Event Recap

Grow Your Audience with Authentic & Fun Communications

Author Brazen Philly Published October 10, 2018
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When Takia McClendon started City Fit Girls with her co-founder Kiera Smalls, she didn’t have a detailed marketing and social media strategy to build their community — or even the hashed out goal of creating one of the largest fitness communities in Philadelphia (and if she has her way, soon to be the country). It started with her and her best friend, working out and being healthy together, and documenting this for their friends and family on — you guessed it — social media.

 

City Fit Girls

 

But over the past four years, she’s built an incredibly engaged fitness community and business, an impressive social media following, and newsletter engagement that would make anyone jealous — all while keeping true to her and Kiera’s voice and their community.

 

Last month Takia spoke to Brazen Philly about her experience and shared advice on how others can build engaged communities around their companies, products, and work. Here are the highlights.

 

City Fit Girls

 

On Using Instagram

 

@CityFitGirls

Followers: 11.7k

 

City Fit Girls’ audience is primarily 25-35 year old women who are interested in health and fitness. This is gold on Instagram, where this demographic tends to spend a lot of time. Here’s some of her advice on how to best engage with Instagram:

 

 

Deliver consistent content. City Fit Girls organizes a group run every Wednesday, always take a group photo (usually while making funny faces), and always posts this to Instagram. It can feel repetitive when taking the group photo, but people love seeing themselves — and share this content with their friends.

 

Be yourself. Their tone is how Takia and Kiera talk with their friends on Instagram. It’s real, and that’s helped them connect with people on Instagram.

 

Highlight the people in your community or who you work with. People love to see the people behind an organization, and it makes it all so much more authentic.

 

Interact with the people following you. City Fit Girls go through their hashtag photos and comment on them, sharing the love back with their community — and giving them props for a good workout.

 

Use hashtags to find people who should know about you. Identify which hashtags are already being used by the audience you’re going after, and start talking there. For example, City Fit Girls uses #run215 and #myphillyrun, as well as ones around specific local races. But it’s important when doing this not to be salesy; you want to engage as a human, not pitch to people.

 

Instagram business pages are worth it. You get a lot of data from them and can see where your followers are and what demographic they fit into. They’re free, but they do make it harder for people to see your posts.

 

Don’t be shy about sharing posts from you and your other founders. Takia’s found that people want to know their stories as founders and leaders in their community.

 

 

Making the Most of Facebook groups and Facebook pages

 

Page: 3,856 likes, 3,893 follows

Group: 1,895 members in Philly

 

To start, what’s the difference between a Facebook page and a Facebook group? A Facebook page is you talking at people — there’s little engagement, and Facebook has made it hard for people to see content on these pages with their algorithm. Groups are the way to talk with your community and your community will see your posts. Groups also tend to get you many more eyes than Pages.

 

Here are some tips on how to distinguish your messaging in the two different mediums:

 

 

Facebook Groups

 

Use for announcements to your community – and ask for engagement. “We’re doing a run tomorrow. Tell us if you’re coming.”

 

To get your community engaged, try asking new members to introduce themselves, and comment back welcoming them. Encourage others to too. You could also consider running a contest for a small giveaway. You’d be surprised how much engagement you can get for a small effort.

 

City Fit Girls follows the rule “what would we want in a group”. They don’t allow fundraisers in their community, for example, since with a running group, that can end up dominating the posts.

 

Remember, it’s more important to have people engage with your content then to get a ton of likes. Don’t assume you know what your community wants — let them tell you, and ask them what they want.

 

 

Facebook Pages

 

Monitor the competition. Follow pages similar to yours, and see how they’re using their pages to promote their work to new members.

 

Monitor your numbers. Check your stats. See what posts work best, and what times and days you have the best response.

 

Drive engagement. Give shout outs and kudos to your competitors and your members. remember, social media is supposed to be social.

 

Don’t sweat duplication. Sometimes your content will duplicate over your Facebook page, group, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media tools. That’s okay. Those who will see all the messages are your most engaged members, and they won’t care.

