Black Enterprise January/February 2013 : Page 17
MANAGEMENT ADVICE Budding Women Entrepreneurs From seed money to mentoring programs, here’s a resource guide for new enterprises JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE STARTING YOUR OWN business doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Through SCORE, one-on-one mentoring is available free of charge from men and women who have had successful careers as corporate executives or business owners. AȰliated with the Small Business Administration, SCORE ( www.score. org ) is a nonproȮt network of 13,000 dedicated mentors that advise new and current business owners about man-agement, operations, and Ȯnancial and marketing issues. In addition to in-person counseling, SCORE oȭers free workshops and webinars, including sessions targeting women and minority entrepreneurs. Dianne Harrison and Cynthia M. Clarke are the founders and owners of Copiosity L.L.C. ( copiositygreetings.com ), operating out of the nonproȮt Pyramid Atlantic Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, where they rent the machinery to produce their products. They went to SCORE for some outside guidance even though their prior experience in marketing, design, and Ȯnance had served them well. Harrison and Clarke worked with SCORE mentor Bruce Gitlin, a former Small Biz Toolkit for Businesses owned by women of color represent one of the fastest growing segments of the economy, with minority women starting new Ȯrms at the rate of all other businesses. SOURCE: CENTER FOR WOMEN’S BUSINESS RESEARCH 5x JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 • PHOTOGRAPH BY LONNIE C. MAJOR • EDITED BY CAROLYN M. BROWN @CMBROWN_7 17
Small Biz Toolkit for
Budding Women Entrepreneurs
From seed money to mentoring programs, here’s a resource guide for new enterprises
JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE STARTING YOUR OWN
business doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Through SCORE, one-on-one mentoring is available free of charge from men and women who have had successful careers as corporate executives or business owners. Affiliated with the Small Business Administration, SCORE (www.score. org) is a nonprofit network of 13,000 dedicated mentors that advise new and current business owners about management, operations, and financial and marketing issues.In addition to in-person counseling, SCORE offers free Workshops and webinars, including sessions targeting women and minority entrepreneurs.
Dianne Harrison and Cynthia M. Clarke are the founders and owners of Copiosity L.L.C. (copiositygreetings.com), operating out of the nonprofit Pyramid Atlantic Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, where they rent the machinery to produce their products. They went to SCORE for some outside guidance even though their prior experience in marketing, design, and finance had served them well. Harrison and Clarke worked with SCORE mentor Bruce Gitlin, a former CEO of a high-tech rm, to develop the business side of their greeting cards and paper products company. Gitlin guided the founders through the maze of general business operations, says Harrison. “He has advised us about all aspects of financing, investor relations, sales and marketing, human resources, operations, and organizational planning.” That guidance also included assignments and deadlines. “Bruce always sends us tons of information about business planning,” adds Clarke.
Though formally incorporated in April 2010, the duo launched Copiosity for sales in November 2012 with Whole Foods Market of the Mid Atlantic region. Copiosity offers nine different product lines, including gi wrap and home, school, and office products, which are sold wholesale to local retailers, as well as through online sales and sales to the government, corporations, and nonprofits. Each line in Copiosity fulfills a niche in the market, says Clarke. For example, Harrison and Clarke decided to distribute sympathy cards geared toward children given their limited availability in any other company line.
Finding startup and growth capital, managing economic fluctuations, and learning the ropes of business management can be dificult even for seasoned entrepreneurs.SCORE is just one resource to help women entrepreneurs break through these barriers.Here’s a list of other resources you can leverage to start and grow your business.
MANAGEMENT ADVICE & SUPPORT
Black Women Enterprises
(www.blackwomenenterprises.org) offers free services and programs designed to increase a small business owner’s bottom line. Services and programs include BWE business plan workshops, MBE/WBE certification technical assistance, an entrepreneurial workshop series, and one-on-one business counseling.
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women
(www.goldmansachs.com/citizenship/10000 women) is a five-year, $100 million global initiative to help grow local economies by providing 10,000 underserved women entrepreneurs with a business and management education, access to mentors, and links to capital.
Women’s Business Centers
(www.sba.gov/content/women’s-business-centersdirectory-0) , established through the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership, constitute a network of more than 100 educational centers designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses.Through the management and technical assistance provided by the WBCs, entrepreneurs (especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged) are offered comprehensive training and counseling on a variety of topics.
Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps
(www.countmein.org/event/wvec/home), developed by Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and Capital One, is a three-year business growth initiative targeting established women small business owners who are veterans or spouses/domestic partners of veterans. Count Me In is a not-for-profit provider of business education and resources for women interested in growing their micro-businesses into million-dollar enterprises.
