Kaiser Permanente Gives Small Business an Edge to Access Capital and Grow

PASADENA, Calif.,  — Kaiser Permanente Southern California is sponsoring, for the third year in a row, Inner City Capital Connections, which provides free training, education and mentorship to small businesses located in economically under-resourced areas. The deadline to submit applications to participate in this year’s program is July 24, 2018.

Kaiser Permanente is sponsoring ICCC in partnership with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, the national nonprofit research and advisory organization that supports ICCC, to reduce income disparity and improve lives by promoting local micro-economies. The free opening seminar for the Los Angeles/San Bernardino group will take place on August 1, 2018, at the Hilton Hotel in San Gabriel, where business owners will receive free in-person coaching and learn how to access capital, allowing them to grow and create new jobs within their communities.

ICCC Los Angeles alumni

Amerisal LLC, a food distribution company of imported goods is spearheaded by a mother-daughter duo — Nora Saca and Vanessa Fagiolly —  graduates of the ICCC program.

“ICCC had such a big influence on me,” said Vanessa Fagiolly, chief financial officer, Amerisal LLC. “When we first started our business we only had four products for distribution. Now we have more than 50 and we’re growing every day. I am so thankful to Kaiser Permanente for its vision to help small business owners succeed.”

“Kaiser Permanente’s mission is to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said John Yamamoto, vice president, community health and government relations, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “Kaiser Permanente promotes local economic vitality in under-resourced areas because the social and economic conditions in our communities have a profound influence on the health of people who live, work and play there.”

After completing the opening seminar, business owners will participate in a 40-hour business training course over 3 to 6 months which includes educational seminars and webinars with coaches and mentors from banking and consulting firms who will give them the skills needed to help their business grow.

Business owners interested in learning more about the program or to apply please visit icic.com.

 

About Initiative for a Competitive Inner City
ICIC is a national nonprofit research and advisory organization founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter. ICIC’s mission is to promote economic prosperity in America’s inner cities through private sector investment that leads to jobs, income and wealth creation for residents. The organization supports urban businesses through a wide variety of Urban Business Initiatives, including the Inner City Capital Connections program. More information about ICIC and its ICCC program is available at www.icic.org.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

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Muslim Stylist Hullema Reddick Finds Success In Haircare Business

According to a Pew Research Center estimate, Muslims comprise over 23% of the global population, but the haircare industry struggles to represent Muslim women. Haircare is for everyone; whether or not Muslim women choose to show their hair in public. Hullema Reddick, color stylist and owner of HStylez Hair studio in Philadelphia, is Muslim and wears a hijab which places her in a unique situation of acceptance—by both the beauty industry and her Muslim faith family. Known as “The Covered Colorist” Reddick has already grossed over $ 100,000 in sales in 2018 and continues to be a champion for Muslim women in the beauty industry.

 

The obvious lack of representation of Muslim women in the beauty industry has provided Reddick with an interesting perspective on being Muslim while also being a stylist. “It has enlightened me to the prejudices within the industry, and secondly it’s made me realize that women [Muslim and non-Muslim] are looking for meaningful and relatable inspiration,” says Reddick.

 

For Reddick, being able to provide relatable inspiration oftentimes comes with backlash from those in the Muslim community because of her chosen profession. Some view it as a contradiction to her religious belief.

 

“I am always confused about. I have yet to see where in Islam it says that we cannot beautify ourselves or be the source of the beautification process. Contrary to popular belief, it is one of the teachings of Islam that a woman should beautify herself, and look beautiful for her husband.”

 

To some, being fully covered from head to toe and being a stylist is considered taboo or unheard of. But as a small woman-owned business, Reddick does not allow the beauty industry to ostracize her, nor does she let those within her own community with an opposing view keep her from growing.

 

“I refuse to compromise my belief system just to fit in,” says Reddick. “I have had to make a stand that my talent speaks for itself and my appearance does not define me or my expertise.” Constantly evolving in her craft and enhancing her skills, Reddick finds new ways to create new looks. “I pride myself on giving a vibe you can’t find anywhere else. I pride myself in knowing that I am an artist.”

 

With a growing business and a focus on changing the perspective that Muslim women have no place in the beauty industry, Reddick has some very straightforward advice for young Muslim women interested in a similar career path.

 

“Remain firm in your belief and don’t compromise. Allow your creativity to open doors for you, and know with an unwavering sincerity that what’s for you is for you. What’s meant for you will not pass you. In addition, do not allow what people say discourage you. Not everyone is going to like what you’re doing, but keep in mind, you’re doing this for you not everyone else. Let what people can’t appreciate about you be that thing that makes you go harder.”

The post Muslim Stylist Hullema Reddick Finds Success In Haircare Business appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Cramer sees Pfizer’s reorganization as a ‘prelude’ to a spinoff of its consumer health-care business

Cramer mentions that Pfizer in 2013 spun off its animal health business Zoetis, which has seen its shares surge more than 150 percent since then.
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ZTE allowed to resume some U.S. business activities just months after 7-year ban issued

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ZTE, the Chinese smartphone maker that was banned from operating in the U.S. this past April, may already be resuming its stateside operations. And it has President Donald Trump to thank for the assist.

According to a document obtained by Bloomberg, due to pressure from the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security has authorized ZTE to resume some business activities as a deal is worked out regarding its ban in the country.

In April, ZTE was banned from importing phone parts from the U.S. for repeatedly misleading the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. The U.S. intelligence community also issued a warning to U.S. consumers, urging them not to purchase phones made by certain Chinese manufacturers — including ZTE — due to spying and security concerns. Because of the ban, ZTE had ceased all U.S. operations in May. The ban was supposed to last for 7 years. Read more…

More about Business, Smartphones, Donald Trump, Sanctions, and Ban


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‘We Don’t Support Black Business Owners’ Note Left At Indiana Business

An Indiana business that hasn’t even opened up shop yet is being harassed simply because the owners are black. The owners of Level UP Gaming Lounge in Irvington, Indiana, told FOX 59 that an anonymous note was delivered to his business in June after a gaming event was held at the location.

“Close Shop! We don’t support black business owners!” the note read. Owner Sami Ali has already reported the incident to police. “I made a police report to document that people are doing hate crimes towards our business. Thank god it was just a note. No broken windows or anything,” Ali told FOX 59.

Ali, who grew up on the east side of Indianapolis and has put thousands of dollars into the gaming lounge, said he is making an investment in the neighborhood.

“A place to come in and meet people face to face and then the adults can sit there and enjoy a glass of wine. It bothers me that people still think that way but it is not going to stop me from doing what I want to do,” said Ali.

The note he said does not represent the support that he has received from other Irvington businesses who are upset and disappointed. Wolfe, who owns a coffee shop just across the street from Level UP, said the area is ready for the gaming lounge to open.

“Honestly, I was shocked. It sounds like something out of the 1960s. It is difficult enough to get people to come in and now for people to behave this way…that is just ridiculous,” Wolfe said.

Ali is remaining optimistic though. He said he is ready to open the doors even sooner.

“We got your note but we are not going to back down. We are going to push forward and maybe open up sooner,” said Ali.



The post ‘We Don’t Support Black Business Owners’ Note Left At Indiana Business appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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From Barbecue Food Truck Business to Food Network TV Star

Just two years after opening Big Lee’s BBQ food truck in Ocala, Florida, chef Rashad Jones attracted the attention of Food Network star Guy Fieri’s show, Guy’s Big Project. After winning the competition, Jones landed his own show, Eat, Sleep, BBQ. Now, he’s having the time of his life traveling across the country with one of the most influential TV chefs in the country. “I was 37 years old when my TV journey began, said Jones. After almost 40 years of living and succeeding and failing and reflecting, I thought I knew myself really well. I thought I knew my strengths and weaknesses really well. But it’s amazing what happens when you step completely out of your comfort zone. With absolutely no TV experience, I originally felt like I had a pretty slim shot at even making it out of the first round of challenges on Guy’s Big Project. But each day, I felt more and more of this side of myself that I had never seen come to life. My confidence in my abilities grew stronger in front of the camera, in front of Guy Fieri, and I started to finally see that I belonged here.”

In the midst of managing his new TV role and running his thriving business, we caught up with the pitmaster for tips on what it takes to launch a profitable food truck business and maintain a healthy family life.

You’re only open two days a week, but gross five-figure profits each week. Why did you decide to limit the number of days you would be open for business?

We were originally open three days a week. However, my wife and I decided long before we opened that, no matter how successful our business becomes, we would never let it compromise our family and our relationship. Our boys were super young—the youngest just weeks old after we opened for business—and it was becoming a regular occurrence for me to go days without seeing them because of my crazy work schedule. So, we made the decision to only operate on Saturdays. It was hard because there was a demand for what we were doing, but we had faith that making the best decision for our family, as crazy as it seemed, would also be the right move for our business.

This business model would actually prove to be more efficient and profitable than the previous three-day/week schedule. We saw demand continue to grow, but at a pace that exceeded expectations. I definitely think the limited hours inadvertently contributed to this phenomenon. Since then, we’ve added Fridays to our operating schedule and honestly haven’t looked back.

Food Network

photo cred: bigleesbbq Instagram

 

If someone wanted to start a food truck business, what advice or steps would you share with them?

  1.  Know your passion – After you’ve identified the thing that you’re passionate about, learn it. When the barbecue bug bit me, I didn’t stop at playing around on my backyard smoker. This undoubtedly had a tremendous impact on the quality and consistency of my product.
  2. Test your model – Just because you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t mean your passion can be monetized. Long before we bought our food truck, we developed a rough model for our business concept and tested it out. We were cooking the food we wanted to serve on our menu and putting together the boxes that would ultimately become our trademark “lunch boxes” and giving them away via social media. We then asked those recipients to give us their honest feedback online so that we could compile that information and use it to improve our model. We also competed in a local barbecue competition before we opened for business to get some unbiased feedback on our food. We swept the competition, winning the People’s Choice award and a unanimous judges’ decision. This was huge validation and encouragement for us to take a more substantial step toward opening our food truck.
  3.  Be tough – There is a common misconception that running a food truck is easy. That is not true. There are times when you have to wear 10 hats all at the same time. With such a limited space to work in, you have to have ingenuity and creative thinking to maximize your efficiency and productivity.
Food Network

photo cred: bigleesbbq Instagram

Your wife plays a major role in helping you to grow the family business. Plus she’s a mom and Ph.D. at a major institution. What’s the family formula for working together and juggling the demands of a business?

Patrice and I are super ambitious and our personal mission statement is, “live full, die empty.” This mentality is one of the main ingredients in our formula. If you want it, you have to go get it. You have to stoke fires, and trim briskets, and work on dissertations at 3 a.m., and nurse babies, and be in the office for work at 8 a.m. the next morning. Excuses are just not options for us. We also realize that our lives and our union can produce something that our four boys and generations after them can enjoy and continue to finesse.

The post From Barbecue Food Truck Business to Food Network TV Star appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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UPDATE 1–Largest U.S. business group attacks Trump on tariffs

WASHINGTON, July 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
the nation’s largest business lobbying group and customarily a
close ally of President Donald Trump’s Republican Party, is
launching a campaign on Monday to oppose Trump’s trade tariff
policies.


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Scouted is here to surface products that you might like. Follow us on Flipboard. Please note that if you buy something featured in one of our posts, The Daily Beast may collect a share of sales.

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InStitchu Acquires George & King Business

InStitchu, the Australian made-to-measure men’s brand, has made its first acquisition.
On Wednesday, the company said that it had purchased George & King, a Sydney-based, custom, tailored men’s wear company with a similar operating model. Terms were not disclosed but the acquisition is expected to add 4.5 million Australian dollars to the brand’s sales.
In February, InStitchu received a $ 3 million strategic investment from Dayang, the world’s largest suit manufacturer, which was earmarked to expand its showrooms around the world while also elevating the in-store and online experience. Since the acquisition, InStitchu has grown to nine showroom in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. It declined to provide a revenue figure.
“We have been actively looking for acquisitions in the custom men’s wear category globally as part of our growth strategy,” said James Wakefield, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of InStitchu. “Both InStitchu and George & King are passionate about making high-quality, made-to-measure men’s wear more accessible and affordable. We’re striving toward the same goal and strategically, are stronger as one.”
His cofounder and coceo Robin McGowan, added that the George & King team has done “a fantastic job penetrating the corporate partnerships market and we’re excited to continue building on the success that

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6 Ways to Grow Your Business Through Repeat Customers and Referrals

There’s nothing like a familiar face, especially when it comes to your business. Nothing against new customers, but there are a lot of reasons to appreciate your existing clients. For one thing, they’re a lot cheaper than new ones. In fact, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can boost profits by anywhere between 25 and 95%. And according to at least one marketing expert, a customer who is satisfied with your work is 14 times more likely to buy from you than a brand-new lead.

However, existing customers are also a coveted source of unpaid advertising. Nielsen surveys show that friends, family members, and acquaintances are customers’ most credible source of brand recommendations. Eighty-three percent of survey respondents say they trust in-person reviews more than any other form of recommendation. Industry-specific surveys turn up similar results. When internet marketing agency Contractor Nation asked homeowners where they get recommendations for home contractors, the majority—42%—said they ask friends for a name, while another 28% said they query home contractors they know.

It’s easy to understand how pivotal the customer referral becomes when you view the issue through the context of the home remodeling industry’s reputation. Home contractors shared notoriously low trust among customers, a fact that has been documented both anecdotally and statistically throughout the years. That makes loyal customers all the more valuable—these clients have already established a trusting relationship with you, making them more willing to pull the trigger on various projects. However, bolstering repeat projects and referrals takes some work on your part. Here’s how you can leverage existing clients to boost profit margins.

architect-architecture-body-33343 (1)

Deliver Top Tier Service

Repeat business starts with superior customer service. For contractors, that means setting expectations early, before customer assumptions and misunderstandings can tank your project. Keep the communication coming with regular check-ins—with texting as popular as it is, it’s incredibly easy to catch homeowners up every day. Report issues promptly and keep your work as unobtrusive as possible to customers’ everyday lives. Chat with customers in-person when available because there’s nothing like talking face-to-face.

It may seem basic, but these are the nuts and bolts of customer relationship building. In one comparative analysis, customers rated competence, completeness, and frequent, effective communication as the most important factors in establishing contractor trust. And that trust is integral for capturing repeat business and referrals.

Follow Up After a Project Completes

Most contractors follow up with clients after projects conclude as a matter of course—so if you’re not doing it yet, it’s time to start. A follow-up call is a great chance to settle any issues that might have popped up after the job wrapped, allowing you to solidify your reputation for great service. It’s also an opportunity to discuss future projects that might be on your clients’ horizons and to remind customers about your referral program if you have one.

Create a Referral Program

Everyone loves a discount. Initiating a referral program for customers is a double bonus: a chance to seal the deal with an existing prospect while gaining advertising in return. Some contractors offer free upgrades or maintenance if a referral comes through, and others give discounts on the next project or even gift cards to popular retailers nearby. However you decide to reward customers, make sure to remind them occasionally throughout the project.

Provide Discounts on Additional Projects

This is a technique many contractors employ without really thinking about it. Offering customers a discount if they agree to add on additional work is a sales tactic that’s about as old as it is effective. But you can add velocity to your retention rates if you institute a formal discount program. Many homeowners have more than one project in mind when they contact a contractor, so even shaving a small percentage off additional job may be enough incentive to encourage a second project.

