corporate responsibility latina entrepreneur

First impressions count and how hiring companies can help

“Substantial research has affirmed the importance of first impressions while exploring a variety of factors that contribute to their formation,” an article by Mark Rowh of the American Psychological Association affirms.  “For example,” it continues, “a 2009 study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that factors ranging from clothing style to posture play a role in how impressions are formed.”

corporate responsibility latina entrepreneur first impressions

While significant money and energy has been invested in job training, resume preparation, and job creation, little has been done to address the most nuanced yet important aspect of job hunting – the interview suit. Despite the fact that prospects bring enhanced resumes and skills, they remain ill-prepared if they lack the proper attire.

The nonprofit Dress for Success describes the dilemma of Emerging Employees as a catch-22. Emerging Employees are preparing themselves to enter the workforce but without a job they cannot afford a suit. And without a suit they struggle to obtain a new job. In an effort to assist, Dress for Success has activated chapters throughout the U.S. to assist women with training and interview attire.

But nonprofits are not the only organizations lending a hand to Emerging Employees. For seven years Men’s Wearhouse, a national men’s apparel retailer, has coordinated a July clothing drive at over 1,100 Men’s Wearhouse locations. Men’s Wearhouse calls its annual clothing drive the National Suit Drive.

In an effort to encourage donations the retailer exchanges 50% discount certificates for donated suits, ties, jackets, shirts, pants, belts, and shoes. This smart incentive not only encourages donations, but also promotes new sales. Donated apparel is distributed to nonprofits throughout the country that provide job ready skills and training to unemployed and underemployed men.

LATINAS IN THE WORKFORCE first impressionsIn the post-Great Recession period Men’s Wearhouse has done a good job of listening to the masses. Today’s consumer expects more than just a product or service. In the post-recession era the business community is expected to reinvest into the communities from which it is earning its profits.

While many may dismiss the National Suit Drive campaign as merely a public relations tactic, the reality is that social responsibility is no longer an option – it is a requirement. In our social media-enabled society where every consumer is a potential influencer, corporations have learned that maintaining and maximizing profits requires a social responsibility strategy.

You might be interested: 5 Steps to a successful interview

In the case of Dress for Success and Men’s Wearhouse, these acts of charity can be the difference between getting the job and spending another week on unemployment. And of course, there should never be anything wrong with doing good business by doing good.



Pipeline Fellowship Natalia Oberti

Pipeline Fellowship Conference in the making of women angel investors

Natalia Oberti Noguera, CEO and Founder Pipeline Fellowhsip

Natalia Oberti Noguera, CEO and Founder Pipeline Fellowhsip

The Pipeline Fellowship conference is an all-day event on angel investing open to the public. Panels and presentations cover topics ranging from angel investing in action to due diligence, structuring the deal, valuation, and the post-investment relationship.


2015 Bay Area Pipeline Fellowship Conference

Friday, October 9, 2015, 8:30AM – 6:00PM (PDT)

Surprised? Curious? Each year, the Pipeline Fellowship selects five to ten women  in cities around the country to learn the skills of becoming an angel investor. The program includes attending monthly workshops and being mentored by seasoned male and female financiers.

The architect behind this initiative is Colombian-Italian Natalia Oberti Noguera, an unstoppable LGBT Latina who aims at “changing the faces of angel investors” in a White male-dominant industry.

“There are enough white guys investing in other white guys and I decided to change that,” she said at the Latinas Think Big™ Innovation Summit when prompted why she decided to start this women-led for profit social venture. That statement caught my attention for sure!

When I contacted Natalia for an interview, she immediately responded. “We target our potential investors through people like you who are genuinely interested in having a great conversation and sharing the message about this topic, and also through social media,” she said.

Growing up in Latin America, Natalia did not have entrepreneurial role models around her. “My father worked for the United Nations and we moved around a lot: I lived in Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Quoting Marie Wilson from The White House Project, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.”

Years later,  she finally took permanent residence in New York City. “I hold a BA in Economics and Comparative Literature from Yale University –I like to say that I majored in extra-curriculars. I didn’t realize that what I was doing was being entrepreneurial,” she said.

Pipeline Fellowship Natalia Oberti


The same way, when she meets her potential angels in training, she encourages them to become role models for other women.

