Startup & Small Business - Page 3

Check out our latest entrepreneurial-driven content geared toward helping startups and small businesses grow their brands.

How Small Businesses Can Use AI Productivity Tools to Grow

AI is a tool that can be used to both streamline and improve the operations of small businesses. AI productivity tools are perfect for small businesses because they have access to fewer resources than larger companies do. Even though these tools might seem daunting at first glance, they’re relatively easy to use when you break them down into their components. In this article, we’ll cover some tips on how small businesses can use artificial intelligence tools to grow their businesses even faster than they already are.

Artificial Intelligence & its Impact on Small Businesses

Artificial Intelligence is a massive buzzword in tech, but what does it mean? Here’s the short answer: AI refers to intelligent machines that can perform tasks as well or better than humans.

AI has become increasingly important because it improves productivity, efficiency, and customer service. Many small businesses are now using some form of AI-powered tool to help them manage their business more successfully. AI tools can do everything from help you get more sales leads on LinkedIn or Facebook ads by analyzing your website traffic data and learning which keywords are most effective for attracting new customers. From generating automated reports on key metrics like sales pipeline progress that would otherwise take hours each week for someone like yourself who’s just getting started in marketing (or doesn’t have time).

How Small Businesses Can Use AI Tools to Improve Productivity

One of the most common misconceptions about AI tools is that they can only be used for highly technical tasks. While it’s true that some of these tools are designed for businesses that don’t have a large workforce or complex processes, you can still use them to get more done with less effort. Many small businesses are already using AI productivity tools to streamline their workflows and make more money.

One way to use these tools is by outsourcing repetitive or monotonous tasks so that employees can focus on other business areas. An example would be having an AI system handle customer service calls while an employee looks over transcripts and provides feedback on improving performance next time. Another way is by automating data processing so that employees don’t have to do it themselves—and yes, even if your company doesn’t deal with tons of numbers every day, there may still be ways in which automation could help.

How AI Helps in Content Creation

AI helps you create more engaging, relevant, and actionable content.

Say you’re a small business owner looking to launch your first blog post. You have a perfect idea—a product review of Samsung’s latest smart kitchen appliance. But where do you start? How can AI help?

First, when it comes to writing blog posts about consumer products, there are two main types: reviews and how-to guides. Reviews tell readers what they need to know about a product before making a purchase decision; how-to guides show them how to use it once they get their hands on one. When creating these types of posts for your site or social media channels, AI tools can help by advising which type best suits your audience based on past engagement levels with similar content (and other factors).

AI Productivity Tools for Better Marketing & Sales

AI productivity tools can also help you with marketing and sales. These tools can help optimize your marketing campaigns and improve your sales process. For example, AI-driven email automation software can automatically segment contacts into different groups based on their interests and preferences; This allows for highly personalized communications across multiple channels (e.g., social media, newsletters, etc).

The use of AI in marketing has increased over the past few years due to the rise of chatbots and virtual assistants like Alexa or Siri. Chatbots are becoming one of the marketers’ most valuable assets because they allow them to interact directly with consumers through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger without having to deal with pushback from customers who don’t want to talk on the phone.”


As you can see, using AI productivity tools has many benefits for small businesses. They can help you save time and money, improve communication with your customers and make sales more efficient. Using these tools, you will grow your business with less stress and effort.

Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you want to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Ways Your Small Business Can Compete With Big Box Retailers This Holiday Season

With 2023 just around the corner, the time to start preparing for the holiday season is now. The way you run your small business during the holidays can make or break your end-of-the-year revenue and determine whether you start the new year strong. Competing to make sales with big names and brands can seem impossible, but taking a page out of the big box retailer holiday strategy will be your ticket to the top!

There are a lot of strategies you can adopt as your own, and the best ways to stand out are staying organized with your inventory, preparing for additional staff, bolstering your e-commerce game, and providing personalized customer service.

Inventory Management

If you’ve ever wondered how larger retailers can achieve such high levels of sales during the holiday season, the answer often lies in their inventory management and organization techniques.

Your small business may not be ready for the inventory levels that larger retailers have had years to prepare and adapt for; but having a go-to system in place before your sales volume increases will help you and your staff stay on top of sales.

You may be overwhelmed with the idea of having the perfect inventory system ready to go, but the first step in creating an efficient system should be to look at your business’s past trends and sales goals. This strategy helps you determine a ballpark for the inventory you should carry higher stock of. Integrating a SKU system can help with tracking automation and keep the inventory you’ve yet to display organized and easily accessible.

A challenging aspect of inventory management can be dealing with last year’s inventory. Dedicate time to take inventory of your products to help you manage expectations for hitting sales goals and determine where you should focus your marketing efforts.

Evaluating your inventory can be a daunting task if you plan to do it alone, but assigning certain areas of your inventory storage to your staff so each member of your team is responsible for counting a small part, can save you time and eliminate any miscalculations.

