The Tin Shingle Blog - #EntrepreneurshipNews
If you're as obsessed with small business and entrepreneurship as I am you were pretty psyched to hear about CNBC's new show The Big Fix that will see billionaire and "turnaround business king" Marcus Lemonis bringing his expertise to the reality show table. Each week, he'll be offering up his own money (for a total of $2 million through the season) for a share of the small business, along with innovative infrastructure changes to turn the company right side up.
SO SABINA, HOW DO I GET MY BUSINESS ON THE SHOW? Is what I bet a few of you are asking. Well wait no longer, I've got the scoop here, straight from the producers! Please note, they are only looking for companies based on the West Coast right now (no exceptions) but be patient East Coast, your time will come....
CASTING FOR CNBC's THE BIG FIX:
Producers are searching for ALL types of businesses (20+ Employees or more) that would benefit from hundreds of thousands of dollars in working capital.If you are a business owner or manager and you feel your company could benefit from national exposure and business advice from an expert, then email the following info to:
- Business Name
- Type of Business
- Business Website / Facebook link
- City and State
- Number of Employees
- Your name
- Position / Ownership of Business
- Phone Number
- Why your business needs the expertise of a business consultant
May the small business force be with you!
Julianne Hough & Brittany Snow Wear Small Biz Jewelry to Golden Globes: Exclusive with Designer Daniela Villegas
I'll admit it: My name is Sabina and I'm an Awards Show junkie. From the inspiring speeches I usually cry through to the hot, red carpet fashion and accessories choices, so you can bet I was tuned in and glued to my television and computer when Julianne Hough rocked the red carpet with striking gold (real) beetle and stick bug earrings.
Fast foward to the after-parties and Brittany Snow is caught wearing the striking Spartan rings from the same designer. I knew it was an independent designer and small business owner who had created those stand-out accessories. As I always say, entrepreneurs make the most amazing and creative things. I immediately had to know WHO it was, HOW they got their pieces front and center for such a huge fashion moment, WHY she thinks Julianne picked out those specific insects...point being, I needed the nitty gritty details on how this all went down. Thanks to the wonders of social media and Google I was emailing with lucky designer Daniela Villegas within the hour and she graciously answered all my questions (even my non-business more-Julianne focused ones that I couldn't help but asking). Check out our exclusive Tin Shingle interview with Daniela below and connect with her online and Facebook as well!
Daniela Villegas Chats Golden Globes, Julianne Hough, Beetles & Entrepreneurship Exclusively with Tin Shingle
How long have you been in business and actively selling your own pieces?
I've been designing jewelry since I was a teenager and I started designing for my own brand DANIELA VILLEGAS since 2008.
What did you do before launching your own accessories line? What led you to decide to hang your own shingle so to speak and launch your own brand?
I started making jewelry pieces for friends and family. I studied fashion design and started learning and working for different people until I decided to launch my own line when I felt the necessity to express myself without constrains. I felt it was time to open my wings and explore.
How important do you think celebrity product placement and styling opportunities are for a fashion or accessories brand?
They are very important because they provide you with the opportunity to reach different markets and possibilities. However, I feel the most important part is to always keep the quality to the top and to create a piece with perfect balance between creativity and sophistication.
What did you think about how Julianne Hough looked in your pieces on the Red Carpet?
She rocked the Golden Globes red carpet. She is a woman that likes to experiment and takes risks that most of the times pay off, you can see she is comfortable and happy. She is very well advised by her stylist Anita Patrickson. At the end the red carpet is an important part of being an actress, she takes it seriously and I'm sure we'll see her rocking the business for many years to come.
Why did you choose the insects and scarab you did for this piece?
"The Backyard" collection is one of my lines that is inspired in the insects integration and balance with the environment. Every piece has a story and symbolism. The beetles are a very unique animal with an incredible range of colors and patterns. First, we chose the color that Anita and Julianne had in their minds and everything unfolded from that.
Can you outline how you, a small business owner, were able to get your product on a hot celebrity during one of the most high visibility nights of the year in terms of Hollywood and fashion?
Some luck, a focused effort and in this case it was especially made possible by Julianne's stylist, Anita Patrickson. She is the one that made the connection.
What did you do to prepare your website/social media/customers/etc for the big moment?
We enjoyed having input and interaction with them and via social media.