 

City Fit Girls

 

Changing Your Game with Newsletters

 

Adding a newsletter was a game changer for City Fit Girls – Takia pointed out that it’s a double opt in to sign up, so you’re attracting people who really want to get your newsletter. Plus, most people see their inbox as sacred grounds – if they want you in there each week, then you better deliver some interesting content.

 

Here are some tips on how to create great newsletters:

 

Focus on providing really valuable content. City Fit Girls first started by providing updates in their newsletters, but quickly pivoted to provide training schedules — content their community was highly interested in and not getting from City Fit Girls in other ways.

 

Find a way to make people look forward to your newsletter – and miss it if it doesn’t arrive. City Fit Girls provides their readers with workouts and recipes for the week — things they need as they plan out their lives. If a newsletter is late, Takia hears about it from her members.

 

Add a personal touch, such as an introduction or message from you. City Fit Girls includes a personal intro from Takia, Kiera or both of them, and they’ve found that by adding this — and showing that they’re human beings — their members often write back to the newsletter.

 

Inspired to join City Fit Girls or your local fitness community? Do it. You can read more about Takia and City Fit Girls, and sign up for their newsletter, here, and find out when the next Brazen Roundtable is by checking your local Brazen calendar.

 

Brazen Events

 

 

Event Recap

Leveraging Your Woman-Owned Business Certification to Grow

Author Brazen Global Published September 19, 2018
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You’ve done it! You’ve filled out stacks of paperwork, scheduled site visits, answered endless questions, waited patiently and you’re officially a certified woman-owned business. This is no easy feat, but what now? A woman-owned business certification is a great support for your business, but only if you leverage it smartly.

 

At a recent Brazen St. Louis event, we had the opportunity to sit down with three experts in women and minority owned business certifications — Pam Kuehling, Commissioner of Supply for the City of St. Louis Government, Jacinta Witherspoon of the Women’s Business Development Center, and Dr. Stephanie Smith, Manager of Supplier Diversity at Washington University in St. Louis. They offered four strategies for using your (hard-earned) certification to unlock growth.

 

Leveraging Your Woman-Owned Business Certification

 

Learn the Contacts and Required Certifications in Your Area

At many large government offices and corporations, there is a dedicated contact for supply and even supplier diversity.

 

“I buy everything from pencils to fire trucks – and yes, condoms – and we buy from about 2,000 vendors. I love to shop and would love to buy from you,” said Keuhling, underscoring the breadth of supply many government buyers are responsible for procuring.

 

Getting to know the contacts in your area is a key first step in developing your business. These contacts serve as a point person for large organizations and because their needs can vary widely over time, supply contacts meet with vendors regularly and keep detailed records of certified businesses for future needs. And, importantly, they share this information freely.

 

“The certification is an opportunity. Even if it isn’t a fit for us right now, we’ll direct you to someone who we know – other departments, partners, outside contacts and more. This is a way to open doors,” said Smith.

 

As valuable as it may be to know the contacts, it’s just as important to understand the certification needs of each. Your certification may not apply for a municipality or state requirements, and many have individualized systems. 

 

“The certification is long and drawn out, but once you do one, you’re all set to do all the others,” said Witherspoon. She recommends keeping a well-organized “corporate book” of your certification paperwork so that you can easily re-purpose to meet the needs of specific certifications.

 

 

Build the Relationship, but Don’t Lead with Your Certification

While many government and corporate organizations have M/WBE goals, having a certification does not necessarily make you a shoe-in to win the contract. As with any business relationship, it is still vital to know your target, their processes and put in the legwork to earn an opportunity.

 

Dr. Smith looks for vendors to meet with her in-person and tell her specifically what differentiates them from the competition. Keuhling echoed that she’ll give anyone a meeting, but she looks for vendors who do their homework and demonstrate they can deliver on her needs.

 

“You never want to lead with your WBE certification! Focus on your value first and your certifications second,” said Witherspoon. “Your certification is usually the icing on the cake.”

 

A certification can help you close the deal but is not a replacement for presenting a solid proposal.

 

 

Don’t be Deterred by Big Bids

As you build your relationships with corporate and government contacts, you may find that some open contracts are broader than the scope of your business or more than you can take on successfully. Don’t give up! In many cases you can bid on a part of a contract, rather than the whole thing.