Seasonal Hiring

A big step in preparing your business for holiday hours is hiring additional staff. Larger companies can achieve higher customer satisfaction during the holidays because they can bring on seasonal staff to support their team. Adding more employees to your payroll during the holidays can be tough on your finances, but extra hands can make a difference to your workflow and give you an advantage during busy times. Seek out additional funding to cover expenses that may arise during the search for employees, onboarding, training, and payroll stages. This financial buffer can provide you peace of mind as you head into the holiday season!

The process of hiring additional staff should be different from that of hiring nonseasonal staff. Make sure to include a clear start and end date for the job listing you’re creating. The time to start your search should be as soon as possible, as it’ll take time for new employees to get acclimated to the role and accustomed to the heavier workload that typically comes with the season.

Use your local community as an advantage in your search. Many people that will be looking for seasonal employment can be college students or older adults looking for ways to provide for their families during the holiday time, so it’s important to be sensitive about scheduling. Letting people know in advance that they’ll have to work specialized hours ahead of time will allow your employees some flexibility to adapt to their prior commitments and can be a great management technique.


The e-commerce business model has exploded since the pandemic and bigger retailers have taken notice. For your small business to stand out amongst the millions of other small businesses and larger retailers utilizing e-commerce as a sales booster, you should make sure your website is optimized for large amounts of traffic.

Brand visibility is everything in the e-commerce space, especially with the rise of impulse shopping; so, you’ll want to make sure you have a shopping cart system that’s easy to navigate and will help shoppers carry through with their purchase. Customers will shy away from your website if pages load too slowly and your website isn’t equipped to handle the seasonal traffic.

A lot of bigger retailers have already updated their websites with seasonally themed banners to alert people of their holiday deals and implemented discounts their customers can look forward to. Creating a seasonal campaign for online shopping experiences will catch the eye of online shopping browsers and show people that your business is paying attention to what’s on the minds of shoppers, as well as the competition.

Larger retailers may be able to provide customers with better deals, but many people would rather support the shop local and small business movement during this time. With that in mind, it’s ok to lean into the shop small mentality in your e-commerce space.

Customer Service

Providing quality customer service that makes your customers feel seen, heard, and understood should be a large component of your holiday strategy. A little more than 40% of shoppers prefer to shop small because they receive better customer service than with larger businesses. This statistic can be attributed to the large number of retailers that have automated their customer service with phone systems or chatbots, resulting in customers becoming less satisfied with their shopping experiences. This is just another way your small business can pick up the slack left by bigger retailers.

Maintaining an active presence on social media encourages your audience and customer base to interact with your business and gives them the opportunity to participate in your business’s core values. This can also help them feel a sense of community surrounding your brand. Responding to comments in real-time and offering timely assistance can bring customer loyalty to a new level, which can last far beyond the holiday season.

Customer service doesn’t just have to be online. In-store customer service is just as important and can be as simple as greeting people as they walk through the door or striking up a conversation. Making sure your staff is friendly and approachable when someone is in need of help can go a long way, as larger stores no longer offer these kinds of services. Understand the needs of your customers and they’ll appreciate the service you provide them.

Now that you know the secrets big box retailers use to increase their holiday needs, you’re ready to execute your holiday business plan. By taking the time to prepare for all aspects of the holiday rush, your small business can hit the ground running today!

Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you want to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!

5 Small Business Growth Strategies To Get Your Brand Noticed

The holiday season is perfect for your small business to get noticed growth strategies . Many small businesses benefit significantly during this time of year due to higher sales and more foot traffic in their stores. Holidays are also an excellent opportunity to promote your brand through cross-promotion with other businesses or hosting events that engage your community. Here are five strategies you can use to grow your business over the next few months:

1: Cross Promote with Other Businesses

Cross-promotion is a great way to get your brand noticed during the holiday season. This strategy involves promoting another business’s products or services in exchange for them promoting yours.

It can be done on social media, in-store, or through a newsletter. You should focus on businesses with similar audiences and offer products that complement yours. For example, if you sell jewelry and they sell apparel, then it makes sense to cross-promote each other’s products.

Here are some examples of businesses that could cross-promote with you:

  • Online retailers with stores on Etsy & Big Cartel
  • Local boutiques or shops where you live
  • Bloggers who write about similar topics to yours

2: Host a Food or Toy Drive

We all know how important it is to give back to our communities and positively impact others. Hosting a food or toy drive is one of the best ways to do this. You can either collect donations from your customers or run an in-store donation drive by setting up a table in the middle of your store where people can drop off their donations, or both!

Just make sure that you promote your drive so that you get the most amount of donations possible. The last thing you want is for your customers not to know about it! Once the holidays are over, thank everyone who donated so that they know how much their kindness means.

3: Engage Your Community

It would help if you also considered creating a contest for your business. This could include giving away a gift card or other prizes to encourage people in your community to visit your business. You can also ask for feedback on your products and services, which can help you improve them in the future.

Lastly, you could ask followers of social media or email lists what they think about working with your company and whether they would recommend it to others.

