Florida Business Incubator https://flbizincubator.org GATEWAY TO BUSINESS SUCCESS Wed, 18 Nov 2020 21:38:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.86/ivf.908.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/cropped-FBii-newlogo-favicon-32x32.png Florida Business Incubator https://flbizincubator.org 32 32 Bad E-Commerce Businesses Are Paying The Price As Coronavirus Pushes Shoppers Online https://flbizincubator.org/bad-e-commerce-businesses-are-paying-the-price-as-coronavirus-pushes-shoppers-online/ Mon, 20 Apr 2020 22:19:27 +0000 https://flbizincubator.org/?p=47542 (Article from the City of Dunedin)These 4 Retail Groups With Bad E-Commerce Businesses Are Paying The Price As Coronavirus Pushes Shoppers Online No one knows what will happen next with the coronavirus crisis, but when it comes to how Americans are shopping, there is one thing of total and utmost certainty: Online retailing will gain […]

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(Article from the City of Dunedin)
These 4 Retail Groups With Bad E-Commerce Businesses Are Paying The Price As Coronavirus Pushes Shoppers Online

No one knows what will happen next with the coronavirus crisis, but when it comes to how Americans are shopping, there is one thing of total and utmost certainty: Online retailing will gain market share and become much more popular.

That irrefutable outcome of the pandemic will make retailers that have never truly developed e-commerce capabilities—or, worse, walked away from the channel—do a 180-degree turn and put a massive push behind getting their online operations into competitive shape.

Although most national retailers have been in the e-commerce game for decades, it’s fair to say that few of them have their acts totally together. While Walmart and Target on the discount side, Macy’s in department stores and specialty retailers like Best Buy, Williams Sonoma, RH and the Gap brands have healthy online businesses, other sectors are far behind in building their e-commerce sales. Amazon’s expanded business over the past few weeks is one more piece of proof. 

As the coronavirus has caused the shutdown of more than 150 retailing companies’ complete brick-and-mortar operations and countless more individual units based on geography and format, retailers that depended on them for the vast majority of their sales are finding their revenues at a virtual hard stop. Without online to fall back on, they may be waiting weeks—some suggest longer—to be able to get back into business. For some, that will be too long, and for those that have been teetering on the business edge, this could be the final straw to push them into insolvency.

But there are entire sectors of the retail business that are vulnerable right now, and these are the ones that must be rethinking their business strategies:

  • Off-price stores—from the TJX brands like Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Home Goods to Ross Dress for Less and other, smaller companies—have largely avoided e-commerce. It represents a tiny part of the TJX mix, and Ross doesn’t even sell online. Worse, another big national player, Burlington, announced just before the coronavirus outbreak that it was shutting down its nascent e-commerce operation. While their physical merchandising model may not translate well online, all of these retailers will need to find a way to do digital business.
  • Deep-discount grocery retailers Aldi and Lidl have no online capabilities at all. As they continue to gain share in physical stores, they are totally non-competitive with Walmart, Kroger, and regional supermarket chains. That has made them especially vulnerable now. Even if they offer curbside pickup, it’s not enough considering customer needs and expectations today.
  • Dollar stores, notably Dollar Tree and its Family Dollar brand as well as chief competitive Dollar General, have largely failed to develop e-commerce capabilities. Years ago, they used to say their customers didn’t go online or didn’t have credit cards, but that’s no longer the case. As they attract mainstream shoppers from across income and social spectrums, they will be hurt by not being online.
  • Independent specialty retailers, no matter what the product category, have had a love-hate relationship with e-commerce almost since its beginning. Without the resources—physical, digital or manpower—to service online business, they have given it lip service or perhaps used third-party service providers that provided perfunctory presences. For these independents, this is the day they must take their online businesses seriously and give them the attention they need to be successful.

There are also countless individual retailers in many channels—home improvement, furniture, floor coverings, footwear—that are very much behind the curve in their e-commerce efforts. Some of this is due to the nature of the products they sell, but today’s consumer has proven they will buy just about anything online, from $100,000 automobiles to the most luxurious of luxury products. There is no longer a category that doesn’t belong online.

All of these developments were in the works before the pandemic, and the transitions needed by both entire sectors and individual companies to ramp up online would have happened eventually. But the coronavirus has sped up the process and put those slow to the gate in deep danger. Millions of shoppers who would have never considered shopping online have been forced to do so, and it’s quite likely most will like the experience and come back for more. 

The coronavirus will eventually subside as all pandemics do. But the move to online shopping will continue to spread—it’s unstoppable. Eventually, those retail businesses without the right treatment will not survive. 