 

Additionally, your M/WBE certification may offer you the opportunity to partner, as a sub-contractor, with competitors on a large bid. Yes, your competitors can help you unlock new business.

 

“The pie is big enough for all of us, you may just need to slice it differently. It’s okay to be the tier two vendor, if you’re getting business and working with a new company,” said Witherspoon.

 

In partnering with a competitor, you can strengthen your bid together, as your certification could make the proposal more appealing. This is an opportunity to get your foot in the door with a new organization.

 

“A percentage of something is better than none of it,” said Keuhling.

 

 

A Lost Bid is Not a Lost Opportunity

Losing is always tough, but remember that a lost bid is not a lost opportunity. Your certification is a chance to open doors.

 

“I knew a female architect who bid for small contract and it wasn’t a fit at the time, but we put her in touch with someone else on campus and today she’s working with teams on big projects around town,” said Smith.

 

Your contacts may not award a contract today, but they will remember you. The more supplier diversity professionals see you and the more you cultivate those relationships, the more opportunities you’ll find. Be patient and thoughtfully make connections.

 

“Certification isn’t easy, but once you have it, keep it. Even if I don’t have an immediate project, I’ll have an opportunity for you in the future,” concluded Smith.

 

While acquiring certifications and building relationships with supply contacts takes time, just remember, the hard work you put in today can be tomorrow’s growth for your business.

 

Feeling inspired by these speakers? Check out the Brazen Calendar and join us for an upcoming event.

Brazen Events

Event Recap

Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Distribution

Author Brazen St. Louis Published August 8, 2018
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Brazen St. Louis had another fantastic, engaging roundtable in late July focusing on women “makers.” Thank you to Colleen Mulvihill of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership for her warm welcome to the STL Business Center at Wellston. (Great space-go check it out!) Guest speakers included Laura Lee Rose of Missouri Enterprise, Tori Gonzalez of NexMatix, and Claire Flowers of Claire Flowers. Our makers were able to receive advice about supply chain management, scaling, mentorship, and so much more.

 

Laura Lee can see that Missouri needs women in manufacturing. “Manufacturing is very often a man’s world.” Women represent 47% of the American workforce, but only 20% of the manufacturing workforce. But Laura Lee knows, as we all do, that women bring a special set of skills into the business world, including manufacturing, that are integral for the creativity and innovation of a successful company. With her background in quality assurance, Laura Lee advised our entrepreneurs who are considering scaling to put systems in place for quality and logistics before deciding to expand. She concluded our time together with reminding us of Rosie the Riveter, the iconic woman maker, and her tagline: you can do it!

 

 

“You have to fail fast, you have to fail cheap, you have to fail forward.” – Laura Lee Rose

 

Tori is an engineer by training and a change agent at heart. Her innovative technology that formed Nexmatix demonstrates just that. She encouraged Brazen makers who are eager to expand to listen to the market and always deliver on promises. From her personal experience as a CEO, she shared about her decision to cease production. Her advice about partnerships was unique: before accepting any money from a sponsor or investor, CEOs must make sure that this partnership adds value to their business outside of the financial. When asked what to say to possible investors, she replied, “Ask them: what do you need to see in order to invest in me?”

 

 

“I would call up the CEO of a company larger than mine and ask if they had a few minutes to answer my questions. Generally, people want to help. Find who you need and call them.” – Tori Gonzalez

 

Claire Flowers’ story hit home for many of our makers. She saw something she used every day that could be improved, so she made it better. As a working professional, she had to travel in pumps, but her shoes could just not keep up with her! So she asked, “What would the perfect pump look like?” And out of that came Claire Flowers, her professional women’s apparel company, which has expanded from her first order of 125 shoes to this fall’s launch of a new line that includes not only shoes, but handbags and apparel as well.

Manufacturing Photo

 

Besides Claire’s online store, she throws parties that show off her new lines, and she stressed how important building a network with people in your target market is for her business. She also explained her use of patents to protect things like her iconic hot pink heel cap. One of our members asked Claire about balancing new designs with the staples; to which, she said to allow yourself to be creative while also staying realistic about what your customers will buy. To conclude her thoughts, Claire underlined the importance of strategic partnerships in her success and urged our members to find a mentor in their industry.