4: Consider a Virtual or Live Event

  • Virtual events are great for getting your brand noticed and building new customer relationships. These events can be held in several places, like on social media or via video conferencing platforms like Zoom.
  • Traditional live events can also be a huge success because you build customer relationships and connect with people in person. The difference between virtual and live events is that virtual is hosted online, while live events are held at a specific location. Still, both events can significantly impact the success of your small business growth by helping you to build rapport with new and existing customers.

5: Gift Guides

Another way to get your brand noticed is by creating a gift guide.

Whether creating your own or recommending products for another business, you’ll want to ensure that your gift guide’s content is valuable and helpful to the reader. If they find what they’re looking for in your guide, they are more likely to check out other content on your site.

Gift guides can be created in any format—online only, print only, online, and print. Having both digital versions of gift guides available allows people who prefer one form over another access to all versions without needing additional tools to view them.

The holiday season is an excellent time for your small business to get noticed and grow.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • It’s when people think about gift purchases, which means they’ll think about you and your brand.
  • The holidays are a great time to get creative with messaging, promotions, and marketing—which can lead to more word-of-mouth marketing opportunities for you. (That’s always good.)

Happy Holidays! We hope these tips will help you to grow your business this holiday season.

Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you want to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!

How Entrepreneurship Changes your Life for the Better

Entrepreneurship is one of the most rewarding careers out there, but it can also be one of the most stressful. You’ll need to embrace your inner entrepreneur if you want to make it in this competitive industry, but taking that first step can be challenging. Being an entrepreneur is the first step toward financial independence, but many people are unaware of what entrepreneurship does for your health. It turns out that being an entrepreneur has positive effects on your mental and physical well-being. Here’s how entrepreneurship changes your life for the better.

1. You learn to let go of the word “busy.”

Becoming an entrepreneur will teach you that it’s okay to say no. You won’t have time for every event and social gathering, no matter how much fun they sound in the beginning. It also gives you more time to relax and enjoy life.

In addition to this, entrepreneurship forces you to make better use of your time so that even if all day long feels like busyness and chaos, at the end of each day or week, month or year, one can look back on what they’ve accomplished and realize how much they’ve really done instead of feeling like nothing got done because everything took so long.

2. They tend to spend more time with their families.

Entrepreneurs tend to spend more time with their families. Entrepreneurs are often thought of as workaholics because they’re always working on something and rarely take vacations. However, most entrepreneurs are not like that at all.

Entrepreneurs understand how to balance the demands of family and business. They may not have as much time for their friends or other interests, but since their work provides a way for them to provide for their family (and sometimes even friends), it doesn’t seem like a big sacrifice for them.

3. You get to see your own vision come to life.

Being an entrepreneur takes commitment and persistence. Well, most entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs because they want to make their own rules and do things differently. So, when you start your own business, you get to see your vision come to life. You get to be as creative as possible without having someone else tell you what works or doesn’t work for them. It’s liberating!

4. You see things from a different perspective.

You start to see things from a different perspective. You learn to see the big picture and what’s possible. You can spot potential in people and ideas that others might miss because you’ve become more aware of their perspective.

You also start to understand that sometimes you need the right tools or mindset to progress with your goals, so seeing things from another viewpoint helps give us insight into how we can reach them.

5. Entrepreneurs tend to be healthier than average.

You are more likely to be physically active as an entrepreneur. You’re also more likely to eat healthy, and less likely to smoke. In fact, you can generally expect higher self-esteem and satisfaction in your life as a result of being your own boss.

Entrepreneurs are also more likely to have strong support networks, which makes sense because they’re working hard at something they love. They have the opportunity to meet new people every day, and these relationships can contribute to better finances, too (such as through networking events).

If you’re considering entrepreneurship, we strongly recommend Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear. It’s a practical guide to building positive habits and breaking negative ones. The book explains how small, consistent changes can lead to significant improvements in your life and provides a step-by-step approach to making lasting changes.


7. You get to be your own boss.

Being your own boss means you get to make all the decisions. You decide when and where to work, what hours to keep, how much money you want to earn, and even how your business should operate.

This means that if you want a long weekend off or even a week-long vacation with no contact from anyone at all—you can do it! And that freedom is something many people dream about but never actually accomplish in their current jobs.

Unlike traditional employment, where there may be limits on when you can request days off, entrepreneurship allows you the freedom to self-manage.

There will be more ups and downs than you’d probably like, but you’ll learn how to appreciate each one for what it is.

When things are going well, you’ll have plenty of time to celebrate on your own terms—you won’t have to wait until your boss gets back from vacation or gives everyone Friday afternoon off because they’ve hit their sales goals for the quarter.

8. Your relationships become stronger and deeper.

Your relationships will be the first to change. Entrepreneurship is incredibly rewarding and exciting, but it also means that you will have less time for your loved ones.

Your friends might feel slightly neglected or even abandoned as you begin working full-time on your business. This can leave them feeling hurt or confused—and often leads people to question whether they should continue being friends with you.

