A selection of interesting and relevant financial news from Tuesday, January 17th, 2017.Read More
Let's face it: opening up our credit or debit bills every month can be similar to ripping band-aids off of fresh wounds. It can sting. When running a small business, we understand that a lot of the time we will be sitting in debt and our credit scores will reflect that. Fortunately, in the digital age, we have an app for that.
Enter Trim. A service based around the concept of trimming the fat off of our credit and debit accounts, Trim goes on our behalf and contacts companies whose monthly memberships no longer mean anything to us. Lauded by The New York Times and Forbes, Trim is making things simple for persons who need to find the places they can make some financial changes. Got into a monthly credit report from Experian which you don't really care to pay $12 for? Trim can take care of it. Switch to a different hosting service for your website, but you're still paying for your old one? Trim's got your back. It's the friend who is willing to do the dirty work for you and make sure your wallet feels a little more full - that way you can help yourself to more of the little things that make life a little easier.
Revolutionary and attractive in its operation, Trim uses credit and debit information you give them to look into monthly finances where it breaks down the individual services paid for. They then text you the results: asking which services you would like to keep and which you would like to get rid of. Their representatives then do the work of removing these services by contacting the individual companies you would like to unsubscribe your recurring membership from.
This is a godsend for small businesses or individuals who work from home. In a world where the services we subscribe to become crippling either from anxiety over ending services that require talking to actual humans or because we feel we've become indentured to them, Trim makes things easy. Having a handle on finances are important when we work for ourselves because it enables our careers to move forward; saving $10 here or there makes the wiggle room appear a little more clearly.
As of now, Trim is a free service, but there may be options down the line, ironically, to have a paid version that makes things more in-depth, but if it means we're saving some coin by nipping things in the bud, maybe it's worth it for our fellow small business owners out there.
If you're interested in checking out Trim, visit their site here.
According to a recent poll conducted my Morning Consult, 4 in 10 Americans are unlikely to buy Trump products due to his presidential campaign. Combine that with 46% of Americans who said they'd refuse to stay at a Trump hotel. Combine that with the news that 6 in 10 women would refuse to buy Trump products or stay at Trump hotels (or the less than 25% who would buy products connected to his daughter, Ivanka). Now, none of this is in the least bit surprising given during the Trump campaign, which has been a circus at best, we've seen accusations of sexual harassment, tax evasion, racism, and prejudice. None of these are real signifiers of empathy and, with all of the evidence for Americans to rifle through, it's becoming clear that his businesses are not as bullet proof as the magnate would like to believe. So, the real question here is how do we draw a line between businesses and personal beliefs?
We put so much of ourselves in our businesses. Our biases, in a lot of ways, help lead us into the conclusions which influence the how and why we run our businesses the way we do. If Chipotle founder Steve Ells didn't care so much about having fresh food, he may have wound up running his business like McDonald's. If American Apparel didn't care about having quality clothes ethically made in America, they'd be made in Malaysia and we wouldn't be complaining about a basic t-shirt that costs $25. It's important to acknowledge our world view and how it intersects with our business practices.
In the case of a Donald Trump, however, it's not so good. Sure - we live in a country where we are lucky enough to have protections which allow us to have privileges like free opinions and public forums to discuss our beliefs. But when those beliefs go against the tide, is it smart to share them with the public? Is it bad business practice? Is it dishonest of you if you stay silent?
This is all with the assumption that our personal biases are a reflection of how we run our businesses or how we are influenced in running them. In the case of a Donald Trump, we've now seen how he is in a private setting and we'd be naïve to believe that his personal beliefs doesn't bleed into how he approaches business or who he does business with. Or, what could potentially be more dangerous, is he leads those he does business with that he doesn't believe those things when he secretly does which shows a manipulative, insidious aspect to his character.
Now that we, the public, have seen this on display, is it a shock that it's now impacting his businesses? Again - no, not really, but in today's political and sociocultural climate, it does bring into question what we should share with others as business owners, personalities, etc. Because there is a bleed - we'd be stupid to believe there isn't one. We can sit here and say "what if" this and "what if" that, stir the hypothetical pot so to speak, wonder if we'd ever learn about Trump's "locker room" mouth if he wasn't running for president in a country where slinging garbage and dirt digging is enthusiastically supported, but that will get us nowhere.
