Rachel Beider in HuffPo: 14 Design Elements to Make Your Office Stand Out


Your office or retail space may be in need of an overhaul. Redesigning these areas can provide more flow and efficiency in their design and function. Through the use of lighting, space and new amenities, you can greatly improve the work area for your employees or make it more inviting for customers to engage with you. But, where do you start to make a difference in the functionality or design of your office or storefront?

A. Open Spaces and Private Spaces

It’s helped us to offer something for everyone. Not everyone works well in the open environment because they are more sensitive to the noise element. We’ve also added private spaces that deliver quiet areas for brainstorming and even a nap when necessary. - Andrew O’Connor, American Addiction Centers

A. Large Windows and an Outdoor Area

Being able to see the natural light is known to improve people’s mood. Since we’re a remote company, our employees can work from anywhere. One change that has made all the difference in my office space has been dedicating a shaded table outside for working. I already love what I do, but being able to work outdoors on a breezy, warm day takes it one step further. - Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

A. An ‘Open’ Sign

How many times have you walked by a store and been unsure if it’s open or not? This sounds obvious, but it’s a common mistake. Display an “Open” sign. If possible, have your door propped open. Turn your lights on inside and outside when dark. Make sure it’s clean and inviting. Stand outside your storefront and ask yourself whether you look open and welcoming. Adjust accordingly. - Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net

A. Wireless Internet Connection

A few years ago we transitioned all of our employees to compact laptops. It’s made such a difference in terms of mobility in the office, opportunity to work remotely, traveling, etc. We’re a very collaborative team, so it’s made meetings and collaborations seamless. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

A. Conference Rooms

The least cushy room in our office is our conference room. It has poor lighting, a dilapidated conference table, few power outlets and chairs that require perfect posture or you risk falling over if tilting back too far. It also doubles as a storage room. As a result, our formal meetings move very quickly. - Stephen Hetzel, BidPrime

A. Ambient Lighting

Using IoT light bulbs to create more ambient lighting for a natural effect has reduced energy consumption and added an environment that helps with eye strain and bolsters creativity and productivity. Everyone can control their own lighting area to have what works for them. - Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

A. Scented Air

Clients can smell the amazing essential oils of our massage studios long before they enter it. The signature scent that we use combines lavender, vanilla, rosemary and black pepper, and is easily recognizable by clients. Relaxation starts before they even enter the space, and it draws clients in. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Desks on Wheels

We’re a collaborative company, and need different teams to meet regularly. Everyone needs their own space, but they also need flexibility to sit together. At first we reserved a lot of meeting spaces (couches, white-boards, etc.). But that space would go unused for 60% of the day. Last year we put wheels on all of our desks and whiteboards. Now we can have impromptu meetings anywhere. - Aaron Schwartz, Passport

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A. Artwork Relevant for Your Brand

A game-changer for us was canvas prints in our retail stores and office spaces that clearly showed what our company stands for and what we, as people, live for. In our case, that was amazing pictures of ourselves riding mountain bikes in epic places around the globe and locally. Having your culture expressed in artwork on your walls shows everyone who sees it what your company’s “why” really is. - Jeff Cayley, Worldwide Cyclery

A. Dual Monitors

Adding dual monitors to our office space has significantly increased productivity. The more data available on screen, the more employees can accomplish. Before investing in dual monitors you need to consider each position and if it will require them. I found that anyone in development, web design, photo/video editing, accounting and customer support benefit the most from a dual monitor setup. - Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

A. Electronic Massage Pillows

Having an electronic massage pillow has been a huge win for my office. There’s nothing better than taking a 10-minute massage break to charge you up for the afternoon. The massage pillow is much more affordable than a massage chair so you can purchase one, see if your employees use it, and if they do, purchase a couple more. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

A. Ergonomic Chairs

Despite all of the things we have done over the years to make our office unique, there is no question that the biggest differentiator both visually and functionally has been having an office flush with top-of-the-line ergonomic office chairs. Every employee, intern and visitor comments on how comfortable the chairs are and how much more enjoyable the experience is as a result. - Adam Mendler, Beverly Hills Chairs

A. Sit-to-Stand Desks

The functionality element that has made a tremendous difference in our office space is our sit-to-stand desks. From a design perspective, they are set at different heights, which produces a more creative, modern look in the office. Most importantly, employees have the chance to stand up or sit down based on how they feel, which increases productivity and wellness. - Vladimir Gendelman, Company Folders, Inc

A. Raised and Sunken Floorspaces

Vertical spaces are generally underutilized in retail and office space. A common notion is that every space should be on the same level. However, by raising or lowering a space you create a dynamism that requires very little investment and achieves unique results. There is a furniture store in Zurich, Neumarkt 17, that displays its products in a maze of different levels; the effect is stunning. - Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

Originally seen on Huffpo

Rachel Beider on SmallBizTrends: Top Business Tips from Podcasters


Podcasts provide a wealth of information on a variety of topics. When it comes to business, a growing number of entrepreneurs and executives are turning to podcasts as a useful source for new insights and tips. With so many business podcasts out there, having enough time to weed through them and identify the most beneficial isn’t always possible, which is why we asked 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