But if you take things slow, be honest about what’s happening in your life, and communicate openly with them about it (not just when something comes up), there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a positive experience for everyone involved.

In fact, many entrepreneurs report that their friendships become stronger and deeper once they work on their own businesses because they have more free time available to spend with those who matter most in their lives—people who aren’t necessarily interested in entrepreneurship themselves but still want to hang out with them anyways (and vice versa).

Entrepreneurship has been shown by researchers like Dan Pink at Stanford University School of Medicine as well as other business experts like Simon Sinek or Jack Ma himself (founder of Alibaba) that it improves empathy levels among entrepreneurs due to increased self-awareness which makes one more aware of how others feel around them too.

9. You’ll inspire others to pursue their dreams.

When you start your own business, you’ll inspire others to pursue their dreams and show them that there is a path to success. When someone asks how you made it, it will be easy to share with them the steps that got you there—and why they, too, can follow in your footsteps.

Not only will entrepreneurship make people feel inspired, but it can also bring happiness into their lives as well. It doesn’t matter if they don’t have any money or experience; entrepreneurs begin with nothing but an idea and end up becoming successful because of their determination and drive. They’ve seen what people thought was impossible become possible through hard work and perseverance.

Being an entrepreneur can change your life by making you happier and healthier while working on your own terms.

    If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, we highly recommend it. Even if you aren’t sure which path to take or what kind of business to start, it’s never too soon to start planning out your future! Entrepreneurship has been shown again and again to change people’s lives for the better. So give it a shot: we’re confident this article will help inspire some plans for you.


    Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you want to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!

    5 Common Mistakes US Startups Make When Entering the Israeli Market

    The US market is flooded with their startups. As such, enterprising entrepreneurs are looking to overseas markets to make their millions. Many have set their sights on Israel. Below, we explore why that is and point out five common mistakes that US startups should avoid when entering the Israeli market.

    Statistics and Facts of New Businesses in the US 2022

    There are more than 70,000 active startups in the US in 2022. This proliferation of new business has its roots in former President Barack Obama’s “Startup America” program, launched in 2011. Through the Small Business Administration, the program administrated $2 billion worth of funding to promote high-growth entrepreneurship.

    Entrepreneurs looking to swerve this market saturation are increasingly turning to dynamic markets in other countries. One that is capturing many startup founders’ attention is Israel.

    Why Israel Is the Best Country to Expand Your Business

    Israel offers economic strength, a skilled, creative workforce, and a welcoming environment for US businesses. Its gross domestic product grew by 8.1% in 2021 and its fiscal policies support growth. Thanks to Israel’s startup culture, the country already has many ties with US companies, with US firms accounting for almost two-thirds of the 300+ research and development centers that multinational companies have established in Israel.

    Environments don’t get much more welcoming. That said, expanding into a new market always has pitfalls, even for businesses with robust business growth strategies. With that in mind, here are five common mistakes to avoid when entering the Israeli startup scene.

    1. Failing to Do Research on the Israeli Market

    Market research is fundamental to any new venture, whether it’s launching a new product in your domestic market or a whole new venture overseas. The Israeli market differs from the US market, so you need to undertake market research to understand your target customers, their shopping habits, their appetite for your products and the landscape in terms of competition. Fail to undertake appropriate market research and you’re setting yourself up to fail.

    2. Not Translating Your Online Presence in the Hebrew Language

    Launching your startup in Israel means you will need a Hebrew translation company on your side. Engaging a high-quality Hebrew translation service will provide you with the skills to connect online with your target audience.

    When you translate a document from English to Hebrew, it’s about more than language. It’s also about respecting cultural nuances, delivering linguistic quirks such as jokes and idioms correctly and taking care of practical details such as currency and date format conversion.

    Professional Hebrew translation services can help with all of this, supporting you to deliver an online presence that’s an immediate winner in the eyes of your new potential customers. We’ve seen examples of this time and again, where firms have used translation well in order to get ahead.

    3. Having No Multilingual SEO Strategy

    Hebrew translation services aren’t only useful for website translation. They can also support you with developing a multilingual SEO strategy. Doing so is another essential step in successfully engaging with the Israeli marketplace.

    Like it or not, SEO can make or break your brand when it comes to launching in a new country. Simply using a Hebrew translation company to convert keyword research you’ve undertaken for the US market isn’t enough – you need to use Hebrew translation services or native Israeli SEO specialists to help you undertake SEO research specific to that target market.

    4. Forgetting to Create a CX Mapping

    Another common mistake that US startups make when entering the Israeli market not creating a CX mapping. Mapping the CX journey means walking in the customer’s shoes as they engage with the various touch points your business provides, whether online, offline or omnichannel. Again, undertaking this in only the US isn’t sufficient – you need to do it for each market you enter.

    5. No Strategy for Your Target Market’s Cultural Preferences

    Entrepreneurs need a keen sense of cultural understanding if they want to succeed overseas. As such, you’ll need a strategy in place for understanding Israeli customers’ cultural preferences and expectations when you launch your startup in Israel. From which holidays it would be crass to discount goods on to those where offers are expected (along with a whole range of other cultural preferences), you will again need to undertake thorough research if you want to maximize your chances of success.