ACCESS TO CAPITAL
(www.accion.org) is a global, nonprofit micro-lender dedicated to creating economic opportunity by connecting people to the financial tools they need to improve their lives. The organization also provides management, research and development, and strategic leadership services.
Idea Café Small Business Grants
(www.businessownersideacafe.com/ business_grants) is a gateway to grants of all types as well as resources on budgeting and financing for business owners.The site regularly doles out $1,000 cash grants to entrepreneurs with interesting business ideas who register for Idea Café and submit an application or short video.
The Pipeline Fellowship
(www.pipelinefellowship.com) trains women philanthropists to become angel investors through education, mentoring, and practice. However, entrepreneurs can apply to present at a Pipeline Fellowship Pitch Summit for a chance to secure capital for their businesses in exchange for equity and a board seat.
Women’s Venture Fund
(www.wvf-ny.org) is a nonprofit organization that helps women of diverse backgrounds establish thriving businesses in urban communities. WVF offers training, small business loans, and a network of business advisers.
Brooke Young augments shopping experience using near field communication tags in her skincare line
MAKEUP ARTIST BROOKE YOUNG STEPPED DOWN
from her position as a personal beauty adviser at cosmetic giant Sephora in May 2012 and became a full-time stay-at-home single mom to care for her 8-year-old and 2-year-old twins. It was during this time that the 32-yearold Brooklyn, New York, native revisited her dream of owning a natural skincare business.
Pedicureans Indulgent Foot and Body Care
Owner: Brooke Young
Location: New York
Service: Natural and organic foot and body care products, including scrubs, creams, and washes
Launch: May 2012
Launch Cost: $15,000
2013 Projections (First quarter): $30,000
Now: Skin care products are sold via the website. The natural foods chain Whole Foods Market carries Pedicureans in its Whole Body department at its Union Square location in New York.
Next: Plans to open Eternal Light, a high-tech boutique spa that merges skin care with technology to boost efficacy of new and traditional services. This includes spa chairs from Italy called Techno Relax.
Using more than $10,000 in personal savings plus $5,000 from the Verizon Wireless Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Program awarded to victims of domestic violence, Young officially launched Pedicureans Indulgent Foot and Body Care. The eight-piece product line contains 200 minerals and antioxidants; 90% of the ingredients are purchased from such areas as West Africa, India, Mexico, and Asia that participate in Community Trade, where local members harvest the ingredients and sell them internationally.
But, what really gives Pedicureans a unique appeal is its use of NFC or near eld communication tags in its packaging. The chip in an NFC-enabled device reads information stored in an NFC tag (plastic sticker) and displays it. Upon tapping an NFC-compatible device against a Pedicureans product, consumers are instantly taken to the company’s website (http://pedicureans.Com), where they can learn more about the line and purchase more products.
“I wanted to merge the beauty and tech industries in an effort to drive higher sales via innovation, and this was also an effort to promote on-the spot education via product information and client reviews,” says Young, who projects first quarter sales of around $30,000. She notes that some Japanese retailers have reported a 25% increase in sales aer implementing NFC tags.
“The beauty industry is currently driven by clients who seek real-time, indepth product knowledge that they feel may not be authentic when offered by a salesperson. In beauty retail, many clients can be found scanning QR codes, taking images of products to look up reviews, or relying on blogs while on the sales floor,” Young says. Over the past two to five years, corporate giants such as Sephora have incorporated iPads, at-screen product encyclopedias, and QR code displays to offer product education that promotes faster decision making at the point of sale.
While most people have heard of NFC technology associated with mobile payments, it promises to expand and improve the retail experience, according to Forrester Research. NFC gives customers access to product information, ratings, reviews, loyalty rewards, and coupons. In 2011, only 5% of mobile phones were NFC-enabled; this number could rise to 46% by 2016, reports research rm Markets and Markets.
The rewritable stickers cost Young $0.50 per tag. No labeling or packaging was sacriced in order to use the tags; she even maintained wholesale prices. Since Pedicureans is still a home-based business, Young manually labels all her products, but plans to hire a fulfillment center this year.
She recently managed to get natural foods chain Whole Foods Market to carry Pedicureans at its Union Square location in New York, with a price point of $12.50 to $30. As for her entry into Whole Foods, Young knew from observation and research that the Union Square store’s Whole Body department saw high customer traffic, lacked a foot care-focused line, and was seeking local natural products vendors. “All of these opportunities encouraged me to simply walk up the street during a lunch break at Sephora Union Square [her place of employment at the time] and to ask how I could get my line in the store,” she says. Young ended up speaking to Whole Foods assistant buyer that same day. She received a vendor application and scheduled an appointment to present her product line a few months later.