Top Business Tips from Podcasters

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Hire Passion

“The saying goes that a passionate person is better than forty that are merely interested. When hiring people or choosing a partner to work with, make sure they are really passionate about the line of work they are getting into. If they are, then they will motivate themselves. Don’t hire people that just “want a job” or partner with somebody that isn’t going to be as committed as you are.” ~ Andy KaruzaFenSens



2. Grow Ten Times

“The Grant Cardone podcast, “Cardone Zone“, I listen to almost daily. The most valuable tip he delivers over and over again is to aim to grow your business 10 times each year, delivering 10 times more than your competitors to your clients. With this goal in mind, you inevitably deliver at least 30 percent more in returns. At each level of the buyer journey, you are offering so much more than your competitors.” ~ Matthew CapalaSearch Decoder


3. Skip PR

“PR has been this long-standing strategy to use, but when I heard a podcast about the death of the press release and why I didn’t have to use an expensive PR agency to get noticed, it helped me refocus my marketing efforts and do so much more with less money. I realized it was a waste of time and money.” ~ John RamptonCalendar

4. Do What Works Best for Your Personality

“On Neil Patel’s podcast he talked about sticking to the mediums that you are best at and do more of that. When you are first starting out with content creation, you can easily get overwhelmed with all the different channels. For example, should you blog or vlog? He suggested picking one strategy that you naturally love and focus on developing that really well first, before expanding.” ~ Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

5. Biohack Your Life

“As a serial entrepreneur, the demands on my time and attention are great. Surprisingly, the most interesting business tip I got was from the “Bulletproof Podcast” with Dave Asprey, where he talks about biohacking and maximizing your health, energy, and mental clarity. Using biohacking, I’ve been able to improve my focus and ability to manage multiple businesses and stay focused and effective.” ~ Marcela De VivoBrilliance

6. Don’t Despair Over a Lack of MBA

“I’ve listened to countless episodes of NPR’s “How I Built This” and one common thread that I’ve noticed is that most of the entrepreneurs that they’ve interviewed are just regular people who don’t have an MBA or experience in building a massive company. They worked hard and learned along the way.” ~ Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg



7. Invest Old Money to Get New Money

“This advice came from Grant Cardone. We are taught to save our money and conserve. His advice is to keep the flow going and invest into ways to get new money coming in, rather than horde the existing money. I have used this strategy and seen my business grow month after month because I am investing into getting new customers and reach. You sometimes do have to spend some money to make more.” ~ Richard FongBliss Drive

8. Build a Sports Team, Not a Family

“In an episode of “The Twenty Minute VC“, Ari Mir, founder of Clutter, explains how it’s important to approach hiring and culture building as if you’re building a sports team instead of a family. In sports, you’re strategically placing the best players for particular positions at that period in time. If you can do this well as a coach, your team will attract the best talent and thrive off of success.” ~ Ben LarsonGateway

9. Incorporate Many Great Ideas Into Your Work

“I was listening to a recent episode of “Pod Save America” that featured several of the architects of the 2010 healthcare overhaul. They agreed that the reason Obamacare will endure is that they actually included so many amendments from all across the political spectrum. The great lesson to me was: You have to incorporate a wide range of great ideas into your work if you want it to endure.” ~ Paul GrossingerGaingels

10. Hire Barrels, Not Bullets

“On the “Startup School” podcast, Keith Rabois talked about hiring great people who can do hard work. He calls those bullets (you can direct them at a target). But he pointed out that you also need to hire “barrels,” the folks who help direct those bullets. These are two very different skill sets, and having them both is critical to a company’s success. Talent without the proper focus is wasted.” ~ Aaron SchwartzModify Watches

11. Track Your Time

“I’d always been dubious about the benefits of time tracking, but when CGP Grey and Myke Hurley discussed it on the “Cortex” podcast, I decided to give it a go. I was amazed how little of the day I spent on productive work. The data informed how I plan my day for maximum productivity. If you haven’t tried tracking your time, I’d strongly recommend you try it for a week; you may be surprised.” ~ Vik PatelFuture Hosting

12. Do What’s Unfamiliar, Even for Fun

“There’s a great episode of Tim Ferriss’s podcast where he interviews Mike Rowe about how he got his start in television. Mike’s candor, his rebelliousness and willingness to do what was unfamiliar to him, led him to a rewarding and satisfying career in an industry he never anticipated being involved in. Sometimes doing something unusual can lead us to our normalcy.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

13. Go Whale Hunting

“One of the best lessons I learned was, “spend two hours a week chasing whales.” Ken Courtright’s podcasttalked about this a year back and it has paid off 100 percent! By whale hunting, Ken means to spend two hours a week at minimum chasing clients that are Fortune 500 or Fortune 100 companies. I have been doing this for a year and landed two accounts I never thought would be possible. Those two clients doubled my yearly revenue.” ~ Chad KellerEyeflow

14. Plan Your Schedule in Minute Increments

“A podcast once recommended to plan your day in minutes rather than hours or half hour blocks. If possible, do 10- or 15-minute meetings, not everything needs to be a full half hour or hour. Your time is the most valuable asset and it needs to be given with the most care.” ~ Adelyn ZhouTOPBOTS

15. Know How the Political and Market Climate Impacts You

“It is easy to become absorbed in metrics, growth, and minutiae relating only to your business. With the instability of the economy and the political climate, modern founders and entrepreneurs much know what is happening the world around them at a macro level. Legislative and interest rate risk is real — follow it and know how it impacts you. Ostriches are no good at planning ahead.” ~ Ryan BradleyKoester & Bradley, LLP

Article from SmallBizTrends

Rachel Beider in Business.com: 10 Feature-Rich Website Builders That Won't Break Your Budget


You don't always need a huge budget to build a quality site; sometimes, you just need the right tools.