    Final Thoughts

    Scaling a business is about far more than simply finding funding for your startup, then adding staff and opening offices overseas. As we’ve shown above, it’s about developing a keen cultural understanding, paying attention to the linguistic landscape and undertaking thorough research, from your target market to your keywords. By avoiding the mistakes above, you will find yourself in a stronger position when it comes to establishing your US startup in Israel.

    Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you would like to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!

    Best Tips on How to Build a Startup Team

    There are a lot of things to consider when building your startup team. You’ll need to find the right people for each job, make sure those people are aligned with your goals and values, and then manage them effectively so that they can do their jobs well. This is easier said than done, but it’s not impossible! Here are some tips on how to build a strong team from scratch:

    Find your co-founder match

    When you’re looking for a co-founder, it’s important to find someone who shares your values and can bring something to the table that you can’t. This is especially true if you don’t have any previous startup experience—because now would be a bad time to try to learn how to do everything yourself!

    You’ll want someone who has skills that complement yours. For example, if one of you has a technical background but not much business knowledge and the other has entrepreneurial experience but isn’t technical at all, then looking for someone who balances those two skill sets out should help ensure the success of your company.

    It’s also important that this person will work well with others; if they don’t mesh well with other people on your team—or even just in general—that could spell disaster for everyone involved (and no one wants THAT).

    Get to know potential team members

    In order to find the right people for your team, you need to see how well they fit into your company and culture.

    • Do you and the potential team member agree on what success looks like?
    • Do you have similar goals?
    • Are they committed to learning and growing as a professional?
    • Is their work ethic aligned with yours?

    When building a startup team, it’s important that everyone is on the same page about goals, values and priorities. You want people who are excited about what they do – not just those who take up space in an office chair because there aren’t any other jobs available at their skill level (and current industry).

    Hire early, hire slow

    The most important lesson for a founder to learn is that hiring is as much about not hiring someone, as it is about hiring them.

    Hiring early and slow means you’ll spend more time getting to know the candidate before bringing them on board, which gives you an opportunity to make sure they have the right skills, experience and personality for your startup team.

    It also gives you time to think through all aspects of working with them: how it could benefit your business; what growth opportunities you’re offering; how their compensation package compares with others in their field (and whether they’re worth it).

    Beware of the all-star

    This is a person who has already succeeded in a previous role, and they are (understandably) reluctant to take on an assignment that might be beneath them. An all-star is often overqualified for the position, which means they may not be willing to take on the tasks that need to be done or are struggling with management issues.

    All-stars can also cause problems due to their unique personality traits or mindset. For example, many high performers have a hard time working under someone else because they’re so used to being their own boss or having complete control of their work environment—and this can lead them down an unproductive path if they don’t adjust accordingly.

    Your first employee is a bigger deal than you think

    The first employee is a bigger deal than you think because they set the tone for the rest of your team and are critical to company culture.

    • First impressions matter. The first employee is often the most visible person in your company, and they’ll be seen as representative of your organization by outsiders whether they like it or not (and if you don’t have any customers yet, you won’t have anyone to impress).
    • It’s tempting to hire someone who knows how things work at startups since that person will be able to hit the ground running when it comes to tasks like interviewing candidates and doing marketing materials. But remember: You don’t want someone who only knows how things work at startups—you want someone who can help build a new way of doing things!

      If you’re looking for someone with startup experience but they don’t have an entrepreneurial mindset, try looking at people who recently left corporate jobs or even just graduated college (a recent grad will probably be more open-minded than an established professional).

    Consider outsourcing for your first few hires to save money and time

    Outsourcing can be a good way to save time and money when you’re just starting out. If you don’t know what talent you need yet, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options out there. Instead of trying to find the perfect candidate in one fell swoop, consider outsourcing for a few months before putting someone on full-time.

    You’ll learn what skills are necessary for your role while also getting in touch with potential candidates who might be interested in joining later as a full-time employees or part-time contractors (or both). And if it turns out that outsourcing isn’t working for you after all? Well, at least now you’ve got some knowledge about what kinds of people will fit well in your organization!

    Use contract labor for junior roles like design or development work

    When you’re just starting out, you can use contract labor to get started. If you have a product-based business, this is particularly useful: it’s a great way to test the market and make sure your product is appealing before you fully commit to hiring full-time employees.

    Contract labor can also be used as an opportunity to test your team—if someone does great work on a contract basis, it might make sense for them to join your ranks as an employee.

    Don’t expect employees to carry the burden of your inexperience

    When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to feel like your employees are responsible for your inexperience. You may think that if you only knew how to do X or Y thing, then everything would be perfect. But this is a fallacy. You have to learn how to manage people, and this takes time and practice—no one learns these skills overnight.

