2018 SBA South Florida Small Business Awards

Congratulations to Orlando Espinosa, co-founder of Emineo Media! Orlando was recently announced as winner of the 2018 State of Florida Small Business Advocate of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Florida SBDC at FIU was proud to have nominated him for this well deserved honor.

Read about some of the other winners here:
SBA

MIAMI – U.S. Small Business South Florida District Office recently announced the winners of the SBA’s 2018 District and State of Florida Small Business Week Awards.
Rockledge, Florida-based SeaDek was named the SBA 2018 Small Business National Exporter of the Year. The company, nominated by the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida, will be travel to Washington D.C to receive their award during the 2018 National Small Business Week Awards Ceremony.
“This is a celebratory announcement for the entire South Florida region,” said Lynn Douthett, interim district director for the South Florida District Office. “First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the entire SDBC at UCF team for their contributions towards SeaDek’s success. Rewarding this company on a national stage for their hard work and dedication will help to inspire other entrepreneurs considering expanding their business into the international trade marketplace.”
Exporter of the Year (National, Region IV, State of Florida and South Florida District)
Serenity Gardner, chief operating officer and Jason Gardner, vice president of marketing for SeaDek in Rockledge, Florida
Women’s Business Center of Excellence (Region IV, State of Florida and South Florida District)
weVENTURE at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida
Small Business Person of the Year (South Florida District)
Anais Badia, chief medical officer and owner of Florida Skin Center in Fort Myers, Florida
Minority-Owned Small Business Person of the Year (State of Florida and South Florida District)
Brian Butler, president and chief executive officer of Vistra Communications – an 8(a)-certified and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) in Tampa, Florida
Community Partner of the Year (State of Florida and South Florida District)
The Miami Bayside Foundation in Miami, Fla.
Small Business Advocate of the Year (State of Florida and South Florida District)
Orlando Espinosa, co-founder of Emineo Media and 2016 SBA State of Florida Advocate of the Year, located in Miami, Florida
Young Entrepreneur Small Business Person of the Year (State of Florida and South Florida District)
Luisa Santos, founder of Lulu’s Nitrogen Ice Cream in Miami, Florida
Veteran-Owned Small Business Person of the Year (South Florida District)
Moises Montañez, owner of Alta Quality Builders and SBA Region IV Regulatory Fairness Board member, located in Miami, Florida
Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year (South Florida District)
Karen Viera, owner of The Med Writers and 2016 SBA Emerging Leaders graduate, located in West Palm Beach, Florida
Winners will be presented with their NSBW awards during various ceremonies throughout the District.

6 Things Linda McMahon Plans to Do for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Linda McMahon, the co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment, plans to be an advocate for small-business owners, particularly the women among them, as head of the Small Business Administration.

That’s according to testimony from her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Small Business on Tuesday, where she discussed her vision for leading an organization that is often considered a sleepy backwater among government agencies.

McMahon, the wife of professional wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, was poised and confident as she spoke about the risks small businesses take on a daily basis, referencing one of her own early ventures that ended in bankruptcy and losing the family home. She also spoke about what she is best known for: building WWE from a small company where she and her husband once worried that $12 a month was too much for a typewriter, into a $1.5 billion publicly traded company with 800 employees.

“Small business people are people with goals and values that can’t be calculated on a profit and loss statement,” McMahon said in her opening remarks. “I will do my best to advocate on their behalf.”

Here are six things that McMahon plans to do as administrator of the SBA.

1. Keep the SBA independent. McMahon would fight to keep the SBA an independent agency and not merge it with the Department of Commerce, an idea that was first floated by the Obama Administration in 2014.

2. Strengthen the SBA’s Office of Advocacy. McMahon said she would put more teeth into the agency’s advocacy efforts as it meets with politicians on Capitol Hill. More specifically, she would use the Office to tackle any new or existing regulations that prove too burdensome to small-business owners.

3. Faster disaster recovery. McMahon said she would beef up the SBA’s disaster recovery program, and speed up the response time for getting businesses funding after a crisis. Some conservative groups have recommended removing disaster recovery loans from the wheelhouse of the SBA entirely, as a way to trim the budget. Simultaneously, business owners and congressional representatives have often criticized the SBA for delays in getting loans to business owners after natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. “Disasters don’t pick a time and we need to be prepared,” McMahon said. “We need to get the funds to [small businesses] so they can get back to functioning.”