“In 2011, at our first bootcamp in NYC, a woman of color approached me at the end of the session and said, ‘I was raised skeptical that women can be investors but you are right, I could be an angel!’ Those are the type of stories that keep me going. While women of color investors’ numbers are low –only 19 percent of investors are women and 4 percent are minorities–, they are not zero,” Natalia said.

She firmly believes that seeing other Latinas and women of color on the panels is a powerful message that motivates women to act. “I ‘hate’ non-profits,” she said boldly. “The perception this society has about the concept of money is different for men than for women. When a woman wants to help change the world, she starts a charity. When a man wants to do it, he builds a billion dollar business. Creating a self-sustaining venture that invests in women entrepreneurs’ projects and startups is the best way to advocate for doing well while doing good, and it should be the only way to make a profit,” Natalia assured.

For that purpose, the Pipeline Fellowship bootcamp includes three important aspects of becoming an angel investor: education, mentoring and practice. “Women who are interested in investing their money in exchange for equity in companies they believe in are helped to make the best decisions through our program,” Natalia explained. “We try to match local entrepreneurs with local investors but sometimes it is hard. We receive thousands of emails from women starting their own business who are looking to access capital but fewer are willing to step up and provide funding,” Natalia said. “Additionally, it is relatively accessible once the applicants meet the requirements,” she said. Each fellow pays $4,500 for tuition and commits to investing $5,000 toward a $50,000 investment in a start-up that meets the Pipeline Fellowship Pitch Summit criteria.

So what are you waiting for? Get your investors’ juices going and out in the real world to help other women fulfill their dreams. Latinas we tend to think that we need to keep our wealth to help our children; however, building someone else’s dream today might make that person pay it forward to our own children in the future.

After all, it takes a community of women investors to raise a successful woman entrepreneur.

social media sales

5 Reasons sales and social media work better together

social media sales

If you follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter you know I am fairly active on social media. Since the days of Compuserve and Egghead Software I have been an advocate for technology and the tools that create a competitive advantage in business.

Notwithstanding my obsession, anyone involved in business development – regardless of the industry – that has not included social media as part of their business development strategy, does not get it!

Research has shown that the use of social media has a significant positive effect on sales. Salespeople using social media experience 78% greater sales than similarly situated salespeople not using social media. With these numbers I cannot understand why salespeople would even think of balking at social media.

The following are five reasons why every salesperson and business development officer should implement a well-thought-out social media strategy.

  1. Social Media is a Workhorse. Successful salespeople work long hours. Colin Powell has said “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

A salesperson’s typical day begins with responding to emails, writing proposals, working prospect lists, making phone calls, attending mixers, presenting at conferences, driving for miles, flying for days, etc.

But no matter how driven and dedicated a salesperson may be, eventually there is a need to call it a day and recharge the batteries.

Unfortunately, business today is global and it crosses time zones. The Deal waits for no one – no matter how many hours per day a salesperson puts in. That’s where social media comes in. With social media, a salesperson can remain engaged and not skip a beat – even while sleeping in a different time zone or on a different continent.

Well-executed sales strategies make use of social media to create and maintain professional profiles that can provide needed information and convey knowledge, experience and competency. The use of a well-crafted social media profile accompanied by well-developed content, gives the prospective buyer the information needed to place the salesperson on the short list for follow up or to begin the sales process.

  1. Social Media Validates. Years ago I heard someone say “the Internet is the new resume.” Then a couple years later I heard someone say “Google is the new resume.” Today, most will agree that social media (and LinkedIn, specifically) is the new resume.

In my experience, nearly every business development meeting is preceded by or followed by the prospect visiting LinkedIn to validate information. Savvy buyers know that LinkedIn houses the resumes, expertise and accolades of over 300 million professionals worldwide. With this many professionals in one place, LinkedIn is without question the new resume and worthy of inspection before inking a deal.

It is in every salesperson’s best interest to maintain not only a social media presence, but also a presence that projects the message the salesperson is attempting to convey. The social media profile must be impressive and appropriate. It must not only validate the salesperson – it must bring the prospect closer to closing the deal.

  1. Buyers Are In Control. Sellers are no longer in control. Buyers tend to do their research before making a purchase, with the average consumer viewing more than 10 pieces of content prior to making a purchase.

This means that buyers no longer rely on the information provided by sellers. Whether the transaction is business-to-consumer or business-to-business, buyers are doing their homework by visiting social media sites and digesting available content to support the buying decision.

