You’ve Heard of Hiring Ex-Cons? This One’s an Entrepreneur!

The Ex-Con Entrepreneur

It takes discipline to run a successful business. And if you have that discipline, you have a pretty good chance of making your idea into reality — no matter what obstacles you’ve had to overcome.

Case in point: Coss Marte, founder of ConBody. Marte originally got the idea for his business in an unlikely place — a prison cell.

The founder had some health issues while serving a seven-year prison sentence. And since he only had a small cell and his body weight to work with, he had to come up with a creative workout plan. He created one that worked for him. And now he also shares it with clients at his fitness studio on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The Ex-Con Entrepreneur

Marte had significant obstacles to overcome in his journey to entrepreneurship. Even just making it through his sentence was an accomplishment given the health issues that he started out with. But he persevered. He made it through the sentence and then built his business from scratch after finding limited job prospects upon his release.

For other entrepreneurs, the lesson is clear. If you have the discipline and a good enough idea, you can overcome just about anything. It won’t always be easy. And it might take a different shape or path than you’d expect. But if you put your skills to good use and refuse to give up, you can accomplish really surprising things.

Image: Conbody.com

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Apple is Drastically Cutting App Store Affiliate Commissions

Affiliates Not Happy Since App Store Commissions Were Cut

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) this week sent an email to App Store affiliate program members telling them that it is slashing their commission rates from seven percent to 2.5 percent on May 1.

According to Brett Terpstra, an App Store affiliate who received the email, the changes only affect affiliate referrals for apps. Other iTunes and iBooks Store content like music, movies, TV shows and books will continue to receive the original seven percent rate.

“I use affiliate links on everything… and it generates a small portion of my monthly income. Not a lot, but it’s enough to notice,” wrote Terpstra in a post on his blog talking about Apple’s decision to cut affiliate commissions. While referring to the almost 65 percent commission rate reduction, Terpstra said “It’s a drastic cut to mention in passing just one week before it takes effect.”

Apparently, affiliates were only given one week of warning on the impending change.

Affiliates Not Happy Since App Store Commissions Were Cut

Federico Viticci, another App Store affiliate, and founder of Apple news and app reviews site MacStoriesNet, turned to Twitter to express his frustration, saying the move “sucks.”

Viticci posted a picture of what looks like a copy of the email affiliates received:

Apple App Store Affiliate Program

The App Store affiliate program allows websites owners from the Apple community to link to App Store downloads. The link they use has a unique referral ID for each affiliate. When customers click on this link and buy apps or in-app purchases, Apple pays a small cut of the qualified sales to the affiliate. The app developer gets 70 percent of the sale, while the affiliate partner gets incentivized to refer more customers.

Now that Apple is drastically cutting this revenue stream, the tech company risks alienating its affiliate partners who are a significant source of income for developers of the apps sold on the App Store. The new commission rate cuts, however, only apply to affiliates and won’t affect app developers.

App Store Photo via Shutterstock

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2.5 Million Small Businesses Are Owned by American Military Vets (Report)

U.S Veteran Owned Business Statistics

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy recently released an encouraging report on veteran-owned businesses. The report, which is based on the latest available data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Small Business Owners (released December 2015 and February 2016), shows about 2.52 million businesses in the U.S. majority-owned by veterans.

Almost all of these veteran-owned businesses at the time (99.9 percent) were small businesses.

U.S Veteran Owned Business Statistics

According to the SBA report entitled “Veteran-Owned Businesses and Their Owners (PDF),” small business firms owned by veterans employed 5.03 million people, had an annual payroll of $195 billion and receipts of $1.14 trillion. The veteran-owned firms represented 9.1 percent of all U.S. businesses.

California, Texas and Florida had the most veteran-owned businesses respectively, while the highest percent of veteran-owned businesses in their populations were found in South Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia. Other highlights from the study include:

  • Nearly 30 percent of all veteran-owned firms were in two industry groups: construction and the professional, scientific and technical services group.
  • The industry with the largest share of veteran-owned firms was finance and insurance (13.2 percent), followed by transportation and warehousing (12.1 percent), and construction (11.4 percent).
  • Five industry groups accounted for 71.5 percent of all veteran-owned firm sales: wholesale trade (22.9 percent), retail trade (19.5 percent), manufacturing (12.3 percent), construction (10.1 percent), and professional, scientific, and technical services (7.0 percent).