What advice do you have for aspiring jewelry designers or entrepreneurs in general who may be reading this article?
To be true to yourself, to be congruent with what you are and what you design. To listen to your heart and when you feel is time to fly, do it! Step by step, no need to rush anything. Work hard everyday and enjoy what you do.
What is your favorite thing about owning your own business?
The freedom I have to create my own pieces, how I manage my time and also the opportunity to meet incredible people in different fields.
What has been one of your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?
I feel the biggest challenge at the beginning for me was to find great people that can help me to make my pieces a reality. I've been lucky enough to work with the best team.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years from now?
Being represented by more fantastic stores around the globe, to expand on every level.
What other celebrities are your fantasy celebs to have your jewelry adorn?
I would love to see Diane Kruger, Tilda Swinton, Kate Moss among others, these are women that are not afraid to experiment and who create their own trends.
Sabina, my amazing business partner here at Tin Shingle, forwarded to me a PR Lead for an article being written for TheStreet.com covering this question - what the Starbucks/Square deal means for small business. I was balancing about three things at once and knew that I couldn't think of a non-fluff answer fast enough, so I passed on submitting any ideas to the writer, Laurie Kulikowski (who may have written the article by now). Now that it's the weekend, which found me hand-washing dishes because our dishwasher broke, I had more time to think about Square and Starbucks. I was also finally able to watch the CBS This Morning interview with Jack Dorsey and Howard Schultz. It was during this time that the partnership meant more to me as a serial small business owner.
So what does it mean for small business?
Local and super small businesses remain ahead of the curve
Ever since I moved out of Manhattan and into a small (but darn cool) mountain/river town called Beacon 60 miles north of the city, I noticed that several shops on our Main Street were using Square on their iPhones or iPads to accept sales (Crumb Bakery, Dream in Plastic, Gourmetibles, Paws and Mittens, Ella's Bellas, and more). And then it spread like wildfire to other businesses on the street. The other group who has been using Square for a while are those 'prenuers who sell at markets because they need to take payments while vending in the middle of the street. These small businesses experimented with and embraced the technology long before big business did.
Local Businesses Should Stop Putting Off Square
Some local businesses have their reservations about moving from their traditional, and very expensive, non-customer-support-friendly credit card companies because they fear change, or I'm not sure really what the reason is. For example: any business who does not accept American Express because the transaction fee is higher, can just use Square for a universal fee - no favorites or exceptions (I also love this about PayPal). Just accept the plastic and move on to the next customer.
Small Businesses Change The Face of Commerce and Our Lives
Howard Schultz predicted in his interview with Charlie Rose and Gale King on CBS This Morning that cash will soon be extinct. Rather than wait for a mandate or law that says how cash will be used or printed, businesses react to how people are using currency now, and move quickly to keep collecting it. The federal government will move to keep up (hence the CyberSecurity bill that is tied up in whatever ties things up in Washington).
Schultz declared during his CBS interview: "Washington is not doing much, and companies have a bigger responsibility today than they have before, because I think the rules of engagement have changed, where cooperate CEOs and businesses have to step up and do more for the communities we serve."
A Founder Can Be a Founder More Than Once at the Same Time
Jack Dorsey is a co-founder of Twitter (established in 2006), and a co-founder of Square (established in 2009...granted, Dorsey had stopped being CEO at Twitter in 2008, so maybe had more focus available to push through Square...he has since returned to Twitter as executive chairman focusing on product development). This is a rather large indication that a business owner who is committed to more than one idea can execute. Warning: this takes an enormous amount of dedication and compartmentalization.
The keys are focus, team, and an understanding of your product (product being a physical product, or a service you are providing). If you understand your product inside and out, then I think you can handle running another one - assuming you will quickly come to understand it inside and out as you build it. And, you must have a team of support in place to make things happen. It's just like having more than one kid! No big deal. ;)
Small Businesses Need to Consider Mobile for Their Websites
I'm with you - it's yet another thing that we don't want to think about right now because there is so much to think about. But we have to face the reality. We're all checking things on the Internet from the car, while walking, while watching TV, while in bed. Our websites better be able to easily deliver to these readers/clickers.
