't too hard for us to do, because we don't know too much about technology. so we searched out who we thought was the best in the
world in bluetooth technology. >> laurie came across an application for the 2010 ces innovation awards. >> i got on ce s's website and i just started reading, trying to figure out what you would do at ces and what it takes to be there. >> that's when my wife sent me an email and she said there's a contest at ces for the most innovative product. she goes, it would be really great if we could enter that. >> i did a lot of research and tried to make sure it was a unique idea. and i just kind of had this feeling in my gut that we were going to win. >> but before they could even think about winning, laurie and henry had to go through the rigorous process of applying for the award and they only had 48 hours to get it done. >> they wanted a picture of the zomm. everything to enter this contest. so we wound up creating this wood chip that looked similar to a zomm, painted it as best we could. and sent that in as our specimen. we actually sat in our home for
24 hours without sleep and wrote everything that a zomm was going to be, what it was going to do. the benefits, et cetera, and handed it in. thinking this was a shot in the dark. >> laurie's gut feeling was right, the zomm won the prestigious ces innovation award. their next problem? the zomm was just an idea they had no product. >> i had some officials say yes it was a very innovative product. but on the flip side, we had one of those shocking type feelings that oh, my goodness we have to really hunker down and get our product developed. because one of the requirements was that we had to have a working demo for the consumer electronics show. >> so how do you get a tech product from concept to reality in just three months? if you follow the model of henry and laurie penix, you set seemingly impossible goals.
>> we want to set a goal, make it lofty and we'll do whatever we can to drive and meet that goal. >> it would be the next looming deadline, creating a working zoom that become the make-a-break deadline for their business. >> no one quit, they would go sometimes 24 hours a day and catch a few hours of sleep here and there and get right back on it. because this wheel was moving, the deadline was approaching and we had to do it. >> with the crush of press waiting to see the award-winning products, the zomm prototypes were ready just 24 hours before the show. >> i just started crying because ways not only at ces. but we had a booth and it was just amazing. we were doing demos and to see my kids doing demos, it was incredible. >> the press seems to love zomm. about midway through, we had so many cameras in our face, every one of the folks that were there at the table on behalf of zomm,
were all being interviewed by somebody. >> what started out as one housewife's big idea rapidly became an unprecedented media sensation. >> i think everyone needs a deadline for success. when you imply deadlines on yourself and on your company to get certain things finished, it moves you. it keeps the momentum going. and when you know i can't change those deadlines, it adds to ultimate success. and one year later, laurie and henry penix are back at ces, showing the zomm once again, it's so great to see both of you guys. >> thank you very much. >> tell me what the last year has been like. you had a big year this exact time last year. what's going on? >> well follow up from last year, we made so many great connections at ces last year this year has been that times a thousand. >> what's it like to be here
this year when you didn't have the same deadlines, and are much more established now? >> i think we've been so busy. we were just as busy last year. it's exciting to see the momentum and all the response that we've gotten from people and to know thatpeople love the product. now this year, we're a little bit more confident. >> when you guys look back at what you accomplished in such a short time to get here, do you look back and think, wow, that was crazy. >> yes, we do. >> totally amazing, opening offices in london and munich, like we were talking about earlier and all over the u.s. last year we were trying to get people to recognize us, and raising our hands and jumping up and down. and this year we're like we can't meet with everyone this year because of the momentum. >> would you be where you are now if you hadn't pushed yourself and won that innovation award? >> i don't think so. >> well, we may have been to a
certain level, but the innovation award definitely helped us, it propelled us to a higher height. >> i don't want to take too much of your time. but thank you so much for sharing your story with us, we really appreciate it. >> thanks for coming out. with many entrepreneurs struggling to find funding, some small business owners are starting their companies with nothing but their own savings in our new segment called your online business, we take a look at these so-called ultralights, many of which focus on e-commerce, we'll find out how they start online with a clear focus on social media, in an effort to become profitable as quickly as possible. think you need millions of dollars to launch a new company? well you don't. meet these entrepreneurs who have done it on a shoestring. >> carmate was started with zero dollars. >> we each put in $1,000. >> i put about $7,000 of my own