Also, a bigger percentage of veteran-owned businesses were home-based (57.0 percent) compared with other businesses (52.2 percent) in the rest of the population. And the most common method for veterans to become business owners was to start their own businesses themselves.

Support for U.S. Military Veterans Entrepreneurship

It’s encouraging to see military veterans take advantage of entrepreneurship opportunities available to them, and to continue to display many of the same qualities and resilience of civilian entrepreneurs.

If you are a military veteran who owns a small business or you know some vets, there are many sources of support for veterans, including the SBA’s “Boots to Business” Program. These resources offer varied resources from franchise opportunities to business loans that help combat unemployment among returning veterans, and also demonstrate appreciation to our veterans for their service.

“Entrepreneurship is a choice made by many of our men and women in uniform when they move into civilian life,” said Dr. Winslow Sargeant, former Chief Counsel for Advocacy for the SBA, in a previous statement about a similar SBA study. “Knowing more about the factors behind veterans’ self-employment offers opportunities to lay the groundwork for successful ventures.”

Memorial Day Photo via Shutterstock

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48 Hour Start-up: Can You Really Launch a Business in Just 2 days?

48 Hour Start-up: Can You Really Launch a Business in Just 2 days?As the business world encounters technology, the barriers keeping many entrepreneurs out are slowly disappearing. Previously, you needed a huge investment of cash, good connections, a 50-page business plan, and a prayer. Now you just need a laptop and seven days. Actually, with 48 Hour Start-up: From Idea to Launch in 1 Weekend you might only need two.

What is 48 Hour Start-Up About?

The book 48 Hour Start-up is actually what it sounds like. Serial entrepreneur Fraser Doherty MBE wants to help prospective entrepreneurs discover and refine a launchable idea in just two days. Doherty’s reasoning behind his 48-hour deadline is simple. He argues that prospective entrepreneurs (aka wantrepreneurs) spend too much time and energy obsessing over the “perfect idea”. The time they waste waiting for the “perfect idea” is time that could be used refining and adapting that business idea for the customers who will actually use it.

48 Hour Start-up was designed to be a hacked version of the business-creating method developed since the start of Doherty’s first business. As Doherty readily admits, he had no idea what he was doing.He just knew that he liked money, liked selling things and liked connecting with people. That business is still running to this day, in part, because of the principles Doherty learned through either a mentor, experience (one of his first positions was “bacon boy” in Scotland), or by stumbling across it. In 48 Hour Start-up, he shares advice on how to find and shape a viable business idea that is ready to launch in two days.

Doherty is an entrepreneur, business owner and author from Scotland. Doherty’s first business as a teenager, SuperJam, featured an all-fruit jam that was inspired by his grandmother’s recipes. The incredible success of SuperJam earned Doherty the honor of becoming the youngest ever supplier to work with a retail chain and a spot in the National Museum of Scotland. Doherty is also the co-founder of Beer 52, a craft beer subscription service. In 2014, he became a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

What Was Best About 48 Hour Start-Up?

There are two key aspects of 48 Hour Start-up, the author’s transparency and his approach. In many startup advice books, authors are afraid to share their mistakes. In his book Doherty is very transparent about the trials he faced as an entrepreneur. These anecdotes are brief. They show his thinking process at the time, which is a theme throughout the entire book. Following its own philosophy that entrepreneurs need to leverage speed, the book doesn’t get stalled with fancy charts (there aren’t any) or financial projections, For those readers wanting a down-to-Earth business advice book, 48 Hour Start-up might be a welcome read.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

48 Hour Start-up is extremely helpful when it comes to the initial decisions for entrepreneurs to consider when starting a business. The book continually reinforces the theme that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to involve complicated financial projections, elaborate presentations or extraordinary innovation. It is just a simple idea executed well. One area that could use more attention, though, concerns strategy and market research. The book doesn’t provide a lot of focus or direction on what strategies to consider after the 48-hour experiment is over or how to conduct more detailed research to maintain a business in the future.

Why Read 48 Hour Start-Up?

48 Hour Start-up is designed for entrepreneurs who have gone through a couple of business ideas but haven’t made that initial step to get started. It is also for serial entrepreneurs seeking to improve their thinking process in preparation for a new venture. For beginners, the book is a chance to brainstorm a business idea within the book’s deadline of two days. For serial entrepreneurs, the book is a jargon-free guide to refining the principles of business idea creation. If a serial entrepreneur can’t think of a good business idea, 48 Hour Start-up will provide practical advice with the inspirational real-life story of a businessman who started an empire right from his grandmother’s kitchen.