You can even create discount packages for follow-up work. For instance, many HVAC professionals offer discounted maintenance packages for newly installed units. Study your customers and look for trends in the buying process. For instance, a homeowner who installs a new roof may start thinking about re-siding their home to match. A homeowner who’s just built a new deck off their back exit may suddenly get an itch for a new patio. Think about these kinds of common pairings when you create your discount strategy.

adult-architect-blueprint-416405

Stay in Touch

The more you are able to stay in front of your clients, the more likely it is that you’ll land those repeat jobs. A quarterly newsletter with seasonal sales or discounts is a wonderful way to make sure your name sticks in your clients’ minds. Personalized birthday or holiday cards are another strategy and are always welcome—particularly if they come with a coupon included. Ideally, you want to be the one person homeowners call when they need work done, so be sure to keep your presence alive in your customers’ memories.

Build Your Relationships with Other Contractors

Given that other contractors are homeowners’ second pick for contractor recommendations, it makes sense to build your relationships with your peers. No doubt you work with many different tradesmen day-to-day—for instance, a kitchen remodeling business may regularly subcontract out to electricians, plumbers or HVAC technicians and probably also works closely with architects, interior designers and perhaps even realtors. Networking with these agents can reap big profits.

However, if you don’t typically interface with other contractors or professionals, it’s time to develop these kinds of relationships. Consider joining a professional trade organization or attending an event at your local chamber of commerce. Local conferences are another way to make valuable contacts—these connections can lead to informal partnerships and more referrals, if you play your cards right.

Ultimately, tapping past clients is all about engaging soft skills in customer service. Strive to empathize with clients, listening to their concerns and noticing the types of problems they have with their homes. Work towards 100% transparency and polite, friendly, frequent communication. Hone these abilities and you’ll find yourself booked solid for months on end.

The post 6 Ways to Grow Your Business Through Repeat Customers and Referrals appeared first on Modernize.

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Artist Nick Grant on Navigating A Career in the Business of Hip-Hop

Nostalgia is a dangerously beautiful thing. Too much of it will prevent you from appreciating the new, but the right amount will leave you feeling refreshed. Nick Grant is the perfect balance. His presence on the microphone reminds us all of the golden age of hip-hop, drawing on a genius level talent for wordplay and storytelling. His approach, however, is not one that is so deeply rooted in a 90s persona that it comes off as overly reminiscent of times past. His beat selection is soulful but still current. The content? Topical, he tells the story of a willingness to get uncomfortable while pursuing an intrinsic passion. Taking on life’s wins, failures, and the lessons in between while growing into the person he saw himself as before the world got the big picture. Grant’s newest project, “Dreaming Out Loud,” delivers that narrative in sonic form, and with 6.2 million streams on his latest project, tour dates with Nas and Lauryn Hill, and cosigns from greats like DJ Khaled, it appears that hip-hop may have a new challenger to the throne. 

Modern day artists are fully aware of the need for multiple streams of income. The music industry business model is still in transition. Streaming pumped life back into the business, but artists aren’t seeing much profit from the sales. According to The Guardian, artists only get $ 0.00783 and $ 0.00397 per stream from Apple and Spotify, respectively. As a result, musicians must heavily rely on show money and merchandise sales to pull in cash. Naturally, an artist like Grant who is poised for worldwide success must keep his head on a swivel when it comes to diversifying his portfolio. After all, music is a young man’s sport and eventually the goal is to move into other business ventures. 

In a conversation filled with sheer appreciation for the moment, Grant revealed a very focused intent. The first chapter of his journey is closed, and his future is on the horizon. As he reflects on the experience of putting himself in position to eat, he has honed in on solidifying a foundation upon which his empire can stand. Coming from Walterboro, South Carolina, with a population of 5,000 people, it was no easy adventure for Grant to get here. 

“You can’t walk into a label from a small town. I didn’t even have a studio, we had to make one and record in a closet. A move to Atlanta was a family move that worked out. At the time Ludacris, T.I., and Outkast were artists you could look up to and also run into at any time. It was a different world, but it was accessible. I still had to pay my dues, go around and do rap battles and go to studios and get my voice heard.” 

Nowadays, opportunities to diversify your career trajectory depend on social currency. Those ever-so-necessary metrics that prove you’ve got the audience to drive revenue. It’s what every brand looks for when forging partnerships with artists looking to merge into other lanes of creative professionalism. While Grant is undeniably talented, he’s still earning his spot among the megastars of the game. The necessary evil in that is maintaining a social presence and growing a visible fan base by the numbers. 

“Everything is just hip-hop while I build a solid foundation. I want to get into acting, clothing, and finding artists. Music has a deadline so diversifying is key. You have to pay attention to the things you’re into and your direction. It takes staying committed and being comfortable with yourself. I could be better with social media and things. I’m growing to learn about those things on top of doing more shows and touching fans. Developing those habits of making sure it’s my best whenever I put up content.” 

You can hear the reluctantly wise compromise in his voice. He’s an MC to the core, cut from the cloth of earning his stripes through battles and fighting for his songs to be heard in studios. The music should speak for itself, and create all of the opportunity he deserves. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world and sometimes people want to see before they hear. That includes the folks who can provide opportunities in Grant’s places of interest beyond beautifully crafted bars. A true professional, he’s OK with playing the game as long as the music is on point. He’s got a platform now, and with that comes a duty. 

We’re the first generation of black men facing our demons without burying our emotions. On top of that, black women are holding us accountable for appreciating them and dispelling toxic viewpoints we learned from fathers, uncles, and brothers who went unchecked. Both subjects are regular topics of conversation across Twitter timelines. Using songs like “Father Figure” and “Black Woman,” Grant addresses two of the most sensitive topics for many black men. Confronting unresolved issues with the men responsible for raising us, and embracing the importance of the women who nurtured us no matter the cost. 

“I realized having a voice is a responsibility. These are things that I always wanted to talk about. Women were a village that raised me and provided for me when I couldn’t provide for myself. It was important for me to speak on, even if I was the only one to hear the records. Fortunately, it didn’t go unnoticed. Black Woman is 2-3 years old, but it shows you that God has his timing.”  

Nick’s appreciation for his position is full proof, while the game he’s in keeps reinventing itself. Platforms like Spotify offer licensing deals to artists, while companies like United Masters help artists create direct-to-consumer markets. It’s all in an effort to cut out the middleman. Still, Grant saw fit to sign with a major label. His golden ticket is in the business minds he keeps around him at Culture Republic, an imprint focused on identifying and cultivating authentic brand partnerships for the artists it represents. Culture Republic is run by Jason Geter, Chaka Zulu, and Bernard Parks who have successfully launched and navigated the brands of international superstars such as T.I., Ludacris, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, Iggy Azalea, Outkast, Cee-Lo Green, 8 Ball & MJG, B.O.B., DJ Drama, and Big K.R.I.T.

“I feel like I always got the cheat code. The people in my management are schooling me. I’m also picking up on ideas through conversation and learning on my own. I’m paying close attention to my peers and the moves they’re making. For me, it’s about letting the music open up the doors. Make sure the art is right, and everything is a domino effect.”

Grant’s whole mentality is to lift as he climbs. He wants to build a studio back home in South Carolina, He wants to help dope artists put out projects, and put people in the position to help others. He’s a fan of the culture first, so as long as he can aid others in realizing their dreams, he’s satisfied. His love for simple things is draped in the humble nature of the southern states that raised him. With a lyrically refreshing project receiving a warm welcome from critics and fans alike, Grant offered parting words on the possibility of the cultural pendulum swinging back in favor of the wordsmiths. 

“I don’t think it ever swung away. Who’s to say that the people everyone calls microwave artists aren’t just being who they really are, and that’s why it’s working for them? I would like to say I’m cut from the same cloth as a Kendrick or a J. Cole. To be a king in hip-hop you have to have a story and messaging. As long as you’re speaking about certain things you’re going to cut through. Everybody who’s the GOAT has to have a body of work. That’s my path. I want to be one of the greatest.” 

The post Artist Nick Grant on Navigating A Career in the Business of Hip-Hop appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Trump is doing the people’s business

Last week Brooklyn-born billionaire barista Howard Schultz hung up his apron and stepped away as executive chairman of Starbucks to contemplate a potential presidential run in 2020. I think it’s very clear from his statements that America needs more “dignity” out of Washington that he is indeed serious about a run. The problem is, President…
Business | New York Post

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Backlash from allies, business associations over steel and aluminum tariffs

The White House implemented the steep tariffs on steel and aluminum Friday.
ABC News: Top Stories

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Will.i.am to Oprah: “I Just Don’t Want to Be in the Music Business” | SuperSoul Conversations | OWN

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Casual attire can hurt business productivity: book

As Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer, many offices now will allow casual attire on more than just Fridays. But there is a growing sentiment that dressing down leads to a loss of productivity in the workplace. That’s the idea behind a new book by Vishal Agarwal, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers partner and…
Business | New York Post

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The 5 Rules of Style for On-Point Women’s Business Attire

Style is everything. It can be the difference between you having an immaculate or exceptionally crappy day. Black Enterprise caught up with Stylist & CEO of Immaculate Wardrobe, Sophia Hyacinthe, who has built an incredible women’s styling business with over 13 years of styling experience, working with women CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies, publishing industry powerhouses, and girl bosses all over New York City. Hyacinthe offers business attire styling tips to freshen up that drab everyday work outfit, especially if your job requires you to be suited or “work professional” day in and day out.

The 5 Rules of Chic Business Attire Style

Fit First

Put fit first as it is the foundation to any look. Pick shapes and lines that best flatter your body. Prominent shapes in tailored womenswear include: cropped skinny pants, wide leg culottes, fitted pencil skirts, and A-line midis. Once you’ve found your perfect shape, I always recommend visiting a tailor to have them make any adjustments to ensure that it is truly the perfect fit. It’s the little touches like raising or lowering a hemline and taking in the waist that really customizes and refines the look.

business attire

(iStock/Photography Firm)

 

Suiting Remixed

Classic suiting has been given a fresh spin with bold colors and sticking prints. Crayola-esque hues along with pastels are major this season. For a simpler approach, pair bright separates with muted tones and for a more fashion-forward look, go all out and sport the full bright look. Praiseworthy prints include vintage floral designs along with traditional menswear suiting prints. For a more tamed approach, pair printed pieces with cool neutrals or for a more daring look, mix contrasting prints. The key to mixing prints is pairing some that share similar color themes.

(iStock/Nomad)

 

Best Foot Forward

This is the area where you really get to express individual style, whether you’re an avid flat wearer, sneaker fiend, or strictly a stiletto girl, you get to really have fun in this department. Use your shoes to express your best self. Shoe trends worth stomping for include ’80s-style pumps, dad sneakers, along with solid white and bold colors.

business attire

(iStock/macroworld)

 

Brilliant Blouses

Maximize work staples with a rotation of fun blouses. Designers are taking it up a notch with exaggerated sleeves, intricate collars, and form-flattering wrap styles. With summer approaching, opt for these styles in lightweight linen fabrics.

business attire

(iStick/Maksym Azovtsev)

 

All About Accessories

Accessories add personal flair and serve to really elevate the look. Noteworthy accessories include waist belts that layer perfectly over blazers and dresses. Mixed metals, a silver watch, a gold bracelet, no problem. And lastly, carry your work files in style with this season’s patterned “it” bags.

business attire

(iStock/ajr_images)

The post The 5 Rules of Style for On-Point Women’s Business Attire appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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Executive Matthew Thornton III To Oversee $6.4 Billion FedEx Freight Business

Matthew Thornton III, cited on the Black Enterprise 2017 list of the Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America, has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of FedEx Freight.

In his new role, Thornton’s duties will include overseeing all operations for FedEx Freight, which offers extensive less-than truck (LTL) coverage across North America. A unit of Memphis-based FedEx Corp., FedEx Freight had fiscal 2017 annual revenue of $ 6.4 billion, according to FedEx’s website.

The business operates in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. It has 370 service centers, 40,000 employees, 20,000 vehicles, and an average daily shipment volume of 105,000.

Thornton, previously senior vice president of U.S. Operations for FedEx Express, has been with the delivery company for 40 years. His track record of success, experience leading diverse teams, and knowledge of FedEx’s global operation will be vital for this new role at FedEx Freight, the company reported.

“Matthew Thornton has proven himself time and again in his leadership at FedEx Express, and his thorough knowledge of all aspects of operations make him an excellent addition to the FedEx Freight leadership team,”  stated David J. Bronczek, president and chief operating officer.

Thornton’s promotion in late April came the same day FedEx Freight named John A. Smith as CEO, to succeed Mike Ducker who is retiring in August. Smith and Thornton will begin transitioning into their new positions this month.

Featured in the September/October issue of Black Enterprise and honored at a special recognition ceremony earlier this year, FedEx senior managers Thornton, Gloria R. Boyland and Shannon A. Brown were all listed on the Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America roster. The list includes the 300 most powerful Black CEOs, COOs and other top-ranking executives at some of the nation’s largest companies.

Earlier this year, Black Enterprise also recognized the inclusion of FedEx Corp. on its annual Best Companies for Diversity List.

 

The post Executive Matthew Thornton III To Oversee $ 6.4 Billion FedEx Freight Business appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

EMPLOYMENT UPDATE:

Business inventories flat in March

Business inventories were stagnant in March versus an expected 0.1 percent gain.
Economy

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Scouted: Better Your Business By Leveraging Social Media Tools

As any savvy marketer knows, content is king. But the format through which content is delivered, digested, and desired by users has changed dramatically over the past few years. Companies that have failed to adapt are losing the attention of a vast market of users who engage with brands primarily through social platforms. More than ever, audiences from all demographics are turning to the web to research companies, and many will go to a corporate Instagram handle, Facebook page or Twitter page to see how businesses are interacting with their customers.

If you’re looking to develop a holistic social strategy, this Social Media Marketing In 2018 Bundle can help: it includes six courses covering Instagram, YouTube, Facebook Advertising, and Twitter. There’s also a general course on how to optimize your business’ Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram — so you understand concepts from a macro perspective before getting granular.

Usually, this Social Media Marketing In 2018 Bundle is $ 1,186, but you can get it now for $ 34.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Is 50 Cent Looking At Getting In The MMA Business?

Bellator is quickly gaining ground in the MMA business since Scott Coker took over in 2014. Now it looks like rapper, entrepreneur, and agitator extraordinaire, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is interested in the MMA business…

Read the full story at Black Enterprise’s partner site, The Shadow League.

The post Is 50 Cent Looking At Getting In The MMA Business? appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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Little-known Tax Facts to Help Your Business Thrive in Trump Times

There’s been more than one thing to distract Americans from opportunities to financially triumph in the times of President Donald Trump. Many Americans are more engulfed in weekly White House shake-ups and the reboot of an early ’90s sitcom with a right-wing twist than the tax advantages for businesses under this administration’s new tax plan. However, there are opportunities to “make America great again” for black businesses, according to Micah Wainwright, founder of Good Steward Accounting and Tax.