Without a strong web presence, it's going to be hard to generate buzz or get information out to potential clients. While Facebook pages or LinkedIn posts can help generate interest, sometimes you need a central repository, a place where you can direct people who are interested in your services.

However, building a professional website can be difficult, especially if you're working off of a budget. After all, poor design can drive away traffic. Colored text over a textured background, for example, can confuse visitors, as well as create an image of ineffectiveness: If they can't read what you're saying, you clearly don't care about the details. Alternately, confusing layouts can leave visitors struggling to learn more about a subject, and you know they'll only struggle for so long before moving on.

To help avoid these issues, 10 members from YEC list their favorite feature-rich website builders for entrepreneurs on a budget. Here's what they selected and why:

1. Avada For WordPress

Avada is a great theme builder that is mounted on top of WordPress with a ton of power-packed features. You've got video landing pages, lightboxes, tons of templates and demo options, and fully responsive designs. The sliders are effective, too. The learning curve is about mid range, but for the features it offers, it's very practical. You also can use WordPress plugins, which are great. - Nicole MunozStart Ranking Now

2. B12

B12 is a great website builder that leverages artificial intelligence and a team of expert designers to create a beautiful website super quickly at a low cost. They have experience with websites in many industries and provide a host of tools to help SMBs. - Adelyn ZhouTOPBOTS

3. Beaver Builder For WordPress

WordPress is the most robust website building platform, but you need themes and plugins. Beaver Builder fills the gap by allowing you to create websites with a 100 percent drag-and-drop interface that easily integrates with other solutions such as WooCommerceWPForms and more. - Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

4. Craft CMS

Craft CMS isn’t free, but if you have some coding chops, it’s a great content management system that can be used to build any type of site you might need. It’s modern and coder-friendly, and training non-technical people to use the final site is straightforward. - Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

5. Corpus Theme For Wordpress

I have zero coding or technical skills. Actually, less than zero. But the Corpus theme is beautiful, easy to use and super functional. It's a high recommendation on my list to anyone who needs an easy website or personal website completed. WordPress has incredible functionality, so when you want to update your site in a few years, it'll make a web developer's job easier and also save you money. - Krish ChopraUnited Medical Rotations

6. Shopify

Shopify has built one of the most robust, easy-to-use website platforms busy entrepreneurs can use. Because Shopify manages your shopping cart hosting, you can focus on less daunting tasks. Shopify's extensive app platform provides inexpensive solutions to all ranges of requirements. Every entrepreneur should be using an online store as their first platform, and Shopify is the tool of choice. - Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors

7. Squarespace

All of my sites are built on Squarespace because even the most basic templates look extremely professional and well-designed and have good UX included. There are a lot of ugly templates on other platforms, something that Squarespace has nicely avoided. - Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

8. Weebly

Each time I've started a company — or a side project — Weebly has been my go-to site. Back in 2008 they had it all, and since then the product has honed its intuitive drag-and-drop for dummies approach to complex web features. Whether you're building a brand page and you want their great templates or an e-commerce site to make sales, anyone can use the Weebly tools to make a high-quality site. - Aaron SchwartzModify Watches

9. Wix

Wix is the easiest to use and gives you so much for such a small price, including templates and plug-and-play options. The ease of use for me is just as good as the budget price. - John RamptonDue

10. Visual Composer For WordPress

There’s nothing better than WordPress. It’s user and pocket-friendly. Getting Visual Composer with WordPress allows someone who doesn’t know a lot about website building to quickly edit and customize pages without hassle, eliminating the need for an experienced web developer. I highly recommend it! -Duran InciOptimum7


Article for Business.com by Scott Gerber

Rachel Beider in Thrive Global: How Are Your New Year Goals Progressing?Tips To Stay on Track


The new year is well underway, and if you're like most people, you're probably still staring at that list of resolutions you made for 2018. Goals don't achieve themselves, though; you have to work at them every single day if you want to reach your desired outcome – and if you fall behind or make a mistake, you need to be willing to pick yourself up and keep trying.

If you find yourself struggling to stay on top of your annual goals, take a step back. Examine your plans and processes, and see if there's an easier way to bring your dreams within reach. Fifteen members of Young Entrepreneur Council offered their best practical advice for achieving your goals this year.