 

 

“You have to scratch the designer itch!” – Claire Flowers

 

Thank you so much to all the amazing women that made this great conversation possible. And to finish it off, Tamara Keefe, Flavor Temptress and CEO of Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery, ended our evening with some great advice: “If you are not in a Brazen Growth Group, join one.”

 

Looking for opportunities to learn more and meet your fellow female entrepreneurs? Check out our calendar for upcoming events. 

Brazen Events

 

 

Event Recap

Software Tools for Efficiency & Scale

Author Brazen St. Louis Published July 18, 2018
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Brazen St. Louis was thrilled to host our very first Software Tools Event on Wednesday, June 27th! We kicked off the evening with a warm welcome from our Executive Director, Mindy Mazur, who introduced our wonderful tech experts: Alex Haimann from Less Annoying CRM, Mayda Barsumyan & Amiee Mertz from Technology Partners, and Jennifer Ehlen & Aimee Dunne from Brazen Global. They volunteered their time to help our hardworking sister CEOs learn various software programs* that they could integrate into their companies.  

It was a two block session event with a “crash course” in 5 different sample platforms from which to choose. Even if you couldn’t make it to the event, consider the following tools to more efficiently run your business: 

 

Customer Relationship Management (also know as a CRM) – Alex Haimann gave a brief demo of Less Annoying CRM, a tool to help track customers and potential customers in your sales pipeline. If you have lists in a million places, post-its out the wazoo or a stack of business cards gathering dust, a CRM could help you more efficiently connect with your customers.

 

A Better Way to Schedule – How many emails and hours have you wasted trying to align schedules and book meetings? Tools like Calendly can take the pain and time out of bookings.

 

Project Management – If you’re looking to get your to-do’s better organized and prioritized, Trello can help. Mayda Barsumyan & Amiee Mertz showed us how Trello’s projects using boards, lists and cards can keep projects on track.

 

One Stop Solution  – G Suite offers a better way to connect, create, access and control to business basics like email, documents and spreadsheets, all in one suite.

 

Information Gathering and Surveys – If your business requires to collect customer information or you’re looking to survey users, Typeform offers an easy-to-use solution and elegant consumer interface.

 

 

 

At the end of the event, it was unanimous — everyone learned something new and beneficial that they could apply to their business… and many were left wanting more.  We’re already thinking about setting up our next software tools event. Stay tuned! And as always #BeBold & #BeBrazen because #YoureTheCEO and #YouGotThis !

 

*Brazen St. Louis does not endorse any particular platform, but aims to introduce representative technologies and solutions to our members.

 

Looking for opportunities to learn more and meet your fellow female entrepreneurs? Check out our calendar for upcoming events. 

Brazen Events

Event Recap

Is Retail Dead? No Way!

Author Brazen St. Louis Published July 11, 2018
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At another inspiring and engaging Brazen St. Louis Member Roundtable event — Is Retail Dead? No Way — we heard the relatable struggles AND success stories from two powerful and influential women entrepreneurs. Guests speakers included Kara Newmark, the Founder and President of Sweetology , a Do-It-Yourself cake and cookies decoration location and Tendai Morris, also known as The Hair Whisperer, who developed and trademarked her very own line of products and techniques.  

 

 

Kara, a former corporate lawyer, said once she began with her first startup there was no turning back. She took multiple leaps and encourages others to do the same. Even though you could fall on your face, which she bravely admitted experiencing a few times, when you end up flying, the payoff is extremely fulfilling. As the CEO of your business, you have to be constantly in control of your company, how it’s running, the decisions that are going to help it grow, and never being afraid of taking risks. Most of all, Kara mentions, you have to love what you do every day and have a strong network that is there to support you.  (At Brazen, we hope to always be that network for you!)