Salespeople must make themselves easy to find if they stand a chance at closing the deal. In the 1950s a bank robber named Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed so many banks. His answer: it’s where the money is! Today, salespeople must ask themselves a similar question. Why create a social media presence? It’s where the buyers are!salary reviews, salary reports

  1. It’s a Sharing Economy. Savvy salespeople know the power of “going viral.” The Internet has turned ordinary entrepreneurs and salespeople into overnight success stories as a result of social media’s ability to easily and quickly share information. The ability to share information on social networks means that anyone with a little creativity and some luck can become the next millionaire or billionaire!

Social media’s success is built on its ability to share information. Visit any social media profile or view any video, photograph or other form of content on social media and you will see the buttons that encourage sharing of the information. Social networks encourage buyers and potential buyers to share information about the product or service.

Salespeople that make use of social media create the ability to turn prospective and actual buyers into advocates/evangelists for the product/service. Instead of being a sales force of one, salespeople can potentially activate hundreds, thousands and even millions of people in getting the word out.

  1. Content is Not King. Many believe that content is king. I don’t. I believe that content is a king maker.

Social media makes salespeople accessible 24X7. Through well-crafted content found on Web sites and through social media, salespeople can create a trail of bread crumbs leading potential buyers straight to the seller.

Content is any information that can be housed on the Internet. This includes videos, podcasts, photos, articles, whitepapers and any other piece of information that can be retrieved by a potential buyer.

The power of content is its ability to inform and influence prospective buyers. Some prospects prefer videos to view the features of a product or service. Others prefer whitepapers containing technical specifications. Others prefer infographics that provide snapshots. Social media sales strategies

Each prospect has his/her own preferences. The key for any salesperson is to develop content in different formats that provide the information that prospects seek before making a purchasing decision. A salesperson that fails to create and maintain such content gives the advantage to competitors that incorporate content as part of their business development strategy.

Getting back to the opening question: why am I all over social media? Because it’s where the sales are. Ignoring social media gives the competition the advantage and turns potential buyers into the competition’s advocate – not mine. That’s a pretty god reason to be on social media.


Los Angeles Tap the Future winner Enso Ink_feature

“Shark Tank” Daymond John gives you 3 tips to win $200K (video)

ABC's Shark Tank's judge and business mogul Daymond John

ABC’s Shark Tank’s judge and business mogul Daymond John

Are you a LIBizus startup or entrepreneur looking to take your business to the next level? Do you have confidence that your new idea is worth over $200K? Then Miller Lite Tap the Future is what you have been waiting for!

Miller Lite Tap the Future gives participants the chance to present original business ideas and compete for the grand prize while working with world-known business moguls like Daymond John from ABC’s “Shark Tank.” This year, in addition to business teams, they are also accepting “solopreneurs” to the program.

Beginning February 6, entrepreneurs ages 21 and over can submit applications up until April 10, 2015. Thirty semi-finalists will be selected to pitch their business ideas in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and Detroit throughout July.

One business from each city will be chosen by a panel of judges to move on to the national finals and win $20,000. In September, the final six participants will compete in Chicago for a $200,000 grand prize.

“Miller Lite Tap the Future is the ultimate competition for entrepreneurs who want to be recognized and rewarded for following their true passion,” said John. “I encourage all entrepreneurs to apply for a chance to get their original idea out there and receive advice on how to take it to the next level.”

Two years in the works, Tap the Future has received over 4,000 submissions and provided $700,000 to fund original business ideas in all industries. Previous winners, Sean O’Brien and Evan Wray, were acquired for $27 million after creating Swyft Media, a company that creates stickers and emojis that are compatible with mobile messaging apps like Kik, Tango and Viber.

Los Angeles Tap the Future winner Enso Ink

Los Angeles Tap the Future winner Enso Ink

Miller Brewing Company began as just an idea in 1885 and has grown to be one of the top-five selling beers in the United States. Miller remembers where they started and are using this opportunity to give back to those who share the same passion for entrepreneurship.

“The original light beer exists because Frederick Miller followed his passion against all odds, so it is important for Miller Lite to support entrepreneurs who want to pursue theirs,” said Steve Canal, MillerCoors manager of community commerce and partnerships. “Not only does Miller Lite Tap the Future offer entrepreneurs the chance to interact with top business experts like Daymond John, but it also provides the tools and funding resources to help bring great ideas to life.”