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5 Key Ingredients to Manage Your State https://flbizincubator.org/5-key-ingredients-to-manage-your-state/ Sat, 21 Mar 2020 20:50:39 +0000 https://flbizincubator.org/?p=47481 One of our guest speakers, Cathy Norris, talked about the “Five Key Ingredients to Manage your State.”Your “state” is your emotional and physical condition. The awareness of your state (Suffering/Resourceful) has a huge impact on your life.  In a Suffering State, you can have low energy levels, which can be shown as stress, worry, fear, frustration, anger, impatience, […]

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One of our guest speakers, Cathy Norris, talked about the “Five Key Ingredients to Manage your State.”
Your “state” is your emotional and physical condition. The awareness of your state (Suffering/Resourceful) has a huge impact on your life. 

In a Suffering State, you can have low energy levels, which can be shown as stress, worry, fear, frustration, anger, impatience, sadness, etc. It impacts what you focus on, what you believe, the language you use, the meaning you assign to the event, and even your physiology. A Suffering State doesn’t help you build your business to succeed. In fact, it gets in the way!

In a Resourceful State, you can have a calm awareness, an increase in choice in response to any situation in life, and a greater awareness of ourselves and others. Again,  resourceful state impacts what you focus on, what you believe, the language you use, the meaning you assign to the event, and even your physiology. This state is great for helping you build your business.

We had a member of Spark Tank share some concerns about themselves, and we as a group, were able to help come up with some ways to help combat those concerns and move from Suffering to Resourceful. Some of the ways the group came up with were, breathing, listening to relaxing music, staying hydrated and fed, smiling, sitting up straight, and thinking of things that bring you joy. Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself.

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What Kind of Accountant Do You Need? https://flbizincubator.org/what-kind-of-accountant-do-you-need/ Tue, 14 Jan 2020 02:08:50 +0000 https://flbizincubator.org/?p=47409 Carl Schrader from Schrader Accounting joined us as a guest speaker offering up “What Kind of Tax Accountant do you Need and other 2020 Tax Topics” and boy was there a lot of information. Carl provided us a great presentation that answered some questions about the types of CPA or tax accountant you might need, what the […]

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Carl Schrader from Schrader Accounting joined us as a guest speaker offering up “What Kind of Tax Accountant do you Need and other 2020 Tax Topics” and boy was there a lot of information.

Carl provided us a great presentation that answered some questions about the types of CPA or tax accountant you might need, what the differences were for businesses (and sole proprietors) and resources to ensure you have the tools and people you need to get your financial direction set straight!  Carl is an active member and often gives us little tidbits to support conversation and business needs!

  • As always, Natalie Root has great questions, and applying funds was a question I think we all wondered about. “If the client is billed in 2019, but pays in 2020, where do those funds go in the books?”  Of course, we all have different tax situations, but a rule of thumb, in a cash-based business, is that the funds land in the year they are collected. There are situations in which this changes (and two pair of books are handled, for example, in sales of products, there may be a rule for FLORIDA that differs from the IRS’s expectations!) Thank goodness we know a great accountant!
  • Carl also offered a list of resources and tools to help you with your books. Certainly, Quickbooks is a key player for businesses with products, sales, and employees. However, for independents who are service-based, there were a few recommendations for invoicing, billing and tracking. I personally have used Freshbooks for nearly 12 years – and it works well for small businesses like mine.
  • We learned that Carl’s dream job is to lock horns with the IRS in tax situations, but he sticks to supporting his client’s needs, answering questions to keep you away from the IRS, and does due diligence in keeping informed. 

If you would like to see the presentation, click here

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Power up your Presence: Guest Dick Powell https://flbizincubator.org/power-up-your-presence-guest-dick-powell/ Tue, 17 Dec 2019 02:30:50 +0000 https://flbizincubator.org/?p=47334 Dick Powell (the Leadership Wrangler, and author of “How not to Lose your Bass in Business”) gave us a brief power session on “Powering Up your Presence” and we all walked away with some tools to improve our connection with others. The run down; Dick keeps note cards handy to take notes and ensure he gets details that are […]

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Dick Powell (the Leadership Wranglerand author of “How not to Lose your Bass in Business”) gave us a brief power session on “Powering Up your Presence” and we all walked away with some tools to improve our connection with others. The run down;

  1. Dick keeps note cards handy to take notes and ensure he gets details that are really important should you have the opportunity to have an exchange again! You can use the back of their business cards too. It feels really nice to be seen by another person, “Hey, last time we chatted the kids were getting off to college, how did they do their first term?”
  2. Offer your name, Business, and what makes you unique. This is an important part because you can tailor this to the needs of the potential client (if you were really listening). Keeping in mind what makes you unique also offers them an angle of curiosity, so find your sparkle in the work you do, and make that point shine.
  3. Then, repeat your name, and give them a tag line to remember.
  4. Keep it under 30 seconds. No one wants to listen to three minutes of you talking about the history of your business and the nitty-gritty details of what you do UNLESS they ask for it! I think this is also respectful of time and gives more space to get to know them personally (because it isn’t just a sales pitch, right? We want engagement!!)

