Posts tagged with "Business"

Herbalife article illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 magazine

The Entrepreneurs Top Tech Tools

Rhonda VetereChief Information Officer, Herbalife Nutrition

When the world shut down due to the pandemic, everything changed, especially for small businesses. Suddenly, the ability to connect to customers became even more critical, and the safe way to do so is through technology. While companies have long relied on email or text messaging to communicate, many entrepreneurs found they needed to expand their technology toolkit, becoming more creative and resourceful with how they conduct business and compete effectively. As a technology expert who advises more than 3.4 million entrepreneurs around the world on technology solutions that can help them serve their customers and manage their business, I recommend the following tech tips to help you power your business. 

Customer service 

We are living during a time of tremendous technology transformation. Gone are the days when people waited for what seemed an eternity to send or receive a message. Time has sped up, and with it is the demand from customers for immediate attention. According to recent research, 82% of consumers expect a quick response from brands. Keeping up or ahead of customers requires staying on top of technology trends and ensuring that you have the tools to compete in the digital age.  

For website support, many entrepreneurs use a live chat tool that can help customers with basic questions. Many of these tools can be used on social media as well. If paid chat options are price prohibitive, there are also useful and free tools, including Zoho Desk.

Communication and collaboration 

Video conferencing and video chat applications grew exponentially during the pandemic. In March, video conferencing apps saw 62 million downloads. Entrepreneurs are using video apps for connecting with customers, partners and vendors. While these tools are excellent for meetings, they are also useful for maintaining connections with industry organizations and networking groups. Many of the tools allow break-out rooms for a small meeting within a session, creating an intimate and collaborative space. 

As you continue to build your reputation as an expert in your industry, video conferencing can also be used to host a webinar for existing and potential customers. Many entrepreneurs are hosting panel discussions, bringing in other partners and collaborators. These sessions can be taped and repurposed as content for your social media channels, website and email marketing. There are many video conferencing options, including, Joinme, which has a free plan that lets you invite up to 10 video participants 

Social media 

Social media is not just for sharing videos and memes – it is a top business tool. Your customers are on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and Instagram. Once you identify which channels you want to use, you need to post engaging content. These can range from news about products, sales and impactful information. Posting across several channels every week can be daunting. Thankfully, many social media tools help you schedule and publish your content that can be calendared and posted automatically. These tools range from Hootsuite (which has a free option) to Zoho Social to Buffer

Slack  

More and more brands, companies and entrepreneurs use Slack to communicate with their customers. It’s a great place to provide relevant updates, tips and advisement, and new product announcements. It also gives your customers a place away from social media to share stories and entrepreneurs a place to connect with their team more visibly easily. 

Storage  

There is a lot of discussion about the term “the cloud.” Think of the cloud as an off-site storage locker, where all your critical information is safe and secure – and easily sharable. Google DriveDropbox, or Microsoft Sharepoint safeguard your backups and allow users access from any location. Moving your work to the cloud not only benefits you to work from anywhere and any device, but it also makes it easy to share content with your customers.  

Email Marketing 

Your marketing toolkit may contain a variety of options – one of which is email marketing. Sending professionally designed, informative newsletters to your customers is a great way to keep in touch. One of the most popular companies in the business is Mailchimp. Even better, If your company sends fewer than 12,000 email messages per month to fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you can take advantage of Mailchimp’s Forever Free plan. 

E-commerce 

The pandemic has changed how we shop. Overnight, people began to purchase everything from groceries to furniture online and in record numbers. Customers now expect to buy their products online. They expect the experience to be easy and fast. There are many great e-commerce platforms out there, such as Shopify, a one-stop-shop for setting up your e-commerce store, to Amazon’s beyond popular platform. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, and you can use it to chat with customers online, track orders and send invoices.  

One final note. As a technologist, I remind everyone that interaction with your customers is up to you. Nothing supplants human interaction and connection. With limits on our in-person meetings, it is even more essential to find ways to build businesses. Mix up how you connect with others – pick up the phone, or schedule a Zoom, to call a handful of customers every day. Don’t forego a personal email that is not meant to sell a customer or colleague – but to check-in with them and see how they are doing. Technology is a fantastic tool that helps small businesses act big. The challenge is to make the technology connections feel more three-dimensional vs two-dimensional. Technology can help us be more efficient and productive, and while it can enhance our communication, it will never replace the incredible power of the human relationship. That part is up to you.  

Money illustration for 360 Magazine

China’s Social Commerce Sales

China’s Social Commerce Sales to Soar by 36% to $363 Billion in 2021, Ten Times the U.S. Figure

Though the U.S. social commerce market is growing at a rapid pace, China is not likely to lose its position of dominance in the near future.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Finaria, the total social commerce sales in China was worth $242.41 billion in 2020, accounting for 11.7% of online sales. It will grow to $363.26 billion in 2021 and account for a 13.1% share of the eCommerce market.

The U.S. will take the lead in retail sales in 2021, with $5.506 trillion against China’s $5.13 trillion. But China’s eCommerce sales will outperform the U.S. by a $2 trillion margin.