1. Set Fewer Goals 

While it can be tempting to set numerous significant personal and professional goals, the more goals you are pursuing, the less focused you will be on accomplishing any one of them. By setting fewer goals, you will be able to better focus on achieving them, and in turn, will be more likely ultimately succeed. - Adam MendlerBeverly Hills Chairs

2. Set Realistic Monthly Goals for the Year 

If you're trying to go from 0 to 100, you'll probably fail. I would look at a big picture goal for 2018 and then break it down into smaller monthly goals. Each time you create a new habit and succeed at a monthly goal, you're getting closer to your long-term goal but your also compounding momentum and you're really positioning yourself for success. Don't bite off more than you can chew. - Brett Maloleyladder.fit

3. Focus on Behavioral Changes 

On a piece of paper, write down a list of things you need to keep doing, stop doing, and try doing. On another sheet, write down what you need to increase, reduce and maintain. Now every morning, look at these two lists as soon as you wake up. This will make your goals achievable by reinforcing it with concrete and measurable behavioral changes that you can start right away. - Raad AhmedLawTrades

4. Tackle the Hard Ones First

There are certain goals and tasks that we all like to avoid. One way to increase productivity and also get the year off to a good start is to tackle a handful of undesirable tasks and goals within the first month of the year. This way there is a feeling of accomplishment that can carry through the remaining 11 months. - Ryan BradleyKoester & Bradley, LLP

5. Do a Social Media Detox to Purge Negative Influences and Boost Positive Ones 

Use social media wisely to help inspire you, not annoy you. Our daily habits become who we are. So follow people that are already doing the habits you want to pick up on and let them motivate you to crush your goals. Take a look at your Facebook likes. Unlike anything that doesn't pertain to the person you want to be tomorrow and do the same on Instagram and Twitter. - Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

6. Allow Yourself to Fail (But Don't Give Up) 

If one of your goals for the new year is to stick to good habits, such as a diet or exercise regimen, you need to understand that failing to stick to your goal once is not an excuse to give up entirely. You haven't truly failed until you completely give up, so the best way you ensure that you will stick to your goals is to give yourself permission to keep trying. - Bryce WelkerCPA Exam Guy

7. Manually Track Your Goals 

Once you've made the necessary steps to achieving your goals and know which behaviors to modify, you can manually track your behaviors to ensure that you're not self-sabotaging. Whenever something no longer works, change your mind. Whatever you modify must serve the purpose of helping you achieve your goal. If it doesn't, don't push yourself to finish. - Cody McLainSupportNinja

8. 'StickK' to Your Resolutions 

I’m personally employing a great new tool called stickK. It was developed by two Yale professors and an MBA student and utilizes cutting-edge behavioral economics to help people achieve goals. Each user creates a “commitment contract.” You’re encouraged to put money on the line that you will sacrifice if you fail to meet your commitment. - Thomas SmaleFE International

9. Analyze the Benefits of Accomplishing Your Goal (and the Consequences of Not Doing It) 

When you want to accomplish a goal, don’t just “try.” Make a decision, become clear about exactly what you want, analyze the benefits of doing it and the consequences of not doing it, and take massive action to make sure you accomplish it. - Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint

10. Find an Accountability Partner


Find someone who you confide in and make them your accountability partner. Define your goals for the year and put them in writing. Keep them as specific as possible. Goals tend to fail when you keep them broad. Give that list to your accountability partner and set aside a monthly check-in with them to review steps you've taken to push towards your goals. - Brandon HoustonSwitch Video

11. Break Your Main Goal Down 

Think of your main goal like the fabric on an umbrella. After you set it, create "spokes." What are the mini-actions and goals you can accomplish in order to get your big goal accomplished? If your big goal is daunting or dependent on one thing, you're more likely to fall off, forget or give it up. By creating mini-goals and actions, the journey is also successful. - Jen Brown, The Engaging Educator

12. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals 

SMART stands for "Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-Related." SMART goals help you define clear goals with a timeline. Instead of saying, "go to the gym more this year," a SMART goal would be "I will go to the gym for at least 45 minutes three times per week until 1/1/2019." SMART goals will help you stay on track this year. - Brandon StapperCrown Growth

13. Start with the End in Mind 

As you're charging hard for those 2018 goals, it's important to have a crystal clear vision of how they relate to the overall mission and the goals transcending this New Year. Doing this will also help bring others into the 2018 planning and make it easier to comprehend the "why" of those goals. - Michael SpinosaUnleashed Technologies

14. Develop a Template from Past Achievements 

It's important to set realistic goals and constantly strive to meet those. However, remember what helped you reach past goals. Was it writing down notes? Was it continually tracking your progress? Using another person to hold you accountable? Everyone is a bit different when it comes goal setting and execution, but success breeds success. - Shawn SchulzeNames.org


Article seen on Thrive Global

Quoted in Business.com : 12 Things Business Owners Pay Too Much For


Running a business is going to cost a lot whatever you do, but too many businesses spend unnecessary amounts in these areas.

Business costs are unavoidable, but some costs in business are way higher than necessary. Paying too much for rent, marketing or travel can cost your business its flexibility and reduce your working capital that helps get you through the lean months. Knowing where you can trim the fat will allow your company to run more efficiently and prevent you from feeling a pinch month to month.

We asked 12 entrepreneurs from YEC to weigh in on the most surprising things that business owners are paying too much for.