 

Tendai began her discussion by revealing that she expresses her artistry through hair, but she didn’t always know it at first. She started doing hair when she was 12 years old, under the supervision of her father, who was a barber. Tendai went on to cosmetology school and worked in salons and in the corporate world, but it was never the right fit. Once she started branching off and doing things her way she was able to discover new, safer, and gentler methods of hair treatment and it became her passion… and her business.  Her parting thoughts were: you must be flexible, don’t get so stuck on an idea that you miss other great opportunities, and most of all don’t give up, be persistent in your passions!

 

Both Kara and Tendai agreed that discipline is important for success in the retail world and that creating milestones, feedback loops, and accountability (Growth Groups, anyone?!) can help you move your business forward.

 

Being specifically designed to be a small gathering, Roundtables are created to be a safe space to feel comfortable asking any questions related to your business no matter what stage you’re at, without any sign of judgment.  The “Is Retail Dead? No Way” Roundtable was made possible with support from Anders CPAs + Advisors, and Stephanie Spangler of their firm welcomed the group kicked off the event. It was a fun night that including learning, laughter and, yes – cupcakes!

 

Looking for opportunities to learn more and meet your fellow female entrepreneurs? Check out our calendar for upcoming events. 

Brazen Events

Event Recap

Brazen Chicago Launch: Women Want Growth

Author Kristin Fox, Director, Brazen Chicago Published June 5, 2018
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Nearly 100 women gathered on a rainy Chicago weekend in May to learn to “Be Brazen,” and learn they did. Brazen Chicago launched at the FinFoundHer conference, where Brazen unveiled a taste of things to come for women entrepreneurs in the Windy City.

 

 

“Backing up is not the same as backing down.” ~Alison Levine

Kicking off the event held at evolveHer, a new women’s co-working space, was Alison Levine, a history-making adventurer who served as Team Captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition and spent four years as an adjunct professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

 

“If you want to survive, take action based on the situation,” and “Backing up is not the same as backing down,” were two of the many pieces of advice offered by Levine.

Brazen Chicago Launch Event

 

Funding—and how to get it—was the theme of the weekend. Educational conversations ranged from “What is your super power?”, a frank discussion about the value of your business proposition, to the valuation process and cap tables, as well as what investors want and expect—or don’t—from a founder. Attorneys and accountants explained what paperwork investors expect from a founder throughout the company’s lifecycle.

 

Team-building was another theme, with Ethos Talent Founder Alida-Miranda Wolfe discussing culture creation and having the right team at the right time. Professional dog-sledder and Iditarod racer Karen Ramstead shared her thoughts on building teams you can trust to get you through the most “real” of circumstances, which in her case has included a white-out blizzard with temperatures of minus-40 Fahrenheit in the wilds of Alaska.

 

Brazen Growth Groups were the highlight of the interactive education sessions. Attendees were asked to bring their most pressing challenges related to raising capital. In a simulated version of Brazen’s Growth Group program, small groups met with a Brazen team member who lead them through the process and software. It was then that the magic happened and founders discovered that their problems weren’t unique and that there were solutions. They experienced the power of their peers, and how Growth Groups can help harness the wisdom of the crowd.

 

“[Brazen] is a really powerful group and [Growth Groups are] a tool that the Chicago market is already falling in love with,” said Heather Rider, founder and CEO, CourseMagazine.org.

 

“My goal for Brazen Chicago is to provide the education and support that women founders need to grow their businesses,” said Kristin Fox, Brazen Chicago Director. “I want us to create an ecosystem where today’s founders get the funding that they need to become successful and then fund the next generation and that cycle repeats.”

 

Growth Groups are forming in Chicago now. To be included in the next cycle, please register now. Deadline is June 15.

Event Recap

Brazen Philly Launch Party!

Author Bonnie Bogle Published May 22, 2018
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Two weeks ago Brazen officially kicked off our programming in Philadelphia with a party. Nearly 100 people came out to meet other women entrepreneurs, network, and learn more about Brazen and how we help women grow their businesses.

Brazen Philly Launch

“The Brazen Philly launch event was—and will likely remain—a highlight of 2018 for me,” said Liz Funk, co-founder of And We Evolve and a founders committee member of Brazen Philly. “It was the largest gathering I’ve attended of women entrepreneurs and people who support women’s success in business. Needless to say, it was a fun crowd that almost instantly felt like a community. I was impressed that Brazen drew all of these interesting, passionate people together for its *inaugural* event. I’m excited to talk with these women more intimately at workshops and in a peer advisory group.”