52% of China’s Retail Sales Will Happen Online in 2021

The total number of social buyers in China was estimated to be 357.2 million in 2020. It is forecast to increase to 392.2 million in 2021, 420.0 million in 2022 and 446.8 million in 2023.

The commerce market’s performance is partly attributable to China’s smartphone-driven culture. Most social buyers U.S.e mobile devices to shop and most digital storefronts start out on mobile layouts.

WeChat’s Mini Programs is among the most popular platforms for social commerce. In 2020, the platform facilitated transactions worth 1.6 trillion yuan ($250 billion). That was double its 2019 transaction value. WeChat hosts around 2.3 million Mini Programs, compared to Apple App Store’s 1.96 million and Google Play Store’s 2.87 million.

Based on a study by WeForum, China accounted for over 50% of global online retail sales in 2020. The share of online sales in the country’s retail sales went from 20% in 2016 to 44.8% in 2020. Comparatively, the UK had a 27.7% share while the U.S. had 14.7%.

Lastly, according to eMarketer, 52.1% of China’s retail sales in 2021 will take place online. It will be the first time that a country records more sales online than offline. South Korea will follow with a 28.9% share while the UK will be third with 28.3%. The U.S. will have a 15% share.

More statistics and information can be found on Finaria’s website.

remote learning illustration by Kaelen Felix

What social media tools can do for your business?

Are you sick of being stuck with no growth on social media? Are you new to social media and looking to grow your business using it? 

Traditional marketing is long dead and far gone–TV advertising, newspaper ads, and road-side billboards are all outdated. Social media has now replaced all of that by making online marketing the norm when it comes to brand promotion. Currently, there are three different platforms that are dominating the social media space–Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok–and they all have their own unique qualities to offer each individual or business. 

If you are thinking about using social media to get your business up off the ground, here are a few tools that you might need to become even more successful.

Why should you use social media? 

Social media, while having been around for a long time in its various different forms, has become the most popular it has even been in the past 10 years or so. This is due the fact that so many more people now have access to mobile devices and Wi-Fi connection. This means that by marketing your brand on social media, your business has the potential to reach millions upon millions of people, if marketed in a desirable manner. Not only will you be able to reach a larger audience, but this audience can be international as well. 

Traditional marketing can tend to be quite pricy. However, social media marketing–unless you’re putting in a bit of extra cash to help you–can literally be completely free. Most social media sites require no sign-up or membership fee, and are completely free platforms. 

On social media it is easy to create brand awareness by following trends and seeing what other people are looking for, which will eventually contribute to the organic growth of your accounts and brand. One of the best benefits of social media marketing is that it can increase traffic to your website, which will ultimately put more money in your pocket. 

Which one is right for you?

There is a relatively large variety of social media platforms, although it is recommended to stick to the most popular ones. Having so many options doesn’t need to overwhelm you though, it’s all about knowing your target demographic and style. All social media platforms are unique and can have different, individual focuses dependent on your particular brand.

This mean that between platforms, the target demographic and and style of communication are completely different. For instance, Instagram is a place where the millennials hang out. Everyone has their own aesthetically pleasing feed to look at and every post is designed down to the very last detail, whereas TikTok is far more laid back and dominated by Gen Z kids. These short form videos can literally be anything you think of. Most of TikTok is not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as Instagram, but it is more authentic and fun. 

All the different platforms require different kinds of interaction from both the brand owner and the followers, from commenting and liking, to following, and even direct messaging. With Instagram having over 900 million users, Twitter, with an average of 152 million, and TikTok reaching an insane number of just over 1 billion users, these platforms are the best social media option for business and brands to promote themselves as they are all relevant and very popular. 

Twesocial 

One of the most important things when it comes to twitter marketing, is expanding the amount of people your marketing reaches. This can be difficult because the number of brands making use of Twitter tools to promote their businesses is rising dramatically, and those who began earlier probably have an advantage. Twesocial is an organic Twitter marketing service that was launched in 2016 to help users grow their account with real Twitter followers, without too much effort and time wasted. 

Twesocial will manage practically every aspect of your account from posting and posting times, hashtags, user interaction, and growing your follower base. Using a service like Twesocial can be very helpful when it comes to trying to get your brand account off the ground because initially it can be hard to be noticed in a sea of other content creators. Twesocial takes away all the hard work, only leaving you with the task of creating your own content. 

Task Ant

Instagram hashtags are such a prominent tool that should be used when social media marketing however, most people don’t really know how to use them correctly or which ones to use. Task Ant, launched in 2019, is a hashtag app that allows you to find the best hashtag for your content, as well as provide solutions to previous hashtag mistakes. 

Making use of an app like this can enable growth for your business by increasing your content’s engagement and reach. There are two different price options: the solo package for those looking to get started, and the growth package to maximize hashtag use. There is something for everybody.  

TokUpgrade

TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms around, which also means that it might be a bit more difficult to get your content noticed. Much like Twesocial, TokUpgrade, launched in 2020, claims to increase profile views and visits through organic engagement. They can increase your engagement and target your audience to get real TikTok followers through a series of specific questions, as well as engage with your followers to keep them interested. 

Tok upgrade also comes with two different packages, the regular and the pro, which can either be paid weekly or monthly. It is important to note that this service is a little more costly than the others, but is definitely worth it in the long run as the potential for your brand’s growth is endless.