These are John’s three tips to be a winner:

  1. Recognize the importance of mentors in life and business

    Daymond John with previous years' participants

    Daymond John with previous years’ participants

“I often speak about the importance of mentors. These days I’m usually the one doing the mentoring but I wanted to use this week’s blog to give people some insight into the people who changed my life through their mentorship. Mentors can be people who come into your life for a brief period or those who stick around forever. My friend, and current mentor Jay Abraham, who I’ve mentioned many times in the past, recently shared a study with me. It found that startups that have helpful mentors, and learn from startup thought leaders raise 7x more money and have 3.5x better user growth. Mentorship is what allowed the successful companies to focus, not take funding too soon, and scale at a good pace. I’m thankful for all of the mentors who have helped me throughout my career and life,” Daymond John says on this article “Mentors who changed my life.”

  1. Be a “go-giver”, not a go-getter

“When I’m on the road speaking, or really anywhere out in public, people often approach me to discuss their businesses. More often than not, they ask me for something, ‘Can you help me get distribution,’ ‘Can you help me with my next round of funding,’ etc. While it’s good to approach the people whom you’d like to work with, this is not the best way to do it, he says in his article “Be a Go-Giver, not a Go-Getter.”

“The best way to approach these people is to OFFER services rather than ASK for them. The people I end up working with are the ones who come up to me and say, ‘I’d love to work with you. How can I help you with what you have going on?’ Or ‘I do such and such service, I’d like to offer it to you free of charge so you can see the quality of my work.’ The next time you’re at a networking event, give the go-giver approach a shot, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results,” he concludes.

  1. Practice these three ways to get ahead

    Participants at the Tap the Future competition

    Participants at the Tap the Future competition

Miller Lite Tap the Future judge Daymond John knows a thing or two about being successful. In this video, he shares three tips to keep in mind when trying to get ahead. He advises that you should watch what you say on social media, keep your appearance in mind and learn from everyone you meet.

Click here to watch the video with Daymond’s tips on getting ahead!

Applications are being accepted now until Friday, April 10, 2015. Good luck! Click here to apply.

affiliate programs

Why we choose only the best affiliate marketing programs for LIBizus

affiliate programs


By now, you might have noticed those banners and icons from large companies starting to appear on our pages. Like any other business, we want to succeed and create wealth by sharing information with our readers and members of our LIBizus community about trustable companies we work with.

So we wanted to share with you how we go about choosing our affiliate marketing programs and what we would offer so you can take advantage of these products and services with total confidence. We will always disclaim if we use them, and when we just recommend them based on other bloggers reviews.


    Amazon_Kindle Fire

    Shop now for your Kindle Fire!

We chose the Affiliate Marketing Program not only because it has excellent reviews but also because I personally have been an Amazon customer since… forever! I have used every feature, starting with PRIME and buying online every product, from technology to shoes, and beauty and vitamins to gluten-free food (yes, I have a gluten intolerance problem and we will talk about it very soon!)

What I love the most from Amazon –read this Intuit review– is the superb customer service and customer-oriented policies that makes them the #1 online superstore. Not only returns are handled in a super professional and timely manner, but also the respect and friendly interaction with the customer really speaks for their customer service training and preparation. They really go out of their way to achieve customer satisfaction, which, in my view, is a priceless feature.

  1. LegalShield Plan for Small Business (coming soon!)

    Legal Shield APP at the ITune Store

    Legal Shield APP at the ITune Store

LegalShield is an established organization that has maintained an impressive A+ BBB grade for 15 years. Their restoration services are ran through Kroll, who is the world’s leading consulting company in identity theft restoration, according to

I was a member with this company when they were PrePaid Legal Services and having a small business like I had at the time with 11 employees, their services were not only inexpensive but extremely helpful. I’m a member now and, with their small business plan, I use their service on a regular basis.

The company changed its name to LegalShield in 2011, but its goal remained the same as it did 40 years ago – to provide outstanding legal coverage by quality law firms at an affordable price. This is their story:

“When Harland Stonecipher was in a motor vehicle accident and hospitalized in 1969, he realized it was money, not rights that gained you access to our legal system. After depleting his life savings defending himself against something he didn’t do, Stonecipher was determined to make legal protection accessible to everyone, everywhere, no matter how traumatic or trivial the situation, so that no one would ever be blindsided again. And that’s exactly what he did.”

Now with over 4 million users, LegalShield not only provides legal services in 49 states and 4 Canadian Provinces but also, for one low monthly cost, you can protect your small business knowing you’ll have access to legal advice anytime you need it and save a lot of green!