Photo Credit: Micah Wainwright

Wainwright, a 12-year tax auditing veteran who specializes in Tax Controversy, is inspiring small businesses to embrace overshadowed tax opportunities. His vision for helping African Americans financially prosper was born out of a phone call from a college friend who was writing a novel and needed an accountant. Wainwright was an auditor at a Big Four firm at the time and not interested in helping the little man. Yet, his friend’s call became something bigger for Wainwright, more like a calling. He began to research small business accounting and his research revealed an unyielding desire to tap into a value his mother instilled him as a child—good stewardship.

Author of I Want You to Finance Your Life: 7 W.E.A.L.T.H. Secrets You Need to Know About the Tax Code, Micah Wainwright sat down with Black Enterprise to share his story of ‘good stewardship’ through teaching financial literacy.

Wainwright’s Passion for Financial Empowerment

BE: Why did you choose taxes as your specialty?

Wainwright: I took an accounting elective in college where I was required to do hours with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program sanctioned by the IRS. The IRS had a wealth of training modules to learn about tax filings. Surprisingly, the modules on home-based businesses sparked my interest most. Once I began to understand Tax Law was a subject that my mind naturally wrapped around, it became an obsession for me. The marketplace had a shortage of diligent professionals who would commit to continuing education in tax law to my benefit.

BE: Why The Good Steward?

Wainwright: I wanted to help by doing the “dirty work” that the majority of tax professionals didn’t want to do. I set my eyes on Tax Controversy. I obtained a master’s of science in Tax Law, which enabled me to successfully negotiate with the IRS and state governments. At the same time, I used the training from attorneys and judges to give me the ammunition to represent my clients at a greater capacity.

Tips To Maximizing on Trump’s Tax Plan

BE: What’s one essential tax move that we need to make in today’s economy?

Wainwright: GO START A BUSINESS! If you don’t, you’re just pleading to have a high tax bill. A tax shelter (e.g., a business) has always been a good tax mitigation strategy, but this new tax plan kicks things up a notch. The easiest route is a sole proprietorship. Here’s why:

  1. C corporations’ tax rate has dropped from 35% all the way down to 21%. This is huge! However, most small businesses are not C corporations.
  2. However, the major change for S corporations is the 20% deduction for pass-through income. S corporations can now reduce their pass-through income by 20%.

Once your business is licensed:

  1. Remain in constant communication with your tax accountant about major financial decisions.
  2. Be intentional about tracking expenses.

BE: Quick tips from the Good Steward under Trump’s Tax Plan?

  • Max out your 401(k). Take advantage of tax-deferred investment growth, company matching, and profit sharing!
  • Move out of states with high property-tax rates. If you limit your property-tax deductibles to $ 10,000, this will hurt homeowners who live in high property-tax states or who own expensive property or both!
  • Get married! Make up to $ 600,000 combined, or stay single if you both are making over $ 500,000. Currently, the top tax rate is now 37% for individuals making more than $ 500,000 and married couples making more than $ 600,000.
  • Enjoy being a middle-class American. Try to double the standard deduction, whether you own or not.
  • Don’t Get Stuck in the Upper Middle. Either make less than $ 200,000 as an individual or less than $ 260,000 as a married couple or more than $ 500,000 as an individual or close to $ 600,000 as a married couple.
  • Start an S-Corp. Remember, this tax shelter is endless, so get innovative!

More About Micah Wainwright

Micah Wainwright (Lance McCoy of BeLive Photography)

Wainwright is inspired by the advice he received from his mom that “in times of peace, prepare for war.” More importantly, Wainwrightprepays expenses when revenue is flowing because of what his mom taught him. At the end of the day, he says “there is never any warning for a financial drought so lead with love and good stewardship.” Wainwright teaches, if you fall in love—even with the things that challenge you or that appear unfair on the surface—you can trump the trials and triumph all tax-year long.

Wainwright is also a dedicated volunteer with the Maryland Volunteer Legal Service where he assists low-income families with resolving complex tax issues.

 

The post Little-known Tax Facts to Help Your Business Thrive in Trump Times appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

Apple needs to get back in the innovation business

Apple reported its earnings last week, and the tech giant said nothing alarming — no massive misses or lowered expectations. The report in itself was bland, like unsweetened apple sauce — not bad if you’re counting calories, but not nearly as good as when Mom added some cinnamon and sugar. And that’s exactly what Apple’s…
Business | New York Post

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Warren Buffett: I was wrong on Google and Amazon, Jeff Bezos achieved a business ‘miracle’

Warren Buffett says he made a mistake by not investing in two dominant technology companies.
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Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s: A Family Business, a Family’s Story | Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s | OWN

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

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German Business Confidence At 13-Month Low

German business confidence deteriorated more-than-expected to a 13-month low in April on trade tensions, survey data from the Munich-based Ifo Institute showed Tuesday. The business sentiment index fell to 102.1 from 103.3 a month ago. This was the lowest reading since March 2017, when the reading was 101.3. The score was forecast to drop moderately to 102.8.
RTT – Economic News

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Business and pleasure on menu for Macron’s second day in US

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sit-down between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron followed by a joint news conference highlight the business portion of the French leader’s second day in Washington.
Politics Headlines

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How this AI platform is taking over the business world

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Despite the pop culture fiction that artificial intelligence is a far-away puzzle just waiting to be unlocked, the truth is that AI is already a tool that most use often, some of us even every day. 

Just think about it: every time you stop to ask Siri or Google Home or any of our friendly neighborhood pocket assistants for directions or help finding the nearest coffee spot, you’re interfacing with an elegant example of easy-to-use AI. 

For businesses, using chatbots as the first line of defence against customer complaints is now common, providing a handy way to triage queries and customer needs. Again, AI is already an efficient solution to an everyday problem. And while it’s easy to imagine moments where the lives of everyday people intersect with artificial intelligence, and even find examples of our interactions with AI within smaller businesses, for global enterprises the reality of large-scale AI has yet to unfold.  Read more…

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Michael Cohen has a long history of dealing with business partners who have been convicted of crimes

Long before Donald Trump’s attorney paid Stormy Daniels or had his office raided by the FBI, a pattern was established: The associates of Michael Cohen have often been disciplined, disbarred, accused or convicted of crimes, ProPublica reports.
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This College Dropout Made a $1.9 Million Clothing Business (Without a Loan)


Kyla Smith was exhausted, working 15-hour days, unsure if this whole entrepreneurship thing was worth it.

She was sitting in a coffee shop chatting with some friends, when a woman interrupted them.

“Excuse me, are you talking about Evolve Fit Wear?” she asked. “My friends and I love that site!”

And in that moment, Smith’s exhaustion evaporated. Seven years into her business, she finally felt like she had made it.

She, a college dropout, had built a successful fitness clothing website — without any investors, without any loans.

“Just to hear that out of a random person was the most rewarding feeling,” she says. “When you’re completely burnt out, life will bring up these little moments to remind you you’re on the right path.”

From Shoe Saleswoman to Pop-Up Shop

In 2007, Smith was in her early 20s, living in Los Angeles and working as a sales representative for a shoe brand.

Although she spent most of her time traveling around the country, she had several months off each year. She grew bored during those periods and started brainstorming ways to make extra money.

Since she had sales experience, enjoyed exercise and yoga and had attended a year of fashion school, she thought selling workout clothing might be a perfect fit.

“I love how good I feel when I put on a new workout outfit,” she says. “It makes me feel so healthy. I chose to sell workout clothing because I love that feeling, and think it inspires people to work out.”

She contacted several workout clothing brands and asked for a “line sheet,” which lists wholesale prices and minimum orders (often between $ 500 and $ 1,000).

“It was all about repping the smaller brands,” she says. “Finding cool unique ones that weren’t Lululemon, because they have enough representation.”

Eventually, she settled on three lines from Brazil and one handmade line called Sandra McCray.

Then she took $ 5,000 of her shoe saleswoman savings and bought clothing from each.

The next Saturday, she packed her call full of inventory and set up shop in the lobby of a high-end gym.

She nearly sold out.

With her profits, she purchased more inventory and began spending all her weekends selling clothing at the gym’s different locations.

Each day, she paid the gym a flat fee of $ 150 and then sold between $ 2,000 and $ 3,000 of clothing at a 50% profit margin.

“I just kept bankrolling the money into more and more inventory,” she says. “After nine months of doing that every weekend I was home, I had a 14-foot trailer and five racks of clothes.”

That added up to about $ 30,000 worth of inventory, which Smith calls the “sweet spot” for retail.  

At this point, she was three years into an international business degree, and still working her full-time job at the shoe company. Something had to give — and she dropped out.

“I wanted to be an entrepreneur,” she says. “I don’t regret that.”

Taking Her Operation Online

About a year after starting her business, Smith realized she needed a website.

“I was hauling this trailer around LA, which isn’t good for parking or driving,” she says with a laugh.

And since she was only at each gym every few months, customers started asking her to meet up in gas stations and parking lots around the city.

A website was the obvious solution — but one big thing stood in her way.

Smith was, as she puts it, “the least technical person ever.”

Deciding to persevere anyway, she worked through the process step-by-step and took photos of her inventory with a cheap camera. Much to her surprise, it started selling.

So, determined to improve her technical skills, she took online courses on topics such as Photoshop, search-engine optimization, Quickbooks, photography and marketing. And, alongside her knowledge, her online business grew.  

Drop-Shipping to Success

Women have a pool party for a photoshoot.
Evolve Fit Wear now has an office, warehouse, photo studio and five staff members, as well as an in-house clothing line. Photo courtesy of Kyla Smith from Evolve Fit Wear

For five years, Smith kept her full-time job while hustling Evolve on the side.

“A lot of entrepreneurs think they’ll quit their job and live happily ever after,” she says. “But it takes a long time [to build a business].”

Finally, in 2012, she quit her job and moved to Portland, Oregon, where overhead was cheaper than LA.

With the move, she also took her business entirely online.

Today, 50% of her sales come from “drop-shipping,” which means Evolve doesn’t keep the physical inventory at its location.

Instead, if it gets an order for, say, a Spiritual Gangster muscle tank, it’ll send the order details to Spiritual Gangster, which will then ship the shirt to the customer directly from its own warehouse.

“Any new brand, we drop-ship,” Smith explains. “That way, we can offer a large selection from that brand and see what sells before we invest in inventory.”

It’s an interesting business model that, according to Smith, works well with smaller brands who also want exposure.

“If you’re selling something online, sell the brands that no one really knows,” she says. “They’d be more likely to drop-ship because they want the opportunity for growth, too.”

Another 30% of Evolve’s sales comes from Amazon: Two years ago, the web-retail giant approached Smith to see if Evolve would be its vendor for yoga clothing. It didn’t want to deal with the myriad smaller vendors, preferring instead to go through one store.

“I was hesitant at first,” says Smith. “But it’s turned out to be a great channel.”

Positivity #FTW

Evolve now has an office, warehouse, photo studio and five staff members. It also has an in-house clothing line, which includes the most incredible goat yoga leggings.

The company’s sales have almost doubled each year since 2014 — in 2017, they totaled $ 1.9 million, with a profit of $ 325,000.

Smith attributes her success to several factors.

The first is smart marketing: 65% of the website’s traffic comes from organic search, which she helped by writing keyword-rich blog posts about Evolve’s products. The company also gets some sales through affiliates; bloggers who earn a 5% cut if customers find Evolve through their sites.

Another key to success has been excellent customer service, with Smith explaining: “We talk to people like they’re our friends.”

And the last? Evolve’s body-positive messaging.

“We steer away from ‘here’s how to look skinny’ or ‘these pants make your butt look great,’” Smith says. “It’s important for me to spread the message to be healthy in your body.”

(She even organized a yoga-pant parade last year, in response to a man making the ridiculous statement that women over 30 shouldn’t wear yoga pants.)

Smith, who’s now been selling workout clothes for over a decade, applies that positive thinking to all aspects of her business.

“There are some days when I’m like, ‘What am I doing?’” she says. “But there’s always a new day. There are going to be ups and downs — and there’s always going to be an up around the corner.”

Susan Shain is a freelance writer and digital nomad. She covers travel, food and personal finance (basically, how to save money so you can travel more and eat more). Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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It’s time to meet: 5 tips to nailing a business introduction

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Great news! You’ve been invited on an important business trip with your company, and today’s the first day of an amazing week.

You’ve had a good night’s sleep, you’ve gotten in a few laps at the pool, and you’ve fueled up with La Quinta Inns & Suites™ FREE Bright Side Breakfast®.

You’re hanging out in the lobby when you see your boss and the CEO of your company. They want to introduce you to a very important client—who’s standing right behind them.

For a moment, nerves get the best of you, panic sets in, and you’re convinced that you’ve forgotten your own name.

But breathe: we’ve got you covered. You’ve got this! Here’s a 5-step refresher on nailing that intro: Read more…

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Outfit Formula : Business Casual & Black Mules

This outfit formula was inspired by looks I’ve been helping some clients put together for Spring business casual. Sandals are usually not part of the work dress code, but dressier mules are a fun and trendy way to do “sandals-lite”. Mules are generally okay with work dress codes because the toes are covered. 

Black mules come in a variety of silhouettes. Heeled, flat, casual, dressy, sueded, with hardware, and in all sorts of vamp lengths and toe shapes. Take your pick.

Black mules are a slam dunk for those who like to wear black bottoms and black footwear to work. The good news is that the two look great together, and are a good way to refresh your style for the office. The point is to show some ankle and leg when wearing mules. Covering up the back of the mule hides the main feature of the style. If you get the right shape and size for your feet, mules fit extremely well and feel secure and comfortable. They can look polished and pulled together if you choose a dressier version.

The outfit formula:

Black Bottoms + Business Casual Top + Business Casual Topper + Black Mules

Here are four renditions to get you started. I’ve chosen a black, white and grey palette with a pop of colour. Feel free to choose any colour palette, although the point here is to keep the bottoms and footwear black.

1. Cropped Pants, Mules & Blazer

Combine black cropped straights or flares with a layering top and non-black blazer. Cropped pants can hover between two to six inches above the ankle bone. Ankle pants that finish two to three inches above the ankle bone are usually best for the office. Finish off the look with black heeled or flat mules and a structured bag.

Mango Cropped Button Pants

2. Skirt, Mules & Jacket

Combine a black skirt with a layering top and a jacket that works with the length of the skirt. Tuck or semi-tuck the top. Or leave it out. A flared skirt is shown here, but a pencil skirt will work just fine. Finish off the look with black heeled or flat mules and a structured bag. You can absolutely wear flat mules with a skirt or dress, so please don’t think that you have to wear heels — that’s a dated style concept. Pointy toes will elongate the leg line, as will tucking or semi-tucking the top to showcase or hint at the waist.

TOD'S Embellished Leather Mules

3. Slim Ankle Pants, Mules & Long Topper

Combine slim black ankle pants with a layering top and a solid or patterned long topper like a cocoon jacket, duster coat, long blazer or maxi cardigan. Leave it open in front to create an elongating vertical line down the centre front of the body. Finish off the look with black heeled or flat mules and a structured bag.

CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN Octavian 35 Studded Fringed Patent-leather Mules

4. Roomy Pants, Mules & Statement Blouse

Combine black culottes, wide crops or cropped flares with a dressy statement top that looks professional and dressy without a jacket. It does not need to be tucked or semi-tucked unless you want to lengthen the leg line from the hips upwards. A wrap top is a great idea. Create a low contrast between the top and bottom if you don’t wont a horizontally cutting line across the body. Finish off the look with black heeled or flat mules and a structured bag. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

ANN DEMEULEMEESTER Leather Mules

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Give trade peace a chance, says Business Roundtable CEO Joshua Bolten

President Trump is right when he says China's unfair and discriminatory trade practices must end, but his threatened tariffs are a poor way to address these systemic problems, Joshua Bolten writes.
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Leading Economist and His Brother Launch The Black Business School

After Lawrence Watkins helped his brother Boyce Watkins, Ph.D., a leading financial scholar and economist, launch a successful speaking career, the two joined forces again to create The Black Business School.

“We combined the best parts and removed the worst parts of our collective business school experience as both a professor and student,” said Lawrence Watkins. Our goal is to help African Americans obtain a culturally relevant, yet practical education in all things wealth building at a price they can afford. As of today, we’ve had over 56,000 students who have either registered for our free or paid courses on the platform.”

Black Enterprise caught up with Watkins to learn more.

 In comparison to attending a traditional college, what’s the value that the Black Business School offers participants?

  • Cultural relevance – Unless a person attended an HBCU or was in the Africana Studies department of a predominately white institution, they probably have had very little interaction with black instructors, especially in business. We solve this problem as the large majority of our instructors are black. We are especially proud to have brought on Dr. Claud Anderson, author of PowerNomics, to teach a course on community economic development. He has already done two public lectures with Boyce that has been popular with our audience.

 

  • Practical education – A fundamental fallacy of college education for black people is that the universities teach you how to work for someone else, but not yourself. If we owned the majority of institutions that control our day-to-day lives, then this would be OK. Unfortunately, we don’t. Therefore, we need to deploy a different strategy to gain wealth as a community. Our courses focus on the subjects that are practically applicable to teach our students how to make money now. We conclude some theory, but practicality is the focus. We also focus our attention on the subject areas where black people can make their money without having many institutional gatekeepers. These areas of focus are small business & entrepreneurship, securities investing, real estate investing, marketing & sales, personal finance, data & technology, and leadership & personal development. The first three paths already exist in our organization but will be expanding to the other four over the next several months.

 

  • Low cost – Traditional college is putting a lot of students in debt. I know as I also have a couple of those fancy degrees. I ask myself if it was worth it often. I don’t want the rest of our community to have to make the same choice. I want them to be able to get an education and also buy the real estate that will help them attain generational wealth. We price our programs at a rate to where most students can pay out of pocket instead of taking out $ 100,000 in student loans. We are very proud of this fact.

What are your most popular courses?

The course that initially kicked off the acceleration of the BBS was Black Money 102: How to Invest in the Stock Market by Dr. Boyce Watkins. We noticed from social media there were many people in our community that did not know the basics of stock market investing. So, Boyce took the financial concepts that he taught at Syracuse University and shared that knowledge with the black community. Currently, we’ve had about 4,000 current & past students in this one class alone.

We launched a crypto-currency and blockchain investing initiative because we believe that Blockchain technology represents the next frontier of technological innovation. Part of this initiative involved creating the world’s largest African & African-American focused investing community at 60,000+ members. In December, we had over 22,000 people register to attend our online Crypto Investing Summit. Our premium blockchain mastermind, the Digital Underground, has had over 1,400 enrollments. The first token that has come out from the Digital Underground mastermind is LUV. LUV is an immutable Ethereum smart contract, an ERC-20 backed blockchain token that focuses on spreading awareness, education, and adoption of blockchain technology usage. LUV is priceless and cannot be bought. Authentic LUV is only given away for free.

 

 

The post Leading Economist and His Brother Launch The Black Business School appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Lyft Business partnerships keep growing, but Uber still dominates for business travelers

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The rivalry between Lyft and Uber isn’t letting up anytime soon. 

The two ride-hailing apps keep a close eye on new product features and growth into new industries: when Uber started a commuter benefits program, Lyft was right behind them. Same with a variety of carpool programs, and more recently healthcare partnerships providing rides for medical patients.

On Tuesday, Lyft announced big growth for its business and partnership arm. With an expected $ 1 billion run-rate by the end of the year, the company has seen an impressive number of partnerships most noticeably in healthcare transportation. The top five largest health systems partner with Lyft. Read more…

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Novartis CEO: Any potential decision on eye-care business will be made in first half of 2019

Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan said the drugmaker would maintain its timeline for the decision of an Alcon spin-off.
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Like Trump or Not, Here’s How the New Tax Laws are Good and Bad for Black Small Business

It’s likely that U.S. entrepreneurs—including black small business owners—are now trying to figure out how the $ 1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Job Act will affect them and their businesses.

The new provisions are effective beginning this year through 2025. Small business owners should now be planning for the 2018 tax year and setting up their operations to minimize their tax liability.

Thomas Jones Jr., the lead tax partner for the black-owned public accounting firm of McConnell & Jones L.L.P. in Houston, says American business owners are trying to understand the impact of the new tax law on their businesses, themselves, and their families.

Thomas Jones Jr., CPA (Image: mcconnelljones.com)

His firm is recognized by the Houston Business Journal as one of the city’s largest public accounting firms and by Accounting Today as one of the largest CPA practices in the nation’s Southwest region.

Jones started as a tax manager with Ernst & Ernst in 1977. He teamed with Wayne McConnell in 1996 to establish McConnell & Jones L.L.P. In 1999, Odysseus Lanier and Sharon Murphy merged with the pair, creating the largest African American-owned accounting and consulting firm in Texas.

With over 40 years of experience in investment and financial management, Jones provides the firm’s clientele with tax planning, retirement and estate planning, and other services. He works with entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them achieve long-term success.

The bottom line is the new tax law has arrived and will bring big changes.

“Whether you like Trump or not, the “Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017” is the most significant and radical change in tax law since the 1980s and is sure to impact you and your business in the coming year,” Jones says.

Jones cited the most important elements he sees coming out of the tax reform package that small business owners and individuals should know more about:

Rate Changes

For corporations and individuals, Jones says the Tax Cut Act remains true to its name. It cuts the corporate tax to a simplified flat rate of 21%. This is a big change from the previous multi-bracket structure with a 35% top rate! Individual rates are also cut with the new law.  Though seven brackets remain, the Tax Cut Act has reduced rates with the highest bracket now at 37%, almost a 3% drop.

Reduction of Pass-through Income

Most owners of pass-through entities, including S corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships, will see their income tax lowered with a new 20% income reduction calculation. The Act increases the amount of income allowed to be claimed as pass-through from 17.4% to 20%. There are many variables to the reductions depending on your business structure. This is especially important for individuals looking to start a new business in 2018 as your entity choice will impact your tax situation. The provision for pass-through entities will expire in 2025.

Deductions and Exemptions Have Reformed

These changes could affect sole proprietorships, S corporations, and partnerships. The standard deduction nearly doubles to $ 12,000 for single filers and $ 24,000 for married filing jointly. To help cover the cost, personal exemptions and most additional standard deductions are suspended.

Personal Exemptions Removed

Previously, you could claim a $ 4,050 personal exemption for yourself, your spouse, and each of your dependents. But the under the new tax law, the personal exemption is no longer available to anyone.

State and Local Tax Deductions Capped

State and local tax deductions are limited to $ 10,000 total for all property, income, and sales tax. Where you live and your state tax structure will determine the impact of this change on your taxes.

Alternative Minimum Tax (ATM) Exemption Raised

The alternative minimum tax, a parallel tax system that ensures people who receive a lot of tax breaks still pay some federal income taxes, stays in place. But the exemption changes to $ 70,300 for single filers and $ 109,400 for joint filers and the phase-out threshold to $ 1 million. The changes mean the AMT will affect far fewer people than before.

Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Doubled

Jones calls this a major win for small business owners! The estate tax, which applies to the transfer of property to decedents, either as a gift or through a will or trust, has been doubled. The basic amount of the exemption for individuals has jumped from $ 5 million to $ 10 million.

Business Tax Credits

Several business credits are maintained but modified, including the orphan drug credit, the rehabilitation credit, the employer credit for paid family or medical leave and the research and experimentation credit. Jones recommends business owners review all available credits with their tax adviser.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Like Trump or Not, Here’s How the New Tax Laws are Good and Bad for Black Small Business appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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3 business deals that have been screwing us for years

If you think politicians are shady, a new book has some news for you — businessmen are worse. “The Deals That Made the World: Reckless Ambition, Backroom Negotiations, and the Hidden Truths of Business” (William Morrow) by Jacques Peretti exposes the many ways that businesses have conspired to control our world. “They have changed how…
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BWW TV: GRAND HOTEL is Open for Business! Watch Highlights of James Snyder, Brandon Uranowitz and More!

Encores is back for round two The second production of this season is Grand Hotel, directed and choreographed byJosh Rhodes, featuring music direction by Encores Music DirectorRob Berman.Grand Hotel, The Musicalwill run for seven performances at New YorkCity Centerfrom March 21 – 25. The Encores at 25 season concludes with Me and My Girl May 9 – 13.
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Jessica Jones is back in business. Listen to the electrifying…

Jessica Jones is back in business. Listen to the electrifying score to the second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones here: http://bit.ly/2GyPQBn

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Job Management Software: Tips for Choosing the Best for Your Business

Business ownership is all about finding the balance between craftsmanship and technology. The construction industry is no different—many contractors spend more time managing their projects from inside their offices than out on the building site. But technology doesn’t have to be a burden on your business day. It can even help you be more productive and successful. Job management software that is tailored to your business will streamline processes, improve communication, and free up time and resources to get you back on site. Here are 3 of our top tips to help you choose the best job management software package for your business.

Professional two engineers are discussing the new project. They are using a laptop and smiling. The senior man is standing and holding the blueprint. Copy space in left side

Prioritize your needs

If you’re thinking about investing in job management software, you first need to decide what exactly you want the technology to do for you and your company. Generally speaking, these kinds of software programs are meant to be used as a tool to simplify and integrate the construction management process from start to finish, including:

Project management

  • Employee timetabling
  • Building schedules
  • Fine details of the construction process

Finances

  • Payroll
  • Client payments and bills
  • Purchasing
  • Estimation software

Communication

  • Between contractors and subcontractors
  • Between architects and builders
  • Between pros and clients

If your construction business is already excelling in one or more of these areas, you can begin your software search by focusing on programs that will help bring the slower aspects of your business up to speed.

Shop around

Once you’ve determined what your business needs, you can move on to checking out different software programs. Of course, software will vary in terms of price, ratings, and usability, and it’s worth checking out reviews to find out the good, the bad, and the ugly about each program you consider.

Most job management programs – which start at around $ 100 a month for basic use – include the features we mentioned above. However, by doing some research (and spending a bit more money), you can opt for programs that include more specialized features, such as:
Integration with well-known financial platforms such as QuickBooks and Sage
Built-in CRM (customer relationship management) software
Customizable smartphone and tablet apps

While basic packages may be cheaper, it may be worth investing in a bespoke service that is tailored to you and your business’ needs specifically. It’s also a good idea to think about connectivity and accessibility, because remote access is essential if you work from anywhere other than your desk. Programs like Tradify connect with the accounting app Xero for a seamless user experience, while CoConstruct has an app generator that lets you show off your brand to clients and other pros.

Try before you buy

As with any business purchase, finding the best product at the best price is key for job management software. Since these products can end up being pretty pricey if you opt for customized options, it’s essential that you can find a software program that’s right for you and your business. Many web-based programs offer free trials or money-back guarantees (for example, Joblogic offers a 30 day trial period, while simPRO has a free demo), so you can try them out with little commitment and know you’re choosing the right product when all is said and done.

The post Job Management Software: Tips for Choosing the Best for Your Business appeared first on Modernize.

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12 must-have products for frequent business travelers

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Heads up: All products featured here are selected by Mashable’s commerce team and meet our rigorous standards for awesomeness. If you buy something, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

In 2016, U.S. travelers took an average of 466.2 million business trips and the US Travel Association expects this figure is to rise to 478.2 million by 2020. 

But as the number of corporate jetsetters continues to rise, so does the need for the best travel products to help you perform at your best and get work done on the go.

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Exclusive: FBI counterintel investigating Ivanka Trump business deal

US counterintelligence officials are scrutinizing one of Ivanka Trump’s international business deals, according to two sources familiar with the matter.


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Yes, Uber Really Is Killing the Parking Business

An email from the CEO of a national parking operator has added some detail to the impact ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are having on demand for parking. The picture, at least for those trying to rent you a parking spot, is bleak.

In the email, unearthed from a company report by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Ace Parking CEO John Baumgardner says that demand for parking at hotels in San Diego has dropped by 5 to 10%, while restaurant valet demand is down 25%. The biggest drop, unsurprisingly, has been at nightclubs, where demand for valet parking has dropped a whopping 50%.

The numbers appear to be estimates, and Baumgardner doesn’t describe a timeframe for the declines. The assessment, written in September of last year, is also limited to San Diego, though an Ace Parking executive told the Union-Tribune that it has seen “similar” declines at its 750 parking operations around the United States. The company is focused on using technology, including better parking scheduling and booking options, to remain healthy.

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But much more is at stake than the revenues of the parking business – cities stand to benefit immensely as demand for parking drops. Parking spaces and lots generate relatively little tax revenue or economic activity relative to commercial operations, and by increasing sprawl may actually harm the economy of cities like Los Angeles.

Even back in 2015, cities were already relaxing zoning requirements that set minimum parking allotments, and there are now even more signs that city planners are thinking differently about parking. Perhaps most dramatically, a new Major League Soccer stadium being planned for David Beckham’s Miami expansion team may include no new parking at all – but will have designated pickup zones for Uber and Lyft.

The decline of parking will only be accelerated if and when autonomous vehicles become widespread. That sea-change which will make it easier to locate parking at a distance from urban destinations, and could further reduce car ownership. That will be bad news for the Ace Parkings of the world – but everyone else should welcome the decline of the urban parking lot.

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Reebok’s Todd Krinsky Heads Up New Performance Business Unit

A MEASURED PERFORMANCE: Like other, more established athletic brand competitors, Reebok’s heritage is rooted in performance and now the company has set up a division dedicated to that — the Reebok Performance Business Unit.
At the helm of that sector is 25-year company veteran Todd Krinsky who has been named general manager. The brand’s running and training business units have been consolidated into its new Performance Business Unit. Fittingly, Krinsky earned his post for his own performance as general manager of Reebok’s Classic Business Unit. Leading that business, he helped to generate double-digit percentage gains for year-on-year growth over the past six years. Krinsky reports to Reebok president Matt O’Toole.
Big-name branding has been a key part of Reebok’s Classic Business’ upward climb. Gigi Hadid is the latest celebrity to appear in Reebok’s “Always Classic” campaign. With the spring campaign, the IMG model joined the ranks of Ariana Grande, Rae Sremmurd, Teyana Taylor, Lil Yachty, K-pop star Somi, street artists Felipe Pantone and SANY and model Sharina Gutierrez. Interestingly, Reebok’s Performance Unit will take on more of a lifestyle edge. Noting how the company has developed “strong credibility in the fitness world” in recent years, Krinsky said, “Today, our Delta symbol serves

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7 Tips for Women on Avoiding Unwanted Advances During Business Travel

Tips for Women on Avoiding Unwanted Advances During Business TravelHere’s an interesting question for today: Do you often get unwanted attention when traveling for work? What are your best tips for women on avoiding unwanted advances during business travel? Does it happen most often in hotel bars, on the plane, at the airport, or elsewhere? From coworkers, clients — or strangers? Do you ever feel unsafe during those experiences, or are you mostly just annoyed when you’re trying to do some work, eat a meal, or simply get to where you’re going? tips for women on avoiding unwanted advances during business travel

The question of how to avoid being hit on when you’re traveling for work is especially relevant in light of all of the changes happening these days with sexual harassment, office culture, and the #metoo movement. As if flight delays, lost luggage, and jet lag weren’t enough, two in five women say they’ve experienced sexual harassment or unwelcome interactions while traveling, according to a recent survey 

We acknowledge that it’s sad and wrong that there’s even a need for a post called “tips for women on avoiding unwanted advances during business travel” (and that many women feel like they have to change their behavior or appearance to avoid being hit on or harassed while traveling), but unfortunately, that’s the reality that most of us live in. (There also needs to be something to counter the pieces aimed at men with titles like “How to Pick Up Women on Airplanes” and “How to Pick Up Business Women in Hotel Bars.”) I also want to point out that we don’t want to imply that any woman should be blamed for unwanted attention if she doesn’t do the things below — we just thought it would be helpful to share some advice and ask readers for theirs.

