tv Your Business MSNBC April 18, 2015 2:30am-3:01am PDT
to present "your business" on msnbc. ♪ >> hi, everyone. i am j.j. ramburg. welcome to "your business" the show designed to give you tips and advice to grow your business. i happened to take a tour of wingtip. i was fascinated by how he had built his brand. every single thing down to his own clothes seemed to fit the image he had created for his company, so i asked him if i could come back and get a little more insight into how he turned his idea foramen's clothing store into a full blown lifestyle company.
ami arad is a self-described modern gentleman. >> modern gentleman seemlessly traverses work play family friends, different social settings, and appreciates the finer things in life whether that's food and wine spirits and cigars beautiful cars nice time pieces. >> and his san francisco-based company, wingtip, which is half public retail store and half private social club is focused on making sure that that gentleman and some ladies too, have a place to go that fits their lifestyle. >> what are you guys selling here? it's not just that you're selling whisky and shoes, you're something something bigger. >> i mean i think at its most simplest level we're selling an experience. >> wingtips started in 2004 as an e commerce store curated by ami who at a young age always appreciated fine wines, cigars
and fancy clothes. >> i would show up to a very old school bar in san francisco in a sport coat and a tie with a cigar, which you could smoke at this particular bar in the mid '90s and i'd order a glass. no one carded me. who would assume that a 19-year-old kid would be having that type of experience but that's what i liked. >> after a few years ami had enough funding to open his brick and mortar store, and then in 2010 he started the members only club. >> was it scary for you to make the investment that this club required? >> i would say it was an educated gamble. >> educated because ami had developed an incredibly loyal customer base at the store, one that he turned to to recruit the founding members of the club. >> i sent out an e-mail on a saturday morning to about 40 of our best customers. very high level explanation of what we were trying to do. i asked for $1,000 per person and i needed to know by tomorrow
and we got there. >> roger scullion was one of the first to join. >> what about the store made you want to join? >> just the people. just the overall thought that went behind the front line product. >> roger is an ideal member and shopper. >> i've tried this on for two months. >> really? they're all one and the same. when you join the club, your dues go towards a credit at the store. >> all of the things that we sell are part of the modern gentleman's lifestyle. the difference at wingtip, through the club you get to experience things before you buy them. >> in other words, not only is everything at the store for sale, but everything at the club is for sale too. the smoking jackets, the glass wear, the key holders. it worked on me. ami and i sat down to have a sing na tur wingtip manhattan, and within seconds i was tempted to buy everything around me. >> i already want to buy this as a gift for a friend of mine. >> we'll take care of you later
today. >> the key to ami's success is in the details. every single thing is telling the story of the modern gentleman. there is thebilliards the tradition of sipping the sham pain the $18,000 bottle of whiskey. kristin davis has been a member for the last few years. >> every little detail from the mirror they have with the shoes all around it. i love the fact that all of the different board rooms are a different style. >> i think one of the biggest things or customers and members are attracted to is the authenticity of the space. it doesn't feel corporate. >> part of that realness also comes from ami's ability to laugh at himself. >> is there something a little tongue in cheek about this place? >> i would hope there's a lot that's tongue in cheek about the space. i believe that we can sell and enjoy luxury goods but without pretension.
>> there are examples everywhere like here in the board rooms. >> this is the wingtip board with of directors. >> these are the people that inspire me. >> let me see how many people i know. billy ray valentine. >> you're missing my head of sales, big tom callahan from tommy boy. >> this is perfectly in line with the way ami has grown the company. he's primarily driven by his own instinct. >> are you a focus group of one? >> i have always loved the henry ford group. if i told the public what i wanted they would have said faster horses. i constantly listen to feedback. at the end of the day i'm always going to trust my gutt the most. >> his gutt is telling him it's time to expand. he hopes to have wingtips in cities across the country. >> we'll hopefully be open in l.a. this time next year. the hope is that we're in five cities by 2020. >> another business in san francisco, this one a
restaurant, has also come up with an innovative business model and in the process found the way to win both customer and employee loyalty. nbc's cynthia mcfadden reports that employees are receiving benefits like health care thanks to patrons. >> here in san francisco the birth place of america's counter culture, a new revolution. ground zero this typy french bistro. owner jennifer pilat would be the first to say hers is not the fanciest or the hippest restaurant in town though the grilled heritage pork chop is hard to beat. what really made zazi's famous is something else on the menu right there in the fine print. >> $1.25 surcharge provides benefits to our staff which is less than 30 minutes at a meter. a parking meter will cost you more than 30 minutes for $1.25. that provides staff members with full benefits including full health insurance, full dental