Watch the interview. It covers a lot of ground quickly that will get you thinking about your business:
Local businesses dread the bad review on Yelp. The screamer who had a bad day and wants to take it out on someone. I myself wanted to do this to a woman who owned a real estate shop in a wealthy Rhode Island town on their Main Street who marched out into a small gravel parking lot after I parked my car in it to run into a deli to grab a sandwich while my two hungry children were screaming. I was literally strapping on my 3 month year old crying son into my carrier so that we could dash in for food. She informed me I had to vacate the spot she pays $2000 for, and wouldn't grant me the 15minutes of a food rush.
I wanted to take it to Yelp!
Instead, I Yelped it in my mind, but didn't publish it. I'm sure she's a lovely woman who sells great real estate. But, these Yelp reviews are permanent, and you can't delete them as a business owner. They impact your SEO (search engine optimization) because they rank in the search engines when someone searches for you. What can you do if you get a bad review?
Take it to your sidewalk chalk board, like the Joe Dough Sandwich Shop did:
Brilliance. Embrace it. Get a thicker skin online, and fight back with your good food or product. It's ok. It's one angry reviewer, but it could really hurt your business. For this restaurant owner, after someone spotted his sign and eye-reported it to a news station, the store owner got major press and a huge viral spread.
Hurrah for his comeback! And not to mention a great SEO boost he's getting from articles like these linking to his website! Awesome! And I'd love to try that meatball sandwich.
As of the writing of this article, SOPA and PIPA have been put on hold by the U.S. Congress (here's a good description of SOPA happenings before today and here is a dated timeline of SOPA and PIPAs evolution). The timeline of events leading to its demise is startling, swift, and efficient. Even though it is frightening to think how easily these bills could have gone through, which could lead to a slipperly slope of wrangling in the Internet, and the freedom of expression and commerce with which we enjoy within the Internet, let's not miss the opportunity to think about a real problem that is going on - free downloading or lifting of creations by hard working people - Americans and those in all countries producing music, film, books, and any other form of entertainment we enjoy and now take for granted.
The intent of the SOPA bill was this, as stated on the bill H.R. 3261 - "Stop Online Piracy Act" on OpenCongress.org, a website that posts bills for you to view in full text, and track the progress of: "To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes."
This statement is valid, worth fighting for, and you play a direct role in protecting it - with your dollar. In order to protect intellectual property, which can lead to commerce in any form, be it sold online, at a street fair, or in a movie theatre, people must buy it. They must shell out the cash. The cash comes back to you in many ways, especially in your local community, by making your immediate surroundings a better place. If you don't buy it, if you download free music at a cool website, if you download a free Droid app that streams free movies, or if you grab a DVD that is just released in the theatres from a street vendor (not good local support), you are hurting the global economy. Yes, global. The whole world goes down a notch every time you take a free download. The people involved in making your entertainment are working together from all over the world. Tax incentives might make it better to film a movie in Romania, than in New York City. Musicians band together from anywhere, and tour anywhere that will take them - and pay them. YOU MUST PAY THESE PEOPLE, or the music will stop.
Creators who do not get compensated for their creations won't be able to make your entertainment anymore. You may be upset that a movie costs $13.50, or that a small popcorn costs $11. And that a night at the movies may cost you $70 if you have children who need a babysitter (which is actually one more local person benefiting from the movie industry). This price anger does not entitle anyone to a free movie download for their viewing pleasure. If no one is paid, movies won't get made. Plain and simple. 1 + 1 = 2. And that's it. You have to:
1 (buy the ticket), + 1 (create the piece of entertainment) = 2 (happy viewer/listener/reader)
We at Tin Shingle called our Congressman to stop the bills. We agree wtih Marc Zuckerburg's and then Facebook's official statement about thinking carefully about how legislation for the Internet is created. I personally am directly impacted by the economy of the entertainment industry because my husband works in it (despite this great SOPA/PIPA video, where the only flaw is that it dismisses the economic impact of the entertainment industry). We, along with many other film people, suffered with uncertainty during the Writer's Strike of 2007-2008 when writers were fighting "the studios" for compensation for online viewing of their written work. And now "the studios" are fighting "we the people" for compensation for viewing entertainment, and have tried to get the big guns to make that happen, with legislation and enforcement.