Psst: We’ve previously shared business travel tips and tricks and discussed readers’ best self-defense tips, as well as given advice on how to handle a client hitting on you and how to stop a flirtatious boss from hitting on you. You may also want to check out our post on the best personal safety apps for women!

Here are some tips for avoiding unwanted advances during business travel:

  1. Get some mileage out of your RBF! While your resting bitch face may most often lead to people calling you a bitch behind your back, or compel men to tell you to smile, now you can use it to your advantage! Feel free to look as unapproachable as you want — hey, go wild and cross your arms too (while hoping it comes off as standoffish, not as “I’m so bored. Some unwanted male attention is just what I need!”) If ignoring a guy who’s staring at you doesn’t make him move on to his next target, return his gaze without changing your expression.
  2. Wear a fake wedding ring. This certainly won’t deter every man who’s thinking of approaching you, but it’ll work in some cases, and it’ll only cost you $ 10 or $ 15. Alternately, if you have a sparkly and conspicuous right-hand ring that will fit on your left hand, switch it when you need to. (Maybe you can use this as a justification to splurge and buy yourself one if you’ve been considering it…)
  3. Read a book. If you don’t have one handy, you can instead try to make it clear that you only have eyes for your Instagram feed. Be aware that this strategy can backfire (even when it’s not a strategy), as a writer for Cosmopolitan found when a guy saw her reading at a bar and insisted, “You’re just reading so some guy will hit on you.” (I mean, sure — that’s why I got my English degree.)
  4. Wear sunglasses. If you’re feeling especially uncomfortable, sunglasses can prevent a guy from believing your accidental eye contact is a conscious invitation. (Bonus: If you want to indulge in a bit of people-watching during that long layover, no one will be the wiser…)
  5. Use earbuds/headphones, whether or not you’re listening to something. On the other hand, a common safety tip for women is to only wear one earbud so that you can stay aware of your surroundings, but … that kind of defeats the purpose. You can always limit this strategy to situations and places where you feel reasonably safe, i.e., not walking back to your hotel alone at night.
  6. Resist any natural impulse to always be “nice.” Women are so often socialized to act “nice” and be people-pleasers, but if you’re tired of your polite/friendly behavior being interpreted as romantic interest, try to check yourself.
  7. If you’re traveling to a country where most women dress very differently than you normally do, try to blend in by dressing as conservatively as they do, within reason. (By the way, you can find a lot of reader comments on our post on what businesswomen should wear in the Middle East with specific recommendations for Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc.) Again, please don’t read this as us saying, “Of course she was hit on all the time — look at what she was wearing!”

What are YOUR best tips for women on avoiding unwanted advances during business travel? Do you find that some strategies work better than others? 

Further Reading with Tips for Women on Avoiding Unwanted Advances During Travel:

Image credit: Deposit Photos / Wavebreakmedia

The post 7 Tips for Women on Avoiding Unwanted Advances During Business Travel appeared first on Corporette.com.

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U.S. Business Inventories Climb More Than Expected In December

A report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday showed business inventories in the U.S. rose by slightly more than anticipated in the month of December. The Commerce Department said business inventories climbed by 0.4 percent in December, matching the increase seen in November.
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Mental Health Survivor and Entrepreneur on Building Her Business While Managing PTSD

The mental health stigma remains a cloud of shame with many fearing discrimination or alienation from family, friends, even society at large. Approximately 1 in 4 people suffer from some form of mental illness.

HLG Scans Founder Charmaine Gresham has dealt with depression pretty much all her life, beginning in her adolescent years. Gresham has faced some tremendous highs and very dark lows, but she prides herself on still standing and not being ashamed. She challenges the notion that you can’t be successful if you have a mental illness.

For Gresham, it’s about knowing trigger moments and how to efficiently work through them via professional counseling and meditation. Black Enterprise contributor Chanel Martin discusses with Gresham how she is able to build her business and take care of her family while managing her mental illness.

Chanel Martin: Tell us about your business. What is it? How did you get started?

Gresham: HLG Scans was started out of necessity. My newborn daughter was having sinusitis health problems, and I had to constantly take leave from my corporate job to take care of her. I finally decided I didn’t want to choose anymore and started the process of developing HLG Scans L.L.C. HLG Scans is a multi-dimensional electronic document management company. We have three subdivisions: federal contracting, online products and services, and small business services. HLG Scans is a certified Veteran Owned (VOSB) and Women-Owned (WOSB) Small Business.

We provide third-party vendor services to federal government agencies from administrative to minor construction outsourcing. Our online division provides interactive tools, training, and consultation to transform your traditional office into a digital workspace with the ability to work from anywhere. Our small business division, provide scan conversion and electronic document management services to help local business owners save money and increase office productivity. The workplace is an ever-changing entity. Technology is changing the way we do our business. Things that used to take weeks, now only take hours and minutes. Electronic document management is becoming a requirement and no longer a luxury.

As a mental health survivor, entrepreneurship can be very stressful. How do you manage your diagnoses while pursuing your entrepreneurial efforts?

Mental illness is something I’ve dealt with in one form or another for a majority of my life. Before I was clinically diagnosed with PTSD, I would continually have highs and sometimes feel so low that the only thing that got me to a place of recovery was prayer and determination to see another day. With mental illness, your trigger moments can feel like a deep dark hole you’re constantly trying to climb out. Normal habits, such as getting out of bed, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, can easily be put on the backburner because you’re too exhausted to get out of bed. I would have slept my life away I could. With PTSD you’re constantly struggling with past demons. It’s like playing a broken record in your head. Usually, with PTSD, you’re triggered by past and present moments of stress. You’re trying to win this battle in your head and everything you hold dear gets damaged in the crossfire. It can be utterly exhausting fighting with yourself.

Sometimes my moments of depression could end up lasting for a week, with me struggling to find a real reason to keep pushing. When you’re not adequately dealing with your mental health, nothing gets 100% from you, including family, friends, and your business. Sometimes I would go a week without being productive, things weren’t getting done, and it showed. I was trying to do everything myself, which made me stressful, which made me depressed. The goal for any business is consistency, and that’s something I could not give because I wasn’t dealing with my issues. Once I started treatment, delegated some responsibilities, and learned to take a break and breathe; things began to change for the better. Contracts began coming in, and real progress has been made across the board for my business. I want a happy and fulfilling life, and I deserve it. My main priority is maintaining a positive outlook for my family and me, which includes medication, regular counseling, exercise, and meditation.

What is a typical day in the life for you?

A typical day for me includes early morning meditation; getting my daughter ready for school, and meeting with my trainer for an exercise session. I then return home and start my workday which includes: virtual meetings with my team, responding to emails, reviewing my to-do list, developing new online products, social media interaction, live video trainings, and local networking meetings and events. I usually meet with my counselor twice a month to decompress. I always feel refreshed after our sessions.

What advice do you have for others who may feel that a mental health diagnosis would limit their ability to build a sustainable business?

First, you must openly acknowledge and accept your mental health diagnoses. It’s not a death sentence or something you should be ashamed of. I would suggest seeking physician care, professional counseling, regularly participating in activities that bring you peace and joy, and if you have a triggered moment, don’t beat yourself up. We’re all beautifully flawed human beings.

What motivates you to keep going?

I do believe there’s an anointed strength in me that keeps me going through all the trials and tribulations of juggling three hats (business owner, mother, and wife). I’ve had tremendous growth because through it all, I kept going. Unfortunately, sometimes I don’t take the time to pat myself on the back because I always see something that can be better. I’m slowly learning to stop and smell the roses; enjoy the moment of achievement and growth. I’m also learning that no matter how busy or driven I am, to always make time for me. Enjoy the different vices that help me relax and just be. Mental illness isn’t something to be ashamed of, it’s a part of me, and I have to love all parts of me—no matter what.

The post Mental Health Survivor and Entrepreneur on Building Her Business While Managing PTSD appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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From Garage to HGTV: How This Woman Grew a Successful Home-Staging Business

Kristy Anderson spent most of her childhood on the move.

She and her mother, Bridget, would often change apartments. And Anderson, in an attempt to make each place feel more like home, would spruce it up with some amateur decorating.

She would rearrange some pillows. Or maybe she’d take some bedsheets and turn them into curtains.

“My mom always welcomed it,” Anderson said. “She was very encouraging.”

Nobody knew it at the time, but what she was doing was making her way toward building her own business.

A New Path

A resident of South Tampa, Anderson, 41, is the founder and executive director of Dwell Home Staging, which specializes in getting homes ready to hit the open market. She employs a staff of eight, including her husband, Marc, the company’s operations manager. Four months ago, she sold the business to appliance chain Happy’s Home Centers.

Dwell has been featured on HGTV and is repeatedly ranked among the top home-staging businesses in the country.

“Never in a million years did I ever imagine this,” Anderson said.

Anderson took a stab at acting before landing a teaching position 12 years ago at Academy Prep of Tampa, a non-profit school for middle school students. Eventually, she was named the assistant head of school. Anderson had an apartment on scenic Davis Island, located right near downtown Tampa, and was pulling a solid salary.

“I thought I was going to be in education forever,” she said.

On the side, however, Anderson was still dabbling in decorating. She worked 10 hours a day at Academy Prep of Tampa and then spent the night staging homes for her friends. It was fun. But she figured it was just a side gig.

“It was a real small-time,” Anderson said. “I would just go into people’s homes, re-design or revamp it, and maybe bring a few new pieces in.”

Starting Her Own Business

Kristy Anderson, of Dwell Home Staging

Kristy Anderson adds foliage elements to style her staged home kitchen. Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

One day, Anderson decided she no longer wanted to work in education. She took $ 3,000 out of her savings account and created an office out of her garage — from there, Dwell Staging was born.

Anderson’s aspirations were modest — she never thought staging homes would match the $ 65,000 a year she was making as an assistant head of school. So she planned on making a living as a real estate agent.

But Dwell continued to grow.

Anderson built her client base through word of mouth and friendly referrals, as well as through Google Adwords, an online advertising site. She created a Facebook page, which she routinely updates with videos of homes she has recently staged, and a Twitter account. She joined local associations for homebuilders, investors and realtors and visited realtors to give in-person presentations.

Anderson also hosted broker’s opens, which are strictly for real estate agents and not for the public, in homes she had staged.

The ad campaign worked — Anderson became so busy running Dwell that she no longer had time to pursue her real estate license.

“That’s when I said, ‘I guess this is what I’m doing,’” she said.

Purchasing her inventory wholesale from furniture and accessory vendors from across the United States, Anderson needed just six months to take Dwell from her garage to a storage facility. A year later, it moved into a 2,000-square-foot office and warehouse; the company now operates out of a 9,000-square-foot facility.

Staging a Home

Woman steaming curtains and placing pillows

Malaika Hollist and Brittney Davis work simultaneously to complete the living area and patio .Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

When she’s staging a home, Anderson considers her true clients to be the home’s potential buyers, not the current owners.

“We always design for the target demographic of the expected buyer,” Anderson said. “This is the first indicator for our design.  Then we look at the home’s architecture and design, and select pieces that highlight that.  If it’s occupied, we try to use as much of what the seller has as possible, while using our inventory to supplement in order to pull together a cohesive look.”

Dwell will keep a home staged for 30 days (at a cost of between $ 1,500 and $ 2,880) or 60 days ($ 2,010 and $ 3,968) and offers additional monthly packages after the initial contract has expired. Dwell also offers free real estate photos for vacant homes with four rooms or more.

It’s a process that seems to be working. Dwell has had an increase in revenue each year, bringing in $ 180,000 during its first year and close to $ 500,000 last year.

Though Happy’s Home Centers now owns Dwell, Anderson still runs the daily operations and hopes to branch out into other markets such as Orlando and Sarasota.

“That’s the ultimate vision,” she said. “But we still want to be the top staging business in the Tampa Bay area and do things more efficient [sic] and better than anyone else.”

Anderson always dreamed on landing on HGTV — that dream came to fruition when Dwell designed a space for the show “Container Homes” with the help of artists from the Tampa Bay community.

“I’d watch all those shows on HGTV and would dream —‘Wouldn’t that be great?’” she said.

And Anderson knows who to thank for success — her mother Bridget, who passed away last May.

“She was always saying, ‘Just say yes,’ and, ‘Why not you?’” Anderson said. “She kind of ingrained it in me to take big risks. Why couldn’t it be me?”

woman holding pillow

Kristy Anderson makes an adjustment to the bedding in an upstairs bedroom of the stage house Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

John Lembo lives in St. Petersburg and often “dwells” on his lack of decorative skills.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Best Merchant Cash Advance for Small Business Advice: Should Black Entrepreneurs Use This Option?

Traditionally, African American business owners have always had a tough time obtaining financing to grow, develop, and sustain their businesses. When business owners cannot obtain the capital they need from traditional financial institutions, they usually turn to alternative ones.

One of the growing sources of alternative business capital since the Great Recession, has been that of the Merchant Cash Advance (MCA), along with its sister product, the Alternative Business Loan. A company by the name of AdvanceMe (today the company is known as Can Capital) brought the MCA concept to the marketplace in the very early 2000s and even tried to patent the concept, but wasn’t successful.

But it wasn’t until the credit crunch of the 2008 recession that business owners began turning to the MCA product in high numbers, leading to an explosion of said industry. You have to be cautious using these alternative means of capital, so I am going to present the best merchant cash advance advice to you.

 

The Best Merchant Cash Advance for Small Business Info

Here’s how the MCA works: A business is doing $ 60,000 a month in credit card processing volume, for example. That business could be approved for about $ 60,000 in terms of the advance amount, which can be used for any business purpose, such as covering payroll.

The lender might set up the business with what is known as a  “factor rate,” which translates into a total payback amount of $ 72,000. To pay back the advance, the lender might hold 20% of the daily credit card processing volume of the business (which, in this example, comes to around $ 400) and apply this amount to the total outstanding payback balance.