4. Improve financial literacy. Today’s young entrepreneurs are great coming up with ideas for businesses, but too many lack a basic knowledge of finance, which is detrimental to their long-term prospects. As administrator, McMahon would help young entrepreneurs achieve a better understanding of financial matters important to their businesses.

5. Support for disadvantaged businesses. McMahon would increase federal contracting opportunities for women and other minority businesses. She’d also boost mentoring programs for women and minorities, via existing programs including SCORE.

6. More federal contracting opportunities for all small businesses. McMahon says she would streamline an often confusing and opaque process for small businesses applying for federal contracts, and she’d help small businesses to compete more effectively against larger businesses for prime contracting opportunities. (Small-business contract misallocation has been an ongoing problem within the federal government: in 2015, a total of 151 Fortune 500 companies landed government and small-business contracts, according to the American Small Business League.) Winning a prime contract makes a business the lead supplier. Small businesses are most typically subcontractors.

Source Fortune

Build A Brand for Small Businesses

Branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for big names. Indeed, many corporate brands try to look more like small firms in order to appeal to consumers that prefer to support independent brands. 

Many small business owners I talk to already understand that branding is essential to their business, but a surprisingly high number of them don’t really know why.

They recognize the link between successful businesses and strong branding and aspire to build a brand that emulates similar success for themselves. And they understand that branding is not just a logo or how their business is perceived externally. But too few realize that successful brands have this branding at the heart of the business. So much so that in many ways you could almost substitute the word brand for business.

marketing-branding-advertising emineo mediaBranding is a way of defining your business to yourself, your team and your external audiences. It could be called the business’ “identity”, but only on the understanding that it embodies the core of what the business is and its values, not just what it looks and sounds like. Customers of all sorts of businesses are so savvy today that they can see through most attempts by companies to gloss, spin or charm their way to sales.

The benefits that a strategically defined brand can bring are the same as when people fall in love with each other. When customers connect emotively — because they share the same values and beliefs of a brand — it leads to higher sales and better brand differentiation. It also leads to loyalty, advocacy and can even protect your price in times when competitors rely on promotional discounts to drive sales. It can also give you the ideal platform from which to extend your offering or range.

Here are ten tips on how to successfully implement branding for your business.

1.   Start by defining your brand.

Review the product or service your business offers, pinpoint the space in the market it occupies and research the emotive and rational needs and concerns of your customers. Your brand character should promote your business, connect with your customer base and differentiate you in the market.

2.   When building your brand, think of it as a person.

Every one of us is an individual whose character is made up of beliefs, values and purposes that define who we are and who we connect with. Our personality determines how we behave in different situations, how we dress and what we say. Of course for people it’s intuitive and it’s rare that you even consider what your own character is, but when you’re building a brand it’s vital to have that understanding.

3.   Consider what is driving your business.

What does it believe in, what is its purpose and who are its brand heroes. These things can help establish your emotive brand positioning and inform the identity and character for brand communications.

4.   Aim to build long-term relationships with your customers.

Don’t dress up your offering and raise expectations that result in broken promises, create trust with honest branding — be clear who your company is and be true to the values that drive it every day.

5.   Speak to your customers with a consistent tone of voice.

It will help reinforce the business’ character and clarify its offering so customers are aware exactly what to expect from the product or service.

6.   Don’t repeat the same message in the same way over and over again. 

Alternatively, aim to make your key messages work together to build a coherent identity. 

7.   Don’t try to mimic the look of chains or big brands.

Try and carve out your own distinctive identity. There is a big consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are in fact trying to mimic an independent feel to capture some of that market. Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how feel about themselves.

8.   Be innovative, bold and daring – stand for something you believe in.

Big brands are encumbered by large layers of bureaucracy, preventing them from being flexible and reacting to the ever-changing needs of their customers. Those layers of decision-makers can make it hard for them to be daring with their branding.

9.   Always consider your branding when communicating with customers.

Don’t lose your pride or dilute your brand positioning with indiscriminate discounting. Try offering more, rather than slashing prices. Promotions are an opportunity to reinforce your brand mission.

10.  The old way of stamping your logo on everything won’t cut it.

The future of branding is fluid and engaging — respect your customers’ intelligence by not giving everything away up front. Generate some intrigue and allow them to unearth more about your brand for themselves. This is the way to foster ambassadors who revel in telling other people what they have discovered.

Source Marketing Donut