Part of being a smart business owner is knowing when to share your piece and when to show tact and restraint. Or, bluntly, understanding when you're out of your element.
In Washington, D.C., the Adams Morgan district is known for its place in the city's nightlife. With a variety of bars and popular hangout spots for the students in various colleges within walking distance, Adams Morgan in recent years seemed to be missing something. Songbyrd Music House & Record Café filled that void.
Giving the strip something different, something classy, and something needed, Songbyrd operates as a restaurant, coffee joint, record store, and live venue. For persons wanting a slice of hip, music love, Songbyrd is now a destination spot in #newDC - something the owners of the venue are totally aware of.
Alisha Edmonson, one of the owners of Songbyrd, uses her knowledge of indie music and her love for good food to make this new shining star in Adams Morgan super bright. Her deep appreciation for what makes the soul feel full, right down to the finer details such as having a music venue which has the look of a cozy den straight from an 80's suburb, has made Songbyrd stand out amongst a bevy of dive bars and pizza joints. This direction has made Songbyrd one of the more popular spots on the strip with a slew of regulars as well as wide-eyed newcomers who are treated with a vibrant slate of indie musicians, DJ sets, and spectacular food.
Alisha Edmonson is this week's Music Monday feature on Ross Business Management.
It is a really hard industry. There are so many more moving parts than a restaurant or bar and every day it is totally different. Each time a band plays, you are changing the vibe of your space, what people want, what they expect, how they behave changes, and it's hard to keep up with.
Anyone who has watched an episode of Shark Tank can tell you that investments aren't easy. They require a bit of common sense, a lot of creativity, but most importantly, a distinct vision of what one hopes to achieve with their business model. Robert Herjavec, whose new web series Small Business Revolution on Main Street is getting ready to debut, took the opportunity to share a few key ingredients to making a small business flourish and make an impact on its local community in INC Magazine.
The three tips he gave were as follows:
- Know your numbers.
- Engage in smart marketing.
- Ask for help.
While these tips would file under "common sense" for some, they're still great things to remember when building on your opportunities and preparing to expand your operations. Whether it's a new product, a new client, or a fresh environment, being savvy can usually come down to the most basic ideas (which can sometimes lead to the most creative or interesting solutions).
When it comes to taxes, most small business owners begin to stress out. With extensions now behind us, it's time to look at ways we can free up a little extra money in our expenses. Most individuals know the basics: travel; food while traveling; entertaining clients when they're in town. All of these are good things to remember. However, did you know that wages paid to family members are technically tax deductible? How about continuing education? All of these, and more, were nicely compiled by the good people at Entrepreneur Magazine.
When operating a small business in today's marketplace, we already have a lot to worry about without diving into the topic of managing all the data we consume each day. In addition to keeping track of various bank accounts, statements, and other sensitive information, we must also ensure all of the information we take in is encrypted and protected to our best ability so as not to threaten our standing as professional business owners. Phew - it's a lot of work.
Thanks to a new article on Entrepreneur, some of the guess work has been spelled out for us to make data management a little easier for our day to day.
What tips do you think you're going to take with you?
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to manage young artists in today's seemingly overcrowded market. Between staking a claim in one's brand and finding the right audience for your musicians, being a manager can be one of the most difficult positions to have in the music industry. However, it can also be one of the most rewarding and satisfying. Charlie Gendron of Charlie G Management gets that. He understands that music is about diversity: something incredibly evident going through the roster of artists he's managed over the past few years. He also understands that music is about being yourself and true to your core values, working with his clients to ensure their creative needs are met so they can make the best art they are able to give.
Charlie Gendron is the focus of this week's Music Mondays feature.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Who are you? What do you do?
My name is Charlie Gendron, I'm 24 years old, and I'm currently living out of Boston, Massachusetts. For the past 6 years, I've been managing artists around the Boston area. I've managed artists from many different genres such as pop, soul, hip-hop, and EDM. Over the years, I’ve learned how each genre works in their respective ways.
The music industry can be a tough environment to break into. What made you want to pursue a career in it and what do you think sets you apart from your peers?