As long as the business maintains the same level of monthly credit card processing volume, then the entire payback amount would be satisfied in six months. An MCA offer based on the above example would look like the following:

  • Advance amount: $ 60,000
  • Factor rate: 1.20
  • Total payback or purchase amount: $ 72,000
  • Holdback percentage: 20%

Note that the MCA is not considered a traditional loan with fixed terms, so if the monthly credit card processing volume of the business in this example drops to $ 50,000, then instead of six months to pay off the total payback amount, it might take just over seven months to complete. As a result, this product works best for businesses that are seasonal.

 

The Alternative Business Loan

Unlike the MCA, an Alternative Business Loan is structured as a real business loan with origination fees and fixed terms. Approval is based on 5% to 10% of the annual gross sales of a business, so if a business is doing $ 2 million a year in gross sales, it might get approved for $ 150,000. To pay back the loan, the lender will set up a fixed payment that comes out of the business owner’s bank account every business day. For the terms, let’s say the lender offers the business owner a 15-month option with a 28% interest rate. Here’s how the complete offer would look:

  • Loan amount: $ 150,000
  • Origination fee: $ 4,500 (based on 3% of loan amount)
  • Final disbursement amount: $ 145,500
  • Cost expense (interest): $ 42,000
  • Total repayment amount: $ 192,000
  • Daily business day payment: $ 508 (represents 378 business day payments over the next 15 months)
  • Term: 15 months

Should You Use One Of These Products?

Many experts believe business owners should never use the MCA or Alternative Business Loan, calling the products “payday loans for small businesses,” due to the fact that, at times, the annual percentage rates (APR) of the products can get up to 350%.

Having offered both of these products to numerous small business owners across the country, I believe the products can work for certain business owners in certain situations. For example, I have normally recommended the products as a form of bridge financing, which is just a tool to help get a business owner over a short-term/temporary “hump,” but with a focus on eventually getting them back into a position where they are able to take advantage of traditional (and more cost-effective) business financing options.

As a business owner, you would have to determine whether or not the MCA or Alternative Business Loan product might work for your current financing needs. As a financial professional, I recommend using the products for short-term/temporary financing issues rather than as a long-term, business financing strategy.

The post Best Merchant Cash Advance for Small Business Advice: Should Black Entrepreneurs Use This Option? appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Legal Names vs. Trade Names in Business

business-dba-trade-name

A business name is one of the first things that connects a customer to a company’s products or services.

Businesses pine for catchy, recognizable names that they can use to structure their brand, reach customers, and generate sales. Their goal is to become a household name like Walmart, Amazon, or Disney.

But did you know that many businesses use a second “legal” name on paper that differs from their catchy, household one?

Many companies use legal (or registered) names and trade names (DBA names) for different purposes. In this post we’ll discuss the difference between them, and why a company might use them.

What Does DBA Mean?

DBA is simply an acronym that stands for “doing business as”. It’s a term that refers to a company’s trade name. In other countries like Canada or England, DBA is sometimes seen as T/A (Trading As) or O/A (Operating As), but they all mean the same thing.

For example, Walmart’s trade name is Walmart, but the company’s legal name is Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (which will actually be changing to Walmart, Inc. effective February 1, 2018).

Why Do Companies Have Trade Names?

Typically, a company will have both a legal name and a trade name. Their legal name is the one that appears on government and legal forms, like their Articles of Incorporation—documents a company must file with the state department to legally form a corporation.

Businesses will likely use their trade names for the purposes of sales or advertising. Think of them as almost a nickname for the company.

For instance, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media is branded under the trade name The Disney Store, which is pithier (and less of a mouthful).

Corporations also use trade names to differentiate their brands, especially if they make a variety of products for different demographics.

For instance, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, and Intermix are all different stores with different inventory, but all of them are registered Gap Inc. brands.

Do I Need to Register a Trade Name?

Some states (like Washington, for example) require businesses to register both a legal name and their trade name to officially conduct business under both, but it’s not a requirement everywhere. The decision to register both is often up to the business owner; however, there are some advantages to trade name registration.

For example, if your clients pay you with checks, having both names registered means that you can open a business checking account under both names and your clients can use either your legal name or DBA name as the recipient. This comes in especially handy if your clients aren’t aware of your legal name.

It should be noted that in some states, registering your name doesn’t always stop other companies from conducting business under that name. Typically, the right to the trade name goes to whoever uses the trade name first in association with their business, not necessarily the first to register.

Choosing a Name for Your Business

Regardless of how much your legal business name might differ from your DBA or trade name, the important thing is that you use them both to your benefit.

At the very least, try to make your trade name clear, catchy, and easy to pronounce, and keep in mind what impressions your name makes on a potential customer.

The post Legal Names vs. Trade Names in Business appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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Social Media Success for Your Contracting Business

Most people get into the construction business because they like the work. There’s something satisfying about demoing a whole kitchen or bathroom and building a new one in its place. Ironically, though, as your contracting business grows, your work takes on a completely different form. Take marketing, for instance. You may have never imagined yourself writing newsletters or designing a website or posting to social media, but here you are.

Construction worker with contemporary mobile phone

And no matter how alien it might seem at first, you’re making the right move. It’s no longer possible for construction pros to operate without an online presence. Marketing researchers show that consumers are doing a lot more online research before they buy—and that includes home improvement purchases. Word-of-mouth recommendations are still important, of course, but they’re increasingly offset by online reviews and photos.

So where does social media fit into that equation? Its purpose is twofold. One, it expands your reach to generate new leads. And two, it helps you create a more authentic connection with clients. After all, when clients are able to see the beautiful spaces you create and hear from the customers you help, it’s a huge vote of confidence. It’s even better when they feel like there are real people behind your brand, fueling your decisions and driving your client relationships. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Here’s how it all breaks down.

contractor laptop

Generate Social Media Profiles on the Major Platforms

This may seem obvious, but it’s overlooked so frequently that it bears mentioning anyway. And if you already have them, make sure to fill them out—it takes more than one account to project a professional image. On your Facebook page, for instance, you need a profile picture and a banner photo as well as a website address, contact info, and your operating hours. On Twitter, you’ll need a profile photo, banner photo, company description, website, and location. Don’t forget about social reviewing sites like Google and Yelp! You’ll want to generate profiles here, too.

Follow the 40-40-20 Rule for Interactions

The tricky thing about social media is promoting yourself without being too overtly sales-y. Think about how you feel when a company is putting the hard sell on you. It’s uncomfortable, especially if you’re still examining your options. Most of us don’t like to be the subject of an ongoing sales pitch, and on social media, where customers get to tailor their experience, it’s easier than ever for potential customers to tune you out. That’s why marketing pros recommend you follow the 40-40-20 rule for offers. This golden ratio states that you spend 40% of your time posting helpful information, 40% directly interacting with customers, and 20% promoting your brand. That way, you’re offering customers some value in exchange for getting to bend their ear.

No Platform Is an Island

Social has its own unique quirks, to be sure. But it shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Your reach is greatest when you market across platforms. That might mean you promote content from your monthly newsletter, with a link to join. Or perhaps you’re featured in an ad and ask your followers to look for it. One of social media’s greatest strengths is that it’s free to use, so you should use it to your advantage.

construction hats piled on one another

Share Your Expertise

One of the easiest ways to create seamless cross-platform integration is to use social media to promote content. To do that, you’ll first need content to promote. Luckily, you’re already an expert in your field, with lots of insider knowledge. For many construction professionals, a how-to video is the obvious answer. Thanks to autoplay features, video is gaining a lot of popularity across social media lately—a trend you can capitalize on. A lot could be written about video production, but the key points are to keep it short, punchy, and light-hearted.

Have Fun!

Easier said than done, right? But seriously, one of the powerful aspects of social media is its informality. It’s a chance for you to showcase the lighter side of your business. So go ahead, post pictures of the “company dog” (hey, if it works for Amazon, it can work for you too!). Share that weird roundup of the best buildings with “faces.” Get your audience in on your company pranks, jokes, and parties. Who knows, you may even grow to like marketing.

The post Social Media Success for Your Contracting Business appeared first on Modernize.

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3 growth hacking strategies that will take your business to the next level

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Heads up: All products featured here are selected by Mashable’s commerce team and meet our rigorous standards for awesomeness. If you buy something, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

There are many ways to grow your business, but growth hacking can be one the most effective. Growth hacking is like guerrilla filmmaking: it eschews traditional growth strategies like radio and TV advertising and focuses on novel ways to reach potential customers and grow your user base. With all the competition out there today, you need to find unique ways to get your business to stand out, and growth hacking can often be the differentiator between wild successes and spectacular flameouts.  Read more…

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Netflix’s ‘Dirty Money’ investigates Trump’s dubious business history — and yup, the conclusions check out

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In the story of American business, says Netflix’s Dirty Money, Donald Trump is not a hero. He shouldn’t be listed alongside Rockefeller, Ford, and Jobs, argues writer Tim O’Brien; for Trump is P.T. Barnum. He’s a self-promoter and a showman who will tell any lies necessary to feed the narrative of his own success.

Dirty Money comprises of six nearly feature-length episodes exploring corporate greed, culminating in the Trump-focused hour. Here is the President’s story, archived alongside exposés of payday lenders and drug cartels. 

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With cord-cutting on the rise, Comcast’s broadband business sees significant gains

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While the number of viewing options cable TV provides is nothing short of astounding, the harsh reality is that cable companies have been price-gouging consumers for years. Even The Onion got in on the fun a few years back with a pointed headline that read: “Nation’s Cable Companies Announce They’re Just Going To Take $ 100 From Everyone.”

With cable prices on the rise, streaming services like Hulu and Netflix have been steadily chipping away at the cumulative number of cable TV subscribers. In turn, we’ve seen industry veterans like DirecTV roll out more wallet-friendly services, with DirecTV Now being one such example. And while many cable companies are seeing their subscriber numbers take a hit, Comcast arguably finds itself in a win-win situation on account of its broadband service.

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Chinese bidders are circling a diabetes care business owned by the world’s largest healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson.
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8 Effective Ways to Handle Customer Complaints (And Use Them to Improve Your Business)

Did you hear the one about the business owner who got into a Facebook flame war with an online reviewer? What about this restaurant owner who overreacted to a review, and then wound up firing his entire staff because, according to him, his “account had been hacked.”

While you’re probably not about to launch an all-out verbal assault on your customers, a negative review is enough to put any business owner on edge. A comment in public venues, such as on your website or social media channels can land a real blow to your ego.

However, dealing with customer complaints is about more than damage control. Owners who are able to set their feelings aside and handle issues in a cool and collected manner can earn themselves a customer for life—at least if it’s done right. Here are eight foolproof tips for diffusing the situation and turning a complaint into a compliment!

clicking on facebook

Avoid Complaints from the Get-go

Many complaints in the home building business stem from poor communication. Clients have limited knowledge about the construction process to start with, so they often don’t know which questions to ask. Your projects go a lot smoother if you accept this reality instead of viewing it as a continual nuisance. Embrace your role as an educator and expect to lead clients through every step of the process. Help them by asking the right questions—before they become an issue.

Keep Your Cool

However, if you do wind up with an unhappy customer on your hands, your best bet is to keep calm. An angry reaction usually only exacerbates the situation—and makes you look bad in the process. And since so much customer service occurs over social media, you could really damage your reputation if a clumsy response goes viral. (You don’t want to end up as the next entry on a list like this.). When you receive negative feedback, your first response is to do nothing at all, at least not right away. Instead, step back, take a few deep breaths and give yourself a few minutes to process.

Listen and Ask Questions

Even the most bizarre complaints may have a kernel of truth buried in them somewhere. Before responding, it’s important that you know the facts. Ask the customer to clarify or reveal important details that they may have left out of the narrative. For instance, if you have a large stable of subcontractors working for you, figure out who they were working with. Tease out exactly what made the customer angry—unrealistic expectations? Poor communication? Bad workmanship?

Business people greeting and handshake

Put Yourself in Their Place

To appease a customer, you have to think like a customer. In the residential contracting business, customers can have some truly epic reactions. But there’s a reason for the emotionality:

  • Clients are on edge the from the word go. Customers go into a renovation expecting a negative experience. Unfortunately, contractors don’t have the best reputation (according to one survey, over 74% of homeowners have had a bad experience with a contractor). With that kind of baggage to deal with, you’ll have to take extra care to re-establish trust with new clients.
  • Customers frequently have a limited understanding about the building process. Homeowners hire contractors for their expertise. That means they either take what you say as gospel, or feel vaguely suspicious throughout the entire process. Give your homeowners some peace of mind by providing professional estimates and showing up to appointments on time.
  • Homes are important. Homeowners have a lot of invested in their homes—both literally and figuratively. Beyond the financial element, homes provide safety and a place to retreat from the outside world. So that gets threatened, the response can be a little on the extreme side.

The more you learn to identify with the homeowner mindset, the better equipped you’ll be to address customer complaints.

Don’t Challenge a Customer’s Complaint

It’s usually not a good idea to dispute a customer complaint, even if you know it’s wrong. The mantra “the customer is always right” extends to complaints aired over social media and other public forums as well. And few and far between are the instances when the court of public opinion has sided with the business owner in an online dispute. So don’t argue or make excuses. You’ll only be hurting yourself.

Smiling construction worker working with laptop

Offer a Genuine Apology

Apologies are like a release valve: they take the air out of a high-pressure situation. Apologize freely, but stick to authentic, sympathetic amends. Internet users can sniff out a non-apology faster than you can say “viral,” so avoid phrases like “I’m sorry you felt [blank]” that divert blame from yourself and your business.

Make It Right

Obviously, running a construction business isn’t like managing a restaurant or a retail store. You can’t just offer the customer a gift card or a new product and be done with it. Your approach is going to vary, depending on the issue at hand. Maybe you offer to return to the site and fix the problem to the customer’s satisfaction. Maybe you refund a percentage of the final bill, such as your labor costs, or even give them one on the house. In the long run, it’s better to get out with your reputation intact than pocket a few extra dollars.

Remember, Every Complaint Is an Opportunity in Disguise

Business owners almost never get the chance to interact openly and directly with clients. Skillful complaint management isn’t just a chance to smooth things over and soothe a frustrated client, it’s often a way to cement lifetime loyalty. Surveys show that 70% of customers are willing to work with a business again if you solve an issue to their satisfaction. And for every customer who speaks up with a complaint, there are an average of 26 who say nothing. When you listen to complaints with an open mind and a willingness to improve, you just might learn a few things about your business—and the clients you serve!

The post 8 Effective Ways to Handle Customer Complaints (And Use Them to Improve Your Business) appeared first on Modernize.

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How To Pack A Suitcase For A Business Trip

Before we go into how to pack a suitcase for a business trip, you have to know what to pack. So what you should pack, honestly, I think you know that best yourself.

 

 

 

What To Pack For A Business Trip

Versatility Is Key

A light blue shirt for business casual with chinos and a blazer

A light blue shirt for business casual with chinos and a blazer

You want a wardrobe that is easy to dress up and down because you have very limited garments with you and you want to get the most out of them.

For a standard business trip, I suggest you pack at least one suit, maybe two, and a navy blazer. In terms of color, I think a grey suit is perfect because you can combine the pants with a blazer and have another business appropriate outfit.