    So don’t expect employees to carry the burden of your inexperience and show initiative on their own time; instead, take more ownership over the process of building a team—whether it’s by learning how to set expectations and hold people accountable or by delegating tasks that don’t require expertise from you but will still move the company forward.

    Practice good management and equity practices

    The way you distribute equity is an important part of building your startup team. The best way to do this is through a vesting schedule, which means that employees will earn their equity over time as they contribute more and more to the company.

    Vesting schedules are also great because they give employees an incentive to stay with the company for the long haul—once they’ve earned their shares, it’s in their best interest to stick around instead of jumping ship after one year. But what if you can’t offer all founders equal stakes? If there’s only one founder and several cofounders, who gets more? How many shares should each person get?

    Creating a strong startup team can be difficult, but it is possible if you take things slowly, consider the best fit for each position, and do not settle for the first person you interview.

    • You can’t do it all yourself.
    • You need a team of people working together to make the company successful, so don’t be afraid to recruit others and build a strong startup team.
    • If you’re having trouble finding the right people for your startup team, here are some tips:
    • Consider getting help from an experienced entrepreneur who has already built a successful business.
    • Not every entrepreneur needs to know how to code or run marketing campaigns, but they should have enough knowledge about their field of expertise (marketing, programming) that they can get their job done effectively without any problems.
    • It is important for each person on your team to have different skill sets so that none of them overlap too much with each other’s roles in order for everything to run smoothly.

    If you can get your team right, it’s the difference between success and failure. It’s also an area where many entrepreneurs fall short. By taking the time to build a strong team that complements each other’s skills and personalities, you will be able to achieve more than just working together—you’ll be building relationships that last well beyond when the company is no longer at its peak.

    Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you would like to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!

    5 Unconventional Ways to Raise Money for Startups

    Your startup has been in the works for months, or even years. You’ve thought of every detail, from its name and logo to how it will be marketed and sold. You’ve even formulated an exit strategy—but now you need money to get your idea off the ground. In this post, we’ll explore five unconventional ways founders can raise capital without going through venture capitalists or angel investors: crowdfunding, competitions, pitch festivals, grants, and government loans.


    Crowdfunding is a way to raise money by offering your product or service to a large number of people. The most popular crowdfunding platforms are GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Crowdfunding is a great way to get validation for your business idea. If you can’t find any early customers, then no one will come back later when you’re ready to sell more products or services. It’s also useful for raising funds without having to give up equity in your business (more on this later).

    If you’re just starting out, crowdfunding may not be the best option for you because there aren’t many people who have heard about your company yet and that means there may be a limited demand for what you offer. On the other hand, if there’s already demand for what you offer (for example: dog grooming products) then crowdfunding could be worth considering as an alternative financing option. This is especially the case since investors are looking at metrics like conversion rate when deciding whether or not they want their money involved with projects such as yours!

    Idea validation competitions

    An idea validation competition is a competition in which you, the startup founder, submit an idea for a new product or service that you want to build. The organizers of the idea validation competition will then assess it and award one or more prizes for the most promising ideas.

    An idea validation competition differs from a pitch contest in that it does not require you to make a formal presentation on stage. Instead, your work should be judged based on how well you write about your business plan and how much research you have done into what users want in this market space.

    In addition, unlike most pitch contests which take place at events like TechCrunch Disrupt or SXSW Interactive Festival (and where every presenter gets their own stage), during an ideation competition everyone’s ideas are posted online so no one feels like they’re getting lost in the crowd.

    The good news is that there are many different kinds of Idea Validation Competitions out there – some focused on specific industries like healthcare while others focus on sectors within technology such as FinTech(Financial Technology). And since these competitions are growing increasingly popular among startups looking for funding they’re often open year-round with multiple rounds each month so don’t wait around – submit your idea!

    Pitch Festivals

    Think of a pitch festival as a cross between a job fair and speed dating. You get to meet with lots of investors and potential partners, all in one place. Pitch festivals are also great for gaining exposure for your idea—you can do it at events like SXSW Interactive or TechCrunch Disrupt that draw thousands of attendees from around the world.

    If you’re planning on applying to pitch festivals, here’s what you should know:

    • Know your audience. Who are these investors? What are they looking for? How much money do they have available to invest? Do they prefer early-stage startups or later-stage ones? Do they like consumer products over enterprise software?
    • Have an elevator pitch ready. Even if you’re not sure someone will ask this question outright (and many won’t), it’s good practice to have something ready just in case so that you don’t waste anyone’s time when they try asking about your idea too early on in the conversation.”

    Government grants

    If you’re looking for funding and don’t have a lot of experience, grants may be a good way to go. While grants typically aren’t as prestigious as venture capital or angel investment funding, they can provide the necessary capital to get your business off the ground. Grants are often awarded to startups that are socially responsible, environmentally friendly, or innovative.

    In order to qualify for government grants, there are certain criteria that you’ll need to meet some which include:

    The startup must be registered as a business in the country where the grant is being offered. You’ll need to have a business plan, which means you’ll need to know exactly how you’re going to use the funding and what your goals are.