Back to College by Mina Tocalini

Tips to Keep Finances High as a Startup Owner

One of the primary challenges of running a brand new business is trying to keep finances as high as possible, while also taking risks to ensure that the business remains relevant in a competitive industry. To a startup, just about every decision made is a potential risk, as there are plenty of ways for things to go wrong. Thankfully, the potential reward is often high enough that the risks tend to even out as time goes on.

That said, a startup needs a steady stream of finances to keep going — though not every inexperienced startup owner is prepared to keep a stern eye on their finances. In such cases, preparation is the name of the game. Here are some top tips to help keep finances as high as possible as a startup owner.

On the topic of covering your bases

They often say that to make money, the first order of business would be to understand how to spend money. There are few things that encapsulate such a saying more than the use of insurance options for the company. No matter the chosen industry, it is crucial that you have a firm understanding of the insurance you need for your business.

For example, as a realtor, it is all about matching clients up with the perfect home. But, it can be extremely challenging to accomplish that without the necessary real estate agent insurance, found at Next. Small businesses have to take note, as there are specific types of small business policies that can help startups keep a solid level of coverage, without losing too much money.

The benefits of hiring an experienced accountant

Those looking to manage their finances as tightly as possible would do well to hire a professional such as an accountant, as startup management can often mean a mountain of paperwork for the unprepared. That being said, the idea of hiring an experienced accountant is not just to keep the paperwork and finances in order — it is also about understanding which moves to make next as a company.

Not only do experienced accountants have years of practice under their belts, but they can also provide valuable advice based on their wealth of business knowledge. It always pays to utilize experienced professionals to fill the gaps.

Maintain consistency with social media

To obtain a steady stream of revenue as a startup, one of the best ways to get the job done would be to show prospective clients and supporters that the company is worth supporting. For example, maintaining an active account on social media shows online users that the company is always willing to interact with their audience. Even if the services might not be quite there yet, a company that remains consistent in its desire to make improvements based on feedback is often what wins the day.

While keeping finances out of the red while simultaneously taking risks as a startup can be a challenging tightrope to balance on, it doesn’t have to be a miserable process. Making use of the best practice methods above is enough to guarantee a solid foundation.

Valentine Image by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

15 Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas for Your Boutique

By Joseph Heller

Love is in the air, gals… Valentine’s Day is almost here! If you’re new to owning an online boutique and this is the first Valentine’s Day you’ll be celebrating as a small business owner, the approach of February 14th might have you mainly thinking about what you’ll get for your significant other and (maybe even more so) what he or she will get for you. Or maybe you typically spend Valentine’s Day with your best single gal pals, eating chocolate and exchanging gifts.

But Valentine’s Day isn’t all about love, romance, and cheesy cards. No matter how big or small your eCommerce business is, it can be a day that drives sales like no other – especially if you sell clothing, jewelry, or other gifts. In fact, it rivals only Christmas in consumer spending. If you play your cards right, the days surrounding Valentine’s Day could make up one of your best sales weeks of all time.

Of course, competing with major retailers isn’t easy, least of all on Valentine’s Day. Stores all over the country are spending thousands of dollars on Valentine’s marketing, trying to get people to buy their gifts from them. Sure, you could have an incredible selection of Valentine’s gifts and accessories, available for great prices – but if nobody knows about your shop, it won’t do you any good in the end.

If you’re going to drive both new and existing customers to your shop for their Valentine’s shopping, you’ve got to get creative about your Valentine’s Day marketing. Read on to learn 15 affordable Valentine’s Day marketing ideas for your boutique – and why you really should care to do something special for this holiday in the first place.

Valentine’s Day and eCommerce

The numbers are clear – Americans spend a whole lot of dough on Valentine’s Day. The average American celebrating Valentine’s Day spent $196.31 on Valentine’s Day in 2020, adding up to a total of $27.4 billion spent on the holiday in 2020. Trends show that number only heading upwards – 2020 spending was up 32% from 2019.

Of course, that’s just the big picture – and not all of that money is being spent in boutiques like yours. Here are a few other stats you should be aware of that paint the picture of consumer spending on Valentine’s Day, based on 2020 numbers:

  • 32% buy Valentine’s Day gifts from discount stores.
  • Men spend nearly three times as much as women on Valentine’s Day.
  • $5.8B was spent on Valentine’s Day jewelry
  • $4.3B was spent on a Valentine’s Day night out
  • $2.4B was spent on Valentine’s Day chocolate
  • $2.3B was spent on flowers
  • $2B was spent on Valentine’s Day gift cards
  • $1.3B was spent on Valentine’s Day greeting cards
  • 45% of adults didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day
  • 15% of Americans buy themselves a present on Valentine’s Day
  • Americans spend an average of $12.21 on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets

With all of that shopping and spending going on during the Valentine’s Day season, you’ll want to make sure your business ends up with even a small sliver of that massive pie. Running holiday-themed campaigns and upping your marketing efforts leading up to Valentine’s Day will help you keep your boutique fresh in people’s minds and increase the chances that they go straight to you once it’s time to shop for their Valentine’s Day gifts.