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Join This Twitter Chat During National #SmallBusinessWeek

How to Start Advertising on Twitter for Only $50

National Small Business Week is just around the corner. That means there are plenty of different events and opportunities for small businesses to network and grow.

One such opportunity is an upcoming Twitter chat hosted by SCORE. The #SmallBusinessWeek Twitter chat takes place on May 2 and will feature a small business-focused discussion encompassing a variety of relevant topics.

And that’s not the only upcoming event that might be of interest to your small business. You can check out the Featured Events section for more information on the National #SmallBusinessWeek Twitter chat and more.

Then check out the list below for even more upcoming small business events.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

National #SmallBusinessWeek Twitter Chat, Hosted by SCORENational #SmallBusinessWeek Twitter Chat, Hosted by SCORE
May 02, 2017, Online, Twitter

Join SCORE as they host a National Small Business Week Twitter Chat on Tuesday, May 2 from 12:30-1:30 pm EST. Please follow SCORE’s Twitter @SCOREMentors ?and use the chat hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek to participate in the discussion. See you there!


TECHSPO Toronto 2017TECHSPO Toronto 2017
May 18, 2017, Toronto, Ontario

TECHSPO Toronto 2017 is a 2-day technology expo which takes place at the Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. TECHSPO Toronto brings together developers, brands, marketers, technology providers, designers, innovators and evangelists looking to set the pace in our advanced world of technology. TECHSPO Toronto 2017 promises to be better than ever and we’re excited to see all the amazing tech companies and talent that will be joining.


Secret KnockSecret Knock
May 22, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.

Secret Knock is going to be the single greatest event for the top entrepreneurs and action-takers in the world to connect, share ideas, and help take each other to the next level. Each of the attendees have believed in themselves enough to get to where they are, and they are not stopping now. Secure your application for one of the few spots left at the Secret Knock.


Sales World 2017Sales World 2017
November 08, 2017, Online

Sales World 2017 takes place November 8th to 9th, 2017, Online; Live and On Demand. It is the largest Sales Industry Event in the World and will be attended by over 10,000 Sales Professionals. It’s the one sales event you can’t afford to miss!


DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 - Digital Marketing ConferenceDIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 – Digital Marketing Conference
November 14, 2017, Online

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 Digital Marketing Conference takes place November 14th to 16th, 2017. Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017’s agenda will help attendees enhance their marketing efforts. Sessions will focus on building traffic, expanding brand awareness, improving customer service and gaining insight into today’s latest digital tools.


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Twitter chat photo via Shutterstock

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10 Steps to Becoming the Best Entrepreneur You Can Be

Whether you run a local business or one that’s completely online, your success probably hinges less on the products or services you sell than about the entrepreneur you are. So how do you upgrade your skills, creativity and instincts — for the benefit of your business, of course. Members of our small business community have experience in many of those areas. Check out some of their top tips in the list below.

Learn Local SEO Strategies

If you run a local business, you might think that you don’t need to worry about online marketing. But SEO can be a major factor for helping potential customers find you. Here, you can see some local SEO strategies shared by Bill Hartzer of Search Engine Journal.

Find Creative Ways to Hire Summer Employees

Summer is a popular time for businesses to boost productivity by hiring some extra employees. But hiring temporary employees sometimes requires a little creativity. Check out some strategies in this When I Work post by William Harris.

Learn How to Find Your Gross Profit

Understanding your profits is essential for tracking your business’s goals and progress. To learn a simple way of finding your business’s gross profit, check out this Fundera Ledger post by Billie Anne Grigg. Then see what BizSugar members are saying about the post.

Know the Importance of Supervisor Training and Development

If you want your employees to be successful, then you need good leaders and supervisors. In this SMB CEO post, Ivan Widjaya details why it’s so important for small businesses to understand the importance of supervisor training and development.

Make Your Brand Stand Out on Social Media

Whether you run an online business or a local business, social media can be an extremely helpful tool. But you need to be able to make your business stand out on social media if you want to have any success. Mary Blackiston shares some tips for doing so in this SUCCESS Agency blog post.