    Angel investors

    • An angel investor is a person who invests in startups, generally when they are at the seed or early stage of funding.
    • Angel investors are not as concerned with financial projections and projections as VCs, but rather focus on other factors like the team or market opportunities.
    • Angel investors often invest their own money in startups and can also bring their professional networks to bear on behalf of your business. They may be willing to invest up to $25,000 in a company with no formal pitch deck, but expect you to have done some research about them before approaching them directly (e.g., social media accounts).
    • You can find angel investors by starting with your network (friends and family), then expanding outward based on those who have invested in similar companies previously.

    Recap: Ways to raise capital other than venture funding

    There are many ways to raise capital other than venture funding. Here are a few options:

    • Crowdfunding – A great way to get your name out there and test your product, but you have to prove that people want it.
    • Idea validation competitions – You might win money or be able to pitch at a prestigious event. These are great if you’re just starting out, but they can also be a distraction from focusing on making sales.
    • Pitch festivals – Same as above, but these tend to be more focused on startups with proven traction and products rather than ideas alone (though there are exceptions).
    • Government grants – Some governments offer non-dilutive funding for early-stage companies; it may take some time before these help you make money or even see any return on investment (ROI), but they’re an option nonetheless.
    • Angel investors/seed funds/VC funds – If you’ve already been rejected by VCs above this level then try pitching them again with more experience under your belt!


    Raising capital is a critical part of starting up your business. The more capital you have, the more resources you’ll have at your disposal and the more time you can spend figuring out how to use those resources effectively. But don’t worry—there are plenty of unconventional ways to raise capital that don’t involve selling equity or taking on debt (which could limit your ability to grow). If all else fails, crowd-funding campaigns might be a good place for startups to start when looking for funding opportunities.

    Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you would like to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!

    5 Powerful Podcasts for Business and Entrepreneurship


    Nowadays there’s a podcast for everything. From true crime stories to comedians roasting each other, there’s no shortage of content to keep your ears busy on your morning commute or during a long run. But what about entrepreneurship? Are there any good podcasts out there that can help small business owners and entrepreneurs learn new skills and get motivated? The answer is yes!

    Starting and running a small business is no easy task.

    There are a million and one things to think about, from finances and marketing to product development and customer service. It can be tough to know where to start or even where to turn for help. Luckily, there are some great entrepreneurship podcasts out there that can offer advice, insights, and inspiration.

    Here are five of the best entrepreneurship podcasts to help build your business.

    1. The Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series: This podcast from Stanford University features interviews with some of the biggest names in the entrepreneurial world. If you’re looking for some big-picture thinking on starting and running a business, these podcasts are perfect for entrepreneurs ready to launch their new venture.

    2. How I Built This: This popular podcast from NPR tells the stories of how some of the world’s most successful businesses got their start. If you are interested in first-hand accounts of entrepreneurship in action, this could be the perfect podcast for you.

    3. SOB: Style of Business: This podcast covers a wide range of topics related to small business ownership and startups. If you’re looking for practical advice on everything from creative inspiration to marketing and finance, Style of Business will get you moving in the right direction to achieve your goals.

    4. The Fizzle Show: This podcast is all about helping creative entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses they love. If you’re struggling to find your passion in your business or if you’re just looking for some motivation – don’t sleep on The Fizzle! There is a lot of great information and advice in each episode.

    5. Startups for the Rest of Us: This podcast is geared towards helping so-called “regular” people start and grow their businesses. If you feel like you’re not cut out for entrepreneurship, or if you’re just looking for some relatable stories, this podcast will fuel you with the courage and inspiration you need to move towards your goals.

    Podcasting is a great way to learn and be inspired as an entrepreneur.

    By listening to podcasts, you can gain new insights and perspectives on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

    What type of podcast are you listening to help build your business? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it! And if you need help getting started with your own podcast, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can chat about the different ways we could help you bring your vision for your business to life.

    Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you would like to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!

    5 Reasons Holding Companies Are Used For Real Estate Portfolios

    Real estate is an immensely sought-after investment venture (having recently hit $10.5 trillion in value) that, unfortunately, has a number of idiosyncratic risks. These risks should not deter investors away from this market, but merely inform them of the precautions they should be making to safely capitalize on their investments.

    While often the first thing that comes to mind, insurance is not the most effective safeguard that investors can employ in order to protect their real estate portfolio. That title goes to holding companies, which not only mitigate risk but also grant a number of other fringe benefits.

    After explaining what a holding company is, and how it’s structured, this article will explore the reasons it is used for real estate portfolios.

    What Is A Holding Company?

    In the context of real estate portfolios, holding companies are entities designed to contain several subsidiaries, each of which is responsible for a single, specific asset (i.e. a property) of the owner. The purpose of the holding company is merely to hold all of these other subsidiaries responsible for each property of the owner.

    Furthermore, holding companies will not get involved in the daily undertakings of each of their subsidiaries in order to maintain a separation of the risks of each business. It is common for holding companies to be formed as an LLC in a business-friendly state such as Nevada or Texas.