15 Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Don’t have a huge marketing budget? No problem – with time, effort, and the right direction, you can still get your boutique’s awesome Valentine’s Day gifts and products in front of the right people. Here are 15 Valentine’s Day marketing ideas for small businesses that you can implement for little or no money.

  1. Send a themed email marketing campaign

Instead of generic email newsletters or sale messages, send a themed Valentine’s Day email that’s all about love, friendship, and gift-giving. Drive your audience to your website with gift suggestions and fun Valentine’s-themed wordplay. (You know… “love is in the air,” “we will always love you,” “gifts with heart,” etc!) For more tips on how to use email marketing to grow your boutique, click here.

  1. Host a contest

Embrace the holiday and host a fun couples contest or giveaway on your boutique’s social media page. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Have participants recreate a photo, do a challenge, coordinate an outfit together using a piece from your shop – whatever sounds like a good time. Then, have your audience vote for their favorite entrant on Valentine’s Day. (No need to exclude single people from this one – you could welcome entries from couples, BFFs, family members, etc.)

  1. Run “couples” deals

How do you make a BOGO deal more festive? Call it a couples deal, or a two for one deal! Choose a selection of Valentine’s Day items that you’ll put on sale, whether it’s chocolates, earrings, or pink scrunchies. Encourage them to gift the extra item to their significant other, give one to their BFF for Galentine’s Day, or just keep it for themselves as a token of your love for them!

  1. Partner with another small business

Community over competition, right ladies? Partner with a local business and share the love. It could be another online boutique or a local business that doesn’t directly compete with yours but has a similar clientele, like a florist or a nail salon. Offer a combined Valentine’s Day gift package of your products/services and theirs. This is an especially great idea if you have a strong local presence (or if you’re interested in making it stronger!)

  1. Celebrate Galentine’s Day

Don’t sleep on Galentine’s Day! Coined by Leslie Knope from the TV show Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day is a day reserved for celebrating female friendships. It takes place the day before Valentine’s Day, February 13th. To celebrate, bundle a few of your most popular items offer curated gift packages that’d be perfect to gift to a best friend. You could also offer a discount when they multiple of the same item to gift to their friends.

  1. Have a V-Day themed photoshoot

Create some fun Valentine’s Day photos to post on your social media accounts leading up to the big day. You could take photos of couples wearing your clothing, flat lays of all of the red and pink items you carry, or outfit inspo photos against a red or a pink backdrop.

  1. Create a Valentine’s Day gift guide

You and I both know how hard it can be to shop for people – especially your significant other. Make the whole V-day shopping experience a little less stressful by putting together a list of gift ideas and sharing it on your company blog.

No need to have every single item come from just your shop – in fact, it might be more helpful and comprehensive if you scour other local or small boutiques as well and feature their products in your guide. (It’s a great way to open the door to new networking relationships, too!) If you’re feeling up to it, you could create multiple gift guides with different people in mind – for her, for him, for mom, for Galentine’s Day, for your pet, etc.

  1. Send a card

Everyone loves getting mail! Send your past and present customers a real-life Valentine via snail mail. No need to be salesy – the point of this is to show your customers how much you appreciate them and that you’re even thinking about them on the day dedicated to love. Include a coupon to be used in-store or a unique promo code to thank them for showing you and your store love throughout the years.

  1. Share the love

Turn your social media into even more of a community. Invite your audience to share their love stories with you, whether through DMs or by using a certain hashtag in their posts. You can make this as sappy or spicy as you want to – feel free to mix things up a bit by also asking people to send you their worst or funniest dating stories as well! Once you’ve compiled submissions, feature your favorites in your stories. It’ll keep the rest of your audience engaged and help participants feel even more involved in your brand.

  1. Show the love locally

Valentine’s Day is all about sharing the love. What better way to do that than by giving back to the people who need it most? Celebrate Valentine’s Day by hosting a service project, donating products from your store to a local organization, or pledging to donate a certain percentage of your profits in the weeks surrounding Valentine’s Day.

Make sure to advertise this throughout your social channels and your website so your customers know how much good their purchases are doing. Not only will you be able to make a real difference in your community, but you’ll also be able to involve your customers in your charity work.

  1. Highlight date night outfits

People don’t just spend money on gifts during the Valentine’s Day season. They also spend money on themselves, buying clothing, lingerie, date night jewelry, and more. Put together a few fabulous Valentine’s Day outfits using products from your boutique and share a few outfit inspo photos on social media. Be sure to group those products together on your website so your customers can easily purchase everything they need to recreate the outfit.

  1. Don’t alienate single people

For people who aren’t currently in a relationship, Valentine’s Day feels a whole lot more like Singles Awareness Day. Why not go out of your way to show them a little love, too? Don’t leave single people out of all the Valentine’s Day fun – consider running some sort of promo just for them. Run a sale on self-care items that make treat yo’ self gifts, like bath bombs, jade rollers, and (of course) chocolate. You could do this in conjunction with your regular Valentine’s Day promotions or the week before.