Brazen Philly Launch

“We had such a great group of people out for our launch party. I met women running restaurants and bike shops, starting companies from technology consulting to recruiting, and disrupting spaces like second hand clothing and investing. The common thread is that everyone had big ambitions for their company, which is just so exciting,” said Bonnie Bogle, director of Brazen Philly.

 

There was also a strong showing from supporters of startups – including investors and serial entrepreneurs who want to work more with women founders and help amplify their work. This shows how supportive and enthusiastic the Philadelphia startup community is in growing and supporting its female founders.

Brazen Philly Launch

After a brief welcome from Bonnie and Brazen CEO and founder, Jennifer Ehlen, we gave guests a taste of Brazen’s programming and what we offer. We ran a live demo of a growth group – our peer advisory groups that bring together women entrepreneurs to work through business challenges and support each other. Jenn showed off how Brazen’s app makes running meeting easy, and the group worked through several real business challenges. Guests could also schedule speed Power Hour sessions with our legal expert (Liz Roggio) and marketing expert (Matt Nicosia).

 

A big thank you to our hosts Perpay, for letting us use their beautiful space, to Philadelphia’s Founders Committee who helped plan and execute the party, and to our volunteers who made the event seamless.

 

Want to get involved in Brazen Philly? We’re forming growth groups now – our application deadline is May 31 to get started with a group this summer, and we have monthly roundtables on topics like hiring, telling your company’s narrative, and using social media to build your user base. Check out our events calendar, and join today.

Event Recap

Be Seen Brunch: Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs of Color

Author Brazen Global Published March 13, 2018
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Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45%, a rate 5 times the national average. 78% of these net new women owned firms are owned by women of color. Unfortunately, women of color received only 0.2% of all venture capital funding over the last five years.

 

Recently, Brazen St. Louis co-hosted the Be Seen Brunch Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs of Color along with the Hispanic Chamber, the BALSA Foundation, and DK Solutions, and with support from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation. The goal was to help historically underserved women entrepreneurs find new connections, resources, and inspiration to help them take their businesses to the next level. Because supporting female entrepreneurs means supporting all female entrepreneurs.

 

 

More than 120 attendees, including women entrepreneurs of color, decision-makers from the St. Louis investment community, and entrepreneur support organizations, participated in the Be Seen Brunch. 

 

As one attendee put it:

“Today, so many connections were made between women of varying nationalities, ethnicities, color, and creed. But most importantly, black and brown women were heard and seen.”

 

 

Following a keynote by speaker Rica Elysee, founder & CEO of BeautyLynk, attendees participated in business-first breakout sessions and roundtables with local experts. The event culminated with an elevator pitch competition, reviewed by a blue-ribbon panel of judges from the St. Louis investment community. Shayba Muhammad of Mahnal Jewelry won the competition and an award package that included a $2,500 cash prize, made possible by a generous gift from the Clark Fox Family Foundation.

 

In addition to at the event itself, our pitch finalists were seen and heard on Fox2Now TV (watch the 3 minute segment here) and on NewsRadio 1120 KMOX. 

 

 

We are energized and committed to making a meaningful difference and empowering women entrepreneurs of color in our region.  

 

To stay connected and learn about future events like the Brazen Be Seen Brunch and other events for female entrepreneurs, sign up for our newsletter (at the bottom of this page) or consider becoming a Brazen member.

 

“This was a great event. I left feeling “brazen” enough to further pursue my entrepreneurial goals and inspired by the positive energy in the room.”   

 

 

Photography Credit: Mena Darre Photography

 

Event Recap

New Year Financial Management for Entrepreneurs

Author Brazen St. Louis Published February 6, 2018
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For entrepreneurs, financial management takes on a new importance as we think about managing both our personal and business finances. How can we be most efficient? What should we watch out for?  In January, Brazen St. Louis hosted a Member Roundtable to  discuss best practices for entrepreneurs managing finances in the new year to meet financial and business goals.