Chinos are great for travel

Chinos are great for travel

If you want another pair of pants, I think chinos are great or if you need something dressier, of course, you can go with dress pants. Make sure there’s enough contrast and don’t go with something navy that is different than the blazer, or even exactly the same because, it just looks off.

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a DB flannel suit

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a DB flannel suit

A heavier fabric such as a flannel, wrinkles less than a lightweight high twist fabric. Yes, you can always have your suit pressed when you arrive or just hang up in the bathroom to release the wrinkles with steam, but ideally, you want a suit that wrinkles as little as possible because it makes it easier on you and provides peace of mind because you’ll always look presentable.

A checked dress shirt for casual night outs

A checked dress shirt for casual night outs

When it comes to shirts, I’d bring a white dress shirt with cufflinks, maybe a light blue one, and at least a checked one which is a little more casual that you can wear without a tie, let’s say if you go out at night.

Undershirts may help you to keep your dress shirt fresher all day. If you want other colors, I suggest stick with pastel colors for shirts because they’re easy to combine, very versatile. Don’t go with bolder colors and if you want to add a dash of something special to your outfit, go with colorful accessories such as your tie, your pocket square, or maybe your cufflinks.

How Many Pairs Of Shoes Should You Bring?

When it comes to shoes, it’s actually very different if you have quality men’s shoes because they’re usually a lot heavier than cheaper ones. Personally, I have traveled three or four weeks with just three pairs of shoes, one which I wore on the plane, and two that were packed, and I could do that because I know exactly the kind of events I would go to.

Black cap toe oxfords with Fort Belvedere shadow stripe socks

Black cap toe oxfords with Fort Belvedere shadow stripe socks

If you know you have lots of formal business events, I suggest to go with a black cap toe oxford, and maybe a pair of burgundy shoes because it always combines well, it always looks presentable, professional, but you can also combine it in a more casual way.

Wingtip monk strap shoes with Fort Belvedere socks

Wingtip monk strap shoes with Fort Belvedere socks

If you don’t have formal events, I would go with a dark brown pair, maybe  monk straps, or regular lace-ups, then a pair of burgundy shoes, because it’s so versatile, and another may be light brown or cognac tone, maybe a suede pair of shoes because that browns up your wardrobe, makes you look presentable and dapper no matter where you go.

Shoe Trees are a must have

Shoe Trees are a must have

Most people forget it, but it’s very important to bring at least one pair of shoe trees because it helps your shoes to stay in shape and lasts longer, while plastic ones are really lightweight, I don’t like them because they don’t provide the desired shape and hold I need.

No matter where I travel, I always bring a travel shoehorn because it protects my shoes, it helps me to get into my shoes at security and I never want to miss it because it’s such a small item that can save you a lot of dollars.

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Stock Up On Versatile Accessories

In terms of accessories, I usually bring pocket squares, tie, sometimes bow ties, cufflinks, rings, maybe a collar pin, or a collar bar, and also boutonnieres. I actually use the Fort Belvedere gift box to travel with them because that’s perfect and they don’t get damaged that way, that being said, usually, I travel my cufflinks in my carry-on because I don’t want to lose my valuable gold jewelry.

Now Let’s Get Packing!

So how do you pack a suitcase? First of all, I suggest you go to the bedroom because if you have a large enough bed, you can put all of your things out there and you can have your suitcase up on the bed so it’s easier to pack.

The first thing I do is to stuff my socks and underwear into the shoes that don’t have shoe trays. I definitely recommend you use shoe bags or dust bags because they keep the rest of your clothes clean. The remaining t-shirts, polo shirts, or undershirts, and socks go into the bottom of the suitcase and especially on the side where you have the pull mechanism because it’s uneven and those socks help to even everything out.

I add belts or suspenders to it, then my Dopp kit, and ideally, you want something that’s lightweight and not too heavy, sometimes the nicer Dopp kits are really heavy and it just adds bulk so try to pay attention to that.

How To Fold A Dress Shirt

How To Fold A Dress Shirt

Folding could have a huge impact on how your clothing wrinkles, dress shirts are delicate and wrinkle very easily, therefore, you should fold them and not roll them. The best way to do that is to put the shirt flat down with buttons facing on the floor or the table. Fold the sides inwards with sleeves on both the sides, and fold over the hem, and fold in half or in thirds, depending on the size of your suitcase.

Do that with other shirts and then stack them with collars opposite from each other. You can use the same folding technique with sweaters, t-shirts, or polo shirts, however, sometimes it may make more sense to simply roll them because it’s quicker, it’s easier, and it saves you on space.

Plastic Hangers & Garment Bags Are Your Friends

Now in terms of a suit, the big advantage of a large spinner suitcase is that you don’t need to really fold your suit heavily. What I do is I use a lightweight plastic hanger with a wide shoulder pad, you want the shoulders to be about two inches wide and you want a trouser bar to not be rubberized because it usually doesn’t stick. You want a form of really grippy foam or anything else that really holds the trousers up. Simply hang your suit and put it in a garment bag.

Gagliardi Plastic Hanger

Gagliardi Plastic Hanger

Personally, I stay clear of the heavier cotton garment bags I use at home and I go with really lightweight cheap ones because they help to prevent wrinkles, at the same time, they don’t add bulk or weight to my suitcase. Never go with more than two garment bags. If you have more than two suits or two jackets, simply double them up in the same garment bag. If you have a vest, which is extremely helpful, because vests are easy to combine, you add it on top of the hanger underneath the jacket.

How to position your garment bags in your suitcase

How to position your garment bags in your suitcase

Once the garment bag is zipped up, you lay it flat in the suitcase then take the other garment bag laid flat as well. You fold them over one on top of each other. That way, the crease in the garment is not strong and it won’t wrinkle. I always try to fold it just at the bottom part of the lapel because that way, you don’t get any creases in it. Sometimes, if I have more pairs of pants, I put them either on the hanger but if it’s too heavy and it would break the plastic hanger, I just put them flat in the bottom of the suitcase first.

How To Keep Your Suits Wrinkle-Free

On top of the suits, I only put very lightweight items such as pocket squares, ties, for that specifically, I use a tie case that my wife made for me when we first dated so it’s very dear to my heart and I use it to this day. I found that rolling up ties usually makes them wrinkle much more easily and just laying them flat in your suitcase means they shift around and that way they wrinkle too so definitely get a tie case.

You don’t want to put any heavy objects on top of your suits because otherwise, it’s much more likely to wrinkle. It’s good for a suitcase to have that zipper on top so you can close up the suit compartment and focus your efforts on the other side. You also want a compartment on the other side because it’s much heavier and you don’t want to push on the suit side.

If you have issues with the size of your shoes, I suggest you wear the heaviest pair when you travel and put the lighter ones in your dust bags. I also suggest to put the sole to sole and pack them that way, because they’re more compact and you get more in your suitcase.

For my belts, I always try to roll them up and either I put them in my shoes or I just fit them on the side of the shirts, or the shoes, because there’s always extra room for little things like that. The same is true for items such as chargers, or maybe your electric shaver, to make sure you don’t overload your Dopp kit, get travel size products or little bottles otherwise, it’s way too heavy.

Finding The Right Suitcase

Over the years, I’ve tried lots of different things and I’ve found that two things are very important. One, you want spinner wheels that are really easy to roll because nothing is as bothersome as having to carry your suitcase for long distances which makes you sweat and uncomfortable at the airport. Also, when you’re outside and the pavement is not always the best, having bad wheels is really a pain in the behind.

Personally, while I love the look of suitcases like Globetrotter, they’re just very impractical and I’ve had good luck with these hardshell suitcases in polycarbonate; they’re lightweight and they have strong corners. I always go for the zippered version because it’s lighter than the metal frame version from brands like for example, the one I’m using here right now is from Samsonite, it’s not sponsored in any way it’s just what I happen to like.

I used to live in Germany and was dating my wife in the US so I was traveling a lot back and forth, and those lightweight suitcases are really the best, they will break eventually but it’s still better than carrying a heavier aluminum suitcase that won’t break as easily but it doesn’t allow you to carry on a lot.

My Samsonite polycarbonate luggages

My Samsonite polycarbonate luggage

Two, your spinner suitcase has to be wide enough. Ideally, your shoulders should fit in there no problem. Originally, I started with larger, more rectangular suitcases, but I’ve gone to a square shape which works really well for suits because you can fold it nicely, you get the width you want, and they’re very easy to handle. Honestly, if you invest in custom suits, I really urge you to use a larger suitcase because they’re easy on your suits and you will able to wear them for much longer.

What are your must-haves for longer trips? Drop a comment below!


Gentleman’s Gazette

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U.S. Business Inventories Rise More Than Expected In November

Business inventories in the U.S. increased by slightly more than anticipated in the month of November, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday. The report said business inventories climbed by 0.4 percent in November.
RTT – Economic News

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How To Pack A Carry-On Suitcase For A Short Business Trip

In this guide we discuss how to pack your carry-on luggage like a pro for a business trip including how to fold a suit and shirt; what you need & secrets to maximizing every inch of your carry-on.

For Air Travels

I suggest going with a spinner suitcase with nice wheels that roll very smoothly so you can maneuver it without hassle, but it should also be stable so you can put a little briefcase or another carry-on item on top of it while you walk with it. Note that packing a small carry-on suitcase is very different from packing a larger spinner suitcase.

An upright spinner with a front pocket designed for work essentials is the perfect option for business travel

An upright spinner with a front pocket designed for work essentials is the perfect option for travel

How To Pack A Small Carry-On Suitcase?

First of all, put out all the items you want to bring on your trip onto your bed or maybe on the floor if the bed is not large enough. Remove all excessive items and only bring the bare bones you actually need.

If it’s just a one-day business trip, you just need one pair of shoes, and I simply suggest you wear it. If it’s a two or three-day business trip, you want to bring another pair of shoes, but that’s it.

I always suggest to go with black cap toe Oxfords, maybe Balmoral ones that add a little decoration, if you have huge feet, perhaps a derby shoe is the way to go.

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If your business trip is not super formal or if you want a second pair of shoes, I suggest going with a burgundy pair of shoes because it can quickly be dressed up and down. It’s always appropriate, and you can wear with anything else you bring in your carry-on suitcase.

To prevent your shoes from soiling up the other clothing items in your suitcase, I always suggest going with a shoe bag or a dust bag. If you can put each shoe in a dust bag, that gives you more flexibility in terms of packing.

At first, I fold my socks and roll them up and put them in my shoes, maybe if you have space, you can also put your underwear in there, or a rolled belt.

No matter where I travel, I always bring a travel shoe horn because it protects my shoes, it helps me to get into my shoes at security, and I never want to miss it because it’s such a small item that can save you a lot of dollars. I’ve struggled many times with a carry-on and a suit, and so I tried different techniques, and this is the best one I found.

Secrets To Maximizing The Space Of Your Carry-On

Reserve the one compartment strictly for your suits

Reserve one compartment strictly for your suits

Keeping Your Suits Crisp

  • First, let’s start with the pants. You want to fold them into thirds because that way, it fits into your suitcase. Lay that on the flat side of your carry-on suitcase. In this video, I’m using a small houndstooth suit only so you can see better how I fold it. If you got a business trip, probably a solid navy suit, or charcoal, or light gray, or gray suit, are the better way to go.
  • Second, if you have a three-piece suit with a vest, you just take the vest, fold it in half and make sure the top ends align, as well as the bottom tips of the waistcoat, then you just roll it up. Again, you have a sweet little fabric roll, now put the roll aside.
roll up your waistcoats

How to roll up your waistcoat

  • Now, it’s time for the jacket. Take the left sleeve and pull it inside out, make sure to pull it all the way through. Now on that same sleeve, go to the shoulder and push it, and fold it inside out, this creates the perfect shape, and it fits right into the opposite shoulder that wasn’t folded. We do this to protect the shoulder so it doesn’t get crushed and wrinkled. Now take the rolled-up waistcoat, and stuff it into the shoulder area, so it gives it additional support and prevents it from wrinkling.

Now you fold up the jacket, so it lays neatly in the case on top of the pants. Usually, there’s a little gap on top of the shoulder, I use that to roll up some ties and ideally, knit ties because they’re less prone to getting wrinkles.

If you have additional space, you can add some pocket squares there but stay clear of any heavy items such as a wash bag, or toiletry bag, or maybe your jewelry kit, or chargers, or anything else that would squish the suit.

It pays to have a separate compartment in your carry-on suitcase so it doesn’t get stuffed because if your suit gets crushed chances are, it will wrinkle.

How To Fold A Dress Shirt

How To Fold A Dress Shirt

 

The Ideal Way To Fold Dress Shirts

If you have some room, you may want to add a dress shirt. Folding could have a huge impact on how your clothing wrinkles. Dress shirts are delicate and wrinkle very easily. Therefore, you should fold them and not roll them.

The best way to do that is to put the shirt flat down with buttons facing on the floor or the table, fold the sides inwards with sleeves on both sides and fold over the hem and fold in half or in thirds depending on the size of your suitcase.

Do that with all your shirts and then stack them with the colors opposite from each other. Maybe add just one shirt or maximum of two shirts on top of the suit because if it’s too squished, you get wrinkles in your shirts and in the suit.

Miscellaneous Accessories

Now, it’s time to close that compartment and let’s look at the other side of the suitcase. The socks, underwear, and undershirt, which didn’t fit into my shoes now go in between the telescope mechanism, so we create a somewhat flat surface. I put in the shoes sideways, so they use up as little space as possible.

Maybe if you want to bring a sweater or a cardigan, now is the time to put it in here. If you want to bring a long sleeve polo shirt for a casual evening outing, I usually roll it rather than folding it because a. it’s quicker, b. it saves me space and c. it’s not prone to wrinkling as much as let’s say a dress shirt.

If you were to bring any other folded items such as a t-shirt, an undershirt, I would roll those as well.

Filling In The Gaps

Once you’ve put all the things in, it’s time to fill the gaps. Maybe you want to bring suspenders, they should be rolled up, and you can stuff them in a gap. Usually, somewhere around the shoes, with a belt, you can also roll it up but if you don’t have enough space anymore, you can unroll it and lay it around the edges, that way, you’ll maybe fit even more things into your suitcase.

If you want, you can also bring your watch, maybe you want to bring some cufflinks in a jewelry case, maybe some collar pins, or collar bars, maybe collar stays, maybe tie bars, all those things should be in a neat little container, so you don’t have to search for them and they don’t get lost.

Of course, it’s also handy to have a little travel manicure kit with you just so you look presentable at your business meeting. You want to add a long pair of casual pants to your wardrobe, I suggest you go with seersucker because it’s lightweight and it doesn’t wrinkle.

When it comes to suit material, a great fabric for travel is either a heavy flannel, but if that’s not appropriate for a warm summer, I suggest you go with a fresco wool.

How do you pack your carry-on? Feel free to share your tips & tricks to efficiently packing light for a short trip!