  1. Be clear about shipping deadlines

Some people plan ahead of every holiday and finish their gift-shopping weeks in advance – but most people tend to be last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers. Of course, placing a last-minute order from your online boutique on February 13th probably isn’t going to work out for them. Add a banner to your site reminding shoppers of the Valentine’s Day delivery deadline. Be clear and realistic about shipping cutoffs to receive items by Valentine’s Day. Encourage people to buy early, especially with COVID-related shipping delays making package deliveries even more unreliable than usual.

  1. Make a Valentine’s Day video

When it comes to commanding your audience’s attention, video is one of the very most effective marketing tools out there. Rather than just snapping a few photos of your new Valentine’s Day products, create a video showcasing your favorite Valentine’s Day outfits or gift ideas. You could create a short-form vertical video using IG reels or TikTok, or share a longer informative video on YouTube, Facebook, or IGTV.

  1. Host a Giveaway

Spread the love with an exciting giveaway. Partner with other small businesses in your community or your niche to give something away. It could be a romantic couple’s getaway with flowers, a hotel stay, and a new outfit, a date-night-in package with a dress, a romantic candle, chocolates, and a voucher for fancy takeout, or an epic Valentine’s Day shopping spree. Just make sure it’s somewhat Valentine’s Day related, whether with what you’re giving away, how you enter, or even just with the images and language you use to introduce it.

While implementing these Valentine’s Day marketing ideas might take some serious thought and strategizing, with a little effort they can pay off in a big way.

Now that you have a few great ideas on how you can encourage your customers to shop with you this Valentine’s Day, make sure you’ll have enough Valentine’s Day gifts and outfit ideas in stock ahead of time. Click here for 15 wholesale boutique items you’ll want to stock up on for Valentine’s Day.

Meet the Man Behind Bronx Night Market

By Hannah DiPilato

360 Magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down with Marco Shalma, founder of Round Seven Media and MASC Hospitality Group. He is responsible for beginning a food and culture festival in New York called The Bronx Night Market. In this interview, he talks about everything from advice for young entrepreneurs to his favorite food spots in New York. 

How did you begin Round Seven Media and why did you decide to start this?

I started in 2013, which was after my education at NYU for undergrad and pursuing a master’s degree in film and tv. Marketing was my passion, and I wanted to run a campaign in a different way. I wanted to use the concept of getting people into the mix of the story and I wanted to get that into a narrative for clients in marketing. In 2013, I sold my shares in restaurant groups and I wanted to begin marketing for myself. I went around and started looking for clients in restaurant and hospitality for about 20 years, which I had experience in. With the explosion of Instagram and technology, it was the perfect time to explore marketing opportunities.

When the company started, the first thing was to go find professional people with a school of thought from film and writing. Our business is known for being a launch campaign for ideas, projects, etc. and we will build an online presence for our clients by finding the key demographic. We are focused on the launch period so our work doesn’t really go further than the six month period.

You also founded MASC Hospitality Group, what made you start another business as well?

MASC Hospitality is one of those situations that happened backward, meaning we first took on the Bronx Night Market project in 2017, which then branched out to many other events that were affiliated with the Bronx Night Market. At one point, we needed to incorporate all of these events, so we decided to create MASC Hospitality Group. If you think about it, MASC Hospitality is a company that basically creates different events while Round Seven Media is the one promoting these events. Sometime around 2018, I started taking fewer clients for Round Seven Media and started adding more of my own companies to Round Seven Media. 

What is your favorite event that MASC Hospitality Group is responsible for?

My favorite event hands down is Bronx Night Market. The Bronx Night Market is my baby, it’s a proud moment for me because it came from a vision of bringing something to the Bronx community, my community, that is a prideful event and a reason to be proud of the borrow, without needing to commute to Manhattan or Queens to experience a festival that celebrates culture, cuisine and commerce. 

We always say culture, cuisine and commerce because culture encompasses the diversity of the city with so many different flavors, cuisine because this is the grand unifier, everyone can enjoy a meal together no matter what skin tone or nationality and commerce is the idea of creating space for young entrepreneurs and small local businesses to present what they do to a large number of people and promote their business to help them move into the next stage of their success. This encompasses everything we are about, supporting small businesses, young entrepreneurship and of course, good, good food. 

Have you encountered any problems while being a business owner for these two organizations?

When you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you always encounter problems. It’s always a matter of hiring the right people, navigating through resources, financing and funding, but mostly it’s identifying and understanding the demographic. I think for me, as a serial entrepreneur, a good idea is a good idea, but you need to identify your key demographic. You need to identify what you do and who it’s for. Then, you work for months or years fine-tuning to make everything connect and basically build a community around your brand.

For example, Round Seven Media is a brand that understands the power of our way of doing business. We are known as one of the top agencies in New York to run launch campaigns for brands because we are dedicated to doing that. With something like The Bronx Night Market, it’s about identifying Bronx-based foodies and people that want to explore offerings and now they have the opportunity to do that in a place where they feel safe, secure and happy. The event is really designed for the community instead of something that could be done anywhere else. 

What do you look for in employees that you hire for your company? 