money into the company. >> these companies are called ultralights, business founded with practically no capital. >> the idea is that you're not going out and seeking venture capital. it's all money that's straight out of your own pocket and out of the organic nature of the business. >> graham fowler said this business model is right for the times. >> investors are only giving money to successful serial entrepreneurs or people that already have traction. you need to get some traction first. the way to do that is starting with revenue first and going to scale after. >> everyone laughs and me and thinks it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a business off the ground. it takes time, a lot of time, plus a lot of money. >> hamilton started his yogurt business on the stove in his new york city apartment. >> i went from sitting at a
trading desk. >> when he started miya, he knew he was going at it alone. >> i give this thing everything i had. >> while leveraging the marketing power of facebook and twitter, he spends the majority of his time talking to customers in the new york city area and visiting the pennsylvania facility where in ultralight fashion he has outsourced his yogurt production. >> we're in the store, seven days a week, promoting this thing, trying to get the message to shoppers. but the paramount to getting it to the next level. >> if you would have started a yogurt business ten or 20 years ago, you might have started with building your own production facility and testing facility. and i think the fact that he's using a shared kitchen and shared facility, he's able to produce his yogurt at a much lower cost. >> john and his partner brett
snow don have also been able to keep costs down at their ultralight, ublanket. >> he does the hardware, i do the software. >> the pair took to the webs to start making blankets out of old t-shirts. they had the business up and running in no time. >> we hired a seamstress who was able to do the sewing and manufacturing. i worked at building the site. it was about a one-month start-up. >> looking to look and grow our manufacturing falt, but keeping with the ultralight motto, we decided to outsource the work. >> the pair says it's helped them streamline their operations. >> neither brett or i could sew, so it was definitely a learning experience at the beginning and we've wednesday able to kind of understand what needs to happen. and also work on ways to speed up the process. >> so far, customers have
learned about ublanket through online searches, friends and family and social media. >> we have not spent $1 on advertising yet. >> spencer frye and his business partners haven't spent a dollar on advertising, either. >> carbonmade is an online portfolio business to display their work online. to show off what they produce. >> the site started off as gorham's personal portfolio and now thanks to word of mouth, its popularity has grown. that allowed the trio to make it a full time business. >> it's really about keeping, very frugal and keeping expenses low and hoping that more and more revenue comes in every month. >> rather than trying to recruit more customers, focus on the company's approximately 300,000 current users. >> for an ultralight, you want to build a simple product. we had to basically launch with a paid plan from the start and
you need that kind of business model where you're going to make money from day one. for most of us, the most of the money is spent on the product and developing the team. if your business is profitable and growing, you can continue to grow it indefinitely. >> while carbonmade has found success, frye admits that the ultralight model isn't perfect. the challengers he and other entrepreneurs face is similar. >> i think everything may take a little longer as a self-funded company. because you don't have as much access to capital. >> it took us a while to save up money to move into a larger space. >> despite this, lawlore says the ultralight model does have a clear advantage, you'll know your business better than anyone else. >> it forces the best practices on you from the beginning and it forces you to understand your business from a very intimate level, from the very first stage, right. you're not hiring somebody to to
be your marketing for you and hiring somebody to do your design for you and hiring somebody to do the engineers for you, you're doing all of that yourself. there are tons of new gadgets and tools on display here at the consumer electronics show. here are five of the best for small business. in the smartphone category, the motorola atrix 4g received high marks for processing power and high-resolution monitor. the io safe rugged portable was best ever class in the networking and storage category, the external drive can hoemd up to one terra byte of data. in the design category, casio's tryx is a compact camera and camcorder. in the partly cloudy and laptop category, intel receive aid tension for its new line of cpus, code-named sandy bridge.