 

 

Brazen St. Louis members talked with our guest experts Kristin Thompson, a Financial Advisor at Renaissance Financial, and Natalea Simmons, a Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch and had a productive conversation that covered a spectrum of financial management issues for business owners.

 

Some key highlights from the Roundtable included:

 

BUILD A TEAM YOU CAN TRUST

First things first, who is your accountant? Who is your financial adviser? Who is your lawyer?  Do you trust and like them?  Do they understand you and what you need? If your accountant is talking over you, for example, it’s time to find someone else. Make sure that you trust everyone on your professional services team. 

 

FIND OUT HOW THE NEW FEDERAL TAX LAW AFFECTS YOU

There are a lot of questions these days about the new tax law and how it will affect businesses.  There are still more regulations to be written as the federal government implements the new tax law, but it’s still a good time to find out how the law may affect you and your business.  This may include reviewing how your business is structured.

 

THINK ABOUT THESE QUESTIONS BEFORE SETTING UP A 401K

There are a lot of questions as it relates to if/when you should set up a 401K or other retirement option for your company – what are the goals? To benefit you, or the employees?  Do you plan to pay the cost? How much are you trying to put away?  What kind of business do you have? How you are organized can affect your options and how you would set something up.  Meet with your advisor to talk through these questions and give you real options based on your business.

 

CHECK OUT THESE TIPS FOR STAYING ORGANIZED

How to people keep themselves organized on a monthly basis?  Various tools/tips included:  

-Keep business and personal accounts separate.

-Use Quickbooks – connect to your business bank account

-Use Paper ledgers, if that helps keep you organized.

-Have both a corporate credit card and personal credit card. Charge everything that is business-related to your corporate care and pull credit card receipts.  

-Keep track of you expenses by using apps, like mileIQ (for tracking mileage)

-Use PayPal, Square, or similar platforms that also allow you to send and keep track of invoices.

 

AVOID THESE COMMON MISTAKES
Natalea and Kristin both shared some common financial management mistakes they see from entrepreneurs, which included:

-Not having separate business and personal accounts.

-Not having advisors they trust.

-Failing to build a budget and/or not actually sticking to the budget they’ve made.

-Selling process: Not thinking about exit strategies in advance and not valuing company effectively.

 

Don’t forget that all our events are open to members. Login to your Brazen Dashboard to check out and register for future events near you!

Event Recap

So You Think You’re Not Tech?

Author Brazen St. Louis Published October 3, 2017
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So you think you’re not “tech?” Think again! Brazen Members has the opportunity to meet and speak with Lisa Nichols of Technology Partners, who debunked some tech myths and demystified some intimidating aspects of technology. 

“Don’t just use technology for technology’s sake. It has to solve a business challenge!”

 

What are some fears that get in the way of entrepreneurs using technology to help them grow?

 

1. Entrepreneurs are often controlled by the tyranny of the urgent rather than the tyranny of the important. They feel like they don’t have time to learn it!

 

2. We often don’t have a lot of margin and are afraid to choose the wrong thing, or even worse, spend time learning the wrong thing.

 

3. You don’t know what you don’t know!

“Worried you’ll look uninformed? Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know… and don’t make it up”

 

 

What are some simple ways to start incorporating technology for growth?

 

-Use more video! This is how many people want to get information, including your customers.

 

-Find someone who is a SME in the area of technology you need help in, they can often help you find an off the shelf solution to the challenge you’re facing.

 

-Make sure you know what you want, especially if you’re outsourcing your technology and hiring someone to build something for you. Being able to communicate your priorities will help be efficient with your time and money. What do you need to have in the MVP? What is the bare minimum? Know this and avoid expensive mistakes.

 

-Knowing your bare minimum will help you get it out to your customers to test – they might want something different or delivered in a different way than you thought – let them tell you!

 

 

Other tips from Lisa:

 

-Know your Net Promoter Score – who are your promoters and who are your detractors, both within your company and among your customers. Know what level of satisfaction you are providing!

 

-What are some easy tools? The Invisionapp will help you communicate your design vision to developer.

 

-Open communication, being available, and coachability (what you envision might not be the best approach) make for a successful partnership with a technology company.