  1. T-Mobile (coming soon!)T-Mobile icon

Tired of slavery with contracts and hefty bills? I was too, a loyal customer with AT&T for years! Took every rock they threw at me and kept the service going. Expensive and less than customer-friendly service, I recently moved to T-Mobile. Yes, you might say it doesn’t have the best network but… they have superb customer service, and they recommend plans and phones according to your needs, not their needs –that is my experience so far!

We recently applied for their affiliate marketing program with CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction), a reputable online advertising company owned by Conversant, Inc. operating in the affiliate marketing industry, which operates worldwide. We will let you know when it all comes together!

  1. (coming soon!) icon

We also recently applied with thinking it is an appropriate time of year to use their services. It is an IRS-authorized e-file provider with a Better Business Bureau Accreditation A-plus, and has a dedicated support team to help answer any questions. We have not tried their service but we heard good reviews and are offered by reputable Rakuten LinkShare Marketing.

We will continue to recommend products and services we like and encourage you to do the same. If you have questions or experiences –good or bad- about these companies, we want to hear from you! Please comment below all your concerns, we only want to offer quality service companies to



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Monica Taher when crisis sets the path to financial freedom

Monica Taher

Monica Taher

A scary moment in our lives: who has not had it? But when everything crumbles around you, then it seems hard to see where to start and how to keep it going. An emotional crisis is usually the first step into a series of disasters that can include deep financial problems.

Monica Taher, a Latina in business who defines herself as a serial entrepreneur, faced the turmoil of splitting with her lifetime partner in 2011. Today, she shares some tips on how she came back from the ashes and acquired financial freedom doing what she loves.

“As much as I was devastated when she deserted me with a mortgage to pay and a daughter to take care of, today I can look back and find a real blessing in that moment,” Monica said.

Despite the emotional pain caused by their separation, she quickly realized that a huge part of the impact was financial. “I had enjoyed the flexibility of a dual income household and suddenly, I needed to reevaluate my personal finances, assets and most importantly, the business I wanted to launch. My partner of 13 years was never supportive of my vision, and that moment of cruel realization was a turning point in my life,” she said.

Like Monica, many Latinas do not think in terms of protecting their personal finances. It is a cultural “treat,” a behavior that is passed on from generation to generation by most women in our families. We trust that our partner, husband or significant other will take care of us, and eventually, we expect our children to do the same.

However, life is not as stable as it used to be and children have their own plans and problems to worry about. “We can’t make excuses not to prepare ourselves for the eventual situation of facing a crisis,” Monica said.

The first thing she did was to dive into research about personal finances and entrepreneurship strategies. “At first, I really didn’t understand much. However, the more I read, the more it made sense,” she shared. Finally, the opportunity to launch the startup of her dreams became an obsession.

She was taught by her parents that education was the path to financial freedom. But how would she manage to continue her studies while supporting her family, saving money for her daughter’s college education and her own retirement, and graduating without getting into further debt?

“Instead of taking out student loans, I founded fellowships at the university in exchange for registration fees, and consequently graduated with zero debt. I finished my Masters degree at UCLA while working full-time,” Monica said.


Monica Taher at her house in Los Angeles, CA

Appointed in 2009 as Director of Business Development at a leading digital multimedia producer, Getty Images Latin America (GILA), Monica invested in that company some money she had put away and became a partner. In her current role, Mónica supervises the penetration of GILA’s digital assets in the US Hispanic and Latin American markets.

“I turned into an avid reader of financial literature, raising my credit scores from the low 600s to the 800s and realized I had increased my chances of maximizing wealth for my daughter and me,” Monica said. “It took about two and a half years to get out of the woods but now I own two properties and I’m financially stable.”

She is now in the process of launching a second startup, ClipYap, an app that would allow users to chat using movie and TV shows’ lines and actions in the form of motioned GIFs seamlessly put together.

These are some tips Monica shared with LIBizus about facing a life crisis and how to make the best out of it:

  1. If you own assets with a husband, partner or significant other, your name should be on every deed or investment;
  2. Do not make excuses; you cannot be so busy that you cannot take care of your own financial protection;
  3. If you have a vision, a dream, if you are an entrepreneurial being like I am, educate yourself and focus on it;
  4. Although it is easier said than done, you cannot be with a partner who is not supportive of your ideas or do not help you fulfill your dreams.

