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Why ‘Slutty Vegan’ became a hit in Atlanta – a city known for its barbecue

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

There’s a vegan sensation going on right now and of all places it’s in Atlanta, Georgia.

That’s where businesswoman Pinky Cole has just opened her first brick and mortar vegan eatery called “Slutty Vegan”. The restaurant, which began as a food truck and delivery service, saw more than 1,200 people lined up outside its doors on its very first day this week.

So how did a vegan restaurant in a place known more for its barbecue become such a hit? When you learn more about the story, and the owner’s marketing, the reason becomes very clear. Read More…

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The government shutdown’s latest victim? Craft beer

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

The US government shutdown, which is soon to enter its fourth week, is affecting travel, small business loan approvals, passport administration, national park services, food inspections and tax return processing. Most Americans can live with that at least for a while.

But there’s another consequence of the shutdown that could soon rattle American society: a disruption in the deliveries of craft beer. New beer labels must be approved in advance by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau – which is part of the US treasury department – and because of the standstill in Washington this is not happening.

The result? Manufacturers of craft beers – many of whom are small businesses – are feeling the pinch. Thousands of applications are piling up and revenues are going, well, untapped. Read More…

The new Congress will do nothing for small business – and that’s fine by us

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

“One good thing about a divided Congress,” my father – a small business owner – used to say many years ago, “is that Washington can leave us alone.”

Even today, a great many of my clients agree with my dad’s sentiment. My father passed away almost 14 years ago. But if he was still around he would certainly love the 116th Congress where Democrats control the House and Republicans control the Senate. That’s because, at least for small businesses, this Congress could possibly shape up to be the best Congress ever.

Why? Because a lot has already happened over the past two years that has benefited the business environment. But despite some members of the House making noise, we can rest assured that not much is going to happen over the next two years. For business owners, that’s a good thing. Read More…

The 11-year-old who started a business to help her furloughed mother

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

As the partial federal government shutdown ends its second week, many workers without paychecks, as well as their families, are becoming increasingly worried about their personal finances.

That problem was on the mind of one fifth-grader in Gaithersburg, Maryland (a DC suburb), whose mother was furloughed from her job at the Food and Drug Administration back on 28 December. But instead of complaining, she, like any good entrepreneur, took action: she opened up a business.

The business is called Bella’s Sweet Scrubs and it’s owned by 11-year old capitalist and marketing whiz Bella Berrellez. Read More…

Employers must prepare for an ageing workforce – or face unexpected costs

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

The American workforce is getting older. In fact, by 2024 the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 25% of the US workforce will be composed of workers over the age of 55, and a third of those workers will be older than 65. The reasons, for the most part, are due to the country’s overall ageing population as a result of declining birth rates and better life expectancy. But there’s also something else going on. Employees are not only working longer because they can. They’re working longer because they have to. Retirement savings are just not keeping up.

This is both a good thing and a challenge for employers. On the one hand, older employees bring experience, loyalty, stability and reliability to the office, particularly in these times of low unemployment and a tight labor market. But these same employees also require a different kind of approach to not only keep them productive and valuable while working, but also to ensure that they can smoothly transition to retirement without becoming a financial burden to their employers. Read More…

Will there be a recession? What small business owners can expect in 2019

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

If, like me, you’re running a small business, you probably had a decent year. The economy has been strong and demand has been good. Every year, however, presents its challenges and 2019 will be no different. As we head into the new year, these are the three biggest challenges that will likely impact both my business and many of the business owners I know.

An economic slowdown

Will there be a recession in 2019? Regardless of all the predictions, no one really knows for sure. But anyone (like me) who’s been running a business for more than 10 or 20 years will agree on this: a recession will come, eventually. It always does and – big picture – we’re kind of due for one. The good news is that the fundamentals – production, output, confidence – remain strong. But there are some signs that a downturn is imminent. Read More…

Was a ‘sexy cow’ logo the real downfall of a New Jersey ice-cream shop?

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

It’s an issue that has vexed small business owners since the beginning of time: how do you make your business stand out among your competitors? The owners of an ice-cream shop in New Jersey thought they came up with a brilliant branding idea. It was something unique, innovative, creative and memorable. Why not create a logo featuring a sexy cow?

Yes, a sexy cow. That’s what Anthony Tortoriello, one of the owners of Dairy Air Ice Cream Co in Montclair, New Jersey, decided to do last year. His shop’s logo is a drawing of a cow that has blond braids, a beret and a fully visible, unmistakably human-looking derriere. OK, here’s a picture of it because I know that’s what you want to see. Offensive? Artistic? I guess it’s up to the individual. Tortoriello and his partner certainly thought it was a good idea. Read More…