“Mentoring Through Missteps” a Nontraditional Discussion on Starting a Business | Event Held in Westchester on May 28, 2014

REGISTER FOR THE EVENT ON MAY 28 | 6:30pm

Image

Article written by Betsy Cadel

Yes, I’m an entrepreneur, but not that kind of entrepreneur, I thought when Elina Furman invited me to join a local female entrepreneurs group. And because I find being around self-starters and creative folks incredibly inspiring, I jumped at the chance.

On the night of the small gathering at Elina’s house we went around the table introducing ourselves. I listened as they described the companies they had founded, the products they had launched, and their professional backgrounds, which were so impressive that if I had met them in some other environment I might have been pretty intimidated.

But, after commiserating about our kids, dishing about celebrity gossip and opening up a bottle (or two) of wine, I felt like we were all just moms who started down a more secure career path and ended up taking the risk of choosing another.

“So ladies,” Elina started, “What are you struggling with right now? Is there anything holding you back?”

I was surprised when the discussion quickly turned to personal insecurities and fears each of us had. Then everyone shared business issues that could ultimately mean the life or death of their company (and their household income). Only in the movie Field of Dreams was it a foregone conclusion that “If you build it they will come.”

One thing that kept coming up over and over were costly mistakes they had made or assumptions about their business strategy that turned out to be wrong. And refreshingly, they were so open and honest about it.

Then it hit me. I’ve been to countless conferences and events where panels of experts talk about how to achieve success, but they never ever talk about their failures.

I thought about how other business owners could learn how to get it right from what these women had tried and gotten wrong.

When I approached Rob with the idea of hosting the “Mentoring through Missteps” event, without hesitation he said, “sounds great!” What makes Rob one my favorite entrepreneurs is that he is willing to try anything.

I was thrilled with the people who agreed to be panelists as they represent all different types of businesses from online to subscription to bricks and mortar.

Elina Furman is the founder of Pley (commonly referred to as Netflix for Legos). She recently received 7-million dollars in funding to grow her business, which is part of the “sharing economy.” Image

Sarah Welch founded Buttoned Up, which originally started as a product line that was sold in mega-retailers like Walmart and Target. As the economy changed she found she either had to reinvent her company or fold. Ultimately she discovered a revenue stream that was most unexpected.

Image

Jenifer Ross is the owner of W@tercooler in Tarrytown, which is a co-workspace that has evolved into a hub for the community, workshops, entertainment, and retailers. She is looking at opening a second location in Yonkers soon.

Image

Figuring out who should be the moderator the biggest no-brainer of them all: The DAE’s very own Rob Kissner. He knows first hand the challenges of starting his own company, biting his nails when he opened the doors and no one walked through, and about creatively recalibrating his business model, making The DAE the thriving business it is today.

So, you think you’re not that kind of entrepreneur? Guess what, if you own your own business or have always dreamed of doing it, you are. Over food and drinks you’ll meet other like-minded people (AKA potential contacts) and will leave more confident and business savvy than you were two-hours earlier.

And best of all it may help you avoid costly mistakes while recognizing that, as Malcolm Forbes said, “Failure is success if we learn from it.”

Betsy Cadel is the founder of Thinking Cap Productions, which turns WTF to OMG one how-to video at a time.

 

“Mentoring Through Missteps”

Event to be held May 28th at 6:30pmat The Digital Arts Experience: 170 Hamilton Ave. in White Plains, NY

Tickets $10 at: http://mentoringthroughmissteps.eventbrite.com

Wine served, Refreshments available.

 

Advertisements

Top 5 Ways to Digitize Your Small Business – Gibbons Digital

The DAE often consults with businesses to create customized plans for the integration of technology into their companies. So, for today’s blog post, we reached out to Gibbons Digital. Gibbons Digital is a local a full-service social media marketing agency. Leah Breyette, Social Media Manager at Gibbons Digital, shared with us the business’s tips on how you should digitize your small business!