paid sick leave and a 401k. >> it was a recipe pilat after her own career waiting for tables. >> always being treated like a thief, that i was replaceable, irrelevant to the business. >> when she bought this place ten years ago she vowed zazi would be different. >> you can live like a grown up and work in a restaurant. >> yeah. >> and plan for your future. >> this little restaurant our 32 employees who contribute to the 401k they have over $1 million in savings and the average age is 26. >> you could make more money if you didn't do it this way? >> no, i don't think i could. the reason for that is the turnover is extremely expensive. the people that have been here can turn out a work level that someone who has been here for six months can't. >> i'm a chef. been here for 15 years. >> one of the dish washers has been here for 20 years. >> you can make a career here? >> yes, this is our job. we're not actors just trying to
make a buck we're here to stay. >> to say that just because they don't put on a suit and go to work every day they don't have a real job or they don't need benefits like a real worker would is ridiculous. >> but all of this goodwill must come at a cost right? after all, san francisco is one of the most competitive restaurant markets in the world. >> a successful restaurant is profiting 5%. >> what do you guys do? >> closer to 22. >> 22%? >> on a good year. my accountant is going to kill me for telling you that. >> a recipe for success that has them all coming back for more. cynthia mcfadden, nbc news san francisco. john hewitt has made quite a name for himself in the tax preparation industry. the co-founder of jackson hewitt, a company for which he no longer works but still bears his name is the founder now and ceo of liberty tax service based in virginia beach, virginia. the third largest tax prep in
the country, liberty has 43 locations and growing. he talks about making your customers happy, principles and this getting out of the box in this learning from the pros. >> making customers happy. you never meet a customer's expectations. you almost never do. you either exceed it or fail to meet it. and our goal as ceos is to have a higher and higher percentage of exceeding customer's expectations. caution is a thing of the past. you have to go for it. we do one thing almost no one does. we're one of the few national companies that calls every customer two days after they've been in and asked how we did for them and how we can improve. they like being called. they like being asked. we have a higher retention when we call our customers and ask them how we did.
flexibility is key then because you have so many different kinds of customers. so you've got to do things different. if you're competing against a multi-billion dollar company and they're open certain hours, you have to do something different. during our peak season instead of opening 9 to 9, we're open from 7:00 until the last customer leaves. you have to be flexible in thinking of weapons you can utilize that they're not utilizing or else you're not going to win. same sword, same shield, same arm mor armor. they're going to win. principles trump policies. there isn't a law that's written that is fair in every situation. every law and every policy has exceptions. we love our policies. even our own organization where i'm totally against policy over principle, we have many of our managers that just love policies. one time we had a rule where the franchisees could only talk to the accounting department between 2:00 and 4:00. well at 4:15 somehow a
franchisee got ahold of someone on the counter and the person said, i can't talk to you, it's past 4:00 and hung up the phone. that's just bad business. we can't let a policy interfere with doing the right thing. get out of the box. i think that almost no one thinks outside the box. i think in school you're rewarded for staying inside the box. in this country when you go to elementary school, middle school, high school college, you're taught in most places to think inside the box. the right answer is 9 times 9 is 81. you get reward. so the wrapups, the jobs they drop out of college and get out. thinking outside the box is critical to enjoying work. be fiscally strategic, it sounds like a brand. i think some of the people they think of a profit is the key to
successful business. it's really cash flow. you can be profitable but if you're not cash flowing positive, you're going to go out of business. we have some great operators and customers that they know cash flow to them is greek. they don't have a clue. that's one of the reasons why 95% of the small businesses fail, because they just can't handle their cash flow. when used correctly, youtube advertising can be a great way to not only grow your business but also generate actual sales. here now are five mistakes to avoid when running youtube advertising courtesy of entrepreneur.com. one, waiting too long to take advantage of youtube advertising. it may mean investing some money and some time now, but it's still pretty new so inevitably the prices are going to go up later. this is a good time to try it out.