1. Credit card processing

"Business owners should regularly check how much their credit card processing fees are, and negotiate their rates. Often, when you do more volume, you can ask for a lowered rate. Processing is a competitive market." – Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint 

2. Inefficient employees

"Payroll most likely takes up the largest share of expenses in a business. A small business owner should seek employees that are returning five to 10 times what they are getting paid, but sometimes employees are barely returning one times their salary. If this is the case, employers should consider bringing in more productive employees (even if that means paying more) or simply outsource to freelancers." – Alejandro RiojaFlux Chargers

3. Large office

"Many businesses spend more than they need to on renting office space. Additionally, they buy all kinds of equipment and furniture for the office. This can add up to thousands of dollars and recurring expenses. Consider if you could get by on a much smaller space or even a home office. In the digital world, paying for lots of physical space is usually not necessary." – Shawn Porat, Scorely

4. Web design

"Whether it's creating a landing page for your business, an online storefront or a web portfolio, chances are that you're paying too much for your website's design. The truth that many web designers and freelancers don't want you to know is that a professional-looking website can be made for next to nothing thanks to services like WordPress." – Bryce WelkerCPA Exam Guy

5. Content creation and SEO

"As someone who has been in the world of content creation, blogging and online marketing for more than 20 years now, I can tell you most people are doing it wrong. Even worse, many brands and businesses are paying way too much money on ineffective and lousy content and marketing companies. For some reason, businesses would rather overpay an agency than find someone who knows what they are doing." – Zac JohnsonBlogging.org

6. Ineffective marketing

"There is no dearth of entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses that don't know what marketing entails, and they're often at the receiving end of marketing companies out to make quick bucks. While impressive logos, websites, brochures and the likes are part of the parcel, not many companies focus on creating awareness, attracting attention and building relationships." – Derek RobinsonTop Notch Dezigns

7. Untargeted advertising

"Many businesses advertise without doing sufficient testing of the results. Placing ads – whether Google AdWords, Facebook ads or display ads in your local newspaper – is not always effective. If you're not carefully measuring the ROI, you could be wasting thousands of dollars per year. This is now truer than ever, as many people tune out traditional ads." – Kalin KassabovProTexting

8. Video conferencing

"Back in the day, it might have made sense to spend a lot of money on a video conferencing room if you did a lot of business overseas. But these days, with tools like Zoom and Highfive, there are just so many less expensive options. There's no need to break the bank for this technology anymore." – Jared AtchisonWPForms

9. Document management

"There is no way that leasing a fancy copy machine and paying for photocopies should be a strong business model. It is, though, and the costs associated with these services are very high. To alleviate these costs, invest in good equipment, a paperless office and maintenance. Businesses do not win by leasing." – Ryan BradleyKoester & Bradley LLP

10. Software development

"Software engineer salaries in major urban markets – such as San Francisco, New York and Boston – are approaching $200,000, or roughly $15,000 a month, for a fully loaded engineer. There are so many better options, especially since the adoption of SlackJira and other collaboration tools. Great talent can be leveraged for 30 percent of the price when considering nearshore markets (in the same time zone)." – Brian SamsonTrue North

11. Travel

"As business owners, we tend to see travel as part of the job – a necessary evil. But when you look at most trips taken at the company's expense and break down the ROI, cost and opportunity cost, I am positive you will find that your time and money would have been better spent staying put in your office and handling business from there. Working harder doesn't always mean that you're working smarter!" – Marc LoblinerTiger Fitness

12. Unhealthy habits

"A sick day for employees might be an excuse to binge on Netflix and catch up on sleep. A sick day for an entrepreneur forces them into never-ending catch-up as they reschedule meetings, deliverables and initiatives. Neglecting your health through poor eating, lack of fitness and general stress relief will eventually take you out of commission for days or weeks, which can be more costly than anything." – Ross Beyeler, Growth Spark


Article Seen on Business.com

New York city is looking to make 500 small loans to women-owned businesses in the next three years: Rachel in WWD

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By Kali Hays on March 8, 2018

New York city is looking to make 500 small loans to women-owned businesses in the next three years.
New York City is trying to get more small loans in the hands of women looking to expand their own businesses.

Through its WE Fund: Crowd partnership with Kiva, a crowdfunding web site focused on women entrepreneurs worldwide, the city said it’s helped funnel more than $280,000 in zero-interest loans to 40 women in New York since it launched in November, with the loans being a combination of city funds and thousands of outside contributors.

The mayor’s office said the average WE Fund loan is about $5,500 and that 80 percent of the loans have gone to minority entrepreneurs and 35 percent to immigrant entrepreneurs.

“This is about increasing the earning power of women and making sure that women are leading the next generation of home-grown companies,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the program started after the mayor’s office “heard women entrepreneurs say loud and clear that they needed more access to capital to get their businesses off the ground.”

The effort looks to be working. Alexis Krase was able to raise $10,000 in little more than two weeks for her Brooklyn store offering plus-sized women’s apparel, Plus Bklyn, after a friend told her about the WE Fund loan program. While the larger portion of the money came from the city, a majority of it was crowdfunded from 124 lenders that contributed less than $100 each. With the money, Krase was able to meet with a local patternmaker last weekend and expects to have an in-house line at Plus Bklyn in a few months.