Growing up, I consistently checked music blogs for the newest music to listen to and download. As I got older, I always had ambitions and dreams about becoming a producer or maybe becoming a hip-hop artist. A friend of mine contacted me one day with his mixtape and I was really impressed by it to the point where we discussed his need for a manager; which I ultimately handled. I've been managing the aforementioned artist, along with a few others, and each day I've been learning something new about the music industry.
Everyone has their own ways on how to approach things. If my artists want something and ask me to do it, I get on my laptop and get on it ASAP. I also work a full time job, so the work I put in is non-stop. Networking is a strength of mine. I'm always looking on LinkedIn and Facebook for someone new to talk to and introducing myself. Building a relationship with someone new is a strength of mine and it’s also an important skill to have in the music industry.
Have you seen any growth in your career in the past year? Where do you see yourself going in the months ahead?
This past year has been successful. My artists’ fan bases continue to grow to the point where some of them are starting to do features with other known artists. I am continuing to network and maintain relationships in order to grow my artists’ and my own career paths.
Over the next few months, I hope to start my own artist management company and maybe find someone to partner up with and create a solid team. I've also had aspirations to work for a record label and take an A&R position. I'm always looking for new music and the next artist I believe has the drive to make it to the top.
What tips do you have for young professionals or artists who are interested in becoming involved with the music industry?
Young professionals or artists who are trying to be involved in the music industry should never give up on what they want to accomplish. If you have a dream, go chase it. If you want your dreams to come true, be consistent. That's the big problem I see in artists these days. Up and coming artists need to continuously be releasing music and entertaining their fan base. I started off knowing nothing about the music industry or managing artists, but I continued to educate myself and learn about it and how everything worked in this position. I've had situations where I’ve grown from decisions I’ve made, both good and unfavorable. I have always wanted to work in the music industry and this job has been something I have strived for years. The job and the industry have given me even more motivation to learn and be the best I can. The biggest takeaway I have learned throughout my journey is this dream of mine is shared with my artists and everyone I have met along the way. It is a fulfilling feeling to know that others share my dream and we are always working towards it. I will continue to chase my dreams every day and I don't plan on giving up anytime soon.
Be sure to follow Charlie Gendron on social media and check out his curated playlist below.
The best leaders know the power of storytelling. Sharing succinct, authentic stories about your experiences is a great way to build trust and to drive your message home. When leaders let their defenses down and share errors, missteps and mess-ups, they not only gain greater credibility; they also teach more. To read more, visit the story here!
Every CEO longs for a strategic "silver bullet," but strategy is only about principles, not specific situations, says Michael Mazzeo of the Kellogg School of Management quoted in Kellogg Insight. It's important to take a more systematic approach, including a proper understanding of what competitive advantage means and how it works. "It may not be sexy, but the right answer to any strategic question is, 'It depends' " Read more here!
Here's something you may never have thought of before: how pizza didn't become universally popular in Kenya until the 21st century. For us Americans, pizza is a staple that people of all ages, demographics, and socioeconomic classes all have access to - whether it's brick-oven pizza with fancy toppings, or a simple dollar slice from across the street. In the United States there's fast-food pizzas, gourmet pizzas, personal pizzas...you name it. Although in Kenya, according to this article in Forbes' entitled "How An Entrepreneur in Kenya Helped Bring Pizza to the Masses," pizza had been known as a rich man's food, and "was something strictly seen on the big screen in American movies."
In 2011, everything changed, thanks to Kenyan entrepreneur Ritesh Doshi. Doshi and his wife realized they couldn't get a decent slice of pizza delivered in Nairobi in under an hour, and wanted to change that. After failed attempts to open a Domino's, Pizza Hut, or Papa John's franchise, the couple opted for Naked Pizza, and included a 35-minute delivery time on all orders. It was absolutely risky for the couple, considering most people in Kenya had never even tasted pizza before, let alone could they afford it - now, even Domino's has 3 franchises in Kenya due to pizza's recent spike in popularity.
We're sharing this article with you to let you know that for an entrepreneur, anything is possible when there's a market gap. Doshi opened a restaurant franchise in a poor country, with a population who could barely afford a product it had never even tasted, with absolutely zero supply chain - but he made it work. So what did you do today?