We hire on a regular basis, we continuously hire for different projects on behalf of companies. When we finish a launch campaign at Round Seven Media, we like to hire people to replace us, younger people, hungry people that can do social media for those brands. When we look at hiring, the most important thing for us at the moment is consistency and the ability to have a follow-up and a follow-through. I think those are the three very, very important elements because in today’s field of business, having consistency and bringing your A-game every time is something that is critical to the success of any business. I’ve unfortunately had to work with people that can bring 120% one day and 30% the next day. This also has a lot to do with company culture and the idea that you need to create an environment that allows people to be consistent.

Another big part is the ability to follow up and follow through. I can’t even tell you how many times you will be doing things where you need to follow up with clients and partners and sometimes it even takes up to 20 emails. Each and every opportunity for you to accomplish something or to create something if you don’t follow through, you have failed. We are also looking for employees that are super savvy with communications and social media because this is becoming a crucial part of any brand. The ability to understand how media works and how to maximize these services is important to our brand. 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs like you once were?

If I had to give one piece of advice to young entrepreneurs, it would be to not bite off more than you can chew: focus, focus, focus. I keep seeing a lot of young entrepreneurs that I work with trying to do too much. They try to put on six or seven different hats and be the CEO of the universe at the same time. I always say, focus on the one thing, take your time, become the best in your field and then explore from there. From what I’ve seen, the ability to focus and distill your message and brand into the simplest form and show it to other people such as the investors and partners, showing your dedication to a single idea is the most valuable.

When I used to work on movies, right after grad school, one of the exercises I had that influenced me completely was an exercise of writing a logline for a feature film. You have a script of like 90 pages that you need to turn in to a 25-word logline that will explain exactly what that movie is. It’s almost an impossible mission, but once you start on this, you understand how important the focus is. I now tell people you need to understand your business so well that nothing will get in the way. That’s how you get investors and money. 

I know you’re passionate about food, what are some restaurants you would recommend to our readers?

It’s hard to talk about restaurants right now when the restaurant industry is suffering so much. Every day we see another one of my favorite restaurants closing down and the industry is struggling especially when it seems like the industry won’t open soon. I’ll tell you about food in general, as a foodie the most important thing for me is not chasing trends, but a restaurant that has a focused menu, where they know what they’re doing and they’re focused on creating the best experience with a sense of consistency. I know I probably sound like everything is driven like that, but honestly, it’s so important.

Before covid I used to go to a restaurant once a month in West Harlem that used to make the most amazing eggplant pasta, there was also a place I used to go with the most amazing salmon dish and I used to go to another place with the most amazing pad thai. That’s the best thing about living in New York, you get exposed to so much food and you’ll try a lot of trends, but at the end of the day, when you hit something that you know is going to be just as good every time you get it, it becomes the place you go for that dish.

The older I get I realize that’s the most important thing because I want to go back to the restaurant five years later and get the same food and experience. I’m hoping we’ll come out of this soon and be able to go and enjoy restaurants again. Even if you don’t like restaurants and you’re a great cook, you miss sitting down with your friends in a restaurant, eating some food, enjoying a bottle of wine and sharing a good laugh. It’s not about the food, it’s about the experience. 

Where do you see yourself going next in your career? 

At the moment we are trying to get back to normal life especially with Bronx Night Market and other events that we have. I’m working very hard to define what we can do in public spaces to help restaurants and other brick and mortar restaurants come back to life.

At the moment, I’m really dedicating a lot of my time to working with city and state agencies to create programming that will allow brick and mortar businesses to have more visibility as well as helping small businesses that began at home during the pandemic. I like to call these businesses “homentrepreneurs” and they will need a place for their businesses outside to get more traction in the community once the pandemic is over.

I am taking my experience within marketing and media, my ability to push forth different agendas and my ability to plan different activities to bring these skills to neighborhoods around New York and support these businesses and give a place for new entrepreneurs to grow outside of their homes. This is something I have been very excited about for a few months. 

After Covid is over, are there any events you would hope for the MASC Hospitality Group to execute?

Help New Yorkers get back to normal as soon as possible. Possibly that will be creating open-air markets and events relating to many different niches, and just to let New Yorkers come to celebrate returning to normalcy. After covid, trying to figure out with different partners how to help businesses survive the next few months and thrive as soon as we get out of this crisis. This has been a focus for us to do. We have seen way too many friends of ours close shop and disappear. 

Be sure to keep up with Marco Shalma and the Bronx Night Market on Instagram. 

photo credit foodcre8tive
Photo credit to r.ace.me
Computer illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Over 32% Of TikTok Users Are In Their Teens

Social Media platform TikTok has continued its meteoric rise since an important merger in 2018 that took the platform globally, permeating the mainstream. The platform is especially popular among the younger generation with a majority of teens using Tiktok in the US. According to data presented by Stock Apps, over 30% of Tiktok users are in their teens which is the biggest among all age groups. More data indicates that 7 in 10 American teens use Tiktok at least once a month.

The Early Days of Tiktok

Tiktok is a social media platform that originated in China and is locally known there as Douyin. Douyin was started by ByteDance in 2016 and aimed to spread globally once it gained popularity in mainland China. In 2017 ByteDance launched Tiktok which was the international version of Douyin.

In 2018, Bytedance reportedly spent up to $1B to acquire Musical.ly, another Chinese social media startup based out of Shanghai that was founded in 2014. Musical.ly already had a large following, especially among the younger generation. This became the foundation for Tiktok’s global rise. Since their merger, Tiktok has been made available to download in over 150 countries and 75+ languages.