The friend who initially told her about WE Fund, Rachel Beide, also received $10,000 through the program, with 99 micro-lenders and a larger portion of support from the city going to fund the opening of a third location for her decade-old business Massage Williamsburg. Beide says on her crowdfunding page that her biggest obstacle as a small business “is access to funding at non-predatory lending rates.”

Personal loans from banks have interest rates that range from 6 to about 36 percent, according to stats from NerdWallet, often making it impossible or too risky for a small business owner or someone hoping to start one to access funding.

With the We Fund, New York and Kiva are planning to make a total of 500 loans over three years.

“It doesn’t take much capital for women entrepreneurs to build thriving businesses that support our city’s local economy, communities, and families,” Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services, said: “And it hasn’t taken much time for the city to change the lives of 40 entrepreneurs through WE Fund: Crowd. At this rate, we are well on our way to achieve our goal of reaching 500 businesses over three years and building a more inclusive city.”

As seen in WWD

Rachel Beider Featured in Forbes: 6 Successful Women Share How They Defeated 'Impostor Syndrome'


Sometimes, entrepreneurs can be their own worst enemies. For example, they may start to doubt themselves and think they don't deserve the successes they've enjoyed because they "don't know what they're doing," or think that others in their shoes have far more experience and qualifications. This phenomenon is known as impostor syndrome, and it can really put a damper on an otherwise thriving business.

Women entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to impostor syndrome, especially when they're working in a field dominated by men. They may feel like they are inadequate, haven't earned their accolades, or simply aren't doing enough -- even if none of that is true.

Fortunately, members of Young Entrepreneur Council have been through it all and come out the other side, more confident and successful than ever. We asked six of them to share their experiences and advice for their fellow female business owners who want to stop feeling like a fraud in their field.


1. Start Asking Yourself More Positive Questions 

I often felt pangs of impostor syndrome as my company grew larger. I found myself questioning if I was really the best person to handle such growth, and felt anxious regularly. I learned to change the question: Rather than asking myself if I was capable, I started asking myself, "What's great about this?" Changing the question put me in a better headspace to perform well, rather than making decisions from a place of fear or anxiety. - Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

2. Change Your Focus From Yourself To Others 

As a female founder, a woman in tech and mother of five, I am regularly asked how I make it work -- that I must either not be placing enough attention on my kids or my business. I once had a potential investor state they "weren't sure how they felt about me being a mom." I've had people question my founder role since I was on maternity leave when my company was started. It can be easy to start questioning your own value and position when you constantly have to confront misogyny, trolls and sexism. By turning off the white noise of negativity and changing your focus from yourself and turn it toward others helps tremendously. When I think about the jobs I have created, the women founders I have mentored and the clients' lives we've changed, it is easy to ignore the negative self-talk. - Jennifer Mellon

3. Remember What You Have To Offer The World 

When I started my apparel company, I was only 21 years old in a field that was dominated by mostly men two to three times my age. As my company grew, I questioned what I was doing running it. At that age, I let passion trump my fear and propel me forward. As I've gotten older and branched into other fields, I often find myself in rooms where I am the youngest, the least experienced or the only woman. What helps me is knowing there are thousands of women who have made it that felt exactly the same way.Their necessity to give something important to the world overcame their own self-doubt. I keep a list of these women to remind me that I'm not alone, that the fear is normal, and that the greatest gift I can give to the world is to shine, even when I can't see the way. - Dalia MacPheeDALIA MACPHEE

4. Build And Participate In A Support Network 

I can get in my own head pretty easily. I need outside help to get out of the impostor syndrome loop. Having friends who understand what I'm working on and my ability level is crucial. They're able to tell me that I'm on track because they're right there with me. The reverse is true, too. I'm able to tell friends who work on similar projects that they know what they're doing, that they're doing things the same way I would, that they are going to make it through their impostor syndrome. Participating in a support network makes a world of difference for me. - Thursday BramThe Responsible Communication Style Guide

5. Let Your Accomplishments Speak For Themselves 

You have to achieve your goals, and then celebrate and showcase your accomplishments. No matter how hard you are on yourself, the big successes you have will speak for themselves. You will create recognition in a positive way and have people view you as an innovative leader. Starting a company and having three little kids at home really forces you to prioritize and make the most out of each hour in your day. I do not let anyone else's doubts in my head to distract me or hold me back. I always think about pushing forward, and as much as I take pride and great care of my family, I am also proud and accomplished to have a successful company. This actually makes me a better mom and wife, being able to do what I love and make something great out of it. - Sarah Yeverovich, Empowered Staffing


6. Find Your Mantra And Repeat It Over And Over Until You Believe It 

Impostor syndrome was fierce in my head. "They are going to find out I'm a fraud and kick me out of their circle of influence." That mindset kept me from soaring for a long time. And then, something finally changed. I started a mantra of, "You were made for this. Now rock it." And I started to actually believe it. Granted, I had to say it 1,345,678 times to start feeling it, but it worked. The truth is, you are a rock star and you were made for this. So go do your thing, because it's going to be incredible. - Kim Walsh-PhillipsElite Digital Group 

Original Article in Forbes

4 Ways to Get to Know Your Customers Well

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Most businesses assume they know their customers, but if they were honest about it, they’re actually just familiar with the brand image they portray. If you want to serve your clients properly and provide value that’s most meaningful to them, you have to find out who they really are.