“I know I’m in a much better place today that I would have ever been if I had stayed in that relationship. As Latinas and as immigrants, we have to fight harder to get into places and prove that we have a brain. We need to make conscious decisions, and have the courage to work through the pain with tenacity, resilience and creativity,” she concluded.

Ten Thirty One on raising 2 million in Shark Tank money

Today Show resident Halloween expert and Ten Thirty One Productions (TTO) CEO Melissa Carbone on set before joining Kathie Lee and Hoda.

Today Show resident Halloween expert and Ten Thirty One Productions (TTO) CEO Melissa Carbone on set before joining Kathie Lee and Hoda.

By Jesse Torres

The last scariest news in zombie fads, zombie walks, zombie videogames, zombie movies, and zombie-you-name-it has landed on Melissa Carbone, owner of Ten Thirty One Productions, who walked out of the Shark Tank program with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s $2 million in exchange for a 20 percent equity stake in her entertainment company.

The latest obsession in escaping reality, zombies, has gained public interest in different parts of the country while generating profits to the Hollywood and Wall Street fat cats’ pockets worth around 5 billion dollars in DVD sales, video games, comic books, novels, costumes, merchandise, conventions and even zombie art, NBC News reports.

Carbone, who is the winner of the largest Shark Tank deal in the show’s history, shared with me the key characteristic of a true entrepreneur during a KCAA Money Talk interview last week.

“The biggest bridge between those that succeed and those that don’t is simply activation; people who activate win,” Carbone said.

“Everyone on the planet has ideas,” she continued. “Everyone has an idea for something. A lot of people have amazing ideas, million dollar ideas. But if you don’t activate on them, they go nowhere. They become nothing. And it does not even matter that you had an idea.”

Consultant Rasmus Lindgren echoed a similar sentiment on his blog, “You need to take action and do stuff. Nothing ever happened from just thinking or talking about it.”

“Two traits most commonly identified across successful entrepreneurs are innovation and motivation,” Kara Finnegan wrote on Big Think. “Innovators bridge the gap between ideas and action.”

But as Robert Kiyosaki points out on the Rich Dad blog, success requires more than action for action’s sake. “Lots of people take action and the result is that 9 out of 10 new businesses fail. There is more than just action required to make you an entrepreneur.”

Kiyosaki urged entrepreneurs to have a clear vision of what they aim to achieve and a strong mindset so that they won’t be deterred by the first sign of trouble.


Ten Thirty One Productions CEO, Melissa Carbone and Creative Director, Melissa Meyer.

Fear and deterrents prompt some prospective entrepreneurs to view activation as too risky. Fear of failure scares them from acting on their billion dollar idea.

“Making a mistake is not a bad thing,” entrepreneur Neil Patel declared on the Quick Sprout blog. “You actually learn from those mistakes, which helps you make better decisions down the road.”

Indeed, as author Bruce McDaniel explained in Entrepreneurship and Innovation: An Economic Approach, “entrepreneur” was used in France in the 18th century to describe the very act of risk taking.

“Entrepreneurs do what they do because they want to, because they believe they need to, because they feel something must change, because they know their actions are required to make that change,” Larry Robertson stated in A Deliberate Pause: Entrepreneurship and Its Moment in Human Progress. “They believe they simply have no choice. Their conclusion is ‘if not me, who?’”

The following three tips can help you take action on your ideas and overcome the fear that may be holding you back.

  1. Do the right amount of research.

“The larger knowledge you have about the specific topic related to your action, the larger self-confidence you will have,” consultant Dragan Sutevski wrote on the Entrepreneurship in a Box blog. “If the knowledge for the specific problem that needs to be solved with your entrepreneurial activities is larger, the solution will be much more easier.”

Shark Tank contestant Carbone founded a horror-based immersive entertainment company after receiving a jaw-dropping number of trick-or-treaters at her horror-themed home one Halloween. If she could get hundreds of visitors to her home with some creativity, how much traffic could she drive if she put in professional time and effort?

According to Carbone, she spent several days researching the concept and within a very short time frame launched an enterprise that yielded a $2 million investment from Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban.

“To succeed as an entrepreneur, remember to guard against making critical decisions based solely on emotion without considering relevant information,” has advised. “Analyze the situation, make the decision, and take action with confidence in your decision-making and planning abilities.”