The thing is, there will always be excuses as to why someone isn't getting a piece of the pie. During the Writer's Strike, a producer friend explained to me that "the studios" were holding up paying the writers fairly because they didn't know how to measure views of a show that a writer wrote. However, this friend must not have realized that I know that that isn't true, being that I'm a website producer and am obsessed with tracking traffic on websites. Websites, especially corporate ones with big money, can know exactly how many views their videos get, so this excuse is bull-$hit and an excuse to not pay. See all of these examples of not paying people going around? Irks me.
We should keep a strong focus on Internet piracy. It's a huge problem that directly impacts the household incomes of many Americans. Supporters of the bill who were anti-opposition, like Ex-Senator Chris Dodd (why is he still around?), MPAA' (Motion Pictures of America) chief executive. Folks like him will continue misleading us and missing focus. Early on in the protest, he declared the blackouts at protesting websites an "abuse of power". Abuse of power? To what, taking away a service of at the very least, free content, and at the very most, a service you pay for to help your personal or professional life. Abuse of power would be if the electric company shut down the electricity without asking you. Or if companies who supply servers that supply millions of websites with actual electrical power shut down their servers without asking their customers, in order to create a more wide-spread Internet blackout with no opt-in agreement to the business owner paying them to keep the lights on at the website. Chris Dodd is wrong when he called the 24 voluntary blackout of specific websites an abuse of power. It was a freedom of expression, which is what we're all trying to protect and live by.
Now that the bills have been put on hold, and 13 million people called their Congresspeople, and more millions flooded congressional servers and unintentionally caused them to crash (like with The Today Show or the Daily Candy Effect) Chris Dodd has changed his tune, according a New York Times article (but I learned about it an email from FighttheFuture.org) “'This is altogether a new effect,' Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing 'an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically' in the last four decades, he added."
Whatever, Mr. Dodd.
Just please, people, pay for what you want. It keeps the services coming to you. And keeps big guns out of meddling with laws that limit our creation of business and creation.
A good video for early cliff notes is here:
A few other good articles are here:
Entrepreneurship can be lonely. And if you're looking for 'friends' there are plenty of networks that you can join. But if you're looking to grow your business, to increase your exposure, to improve your sales, to get more press and to establish your credibility in the marketplace, then Tin Shingle has your back.
What makes 'PRENUER unique is that we were founded by real experts in the areas of business strategy, marketing, online media, public relations and SEO. We leverage our more than 30 years of collective business experience to give your brand, your company and you the edge you need as a small business owner.
We don't just send you a list of PR leads and hope for the best, we connect you with the people who are writing the stories that are going to bolster your sales. We don't just tell you that search is important, we actually work our SEO to help improve YOUR site traffic. And we don't just espose business theory, but we give you real concrete guidance and strategic tools that you can use to make an impact in your business.
It's all about real people helping real businesses.
So if your business could use a leg-up, an extra edge and some real solutions, come Tin Shingle with us.
It's a small investment for a lifetime of rewards
Last week I started doing the unthinkable. I clicked ‘Unsubscribe’ from Groupon. And from Living Social. And from Gilt Groupe. And from Bloomspot. And from BuyWithMe. And from JDeal (yup, there are Kosher deals to be had)! And there are others that I’ve relegated to ‘Trash’ status automatically without even bothering to Unsubscribe.
Turns out that I’m not the only one who’s gotten overly fatigued with the daily coupon. And people are questioning who’s really getting the ‘deal’ here anyway.
Surely the customers are getting a deal... These coupons allow customers to buy a product or service at often 50-70% off – but stats say that less than 60% of these coupons are ever redeemed. So, instead of someone getting a free coupon from a website or the good old ValUPak, they pay upfront for a coupon that they aren’t using. (I admit, I fall into that category. I bought a kickboxing session something in NY and then never actually signed up for the class or redeemed my certificate.) But, I'm sorry what kind of deal is that?!?
Well, with all of that money being paid upfront for coupons that aren’t necessarily redeemed, surely the merchants that participate are raking it in. But we’ve heard mixed reviews from users – some who state that it’s been the best experience ever and other who grumble that not only didn’t they gain a new customer following, but that they actually lost money.
My question isn’t really whether the coupon sites are good or bad for business or consumers, but rather whether the fact that there are so many of them out there has caused an oversaturation that renders the consumer sick and tired of seeing their inbox crammed with ‘coupons’ for the newest sushi bar or spa center down the street.