“My presentation took place at the Union Square location with the buyer and her assistant. I prepared my full line for display and a keynote presentation on my iPad 2. My keynote presentation ran in sync with my demonstration of each product,” Young explains. “My goal was not to just talk numbers, but to focus on the efficacy of the ingredients and their functions,” she adds, noting that her 10 years of product knowledge and experience training staffs for Sephora
“definitely came in handy.” Pedicureans was accepted into the store that same day of her presentation.
Next on the horizon: This summer Young plans to open Eternal Light, a high-tech boutique spa that merges skin care with technology to boost efficiency of new and traditional services. This includes spa chairs from Italy called Techno Relax that provide air massage, iOS hookup, and a dome providing light therapy for skin surface issues.
—Carolyn M. Brown
CAROLYN M. BROWN’S TIP OF THE MONTH
Be Mindful of 2013 Tax Increases
There are a few tax law changes that may impact how you handle employees’ paychecks. Both the payroll withholding tax and self-employment tax rates were reduced by two percentage points for the past two years. Well, that has changed, unless Congress extends the reduced rates another year. The Social Security tax rate or payroll FICA withholding is expected to return to 6.2%, up from 4.2% in 2012. For self-employed individuals, the tax rate will increase to 12. 4% from the 10.4% of the year before.
While your main focus is on growing your small business, not being aware of these changes could make for a stressful tax season.Make sure you consult your accountant or payroll services provider about pending new increases, not to mention informing your employees of potential income tax increases.
Contact carolyn m. brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or @cmbrown_7.
5 Things You Need To Know Before Going Global
How to avoid an international incident when taking your business abroad
FOR GOOD OR BAD, GLOBALIZATION IS HERE TO STAY.
And while opportunities for the small business owner increase substantially when looking outside the borders of the United States, so do the pitfalls. Among them is the fact that business is conducted differently in other cultures, and not being aware of that can result in a deal-wrecking catastrophe. There’s more to it, of course, than knowing the proper way to present or accept a business card in China. It’s doing your homework and understanding how best to start and maintain international relationships with those of other cultures that will help your business grow.
“The deeper cultural roots of how business is conducted varies so much from country to country, even from the U.S. to Canada, and from individual to individual,” says Diane McGreal, director of Global Leadership Training Solutions Worldwide for Berlitz Languages Inc. (www.berlitz.us), who spent a number of years living abroad in Asia and Europe. Currently responsible for Solution Development for Global Leadership Training Worldwide, McGreal offers five things entrepreneurs looking to broaden their horizons need to know:
1 Know that in some countries, people are doing-oriented; in others, they’re being-oriented.
A Being-oriented person puts a whole lot more emphasis on a relationship and is motivated more by building solid, trusting relationships. It takes time and a lot of experience, and so quite oen building a sound relationship is more important than meeting a target date. On the other hand, doing relationships are more about getting the task done. So, if I’m very relationship-oriented and you’re very task-driven, we have a gap here, don’t we, because I want to get things done and you want to get to know me.
2 Know the difference between fixed and fluid time.
In Countries such as the U.S., people are fixed time-oriented and tend to
define time precisely—a 2 p.m. meeting is expected to start exactly at 2 p.m. When you can’t make the meeting, you let them know ahead of time. In countries that are more fluid in their orientation, time is much more loosely defined. If you couldn’t talk to me at our originally planned time, obviously the only reason why is because you had something else going on, something that you couldn’t end in time to talk to me.
3 Know that some cultures are more formal than others.
The whole key when we travel abroad usually is based around communication and how formal or informal you are. Countries that are more formal tend to put a lot of emphasis on following protocol and customs.The informal tend to put more value on more casual, friendly, and relaxed environments.
4 Know the language.
While it’s probably not expected for a business person be fluent in the language, making an effort to have at least social skills—being able to greet people and order in a restaurant—will buy you a lot of credibility and trust. If it’s going to be a long-term relationship with somebody and you expect to travel back and forth on a regular basis, and English is not the spoken language in the office, then you better learn the language.
5 Know the right questions to ask.
What are your objectives? In order to have a successful outcome, what do you need to do? There’s one big step as part of cultural due diligence and that’s self awareness.Before we can understand other cultures, we have to understand ourselves. For example, there are things that we do as individuals that we just assume the rest of the world does. —Alan Hughes
Keeping It Social!
We recently asked our Facebook fans to tell us some of their first steps at entrepreneurship.
“I started a meal preparation service in college for hungry freshman who didn’t have transportation; then it was an after-school program.Now, it’s a thriving production and education consulting company! It all starts somewhere.”
—Black Girl Speaks
Read the full article at http://www.onlinedigitalpubs.com/article/Small+Biz/1299225/144415/article.html.
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