they'll increase efficiency. and the recipient of c-net's best of show award is the motorola xoom. a powerful tablet. that runs on the android operating system. we have more coming your way from the 2011 consumer electronics show. ramon ray is like a kid in a candy shop here at ces. he's going to show us five of the hottest gadget you can use to boost productivity and profits. this is my band from the 80's, looker. hair and mascara, a lethal combo. i'm jon haber of alto music. my business is all about getting music into people's hands. and the plum card from american express open helps me do that. you name it, i can buy it. and the savings that we get from the early pay discount
has given us money to reinvest back into our business and help quadruple our floor space. how can the plum card's trade terms get your business booming? booming is putting more music in more people's hands. secretary of commerce, gary lock is here at the consumer electronics show to talk to companies about what resources are out there to help them export their products. he stopped by to talk to us to talk about what specifically is out there for small business, it's so great to see you again, thank you so much for talking with us. the administration has set some lofty goals, double exports in the next five years, how do small businesses play into that? >> the big companies have their own marketing forces, but it's medium and small-sized businesses that can really use the services, free services of the department of commerce to actually help them find buyers
and help them sell their american-made goods and services all around the world. when you consider that 95% of the consumers live outside the united states, it behooves american companies to start thinking about where those buyers are, we have trained people all around the world whose sole mission is to walk the sidewalks and find buyers. >> i talk to a lot of small businesses who are interested in that because they see the potential out there. the customers out there. but don't quite know where to start. where do they go? >> we have commerce offices all around the united states. in over 100 cities. can come to our website, export sai and we can offer a programs and services for them. we also have offices in some 80 countries all around the world. and these people's sole job is to find buyers and customers for made in usa products and services. >> are there any particular industries you're focusing on right now?
>> so much of what america makes is in great demand and highly valuable around the world. 50% of the companies being showcased here are u.s.-based companies, a lot of medium and small companies. >> we were exciting to be walking around and see so many more small businesses than we've seen in the past. >> we've actually brought tens of thousands of foreign buying delegates here, a 30% increase over last year. and last year at the 2010 consumer electronics show, the foreign buyers, the delegations of foreign buyers, actually purchased over $350 million of usa-made goods and services. and with the 30% increase in the number of delegates, we're expecting a bigger sales this year. >> and we hope it affects a lot of small businesses in a positive way. thank you so much for stopping by to talk to us. we're at the nbc universal booth here at the consumer electronics show. this is the most fun part of the show. when we get to talk to ramon ray
from smallbusinesstechnology.com to show us what's new for small business. let's see what you found. i, we're used to the ipad. what do you have here? >> two devices, one from toe toshiba and one from acel. they run the goog the operating system. and they both run those who have not been able to watch their moves or other vide videos, they do that. >> the archos is around $300. the one from toshiba is going to be priced competitively with the apple ipad. you can see it has a much brighter screen, long battery life. they have different devices. one cheaper, one a little bit more, but they're also different. >> then we move from tablets to a computeer. >> this is an hp, an all-in-one
computer system. >> that's amazing. that's a great spacesaver. >> absolutely. those who don't have a lot of space and need something that's big, this is something they want. it looks good. >> it does. that's a scanner, right? >> this is the scanner. they say it's one of the smallest scanners in the world. you have paper and you need to get it to your computer to your office, this is what you want. >> that's a fantastic idea. you can stick that in your bag. >> zboost. >> if you're in your places in your house or apartment, this is the product you want to boost that to give you five bars instead of half a bar. that's a good idea. what do we have? >> a bluetooth headset. very small, nice and shiny.
what's nice is a few things. it comes out here. this is your stone. it comes with a headset. instead of trying to find a socket you can put it right in here and charge. >> how many charges can you do? >> three or four charges. you can talk and talk and talk. it speaks to you. but it in your ear. it tells you when to pair. >> it does all the thinking for you. >> exactly. >> this is another charger. >> these are for your cell phone devices. what's nice about it is wireless cell phone charging. you take your mobile device, you replace the battery cover with this and set your device on tom of here and it charges it wirelessly and it's also mobile. >> anything that has no wires gets my interest. and how many charges do you get out of this? >> again, all day computing, i'd say three or four. if you want to talk a lot, recharge. >> brilliant. i'm constantly in airports trying to find a place to plug my cell phone in.