Gentleman’s Gazette

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Monique and Jay Flirt Up a Storm at a Business Lunch | Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s | OWN

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Identity Theft Is Also A Problem for African Americans’ Business and Personal Finance

Since the rise of the internet, identity theft has been a growing problem in the United States, affecting both consumers and business owners alike. Business owners are more profitable for identity thieves, due to the potential to hack into larger credit lines, bank balances, and reserve accounts, along with the fact that less oversight of business accounts (compared to consumer accounts) means that it’s easier for hackers to open other commercial credit lines at a rapid pace. Here are some facts:
  • There’s now over 12 million victims of identity theft per year and at least 5% are African American
  • Nearly 35 million Americans have been a victim in some capacity
  • Nearly 10% of all U.S. households have been a victim in some capacity
  • 22% of identity theft victims have experienced multiple cases of identity theft
  • 29% of victims spend a month or more trying to resolve identity theft problems
  • Nearly 40% of victims report bouts of severe emotional distress as a result
  • Average loss per identity theft case is over $ 5,000
  • Total identity theft losses in 2014 were $ 26,350,000,000
  • Half of identity theft cases go unnoticed for at least 30 days
  • 1 out of 10 identity theft crimes go unnoticed or hidden for 2 or more years
Due to the well-known fact that most black businesses have lower sources of capital, assets, and general wealth/resources compared to their white counterparts, it’s vital that a black business owner do the best that they can to avoid becoming a victim of business or personal identity theft.

Hacking Procedures

As covered by the BBB, identity thieves can hack into your personal or business information through a variety of ways:
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit reports
  • Loan accounts
  • Fraudulent business filings
  • Social Security numbers
  • Tax Identification numbers
  • Credit Card accounts
  • Cell phone service
  • Internet account service
  • Pretending to be you or a major manager of your company to gain external data
Thieves will usually use stolen card numbers, bank accounts, etc., to immediately purchase items that they can resell for cash on the black market. These actions can obviously leave a business with a destroyed credit rating, loss of revenue, loss of business, potential cash-flow issues, and a variety of other problems.

Identity Management

Here are a variety of steps you can take to help reduce the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft through either your personal or business related information:
  • Do not send any information to people you don’t know.
  • Keep all important business and personal documentation in a secure place.
  • Use anti-virus software, fraud management tools, and firewalls for all technologies, computers, and devices.
  • Review your business and personal credit reports often, with alerts notifying you of when there’s any type of change to your profiles or reports.
  • Sign up for identity theft insurance, which comes with monitoring services to notify you of suspicious activity
  • Sign up for online banking, set up various security alerts/controls and review all of your details daily within your bank accounts.
  • Make sure all of the alerts on your credit cards, credit line accounts, loan accounts, insurance accounts, investment accounts, and any other important accounts are set up to notify you of when there’s any changes, additions, updates, etc. Also, try to review said accounts on at least a bi-weekly basis.
  • Run a lien check, business record check, and other public information check against your personal and business profiles at least on a quarterly basis, or have some sort of credit monitoring program that monitors these activities.

If An Event Occurs

If you think you might be a victim, contact your identity theft insurance provider immediately to notify them. In addition, file a police report and place a fraud alert on all accounts. Also, make sure to contact all of your partners, bankers, creditors, accountants, attorneys, vendors, suppliers, etc., to notify them of the situation and begin making various arrangements for assistance or payment modifications. Perps are getting more creative in how they steal information and more efficient in how fast they sell off stolen purchased items. Billions a year are being lost along with destroyed identities and reputations. Manage your identity to the fullest and don’t let the perps win.

The post Identity Theft Is Also A Problem for African Americans’ Business and Personal Finance appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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4 Steps For Black Entrepreneurs to Build Their First Business Credit Report

While every business owner has a personal credit report, not every business has a business credit report. A personal credit report is created the moment an individual with a Social Security number accepts their first job or applies for their first form of financing. However, a business credit report is not automatically created and there are a variety of steps that must be followed in order to establish this very important business financing tool. Here are the preliminary steps you must take to build business credit:

 

  Properly Establish Your Entity

Operating as a sole proprietor would make it very difficult to establish and build a quality business credit profile. So the first thing that you want to do is plan to incorporate your business as either a C-Corp, S-Corp, or Limited Liability Company (LLC).

This will also involve obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN), opening a dedicated bank account for the business, setting up the business telephone line, setting up the business website, setting up the business location, and making sure to have a clear separation of personal and business affairs. Other aspects associated with properly establishing your entity include having proper levels of insurance, developing a quality business plan, and making sure your legal advisers are in place.

Register the Entity With the Major Business Credit Bureaus

To make sure your payment history from vendors, suppliers, and creditors that report to business credit bureaus is recorded, you have to make sure to set up a business entity profile with the two major business credit bureaus. This will include both Experian Business and Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). With D&B you will receive a D-U-N-S number and a D&B PAYDEX Score; with Experian you will receive an Intelliscore Plus. Both are measured mainly using a scale of 1–100, with a score over 80 considered the best tier. It’s best that once you establish your profile, that you also set up some sort of credit monitoring; that way you can verify each month that everything is being reported properly and efficiently.

Begin Building the Business Credit Profile

This process could be a bit difficult, as not every creditor reports their information to business credit bureaus. So your research here would be to find those creditors that, in fact, would report your on-time payment information, so you could build your report history. Some vendors to look at to begin include the following:

  • Shared Secured Loans and Secured Credit Cards

These can be provided by your local credit union. With both, you will deposit money into a bank account and then with the shared secured loan, you will take out a loan on the money deposited, using the deposit balance as security. As you pay back the loan, that amount of the secured balance becomes “available.” This product is great because it’s reported to the business credit bureaus as a regular loan from the credit union. The same would work with the secured credit cards, where you establish a line of credit using money from your deposit account, with the reporting showing up as a regular credit card on the business credit report from the credit union. A business would find that using one of these products would prove to be much easier to establish a business credit history than using one of the various companies below.

  • Various Companies

These can include companies such as Grainger, Uline, Quill, OnDeck, and a variety of other companies that would report the on-time payments to the bureaus.

Continue Building Your Business Credit Profile

After a solid six to 12 months of using the above beginning basics of building, you could now try to apply to the variety of business credit card companies to add additional trade lines. In addition, seek to reach out to various vendors, suppliers, and consultants for your business as many times they will offer trade credit, which could also be reported on your business credit report for building aspects. Note that as you go forward, you want to make sure to continue making all payments on time and never miss a payment. It’s also best to make payments much earlier than scheduled.

After a solid 12 to 24 months of utilizing the above strategies, your options for business lines of credit, leasing, term loans, asset-based lending, lower APR business credit cards, more attractive trade credit structuring, etc., open up as your business maintains its well-structured business credit report.

The post 4 Steps For Black Entrepreneurs to Build Their First Business Credit Report appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Slow Season? 3 Ways to Get Ahead When Business Hits a Lull

roofing-contractor

One of the trickiest parts of owning your own business is having to roll with the tides of the trade. For contractors, this means that some parts of the year will be extraordinarily busy, while others will seem too quiet. While slow periods can be stressful in terms of generating new leads and making money, they provide the perfect opportunity for home improvement professionals to catch up on administrative jobs and prepare for the busier months to come. If you’re hitting a slow season with your contracting business this winter, we’ve come up with three great ways to get ahead while you have the chance.

Update your branding

First, you’ll want to take a look at your current advertisements and marketing materials. Whether you own a fledgling business or have an established brand that has been around for years, it’s a crucial step if you want to stay relevant and current with your competitors.

While business is slow, take the time to review your current sales strategies and tweak anything that may not be quite right. This can include anything from changing your color scheme or tagline to overhauling your brand as a whole. This slow period is the perfect time to research and trial any changes you’ve been considering.

After you’ve implemented these changes, make sure to update your online portfolios and social media accounts with your latest projects, price lists, and logos. This is especially important for businesses in the digital age, where references and leads come mostly from social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as websites and Internet search engines.

Set your business up for success

Although you probably spend the majority of your work time on site, it’s essential that you keep the office side of your home improvement business running just as smoothly as the construction side. A quiet sales period will give you time to complete important administrative tasks that will set you up for success in the new year. These include:

  • Professional training
    • Eco-friendly training programs (such as LEED certification, US Green Building Council training programs)
    • Additional qualifications (for specialist services such as roofing, HVAC, or window/door installation)
    • Technical and professional certifications
  • Tech updates for your office
    • Install new programs (estimating software/platforms; finance, organization, and payroll apps) and operating systems
    • Test and upgrade hardware (computers, printers/copiers, other devices)
  • Think about the future
    • Combine the time you spend on branding/marketing with some thought about where you want your business to go and how you want to get there
    • Step-by-step strategies to help your business grow
      • Include lead generation strategies that help connect you with your ideal customer and find leads that are perfect for your business.

By taking the time to clean up your office—both literally and figuratively—and focus on your professional goals now, you’ll give yourself time to focus on the day-to-day running of your business once things pick back up after the holidays.  

Boost sales with promotions and referral schemes

Once you’ve caught up on all your branding, administration, and ongoing professional training, you can turn your attention to boosting sales while business is slow. Here are two of the best ways to draw in new clients during a slow winter season:

  • Seasonal discounts and promos
    • One-off sales to bring in new leads
    • Deals for clients who book during the holidays (link to and advertise with Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year sales)
    • Promotions for seasonal home improvement services (such as weatherstripping, winterizing the home, insulation, HVAC servicing and repairs in the winter months)
  • Referral schemes
    • For past clients – get in touch with a friendly holiday email, then mention that clients can get a certain percentage off services if they refer a friend

By posting exclusive sales, promotions, and referral schemes for new and existing leads, you can increase seasonal trade and stay connected to your clients by encouraging them to use your services time and again. As we all know, consumers love feeling like they’ve scored a great deal, so special deals like these are especially beneficial to businesses over the festive season.

A lull in business doesn’t have to be a bad thing—in fact, we’ve shown that slow trading periods can actually be beneficial for your home improvement company. While your schedule is free, you can take the time to reevaluate your business plan, update your brand, and find ways to boost sales in order to have a profitable year ahead. Here’s to a productive and successful new year!

Do you have any tips for getting ahead that have worked for you in the past? Share them with us in the comments below!

The post Slow Season? 3 Ways to Get Ahead When Business Hits a Lull appeared first on Modernize.

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ACRX Recognition Gallery: American Consultants Rx
http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.

The American Consultants Rx discount prescription cards are to be given free to anyone in need of help curbing the high cost of prescription drugs.

Due to the rising costs, unstable economics, and the mounting cost of prescriptions, American Consultants Rx Inc. (ACRX) a.k.a (ACIRX) an Atlanta based company was born in 2004. The ACRX discount prescription card program was created and over 25 million discount prescription cards were donated to over 18k organizations across the country to be distributed to those in need of prescription assistance free of charge since 2004.

The ACRX cards will offer discounts of name brand drugs of up to 40% off and up to 60% off of generic drugs. They also possess no eligibility requirements, no forms to fill out, or expiration date as well .One card will take care of a whole family. Also note that the ACRX cards will come to your organization already pre-activated .The cards are good at over 50k stores from Walgreen, Wal mart, Eckerd”s, Kmart, Kroger, Publix, and many more. Any one can use these cards but ACRX is focusing on those who are uninsured, underinsured, or on Medicare. The ACRX cards are now in Spanish as well.

American Consultants Rx made arrangements online for the ACRX card to be available at http://www.acrxcards.com where it can also be downloaded. This arrangement has been made to allow organizations an avenue to continue assisting their clients in the community until they receive their orders of the ACRX cards. ACRX made it possible for cards to be requested from online for individuals and organizations free of charge. Request for the ACRX cards can also be made by mailing a request to : ACRX, P.O.Box 161336,Atlanta,GA 30321, faxing a written request to 404-305-9539,or calling the office at 404-767-1072. Please include name (if organization please include organization and contact name),mailing address,designate Spanish or English,amount of cards requested,and telephone number.

American Consultants Rx is working diligently to assist as many people and organizations as possible. It should be noted that while many other organizations and companies place a cost on their money saving cards, American Consultants Rx does not believe a cost should be applied, just to assist our fellow Americans. American Consultants Rx states that it will continue to strive to assist those in need.

HEALTHCARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

Greening Your Reputation: Ways to Rebrand as an Eco-Friendly Business

eco-friendly-construction

If you’re like most contractors, keeping up with the latest construction industry trends and technology is an essential part of your business. One of the biggest buzzwords across the industry today is green—namely, finding ways to make your business more environmentally conscious and sustainable. And there’s good reason for it. Renewable energy and eco-friendly building processes are the future of the home building industry, so adopting greener ethics is crucial for business—not to mention a healthier environment. Here are some of our top tips to help you remarket your brand as an eco-friendly business.

Choose an eco-friendly focus

The first step towards remarketing any brand is to find your focus and choose a clear pathway that will help you reach your goal. For example, green construction companies may do any (or all) of the following:

  • Choose sustainable suppliers and manufacturers
  • Increase building site and office recycling measures
  • Adopt low-impact building practices (less machinery, more handcrafting)
  • Consider renewable energy sources

By choosing one or two key green concepts to adopt in your rebranding, you have a greater chance of succeeding in meeting your new eco-friendly goals. Likewise, customers who require your specific skill set will be drawn to your business over others because of your strong focus and passion for the environment.

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Boost your green credentials

Once you’ve decided on the eco-friendly concepts you’ll focus on, training is the next step. Currently, there are no national training requirements for green construction companies in the United States, but there are several organizations that offer fantastic support for professionals just like you. The U.S. Green Building Council is perhaps the most well known, and their comprehensive training program covers everything from the basics of energy efficiency and eco-friendly practices to LEED certification and the future of green business. Other short courses and green trainings are most likely available near you—check locally in your particular sector for more information.

While you’re studying up on eco-friendly business models, take some time to consider your current suppliers and product manufacturers. Working with brands that boast green ratings will increase your business in the long run, so look for companies whose goals match yours. For example, suppliers who provide or sell Energy Star rated products or manufacturers who use only FSC certified sustainable wood are a perfect match for an eco-friendly construction brand.

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Get experience

Training and qualifications are an important part of rebranding. Still, the only way to prove your new skills is by gaining experience in your new field. There are several ways you can go about doing this:

  • On the job training and shadowing with existing eco-friendly brands
  • Experimentation with new products and eco-friendly practices on site
  • Taking on new leads and projects that match your new green ethos

With your newfound knowledge and experience in hand, you can begin to build your green portfolio with jobs that fall into your new green services category. Get honest feedback from friendly professionals and clients, since this will be invaluable to your business growth and success.

Once you feel confident with your new eco-friendly business model, take your green brand even further by striving for LEED certification and/or Net Zero Energy building construction. After all, experts predict that these kinds of ultra-sustainable builds are the future of the construction industry.

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Sell yourself

The last step—and arguably the most important—in rebranding is to sell your new business model to the general public. Since your business was already up and running before you decided to make any green changes, your marketing efforts should be straightforward. Make sure to update any current ads and communication to showcase your new green focus, including:

  • Social media accounts
  • Website information
  • Print (and other) advertisements
  • Lead generation campaigns

In addition to listing your new green goals and business plans across social media and ads, you can further boost new sales by demonstrating your new eco-friendly practices and/or products with facts and figures. Numbers and charts speak volumes, but you can really wow your audience by including plenty of photographs and videos of your new green projects as well as positive reviews from current clients.  

Becoming a “green brand” might seem overwhelming at first, but as you can see, it’s nothing more than some simple rebranding steps. Besides these helpful pointers, all you’ll  need is some motivation, a positive attitude, and of course, a love for the environment!

The post Greening Your Reputation: Ways to Rebrand as an Eco-Friendly Business appeared first on Modernize.

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