Get to Know Your Customers

The obstacle that prevents many firms from knowing their customers well is that they regard them as business entities, instead of organizations composed of actual people with personalities and identities.

If you’re going to serve your customers properly and add genuine value to their bottom line, you have to understand who they are on a directly personal level. Here are four strategies to help you do that.

Collaborate With Them

If you want to learn what it looks like to know and understand your customers, one of the best things you can do is study what other successful companies are doing. Bliss Media, one of Australia’s most successful digital marketing agencies, has a formula that works for its team … and might just work for you.

“Our approach is collaborative and adaptive,” Bliss Media states when it describes its process. “We want clients to be immersed in the project and creative process. Through activities like hands-on workshops, focus groups, user-journey mapping and user experience testing, we learn your business, and together uncover new customer insights. Our process includes our clients at key points from beginning to end.”

In other words, if you want to know your customers, involve them in what you’re doing. Not only does this help you build rapport, but it also gives your market some ownership in the process.

Utilize Social Media

Social media yields a treasure trove of opportunities for companies that are serious about understanding who their customers are. Unfortunately, many firms don’t fully utilize the information that’s right their at their fingertips.

Maintaining social media profiles and sending out posts every week is good, but outreach shouldn’t be your only tactic. Networks like Facebook and Twitter also have powerful analytics platforms built into their systems. These empower you to collect valuable insights with regard to demographics, interests, buying habits, and engagement with content.

Ask for Feedback

Massage Greenpoint in Brooklyn has found that a direct approach often works best. One of this company’s preferred methods of getting to know customers is by reaching out after client visits.

“We love the Listen360 customer feedback software, as it sends out a brief and easy-to-use survey after every appointment,” CEO Rachel Beider says. “We can immediately see who our promoters are and who had a less-than-perfect experience, which gives us an opportunity to reach out before we might lose that person as a customer.”

Research the History of the Business

For B2B businesses that have other companies as clients, it’s often helpful to research the history of the customer. You may have access to a lot of information about the firm as it stands today, but learning where it’s come from can help you get a better feel for the personality, flavor, and character of the operation behind closed doors.

Serve Your Customers’ Needs

It’s not enough simply to find out who your customers are. Once you’ve done your discovery and developed an intimate understanding of their needs, wants, interests, and background, you have to act upon the intelligence you’ve gathered to serve your clients’ needs in specific and tangible ways.

Customers want to work with businesses that add value to their lives. The easiest way to add value is by satisfying need, fulfilling a desire, or solving a pain point. Finding out how to fulfill these duties with more accuracy will strengthen your bond with your target market.

As seen in TG DAILY

By: Mariana Seiffert, 15th February 2018

Create an Unforgettable Customer Experience Without Breaking the Bank


In today’s marketplace, it’s all about creating themost positive experience for your customers. Youneed to engage with them in a way that is unforgettable and helps them remember your business the next time they are in need of theproducts and services your company offers.

That’s why we asked 12 successful entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:

Q. What is one way you can create an unforgettablecustomer experience without making a huge financial investment?

1. Be friendly, truthful, and respond quickly

Seriously, a lot of time all you have to do is be quick to respond, friendly and truthful. Those are all free, except maybe responding quickly. But youneed to have a system in place to respond via email within the same day (ideally within the same hour). You need to have instilled into everyone at the company that they be truthful and friendly to clients. —Peter BoydPaperStreet Web Design



2. Make eye contact

Simply making eye contact during conversations with clients immediately opens a human connection. It’s amazing how frequently we move through the world without truly connecting with people. —Rachel BeiderMassage GreenpointMassage Williamsburg


3. Personalize the response

When customers reach out for help or support, it’s often because they are facing some type of problem. Rather than using a generic response, my team takes the time to respond to customers by name, acknowledge their concerns, and assure them their problem will be taken care of promptly. Being the one to initiate follow-up goes a long way in ensuring customerhappiness. —Mark KrassnerExpectful

4. Build rapport

If you want to connect with people, then it pays to know a little bit about them. Building rapport and talking to clients or customers on a personal level displays your commitment and authenticity. It’s cheaper to keep anexisting customer than acquire a new one, so building a long-lasting relationship should always be a focus of your customer relations. —Kristopher JonesLSEO.com

5. Smile and mean it

Customers don’t actually expect as much as you think. They’ve been put in a position where they accept unfriendly customer experiences to some degree. However, simple things—like smiling and meaning it—make anincredible difference and don’t cost anything. —Serenity GibbonsCalendar.com

6. Create a ‘surprise and delight’ moment

A cheap but impactful way to create an unforgettable customerexperience is to create a “surprise and delight” moment for your customers. It can be something very small that they are not expecting. It should be thoughtful, but doesn’t have to be much. Some examples are freebies included in their order or a personalized “thank you” note. —Baruch LabunskiRank Secure

Article By YEC Members on Allbusiness.com

15 Tools and Practices for the Successful Management of Remote Employees


More and more companies are offering employees the option to work remotely. Not only does this give employees more freedom and flexibility, it also allows business to secure top talent from around the world. These remote teams need special attention when it comes to managing employees as the distance can often make it hard to connect.