Like I said last week, without a doubt, the few moments we have to catch a potential client’s attention is critical to building that relationship. Listening hard to a potential client’s needs, and knowing how you can meet them play a role, but HOW that information comes across is essential to powering up your interaction.

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Podcast SPARKS: Amy Porterfield https://flbizincubator.org/podcast-sparks-amy-porterfield/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 02:11:00 +0000 https://flbizincubator.org/?p=47331 Natalie Root was sharing the impact of taking her learning on the road (listening to podcasts during her workouts) and mentioned Amy Porterfield’s podcasts. I was listening to one of her introductory podcasts, “Everything is Figureoutable” with Marie Forleo and wow – great information to remind me of that go-getting spirit that makes me hang tight and […]

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Natalie Root was sharing the impact of taking her learning on the road (listening to podcasts during her workouts) and mentioned Amy Porterfield’s podcasts. I was listening to one of her introductory podcasts, “Everything is Figureoutable” with Marie Forleo and wow – great information to remind me of that go-getting spirit that makes me hang tight and risk-take with my own entrepreneurial spirit while pointing out how I am clearly struggling with direction. If you remember a few weeks ago, listening to Dino Eliadis, having a clear sense of direction is the first step before you can even begin gearing toward a successful, self-sustaining business. Motivational and full of information!

Podcasts are a great way to power up your success. There are tons of great ones out there! Sometimes that is a lot easier to digest than what we get on our daily news radio!

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5 Stages of Business Growth https://flbizincubator.org/5-stages-of-business-growth/ Mon, 18 Nov 2019 21:16:30 +0000 https://flbizincubator.org/?p=47312 This week’s splurge in conversation (which was a bit more like our guest speaker) was inspired by a visitor the incubator hasn’t seen for a while, but who offered all of us some very powerful information about knowing what stage of business growth we are in. As shared by Dino Eliadis with https://businessgrowthsimplified.com, understanding these […]

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This week’s splurge in conversation (which was a bit more like our guest speaker) was inspired by a visitor the incubator hasn’t seen for a while, but who offered all of us some very powerful information about knowing what stage of business growth we are in. As shared by Dino Eliadis with https://businessgrowthsimplified.com, understanding these stages and what happens in them allows a business owner to better understand needs, plans, and direction. His firm provides strategic growth coaching and training and prefers to focus on businesses in the first 3 stages.

Stage 1: Foundation – Goal: Get monthly cash flow to the point of consistent break even.

Stage 2: Survival – Goal: Consistently achieve owner-established profit requirement.

Stage 3: Self-Sustainability – Goal: Sustain the business’s success created to this point OR rapidly grow the business to a large corporation.  The litmus test: Does the business consistently generate profit without your intervention?

Stage 4: Rapid Growth – Goal: Assure that growth does not outpace assets, resources, and systems.

Stage 5: Maturity – Goal: To diversify the company by offering related products or services to existing customers or by entering new markets.

If you want to follow the many tools and resources his organization offers, or read more about the topic we discussed, see, https://yoursmallbusinessgrowth.com/your-business-growth-stage/

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How do I monetize my followers? https://flbizincubator.org/how-do-i-monetize-my-followers/ Sun, 10 Nov 2019 21:27:56 +0000 https://flbizincubator.org/?p=47314 Last week, we got on the topic of social media. This one, without a doubt, finds its way in to our efforts to promote what we do, and is a challenge to manage (rules are always changing, and just this week, there is chatter in the social media world that likes may become hidden to […]

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Last week, we got on the topic of social media. This one, without a doubt, finds its way in to our efforts to promote what we do, and is a challenge to manage (rules are always changing, and just this week, there is chatter in the social media world that likes may become hidden to the public and only users can view their own like counts – this in an effort to curb the difficult nature of social influence on our youth). Natalie Root (therootagency.com) and Chihu (our social media guy growwithchihu.com) dug a bit deeper into the data and tactics of growing an audience after Michael Broom asked, “How do I monetize my followers?”