Understand The Facts About Snapchat and Instagram

Snapchat and Instagram specifically are growing in popularity with consumers and marketers alike. But since these platforms are constantly changing, it’s important that you understand the basics, as outlined in this Resonance Content Marketing post by Rachel Parker. BizSugar members also share thoughts on the post.

Create Effective Standard Operating Procedures

To get the most out of your team and your business, you need to have some clearly outlined processes and procedures. For more on how to actually create those procedures, take a look at the Process Street post by Adam Henshall.

Check Out The Latest Domain Extensions

When creating your small business website, you no longer have to settle for a simple .com extension. In this Smallbiztechnology.com post by Helen Cartwright, you can check out some of the new domain extensions that are available for businesses to use.

Listen to a Few Great Entrepreneurial Podcasts

If you want to expand your entrepreneurial knowledge, podcasts can be a great resource. This crowdSPRING post by Amanda Bowman features nine podcasts that all entrepreneurs should listen to. And the BizSugar community also comments on the post here.

Consider Your Audience’s “Where” and “When”

When thinking about your audience, you might stop with simply considering who they are. But thinking about where and when your audience might come across your message is also an important consideration. Kevin Lee elaborates further in this Marketing Land post.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Entrepreneur photo via Shutterstock

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How Do You Fire a Family Member?

How Do You Fire a Family Member?

Ninety percent of businesses in the United States are family owned. Some of the biggest brands in America were family founded and are controlled by a family.

Walmart and Berkshire Hathaway are two of the largest examples.

While family-run businesses can be close-knit, friendly, successful and inspiring, they are not without their challenges. One challenge of family leadership is becoming stuck in the same old ways of doing things (because of family pressure) even when the company is growing.

Another challenge is breaking bad news to employees of the company who also happen to be family members. For example, how do you attempt to demote a family member to a lower rung on the company ladder? Or, worse yet, how do you tell Mom and Dad it might be time to retire?

How Do You Fire a Family Member?

In order to shed some light on the unique challenges facing family-run businesses, Small Business Trends spoke with Kathy Kolbe, a global leader in discovering and accessing the power of human instincts, and her daughter Amy Bruske, President of Kolbe Corp. Kathy and Amy have been working in their own family business for more than 20 years. Both are award-winning consultants and advisors to more than 3,000 owners of family businesses and Fortune 500 companies.

As mother and daughter, working together for more than two decades, Kolbe and Bruske have personally experienced every situation discussed in their new book Business is Business: Reality Checks for Family-Owned Companies, which provides research-based insight on the most effective ways to run a business and manage relationships.

Neither Kolbe nor Bruske recall a time when they wished they were working anywhere else.

Here’s some advice they share with Small Business Trends on how to tell a family member they’re no longer needed in the business.

Don’t Become Known as the Family Member Who Fires People

First Kolbe and Bruske insist family members can avoid being criticized for firing another member of the family by praising the individual’s level of effort, if appropriate, and by confirming and discussing what they naturally do well and careers suited to those abilities. Family members should analyze why continued efforts would not be fruitful and examples and references for where and with whom they might succeed should be given. Criticisms of being the one doing the firing could also be avoided by sharing a vision for the future and, as Kolbe and Bruske explain:

“Agreeing on how you will share the information with others, including all company employees and non-employee family members.”

Show Some Tact When You Fire a Family Member

Family members firing co-workers with a family attachment should show tact about the uncomfortable situation at all times. According to Kolbe and Bruske, employers firing family workers should avoid bringing up any other family members’ performances in the company. They should also refrain from discussing the situation with other family members who are uninvolved in the management of the business.

During social situations and at family gatherings, the family business members should avoid referencing the situation to avoid awkwardness and conflict.

Equally, families should not, according to Kolbe and Bruske:

“Incriminate or assign blame if they in fact tried hard and did nothing unethical or against policies.”

They should also avoid itemizing errors or omissions and assigning guilt to anybody.

Forcing the founder out of a family business is an even more complex task than firing family employees.

Attempt to Build Trust

To help assuage this difficult and complex situation, Kolbe and Bruske say family businesses should aim to involve a non-family adviser who is trusted by the founder. They should also openly ask the founder about his or her plans for the future and, if possible, have the founder set a transition date and communicate decisions to others. Company time should also be invested into assisting the founder in moving on to a desired adventure.

“Create a special celebration event or document (e.g. book, painting, photos) that the founder can look forward to and that can be used for closure,” Kolbe and Bruske recommend.