Here are 15 tools, resources and company practices that entrepreneurs find indispensable to successfully managing their remote teams.

A. Time Management Software

Time management software is essential. You really can’t rely on the honor system when managing a remote team. Effective time management software can help you monitor productivity, track hours and much more, to ensure your remote workers are performing consistently and continuously. - Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

A. Zoom Video Conference

Zoom has single-handedly changed the way I work with my remote team. In the beginning of my remote experience, we tried to handle all communication through Slack or Trello. We found that deep collaboration suffered when relying solely on these tools. Zoom changed this by combining the reliability of legacy conferencing with cool/useful features that new age startups love. - Lawrence WatkinsGreat Black Speakers

A. In-Person Retreats

Our company has always been composed of remote team members ... but each year we have at least one in-person retreat. Not only do we power through important topics and company issues, but it also opens so many doors of communication between each team member. We experience a huge boost in productivity that lasts months after we’ve all gone home. - Nathalie LussierAmbitionAlly

A. Reflective Conversations

It’s important to have frequent communications related to day-to-day tasks within the company. In addition to Slack and regular huddles, it’s also critical to set aside time for conversations that are just focused on “reflection” within the company. Whether it’s on a regular basis or after key milestones/projects, make sure the team has a chance to voice these insights collectively. - Ross BeyelerGrowth Spark

A. Set Communication Times

Establish a protocol that works on when to have one-on-ones and team meetings. Ensure that these are regular but that don’t become a burden to your remote team. Also, make sure to add them to company updates so they feel included in everything. This can be done through tools such as Slack or Skype. - Andrew O’ConnorAmerican Addiction Centers

A. A VoIP Service

You want to stay in constant contact with your scattered Fellowship of the Brand. If that’s the case, you’ll need a digital communication option that works in any situation and any place you can connect to WiFi — yes, even the skeevy Motel 6 that was the only motel your site’s IT guy could find off of Route 66. You’ll have to understand that your wayward remote employees chose the nomadic lifestyle. - Baruch LabunskiRank Secure

A. Localized Emergency Response Plans

With a distributed team, tracking who may be affected by a natural disaster can be harder. Putting in the time in advance to have up-to-date contact information (beyond a cell phone) is a good first step. Putting more concrete plans into place (as well as encouraging your employees to put their own personal emergency response plan into place) can help keep a distributed team functioning long term. - Thursday BramThe Responsible Communication Style Guide

A. Weekly Phone Calls

Programs like Slack and Skype are great for getting in touch with remote team members instantly, but there are limits to what can be communicated through these platforms. Skype is a bit better since you can chat using VoIP, but most people use built-in microphones or headsets that can sound garbled. The best form of communication in these situations is a regular phone call every week to catch up. - Bryce WelkerBeat The CPA

A. Set Hours

I have team members all over the U.S., and working around time zones and schedules can be tricky. We’ve implemented a block of set hours for every person on our team. We use that time to collaborate as a team, bounce ideas back and forth, catch up on project status, etc. It’s important to have time everyday where all of your employees are available to you and to each other. - Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

A. Asana

Asana has been a great tool for us. We have a relatively flat remote team hierarchy, so we rely on Asana to assign tasks and keep each other accountable. It’s a collaborative project management tool that gives transparency throughout the entire organization. - Jared AtchisonWPForms

A. Confluence Wiki

Our team is spread across four continents in five time zones. To keep everyone on the same page, we use a Confluence Wiki. It’s like Wikipedia for our company. Meeting notes, project specs, brainstorming sessions and ongoing processes are all held there in different, interlinking areas. Maintaining one wiki also allows to bring on new talent faster (and it reduces email). - Brian David CraneCaller Smart Inc.

A. Podio Software

I love Podio management software to keep our team all on the same page. It’s awesome to have all of our information in one central location so that when issues arise, we can come together as a team to handle them. Podio also helps us work collaboratively on projects, as it allows for flexibility with communication styles and accountability for deadlines and tasks. - Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Slack

Slack makes communication so much faster and efficient it eliminates the need to work out of the same location. It takes the best of real life communication and technology. For example, it’s clear if you’re interrupting someone on Slack because they can press the “snooze” button but in real life, it’s not always so clear. In many ways, Slack has revolutionized work communication. - Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

A. Skype

Skype works exceptionally well with international remote workers and provides a low-cost way to stay on top of what everyone is doing. It’s reliable and provides file transfers, video, audio, as well as messaging capability. - Peter DaisymeDue

A. Google Docs

Google’s suite of office applications makes collaborative editing a breeze. Team members can work on the same document or spreadsheet simultaneously or take it in turns. It’s easy to limit access to the people who need it. Docs and Sheets are much more efficient and productive than collaborating over email threads with documents in multiple versions being passed between workers. - Justin BlanchardServerMania Inc.


Article Seen on Huffpo via the YEC