Top 5 Ways to Digitize Your Small Business

Thanks to ever-evolving technology, we live in a world where virtually anything and everything is available to us with a couple keystrokes and the click of a button. From a wealth of information on any topic imaginable to what’s happening right now in any part of the world at any given time to a brand-new camera on your doorstep the next day, it’s no secret that technology has made our lives faster, smarter and easier. It’s also no secret that while many of us have “digitized” our personal lives, we may have neglected to do the same for our professional ones. No worries, it’s much easier than it sounds, and starting off with these small steps will get you on the path to having a tech-savvy business in no time!

 

  1. Social media. The benefits of social media for small businesses are tremendous, and of course we could talk about them all day! (But we’ll save that for another time). To keep it short and sweet, social media allows your small business to directly connect and interact with your customers, allowing you to hone in on what they want from you. And isn’t that what business is all about?

  2. Blogging. Want to be seen as a thought leader in your industry, boost traffic to your website and grow your market? Blogging is your one-stop shop. Creating unique, appealing and valuable content through a blog is one sure way to make your small business stand out from the crowd!

  3. Go mobile. Wherever you are, stop what you’re doing and take a look around. It’s highly likely you’re looking at a couple (or many) people looking at their phones. Whipping out a laptop during every spare moment we have isn’t all that practical, but doing a quick Internet search on our smartphones? Now that’s a different story. If your business doesn’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’re missing out on untapped clientele! Optimizing your website for mobile use is a short and simple process that’s well worth the effort.

  4. Analyze. Do you know what exactly is driving leads and/or sales to your website? Do you know which pages on your website are the most popular? Do you know how many people are viewing your website from a mobile device? If you answered “no” to any of these (or don’t think you need to know them), think again. You could be missing out important information that could change your business immensely, and for the better. In this case, Google Analytics is your best friend, so go ahead and get acquainted!

  5. Organize. Our smartphones and devices are stellar tools for keeping our important information organized using notes, calendars, reminders, apps and more, which means you can skip the headache of rummaging through piles of handwritten notes on your desk! We’re also huge fans of Google Docs, which allows you to create documents, presentations, surveys and more, and share it with your coworkers.


Is your small business “digitized?” How do you do it? Share your success stories with us!

About Gibbons Digital

Gibbons Digital Consultants is a full-service social media marketing agency, providing superior social media consulting and implementation services (http://gibbonsdigital.com/social-media-services/) to small and medium-sized businesses and is located in Bronxville, NY.  For more information on how Gibbons Digital can help grow your business using social media, visit www.gibbonsdigital.com.

Social Media Tips for Freelance and Small Business

Image

Yesterday at our space, we had the privilage of hosting “Social Media for the Freelance Soul,” an intimate seminar and networking event all about utilizing social platforms for small business.  Cristin Grogan gave us some super helpful, super simple tips  We are delighted to share them with you!

Facebook:
-Set up custom tabs for your other channels
-Share your story
-8-9:30AM post & 7:30-8PM post & on weekends. Thursday 11AM is a hot time.
-Ask questions – call to action. Convey your humanity.

Twitter:
-Customized background
-Tweet during business hours
-Become a source of information

LinkedIn:
-Join groups pertinent to your industry
-High SEO on LinkedIn
-Have interns ALL make LinkedIn pages- link company page on their profiles. “Intern at ….. DAE”

Pinterest:
-Tell a story with your boards
-Make the content inspirational
-Get personal
-Incredible SEO tool
-Add hashtags & searchable keyboards
-Create different, personalized boards

Blogs:
-Answer questions
-Ask to guest blog

A New Way to Work in the 21st Century

A career is a very different thing today in comparison to a career 10 years ago. In the past, you could get a job for a big company, work your way into a more senior position, and spend the rest of your working life with the company until you retire. These days, there are very few industries that can promise a disruptive free career. Companies are constantly making cutbacks, closing departments and laying off workers. It is for this reason we are seeing more and more individuals starting their own business. Paul B. Brown writes in his Blog, Action Trumps Everything: Succeeding in the New Workplace (and life):

…You’d better be prepared to create something on the side, no matter what you are currently doing for a living. This is true if you’re 18 or 58.  Even if you currently work for the world’s best company, someone could acquire the firm tomorrow, or a new invention could render your entire industry obsolete (rent many movies from a freestanding store lately; buy any maps, or a new set of encyclopedias?) Your work life is not completely within your control.