  1. Don’t be fooled by the follower count! it’s not how many followers you have that matters but how much engagement your content is getting. How many of your followers actually actively engage with your content? And if they are not, then what changes can you make to provide engaging content?
  2. Sometimes free information is a powerful engagement tool  I am a huge proponent of supporting others with information for free. I become a trusted partner in their growth, and when they need my services, they are more likely to seek me. Also, offering value as a free webinar is a great way to attract your audience into your sales funnel. Natalie shared how she partnered with an organization offering to do a webinar (her first ever) and it generated nearly $300K. 
  3. Social Media is a net, not just a tool   Using social media as a net to capture an audience to guide into your sales funnel is a better way to think about how you use your accounts. Consider that 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others, and engagement is part of that experience.
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Art of Marketing https://flbizincubator.org/art-of-marketing/ Tue, 05 Nov 2019 22:15:08 +0000 https://flbizincubator.org/?p=47296 We often don’t realize just how much art plays a role in our business lives, from marketing materials, to creative thinking, to the way in which music triggers the emotions for an audience

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ART became the unexpected theme of round table discussion. We often don’t realize just how much art plays a role in our business lives, from marketing materials, to creative thinking, to the way in which music triggers the emotions for an audience, to the ways in which we engage our clients, or even how we THINK about ourselves and our success (which can require some creativity in tough times!) “Get rid of Stinking Thinking!” – Thanks Danny

I am just learning how to get my work out into the world, even though I am creatively building for others. It is not far off from the big question, “How do I get found/seen?”  That being said, it is all about relationships & engagement. All of us are willing to do this on some level, but growing requires a push towards new things. Every time we sit with the group and the question of “How” comes up, the group offers innovative, creative, and wise ideas, but none of those work until you put them in place. As Danny, who was sharing his gift for jingles this week sing-said, “If you want to GROW you got to get up and GO!” 

  1. Use the language that feels right! One of our participants was sharing that when she shares she is opening an “adult daycare” she hates to use the term because she would prefer to call it a “Freedom Center” (I may not have gotten that completely right, but I know the word freedom is significant). Then why not call it that? It may not be common language but a curious listener will want to know more and how best to share her mission!
  2. What kind of audience are you looking for? Who needs you? How will you change their world with what you offer? Another frequent-flyer participant often reminds us of the power of face-to-face in building relationships, and knowing what you have that they need!
  3. Use a Headline Generator Do you need a little mark SPARK in your headlines? Want to capture your audience’s attention? I tried one of the suggested Headline Generators from TheHOTH and it did a pretty good job!  Additionally, I bumped into THIS article, 7 Powerful Headline Generators
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Access to Capital for your Business https://flbizincubator.org/access-to-capital-for-your-business/ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 19:46:44 +0000 https://flbizincubator.org/?p=47283 Understanding what your business needs before heading out for business capital will support your business goals.

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Jason Hargett & Sarah Hunt from TD Bank presented on “Access to Capital for your Business”.  This presentation discusses the different funding options available when starting and running a business.  They touched on the pros and cons of each method of financing, and how to be prepared for the loan type needed based on your business. 

TD bank logo

Despite some technical difficulties the TD Bank Team took the reigns with handouts that gave us quite a bit to think about.  We talked and asked questions about different aspects of how a business could get financed. 
The takeaway?

  1. Your personal credit history MAKES A DIFFERENCE, so getting that in order is a great idea 
  2. Understanding what your capital loan money is clearly needed for will help to isolate the type of funding you request
  3. The 5 “C”s of Credit is a process most lenders use to evaluate loan requests [Character, Capacity, Capital, Conditions, Collateral] 
  4. YES, your business has a type of “credit score” which you can check at Experian 
  5. There are TONS of FREE small business resources to be found at www.sba.gov
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This is Marketing… https://flbizincubator.org/this-is-marketing/ Thu, 17 Oct 2019 19:40:25 +0000 https://flbizincubator.org/?p=47280 David King shared a book he recently borrowed from the Clearwater Library called This Is Marketing; You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn To See by Seth Godin. Take a peek at the video!

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This week we started the round table with David King sharing a book he recently borrowed from the Clearwater Library called This Is Marketing; You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See by Seth Godin. The book, he stated, was a bit of a game-changer in that it offered him a different perspective on how he markets himself, recognizing the role of empathy and connection in building relationships and information sharing.  Other topics revolved around some connections to organizations that will support the efforts of one startup, and other ideas to support getting services known to the community. We have had some healthy and helpful round-tables!

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