  1. Don’t fear failure.

“Brains are overrated when it comes to achieving great results,” Lindgren wrote.Focus on doing and building things of value. Most mistakes and changes are more often than not easily fixed.”

Successful entrepreneurs know that success doesn’t necessarily reward the smartest or most intelligent. Success comes to the action taker. Successful entrepreneurs are smart enough to know a good idea when they think of one and sharp enough to put together a strategy that works.

They may not qualify as brain surgeons or rocket scientists but they know how to execute plans, get things done and beat Einstein to the punch.

Carbone encouraged risk taking, saying, “Don’t be afraid to fail as long as after the failure you reflect and try again.”

  1. Act promptly.

“Activate when you have the idea because if you have the idea today and you do not activate today, I guarantee somebody else is going to have that idea tomorrow and maybe that person will activate,” Carbone said.

Have you ever watched an ad or found a product at the store and said, “Hey! I thought of that!” OK, so you did think of it. But so did someone else. In the world of entrepreneurship, having a great idea only gets you so far. You must act on it or lose to the competition.

Holiday sales social media

Increase Holiday sales Tweet your small business away

Holiday sales social mediaThe Holiday season is fast approaching and small businesses are getting ready to make “their season.” However, with a harsh competition out there and the big stores advancing their offers sooner and sooner –many are already offering “Black Friday” bargains– small businesses might find themselves in a crunch. If you are still relying –and paying– for traditional advertising, like newspaper ads and fliers, or trusting that word-of-mouth will bring you the clients you need, perhaps this is the perfect time to try social media.

Stand out from the crowd!

Through social media free platforms, you can advertise, brand and build your local business, increase profits and hopefully start a promotional campaign that will help you stand out from the crowd and transform local customer into loyal clients.

Increase sales through social media

If you are not using social media, you’re missing out big time. Mobile and web technology allow you to network with new local customer who might be out there willing to purchase your products and services but do not have you in their scope of interest or, worse yet, they don’t even know you exist!

Utilizing these resources will allow your small business to communicate with local customers at no cost, while creating engaging relationships. You may reach people who live and work in your immediate area of influence by creating dynamic profiles, updating your social media accounts and interacting with them to create new relationships.

Do I know all of my followers or have I met with them? Most of the time, my best social media “friends” are people who share some of my interests, we have a common goal or we support each other’s effort to reach out to people who share the same interests.

When I participate in social media, not only I contribute content that I believe would be helpful to all my readers but I also support and “share” or “retweet” what other people is offering, sharing or selling.

Each channel has benefits, advantages and disadvantages. For instance, Twitter is an excellent channel to engage customers and get customer feedback. You can engage then with certain offerings and ask them to give you their opinion or value your business. Can’t beat this free marketing research/opinion focus groups!

By engaging with followers and making changes to your services or offerings, you show that you take their opinions seriously and value their comments.

Complaints can also be addressed immediately through social media. Be aware, though, that some people might use social media to complaint about your business just to take advantage of you. Do you due diligence and make sure their complaint is legitimate. Also, look at their social media profile and see if they are a “chronic” complainer. Handling frustrations might show other customers that you care, but consider taking some conversations offline, especially if you suspect they are illegitimate or might become contentious.

Whether you are a newbie or have tried using social media before with little results, don’t get discouraged! Learn the best strategies to engage local customers and convert them to loyal clients! Register today to learn from a pro! Click on the picture to register now!

Engage with social media Lorraine C Ladish

Engage with social media Lorraine C Ladish


8 Simple steps to becoming a winning restaurateur

Cities Restaurant EastLABy Jesse Torres

(Photos by @melcrave)

Not too long ago I had the opportunity to interview Omar Loya in my weekly radio show on KCAA NBC Radio in Southern California. He is the co-owner of Cities Restaurant in East Los Angeles.

I was intrigued with Omar’s success story for three reasons. First, Omar and his two partners chose to launch their restaurant during the worst of The Great Recession. Second, Cities Restaurant is a “high-end” restaurant located in the middle of East Los Angeles, a low to moderate-income community. And, third, while East Los Angeles is known for its great Mexican food and large population, Cities Restaurant does not feature a single Mexican item on its menu.

Given these three facts, along with the “cult” following that Cities Restaurant has developed, I had to ask Omar how he did it. These are Omar’s eight simple steps to a successful restaurant launch.