Brown’s point is that both recent college graduates and seasoned business professionals alike are turning to entrepreneurship as a way to regain some semblance of control over their professional lives.

In today’s digital age, it is simple to create, grow, and maintain a company on a shoestring budget. Between simple web design tools, web payment services, and virtual meeting software, one can start a business out of his or her home office or bedroom, and many entrepreneurs are doing just that. There are however some issues inherent with working out of the home. Home = distractions. Between your TV, pets, kids, etc., working out of the home can be an extraordinarily unproductive experience. If you are in a business where you are regularly meeting with clients, using your home office or a Starbucks as a meeting place is less than professional. In addition, the solitude of working at home is counterintuitive with entrepreneurship. Creating a business requires a lot of discussion and sharing of ideas between creative people. Ideas flourish when 3rd parties can offer their feedback on ideas, marketing strategies etc. The entrepreneur is faced with a dilemma in 21st century: Where do you go to work that’s outside of your home but doesn’t require the overhead costs of a rented office? Coworking was created to resolve this issue.

Founded on the values of collaboration, openness, community, accessibility, and sustainability, coworking provides the ideal place for entrepreneurs and creative people to work and interact with other professionals. The idea behind a coworking space is simple. Individuals come to a creative and productive workspace to work on their projects side by side with other people working on their own projects. In other words, people come to a coworking space to work around other people working. Memberships costs are low, keeping overhead down, and entrepreneurs and freelancers can work along sirde other entrepreneurs & freelancers, creating a collective work environment where coworkers organically network and share ideas.

Jeremy Goldman, Entreprenuer & Author of “Going Social,” wrote in his article “Why (most) Social Media is Here to Stay,”

I happened to write Going Social in various Starbucks all over Manhattan. Could I have written it primarily at home? Absolutely. But just because I needed to be alone, doesn’t mean I wanted to be alone. I remember once sitting in a Starbucks on 75th Street and 1st Avenue on a Sunday night, and I counted 18 people inside. Each and every one of them was sitting alone, largely working on laptops or reading newspapers. But they weren’t at home. Most had coffee next to them, and most weren’t really drinking it. The coffee serves as an admissions pass that entitles them to a small degree of human companionship.

A coworking space would have provided exactly what Jeremy was looking for in a place to work. He would have been able to work on his book around other people working on their own projects, providing his desired social environment without the need to buy coffee to keep the Starbucks staff at bay.

Home Base is focused on providing an ultra-low cost workspace solution for creative professionals. Our list of amenities include the usual print/scan/fax, complimentary coffee, and access to conference rooms, but we also offer amenities unique to Home Base. Our facility boasts a professional recording studio, photo/video studio, computer labs equipped with state of the art iMacs loaded with Adobe CS6 and other pro software. Members have priority access to the studios at a discounted rate, and free access to the computer labs. Also, members will receive discounts on in-house creative services including graphic & web design, video production, and more, and have free access to meet ups and workshops at The Digital Arts Experience, which range in topic from using social media for business to 3D animation & web design.

Whether you are starting your own company, developing a product, or you are a freelance video editor or graphic designer, Home Base aims to provide the ideal workspace for creative professionals in Westchester. Between our low cost membership plans, flexible and creative facility, and unique amenities, Home Base offers and ideal workplace solution in the 21st century.

Image

Links:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/actiontrumpseverything/2012/11/03/why-everyone-will-have-to-become-an-entrepreneur-crowd-sourced-version/

http://upstart.bizjournals.com/resources/author/2013/02/07/why-social-media-is-here-to-stay.html?page=2