Avoid Bullying or Patronizing

In such situations, it is important that the founder is not bullied or patronized. The true entitlements of the founder should also be honored. The family business members should also not be afraid to ask for the founder’s advice or, as Kolbe and Bruske explain:

“Change everything that the founder did that made the business successful.”

Running and working for a family business can be rewarding and fulfilling but is not without its trials and tribulations. As explained above, tact, patience and diplomacy should be applied when it comes to the difficult situation of firing a family member.

Fired Photo via Shutterstock

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Money on the Table Shows Why We Need Gender-Balanced Business Leadership Now

Money on the Table: Why We Need Gender-Balanced Leadership in Biz NowThe need for a gender-balanced form of leadership in the modern workplace has been documented for years. While some progress has been made, there is still a lot of work to be done before the world makes even a dent in the so-called “glass ceiling”. Author Melissa Greenwell wants to know why it’s taking so long. Her book, Money on the Table: How to Increase Profits through Gender-Balanced Leadership explores the delays in creating a more gender-balanced form of leadership and what these delays are doing to a company’s potential bottom line.

What is Money on the Table About?

While Greenwell has the moral high ground arguing for gender-balanced leadership, in Money on the Table she wants to draw her reader’s attention to the financial and strategic reasons for more gender-inclusive leadership. Greenwell argues strongly that businesses with more gender balance earn more money, hire better talent, and make better decisions over male-dominated ones. In her view, businesses that offer more opportunities for women (especially in leadership) will have a decisive competitive advantage in the future.

Money on the Table starts off the “gender equality in the workplace” conversation by pointing out the discrepancy between nice-sounding policies and real action. To understand that a gap still exists, Greenwell cites interviews from both male and female executives. These interviews revealed key differences in how male and female leaders implemented gender equality. Both male and female leaders, however, still hold to the social convention of women taking care of the house in addition to work. This social convention seems held even in businesses more open about gender inclusion. To make things a little clearer, the workplace (especially leadership) is slanted socially, psychologically and financially to maintain the “glass ceiling” despite attempts to change it.

Despite this dismal picture, Greenwell is confident we can break the “glass ceiling”. With a willingness to proactively change how we educate, hire and promote women in the workplace, businesses can tap into the positive and profitable cycle that will give them a unique competitive advantage. As other businesses take note, our society will move closer to the critical mass it takes to make a more permanent change in workplace practices. At that point, every business will wonder why they took so long to embrace gender equality in the workplace.

In addition to being an author, Greenwell is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Finish Line, an athletic apparel retail business. In her 30-year corporate history, Greenwell has spent over two decades working at the C-suite level. She is also a certified executive coach and speaker on the topic of gender-balanced leadership. In addition, Greenwell is the director of the Special Olympics Indiana Board and Finish Line Youth Foundation.

What Was Best About Money on the Table?

In Money on the Table, Greenwell offers probably one of the most authentic voices you will ever hear on gender balance in the workplace. In the book, she is not afraid to confront leaders, male and female, about their roles in advancing gender equality in the business world. She wants real change and provides the research to support her belief that gender balance needs to be addressed aggressively. In summary, Money on the Table is not a dry, academic book that talks about gender balancing policies. It’s a practical guide for policies that Greenwell believes we need immediately.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

For all its urgency, Money on the Table pushes leaders to act quickly in regards to gender equality without providing a clear overall look at what a comprehensive gender-balanced policy should look. The second part of the book does contain some general recommendations and principles but no checklist or directions are given for leaders who want to start from scratch. In other words, Money on the Table helps explain why workplace equality is important but doesn’t give a comprehensive look at how to get there.

Why Read Money on the Table?

In Money on the Table, Greenwell places specific emphasis on leaders at the top of the organizational chart  because she contends that leaders set the tone for workplace culture. As she describes in the book, the behavior and beliefs of executive leaders have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the business. Organizational culture is not static like furniture. It’s dynamic, something that is reinforced daily through the words and actions of the people in the workplace. Money on the Table offers a more proactive and ambitious guide to the reality of gender equality in business. The book offers a way for leaders to make a financial and strategic case for becoming more active about hiring and retaining more women at all levels of business.

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Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft Brand

Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft BrandBrands aren’t what they used to be. In the past, brands were a physical symbol that represented value. When you bought a Coca-Cola, the red logo assured that you were getting a good soda. Nowadays, brands have become more complicated. They still represent a physical product, but they can mean a lot more than that. In The Rise Of The Craft Brand: Why Small is Going to Be Huge, author Ben Zifkin explains how this changing definition of branding can be leveraged to help a small business compete with a large-sized competitor.