  1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Omar and his partners spent a considerable amount of time conducting due diligence on the restaurant. Successful small businesses differentiate themselves and offer something that is missing in the local community. In Omar’s case, he found an abundance of low-cost Mexican restaurants. However, there was a shortage of high-end restaurants. His research told him that locals were leaving for other communities to have a “high-end” food experience. His research also suggested that local residents and professionals seeking such an experience could more than adequately support the restaurant.carpaccio dish
  2. KEEP IT SIMPLE: The fewer the number of moving parts, the easier it is to manage, and the cheaper it is to operate. The menu should not seek to be all things to all people. Instead, the menu provides options that are appealing and consistent with the mission and vision of the restaurant. In Omar’s case, he offers no Mexican cuisine. Instead, Cities Restaurant offers selections that are not available nearby.
  3. GIVE THEM WHAT IS MISSING: As noted above, part of the due diligence process is to find the unmet needs. In East Los Angeles there is a Mexican restaurant on every block. However, there are not many restaurants serving up a delicious ahi salad. Conduct a “needs assessment” by asking local residents and professionals what they like that they can’t get locally…then fill that need.
  4. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK: Something that Omar and his partners did extremely well was to network with the local community well before the restaurant opened its doors. Omar welcomed the community to view progress in constructing the restaurant. He also attended local business chamber meetings as an owner of Cities before it served its first glass of water. He worked very closely with representatives of local government as well as community groups. By the time Cities Restaurant was ready for its grand opening, the entire community was aware. As a result, Cities Restaurant opened strong and continues to maintain a growing base of customers.
  5. BE A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY: Cities Restaurant has quickly become the “go to” location for fundraisers, holiday parties, and political rallies. Due to its heavy community involvement it has greatly benefited from the increased exposure to new visitors participating in the various events held at the restaurant. Along the way Cities Restaurant has gained a reputation as a community-friendly establishment, resulting in greater patronage and exposure.Watermelon with radish dish
  6. HAVE A PLAN FOR THE FUTURE: According to Omar, a problem with many restaurants is a lack of vision. It is important for the entire organization, from owners to managers to servers, to understand the vision and mission of the restaurant. However, before the staff can do this the owners must stop and think about where they want to go. Owners need to be strategic in order to ensure a future for the restaurant. What do you want your restaurant to be? Who would be your best clients?
  7. BE NIMBLE, BE QUICK: The advantage of a small business is the ability to change course “on the fly.” Running any business requires making adjustments. Owners, management and staff must constantly be on the lookout for those things that do not work and make immediate changes to achieve the desired outcomes. Unfortunately, many small businesses get caught up on the day-to-day and fail to stop and look around and analyze outcomes to see if plans are working as expected.
  8. BE OPPORTUNISTIC: Small business owners must always be on the lookout for opportunities. Such opportunities may include collaboration, filling newly discovered unmet needs, or any other circumstance that may suddenly appear. Such opportunities may not last very long. In other cases, taking strawberry saladadvantage early may provide long-term benefits. Regardless, small business owners need to be able to get above the weeds often to identify opportunities that can benefit the business.


Learn more about the restaurant industry (from AOL jobs)

  • Recent research done on restaurant industry statistics by the National Restaurant Association shows that nearly 50 percent of all eateries in the United States are now owned by women, and restaurants hire more minority managers than any other industry.
  • While the restaurant industry is the second largest employer, giving jobs to nearly 13 million people, women and minorities are especially well represented. For example, Hispanic restaurant ownership has increased 42 percent in the past five years. The restaurants industry has provided 1.5 million new jobs over the past 10 years.
  • Many female and minority workers got their very first jobs in some aspect of the restaurant industry. The research shows that one in four adults had their first job experience in a dining establishment, and that almost 50 percent of all U.S. residents have worked in the restaurant industry at some point in their lives.
  • Surprisingly enough, it’s not the large chains and fast food conglomerates who are the major employers in food service. Ninety three percent of all restaurants have fewer than 50 employees. Also, more than 80 percent of restaurant managers got their start as front-line employees.

For more information about resources and information on how to open a restaurant, visit the National Restaurant Association


 About Jesse TorresJesse_Torres

Jesse Torres has spent nearly 20 years in leadership and executive management posts, including executive management roles at financial institutions. In 2013 the Independent Community Bankers of America named him a top community banker influencer on social media. He is a frequent speaker at financial services and leadership conferences and has written several books. He hosts an NBC News Radio show called Money Talk with Jesse Torres.
Follow @jstorres or contact