    Limited liability companies (LLCs) have become more popular as holding companies than corporations since the latter is far more complicated to manage and is less adaptable with regard to taxation.

    Why Use Holding Companies

    1. Tax Benefits

    Since the IRS views holding companies used for real estate purposes with a single owner as equivalent to a “disregarded entity” (such as a sole proprietorship or general partnership), it benefits from the tax advantages associated with these structures. Namely, they are subject to a reduced form of tax called ‘passthrough taxation’ since any capital gains and income tax the business would be liable for is only paid by the owner instead, rather than both.

    On top of this, if the holding company chooses to organize itself as an LLC (which it is recommended they do, not least because there is no extra tax associated with this decision) it is able to avoid double taxation too. This would mean that neither the rental income of the property nor its raw value can be subject to tax penalties.

    In fact, mortgage interest on the property is tax-deductible for owners of single-member LLC holding companies. That being said, the IRS takes a slightly different approach with multi-member LLCs, which are considered more similar to partnerships if anything.

    1. Insulates Against Economic Downturn

    Establishing a holding company in order to manage all the properties on your real estate portfolio is an extremely effective measure to insulate oneself against the effects of an economic downturn on properties.

    Since property values are highly volatile and, to quite a large extent, determined by the state of the economy itself it is important for real estate investors with multiple properties to use holding companies to protect themselves most effectively from a drop in the value of one or several of their properties as a result of an economic downturn.

    1. Precludes Personal Liability

    It is well known that real estate investment can yield great returns, due largely to the pure amount of capital involved in single deals. Because of the size of this capital, and the highly volatile nature of the housing market, it is paramount that real estate investors use holding companies in order to protect their personal assets (i.e. their liquid, car, house, etc.).

    Holding companies are able to provide this protection because they are normally either LLCs or corporations – both of which curb a business’s liabilities to the business itself. This stops the owner’s personal assets from being drawn upon to cover business debts in the event the business becomes bankrupt or is subject to a lawsuit.

    As such, only the holding company’s business assets would be at risk in the case of these events, so the owner can rest easy that their personal assets are not on the line with every investment.

    1. Association LLC Benefits

    Since holding companies are very often established as LLCs, they get to share in a number of additional benefits associated with this structure, primarily its:

    • Cheapness – LLCs are by and wide much cheaper than corporations to maintain, the starkest example of this is the difference in fees each business structure has to pay for its authorized number of shares. That being said, the cheaper state registration fees of LLCs do not go unnoticed either.
    • Transferability – ownership of LLCs is fairly simple to transfer, which perfectly suits the needs of a holding company as the owner can use this as a way to ‘gift’ the LLC to their heirs every year to avoid some taxes without the need to sign a deed.
    • Straightforward nature – LLCs are far simpler to manage than corporations because the latter is mandated by law to have appointed directors while no such requirements are present for LLCs. This means that it is much less of a headache to apportion responsibilities and roles between owners (or even a third party) at an LLC
    1. Increased Privacy

    Since holding companies can be LLCs, owners who do not wish their ownership of the company to be public knowledge can establish it as an anonymous LLC. This is a specialized way of registering an LLC which means that the owners of the LLC do not need to be publicly recorded by the state in a database of some sort.

    Manage Your Startup While Working Full Time

    Starting and managing your startup or small business while working a full-time job can be difficult. It takes a lot of time and energy to get a new business off the ground, and it’s often hard to find the extra hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done. 

    In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for how to start and manage your startup while working a full-time job. We’ll also offer some advice on how to make the most of your limited free time!

    If you’re considering launching a startup, or if you’ve already started one and are struggling to balance your work and personal life, read on.

    Set Realistic Goals

    First, it’s important to set realistic goals for your startup. Don’t try to do too much too soon – it’s better to make slow and steady progress than to try to accomplish everything at once and then burn out. It’s also important to be flexible; as your business grows and changes, so will your goals.

    Use Technology to your Advantage

    Second, take advantage of technology. There are a lot of great tools out there that can help you manage your time more effectively, stay organized, and automate tasks that would otherwise take up valuable hours of your day. Utilize these tools to make your life easier and to free up time for the important tasks that only you can do.

    Get Good at Delegating Task

    Third, delegate! If you’re trying to do everything yourself, you’re going to quickly become overwhelmed. Delegate tasks to employees, contractors, or even friends and family members who are willing to help out. This will allow you to focus on the most important aspects of your business, and it will also help other people feel invested in your startup’s success.

    Take Care of Yourself

    Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself! Working long hours can be stressful, and it’s important to make time for things like exercise, relaxation, and socializing with friends outside of work. A healthy mind and body will help you be more productive overall, so make sure to schedule some time for yourself every week.

    By following these tips, you can start and manage your startup while still working a full-time job. It won’t be easy, but it is possible! With careful planning and execution, you can build a successful business while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Good luck!

    Do you have any startup tips of your own? Share them in the comments below! And if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends!

    Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you would like to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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