What is The Rise of the Craft Brand About?

The central message of The Rise Of The Craft Brand is about technology’s disruption of the relationship between branding, distribution and commerce. Just a few years ago, the only way to get a Ralph Lauren shirt was to find a retailer, like Macy’s or Sears, that sold that product. With the rise of technology like the internet, you don’t even need to leave your chair to purchase that Ralph Lauren shirt from Amazon, the Ralph Lauren site, or any number of online stores and auctions.

This disruption between branding, distribution and commerce has resulted in the emergence of craft branding. Craft branding, unlike other types of branding, doesn’t depend on going big. The goal isn’t to reach every customer in the world. The goal of craft branding is to produce specialty. Craft branding is the strategic marriage of a small business brand and technology. When these two get together, big-name retailers are in trouble.

Why should big-name retailers be frightened by craft branding? There are a couple of reasons. First, many big-name retailers (although this is slightly changing) rely on mass-produced brands that don’t have the flexibility of a craft brand. The old-school brand of the past was a physical symbol focused on getting a transaction from mass-produced items (like a Coca-Cola bottle). Craft brands are different. They can afford to charge higher prices and produce on a smaller scale because they can leverage technology and a deeper relationship with an audience that wants a distinctive experience.

The Rise of the Craft Brand explores how small brands, like Under Armour were able to leverage their resources to become disruptive competitors to established businesses like Nike.

Zifkin is a former software engineer and consultant, founder and CEO of Hubba, a B2B network that connects retailers and brands. An avid supporter of technology is on the board of directors for Ladies Learning to Code and Hacker You.

What Was Best About The Rise of the Craft Brand?

Rise of the Craft Brand approaches the topic of a branding from a different (and much-needed) perspective. The trend in business books has been to discuss branding as a concrete “thing” that a person or business does. Rise of the Craft Brand expands that concept of branding and demonstrates how commerce will be affected by it. The brands profiled in this book provide a glimpse of how current businesses are adapting now for that upcoming future.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Rise of the Craft Brand celebrates the empowering potential of small businesses to make a big impact but it could use more detail to flesh out the concept of a “craft brand”. First, the book identifies a few characteristics of craft brands” but fails to show how craft brands differ from other types of brand. Second, the book fails to outline a specific strategy for craft brands. The author shares his own personal experience with Hubba along with other businesses but there isn’t enough detail for a full-fledged strategy. Having this kind of strategy might help struggling small business owners.

Why Read The Rise of the Craft Brand?

“For any business leader interested in the future of commerce, Rise of the Craft Brand offers a glimpse into the technology that is disrupting big-name retailers. This disruption is changing the ways that brands are created and developed, leaving room for small businesses to make a big marketing impact without a large-scale budget. For those who want a sneak peek of what this disruption looks like in the present, Rise of the Craft Brand profiles small businesses that were able to benefit from this disruption and launch into a powerful brand while following their own path to success.

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After Big PR Fail, United Airlines Tries to Fix Its Customer Service

United Airlines is Trying to Fix Its Reputation

Weeks after the company’s PR nightmare stemming from a video of a customer being dragged off an overbooked plane, United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) has been doing some soul searching.

The company just released 10 new policy changes aimed at improving customer service. Some of those changes include limiting use of law enforcement personnel to safety and security issues only, not requiring seated passengers to give up their seats involuntarily, increasing incentives for those who do give up seats, and making sure that crews are booked onto flights at least 60 minutes prior to departure.

After the initial incident, the company stumbled over its response. Messaging from Unites Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz was inconsistent and, in the eyes of many customers, inappropriate. So calls for boycotts and lawsuits ensued.

Hopefully, your small business will never experience a PR nightmare that’s even close to the one United has found itself in. But at some point, you may experience some negative press or customer sentiments toward your brand. And when that happens, it’s important to come up with a satisfactory solution and response quickly.

United Airlines is Trying to Fix Its Reputation

This new plan from United is a decent example of showing customers some changes stemming from a negative experience. It shows that the company can potentially learn from its mistakes and won’t let a similar incident happen again. However, in the case of the United debacle, it might have been better — and less damaging to the company’s brand — to have come up with that solution sooner.

United Photo via Shutterstock

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