Tiktok Widely Popular Among Younger Generation

Tiktok allows users to record a short 15-second clip that usually features music in the background and can be edited through filters. A popular kind of clip that originated with the Musical.ly app are short lip-sync videos to trendy songs.  The video can also be sped up or slowed down to the users liking allowing for creative little clips that easily go viral. The platform clearly appeals to the younger generation and has surpassed many other social media platforms in terms of usage among teens. In the fall of 2020, a survey of almost 10K teens indicated that TikTok was the third most popular social media platform behind only Snapchat and Instagram with over 7 in 10 teens indicating that they used the platform at least once a month.

More Than 30% Of Tiktok’s Android Users Are In Their Teens – Largest Share By Age Group

TikTok’s popularity among the younger generation is no secret and is in fact the backbone of the app’s success. As of the midway point of 2020, 32.5% of Tiktok’s Android users are from the 10-19 age group, the largest share of any group, followed by the next youngest generation, the 20-29-year-olds who comprise 29.5% of Tiktok’s Android users. That means over 60% of Tiktok’s Android users are under the age of 30.

This important share of the market has not been lost among celebrities who seek to expand their reach with stars such as Jimmy Fallon and Tony Hawk among those to join the Tiktok party relatively early in 2018. Since then other megastars such as Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and Will Smith have joined the party, among many others.

In the fall of 2019, Tiktok also announced a multi-year partnership with the National Football League which included the launch of the official NFL Tiktok account giving teams, players and the league as a whole new marketing avenue. Partnerships such as these are what help catapult Tiktok to become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, already boasting 800 monthly active users in less than four years of existence.

Marvin Liao Joins FanVestor’s Advisory Board

Top venture capitalist and former Yahoo! senior executive Marvin Liao has joined the Advisory Board of global fintech fan investment and commerce platform FanVestor, the announcement was made today by company CEO Michael Golomb.

“Marvin’s expertise and proven track record are unmatched in the industry.  He managed one of the most successful accelerators, maturing and investing in more than 400 start-ups,” comments Golomb. “This combined with his vast global professional experience working at Yahoo! spearheading the company’s expansion in all important global markets make him a valuable addition to FanVestor’s Advisory Board.”

On the Advisory Board, Liao joins recently appointed members former President/CEO, DASAN Zhone Solutions Yung Kim and former PINTEC executive Alan Qiu.

Marvin Liao is an investor, executive coach, and formal advisor to several large family offices. Previously, he was a Partner at Venture Capital Fund 500 Startups, running the San Francisco-based accelerator program, as well as investing in seed-stage start-ups. He has invested in over 414 pre-seed and seed-stage startups during the six years spent there.

Liao also spent over a decade as a senior executive at Yahoo!, boasting an extensive operating experience expanding businesses across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Liao presently serves on the boards of directors and advisory boards of several Internet advertising and ad technology companies around the world. He also is a mentor for a number of global accelerator programs.

FanVestor offers all-in-one commerce, auction, investing, and sweepstakes platform designed specifically to meet the needs of celebrities. Founded by Michael Golomb, an innovator in the world of business and fintech, FanVestor’s robust technology platform will allow current and former athletes, media and music celebrities, fashion icons, and artists to leverage their influence by offering their fans an opportunity to participate in their latest projects or charitable initiatives.

The company’s leadership team and Board of Directors is highlighted by COO Larry Namer, founder of E! Entertainment, and also includes former News Corp. executive Marty Pompadur, former CEO of Warner Brothers Music, Phil Quartararo, and former President of Korea Telecom, Yung Kim, and several other successful executives.

2021 Illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

5 New Year’s Resolutions To Make Your Business Culture A Winner

New Year’s resolutions are not only for individuals but businesses too. Company goals leaders set for the year ahead are usually measured in data tied to categories like revenue production and expense reduction. 

After a difficult 2020 due to COVID-19, many enterprises’ bottom-line numbers will take on extra importance in 2021. And business culture will be just as crucial. Any resolutions that company leaders make are an effective way to measure their work environment and help their teams meet performance metrics, says Mark McClain, CEO and co-founder of SailPoint and the ForbesBooks author of Joy and Success at Work: Building Organizations that Don’t Suck (the Life Out of People).  

“Meeting individual, team, and company goals begin with employees and managers working well together in a vibrant environment,” McClain says. “And given the changes and challenges of these times, culture and how leaders pay attention to it have never been more important. 

“The bottom line falls into place when everyone is on the same page. But even if leaders have established a strong culture, it bears constant vigilance to ensure everyone is rowing in the same direction, especially now when a volatile world can threaten to throw even the most solid companies off course.”  