now this is a -- >> it's a toaster. >> it look as little bit like a toaster. >> this is a pogo plug. you have photos and videos and files on your hard drive. how can you access them on the road or through a cloud? you plug your devices in here and access them through a cloud. >> this is great. what i'm used to doing is taking it off the hard drive and putting it on my computer and taking it in the clouds. >> no monthly fees. >> that's a huge step. >> we have this device from verizon wireless. this is 4g wireless broadband. if you want to do video conferencing, what was jerky and slow, this makes it fast. >>ow much does that cost? >> $99. >> this is a printer. >> this is a printer from
memjet. they want something to print and low cost. >> by low cost? >> around $500. >> as you can see, it's printing. >> that's fast. >> very affordable and fast. >> ramon, thank you so much. i tell you to walk the show because we'll have you on again. >> thank you very much. great to see you. >> thank you, too. >> entrepreneur, technological evangelist and social media guru. those are just a few words to describe guy kawasaki. he's also the author of a new book "enchantment." he's here to talk about a few of the rules of enchantment. thank you for being here. >> thank you. i think foundation of enchantment is that you're likeable and you're trustworthy and you have a great product or service. >> so let's start with likeable.
likeable as a person, likeable as a company, what do you mean? how do you come at that. >> the real test you have to apply is do you buy things from people that are not likeable. >> and your answer is probably no. i mean there are some exceptions in new york maybe. >> but it's interesting because oftentimes you have an agenda as a businessperson. you're talking to an investor or customer and you want to sell, sell sell, sell. sometimes you forget. step back. >> the key is you smile -- there's two kinds of smile. one is called the pan am smile which is only using the jaw. there's the due schenn smile which is also using the eyes. in a way i'm telling you this perfect smile has crows feet. crows feet is in. no more botox. >> you're making me
self-conscious. trustworthy. people have to not only like you but trust what you have to say. >> the key to trustworthiness is that you're knowledgeable and competent, that you know what you're doing and you do what you know. the other thing is you default to a yes attitude. which means when you meet most people, instead of thinking how can this person help me, you think, how can i help this person. that should make you completely a likeable, trustworthy person. >> what about overcoming resistance? people say i have a great product and people say it's a great product but people that don't know about you say what i have is good enough. >> when you look at all the great successes, after the fact, iphone, macintosh, you think, oh, it must have been so easy and everybody loved it out the gate and apple just, you know,
backs a thousand. and none of that is true. all of these great products encounter resistance. the test is not that you don't overco encounter resistance. the key is overcoming resistance. you let a hundred flowers blossom, which means you may thinking you have your product or service positioned. you know exactly who should buy it and exactly how they should use it. and to the extent possible you should go through that mental exercise, however, once you ship, all bets are all. and the factor that positions you is not your sort of -- your dream, your plan, your -- you know, your greatest intention it's what's happening out there. >> it's what's happening on the seat. so with macintosh you thought you had it. guess what. it was none of the three. >> how do you get the social media to shet the door? >> with social media,
facebooking, blogging. marketing and customer acquisition is as cheap and as efficient as it's ever been. twitter, you can reach hundreds of thousands of people, facebook. it's china, india -- >> use it. >> get out there and push. don't think of it as social networking. i think of it as a marketing mechanism. >> thanks so much for stopping by. we really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> throughout the show we've been taking a look at how technology is changing the way small businesses operate. for more you can check out our website of the week. lostintechnology.com provides helpful tips for the average computer. you can check out posts on how to set up a secure networking at home and how to use search engine optimization. you'll find all of today's
segments plus web-exclusive content with more information to help your business grow and don't forget to become a fan of the show on facebook. you can also follow us on twitter. it's at msnbc.com/biz. >> one thing i strongly discourage is a joke. aren't you a comedy trainer? yes, i am, but i don't want to hear jokes. i want the truth. >> how stand-up economy is boosting the bottom line of a new york-based public relations firm. till then, i'm j.j. ramberg. and remember, we make your business our business. seven years ago, i had this idea. to make baby food the way moms would. happybaby strives to make the best organic baby food.