There are 167 Daily Deal sites out right now according to localdealsite.com. What do you think? Is the Daily Deal the new equivalent of the ValUPak? Is it starting to get thrown into the proverbial recycle bin too? My vote is 'yes'....
Theres an article up in the Wall Street Journal, "Why Now is the Time to Seek Investors" that outlines a series of tax incentives that make it extremely attractive for investors looking to invest in small businesses and other entrepreneurial ventures. Deals have to close by December 31, 2011, but with incentives like 'zero tax on profits after 5 years', you may find that investors are getting interested in getting back into the start-up game.
Have you considered funding from an angel-investor? Tell us about it
Today I was reading my daily Forbes.com newsletter and came across a great Mark Cuban referred to me by my partner at Red Branch PR, Michael Quinlan. Normally we find Mark to be a bit of an abrasive, in your face personality, but when we checked out this link our opinions changed a bit.
Mark covers a lot of bases, and Steve asks some great questions! I've got the topics he covers listed below (they're even in easy to digest and divide chapters) and the link is HERE!
* Media Is Everywhere
* Paying For Content
* New Media Villains
* No Advertising Revenue
* Facebook And Google
* Path Of Least Resistance
* Mobile Changes Everything
* Taxing Carried Interest
* Reviving IPOs
* Mark Cuban's Stimulus
* Government -- Step Aside
Let us know what you think!
Holy hot bananas! There is a fantastic article in the Wall Street Journal that is sure to get you lit if you were having overcast days about your business and the time you put into pursuing your ideas. I am extremely biased because this article includes my brother, which is why I read it in the first place! There are layers upon layers of reasons why I loved this article:
My brother, TJ Hellmuth, is a filmmaker and co-founder of RED Rents and Electric Orange Media. For years he has been taking job after job, honing his craft of filming while taking related jobs such as "grip" (aka big burly men who lug around lighting equipment on set to establish the lighting for the shot) and other such jobs that give him specialized experience and the ability to see scenes from different angles. Obviously there is an entrepreneurial spirit that runs in our family (ahem), leading him to invest in a special camera called the RED, which he decided to rent out to studios or individual filmmakers. He could have hemmed and hawed over the decision on investing in this particular camera, as industry talk can go both ways about which tools to use, but he trusted himself and dove in. He created different rental packages for the camera: rent the camera, rent the camera and the operator of the camera (my brother or his team), rent other equipment, and so on.
This decision led to a plethora of different jobs in different cities with different responsibilities. His latest job is for a film being made in Akron, OH about a true-to-life story of a soapbox derby that lost its funding and needed a bailout called 25 Hill. Producer/director/actor Corbin Bernsen spotted the story and wrote a script about the derby's struggle, after it lost most corporate funding in 2007 during the financial crisis when companies were being very cautionary about their return on investment, and pulling sponsorships. Not only did the derby lose funding, but it owed the bank $623,000, and the bank was calling the loan.
The timing of this is all too relevant. According to the Wall Street Journal article on the soapbox derby, "The competition began in Dayton, Ohio, during the Depression, when children started racing homemade cars. The first "All-American Race" was held there in 1934. It moved to Akron a year later. Derby Downs, the group's track, was built by the federal Works Progress Administration." And during this financial crisis, it's about to die, relying on donations and $500 licensing fees of the soapbox derby kits it sells. In the 1960's Chevrolet sponsored the race, and over the years, according to the article, "...big corporate backers brought celebrities, including Ronald Reagan, Rock Hudson, Evel Knievel, and O.J. Simpson. The late actor Jimmy Stewart attended six times." But that was long ago.
Enter Corbin Bernsen. He was attracted to the struggle of the derby, and the family feeling attached to the physical activity and passion in a time of digital connections. The derby has been trying to get creative about other sources of funding. Bernsen, for his movie, has signed a contract with Geico, the auto insurance company, according to the article. Geico will "play the role of the sponsor that comes to the rescue in the film." Additionally, Geico has agreed to sponsor the soapbox derby in real life.
Movie magic? Or a lot of hard work driven by a commitment to pursuing a dream. From my vantage point, this was the result of a lot of hard work and sticking to a vision. Not to mention the boost Akron, OH is getting for being the location of the film, as states try to create ways to attract films to spend their budgets in their towns to pump life into local businesses.
It's an all around feel-good story, with a moral: create your own luck. Work hard. Stay in touch with your passion.
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