McClain offers these business culture resolutions for the New Year that leaders could consider:

  • Focus on shared values. McClain thinks it’s misleading to frequently state that a “family atmosphere” exists in a company. “The bigger a company gets or the more it grows in capability and value, the less it’s going to feel like a family,” he says. “Creative friction and disagreement on processes and concepts are inevitable. Smart companies leverage broader, shared values as common ground on which workers can connect. I’ve found one of the best places for doing that is through service to the community beyond company walls. If your culture encourages people to work together for some greater good, they’ll continue to appreciate each other as humans and fellow workers.” 
  • Avoid prima donnas. ”Talented people are essential for a successful business,” McClain says, “but don’t fall in love with a gifted person if they are constantly letting you know how special they are. Watching them work can be breathtaking, but not when they’re the ones sucking the air out of the room.”
  • Double down on integrity. “Large legacy companies are often loaded with people who are just taking up space and collecting a paycheck,” McClain says. “It’s a significant issue, and it goes hand-in-hand with integrity. Effective workers know the difference between busywork and producing value. Everybody in the organization must be clear on what success looks like. The role of management is to be clear on objectives and then let people run.”
  • Don’t stop innovating. McClain says many companies stagnate in this area and should learn how to expand their innovations while encouraging the cultivation of new ideas. “Innovation is an amalgam of product marketing and product management skills, of listening to the market, and of engineering people who can take a problem and figure out how to solve it,” he says. “But innovation should apply in every direction – in how a company contracts, how they sell, how they market.”
  • Be the first to own mistakes. “Anyone who has been involved in conflict directly knows there’s always the sense that both parties have some responsibility,” McClain says. “The sooner you own yours, the more likely the other person will own theirs – and the project can move forward.”

“New Year’s resolutions are often easily discarded because of a person’s lack of commitment,” McClain says. “For business leaders and their workforce, they reflect company core values and can create or improve a culture that everyone will appreciate and aspire to uphold and deepen.”

About Mark McClain

Mark McClain, ForbesBooks author of Joy and Success at Work: Building Organizations that Don’t Suck (the Life Out of People), is CEO of SailPoint, a leader in the enterprise identity management market. McClain has led the company from its beginnings in 2005, when it started as a three-person team, to today, where SailPoint has grown to more than 1,200 employees who serve customers in 35 countries.

guitar, rock, strum, tabs, strings

How Women Can Overcome Music Industry Challenges

By Deborah Fairchild

If someone were to ask me how I managed to thrive in a male-dominated industry and rise to the position of president at VEVA Sound – and how other young women could similarly succeed – here would be my response:

For me, it has always been about focusing on the work and knowing that if you just do that, everything else will take care of itself. When something needs to happen, just get it done. 

Get it done even if it seems like a menial task. Get it done even if there’s no immediate reward being dangled in front of you. And get it done even if there is no clear indication that what you’re doing will result in a promotion, a raise, or other good things happening somewhere down the road.

Putting in the time and effort doesn’t necessarily guarantee success in the music industry (and likely not in any industry). But success can’t happen without that time and effort.

This approach to the working world goes all the way back to my first studio internship. Whatever task was placed before me and needed to be accomplished, I would do it – right down to the unfulfilling but necessary job of cleaning the toilets. (And yes, I actually cleaned toilets. The music industry isn’t always a glamorous world.)

I think that I knew, even at a young age, that if I just kept my attention on the work at hand, and concentrated on what I was doing versus what everyone else was doing, success would find me.

That proved to be true, and this approach continues to pay dividends for me to this day – and maybe could do the same for young women who are probably much like I was several years back, cultivating dreams and ambitions.

In my case, I always loved music and I also had a technical mind. It was a matter of taking those two things and mixing them together, which is why I got my degree in audio engineering. Once I finished college, working as an archival engineer gave me a steady income and allowed me to be around music all day. The rest is history.

Of course, all of this still leaves the question of whether it Is more difficult for a woman than a man to achieve success in the music industry. Certainly, women are underrepresented in our industry, as they are in many others. To give you an idea of that underrepresentation, a study released in 2019 by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative looked at 700 popular songs. What that study found was that women accounted for only 21.7% of artists, 12.5% of songwriters, and 2.7% of producers. 

I also can report that over the years I have encountered situations where a man could do or say one thing, but I know it would be unacceptable for me to do or say the same thing.

So, yes, a young woman with ambitions to enter our industry will face challenges, but those challenges shouldn’t deter you. 

After all, the music business is hard for everyone – male or female. Breaking in is tough. Then navigating the business once you’re in is difficult. Finally, it can be extraordinarily challenging to continue to succeed in the business over time, even after you’ve had your initial success. 

The key is to set aside any negative thoughts about all those challenges and focus on what you can control. Be determined to do the work and strive to learn everything you can from everyone you can. 

People are fond of saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” That’s true only to a degree. Who you know may bring opportunities initially, but what you know gives you staying power in this business. 

Ultimately, knowledge and determination have been the two most important factors in my success. They can be for others as well.

About Deborah Fairchild

Deborah Fairchild, president of VEVA Sound (www.vevasound.com), started her career with the company as an archival engineer in 2004. In the past 16 years, she has risen to lead the company in all facets of the business. She has grown VEVA into a global entity servicing major labels in North America and Europe, establishing offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London in addition to the company’s headquarters in Nashville. Fairchild has kept VEVA at the forefront of technology and continues to evolve and adapt VEVA’s services and technology to assist the needs of their extensive client base. She advises many label executives, producers, engineers and artists seeking archival and asset management solutions.