two, not using in-stream ads. these are the skippable five second ads that you see when watching a video on youtube. if your goal is sales, these are by far the most effective. three, not having a great video created. your content should scream quality or else your viewers aren't going to trust the ad. give a call to action within 30 seconds. get to the point quickly and make sure to tell a great story. four, not tracking the right things to analyze. you can look at helpful metrics such as lost impression share, view rate and more by simply clicking on home. and, five giving up too quickly. if you see any traction with your ads and things seem to be moving in the right direction, don't be so quick to take them down. i speak to owners of conditions that have tech teams all of the time, and one thing that i often hear is that they wish they had more women in that department. our next guest is a big proponent of gender diversity
and other diversity of engineers. stephanie is the owner of a cloud based platform. so good to see you. >> good to see you. >> let's start with what is kind of an obvious question, but let's get it out there and have you answer. why is it important to have women on your tech team? >> well, i mean, i think it's important to have gender diversity kind of in all departments, but in particularly in the technology group i feel like that hasn't always been the case. and it still isn't because i think a lot of girls don't take that direction, but at the end of the day it comes down to communication. i feel like adding a female perspective sometimes just changes the dynamic enough that better communication ensues within that team. if it's just a single person or a couple of people running technology for a small business, it sometimes helps people feel more comfortable and able to communicate about the problems and ask questions. >> where do you find them? i hear this over and over again
which is i would love to have more gender diversity and otherwise, engineers, programmers, right? >> sure. >> i cannot find women to hire. i would if they came through my door. so where do you find more people? >> yeah i think it is a challenge. i would say in the candidate pool women are not always equally represented so you have to go a little bit further. some of the things i would recommend would be to go to a local college and a lot of the career training type universities are a great place to start. meet with professors. let the career department know that you're looking for a diverse group of candidates and often they'll send a good group of people to come to you. train from within. a lot of people assume tech skills are a must-know when you walk through the door. the truth is you don't have to know. there are a number of technical roles where you can be trained quickly. if you find somebody with great communication skills internally consider offering them the ability to train. aside from that you know just
continue to develop relationships with your internal team and ask them to reach out to their network. i'd say that's another great way to target a particular type of candidate. >> if you follow the news out of silicon valley there has been lots of stories, there have been lots of stories recently about companies that are not very friendly to women, particularly technology teams that are not very women friendly. and so what can you do as a company to make sure that you are a welcome place for women to come work in the tech team? >> sure. so i'd say one of the things you can do is to make sure that your benefits package speaks to women and at least acknowledges some of the things that women in particular are going to be most concerned about. just things like maternity leave, certain types of health care coverage. in addition i think when you interview female candidates it's not a bad idea to have a female team member in the room because it just helps put the situation at ease or you know rather than having three male developers sitting there, sort
are the firing squad. it's nice to have a familiar face in the room. i think that can help. >> stephanie, so great to see you. >> nice to see you as well. thank you so much. small business owners are always looking for new ways to work faster and more efficiently. that's why we ask our viewers for their favorite apps and tools that help them push their businesses forward. >> an app that i live by is good reader and it really allows me to manage all of my documents in a paperless way, whether it's signing documents or marking up giving feedback to my staff members. it really allows me to get rid of the pen, get rid of the paper and do everything on my ipad. >> we use mixed cloud. mix cloud is an app similar to spot si spotify and pandora. it's a great marketing tool. one website i love to use is i jot.com. it allows you to send a video
e-mail and if you get the paid version it allows you to even brand your e-mail so that you're talking and they open their e-mail and they get a video. it's great for customer service and for promotional. >> we use the amazon seller app to help us efficiently source new products. with this app, which is an app for mobile devices, it allows you to either take images of a product or scan a bar code and it will link to the amazon listing for that product, tell you how many third party sellers are selling the product, what the price is they're getting for the product, how much the fees amazon collects for the product and how long amazon expects to be selling the product. it's a wonderful way to quickly go through wholesale catalogs or trade shows and find viable products if you're an amazon third party seller. when we come back making sure you have all the bases covered with your taxes and selling versus expanding your company.
american express for travel and entertainment worldwide. just show them this - the american express card. don't leave home without it! and someday, i may even use it on the moon. it's a marvelous thing! oh! haha! so you can replace plane tickets, traveler's cheques, a lost card. really? that worked? american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here. today's your biz selfie is from northeast entertainment inc. an audio visual installation company owned by chris mcdonald
in baldwinsville, new york. we'd like to see your selfie. send it to msnbc.com. include your name or location. you can tweet it to us us @msnbcbiz. don't forget to use #yourbizselfie. it's time to answer your business questions. scott belsky is the vice president of products and community at adobe. and christian lemieux is the founder of well studio. and creative director of wayfair. it's fun to have you both here. you both started your companies, grew them and then sold them to public companies. you have similar experiences. all right. let's get to the first question. it's top out taxes. sorry, taxes.
coming up. >> i think the main question i would have is how to make sure you're covering all the bases you need to have in terms of lethality with taxes. i have an attorney and i have a financial person but i'm not really sure i'm doing everything i need to do. >> this gets to the point of hiring people that you can trust. how do you find them? you can't just find any attorney, any accountant? >> i've been through this in a very interesting way. i had sort of just a general tax adviser/accountant and then i found out there are people who specialize in industries so i hired somebody that specialized in the manufacturing andersen terd around creative business and he was able to walk me through the myriad of ways that i was not maximizing my tax returns over the years. i actually got money back. so really finding somebody who specializes in the business that you do in taxes is so key. otherwise, you're literally throwing away money. >> yeah i agree.
i think it's also important to have or to know the difference between insights and answers. obviously you need answers from professionals, but insights can come from friends in the industry, advisors that you have. personally i think for me a lot of the insights around effective tax management and accounting often come from friends and then i will check them with my accountant and lawyer. >> let's move to the next question about the future of your small business. >> when do you know if it's the right time to sell your company or to scale your company and to grow your company? >> perfect panel for this. okay. how did you decide? >> where do we begin? >> this is the journey. >> if you are -- first of all, if your company is not growing, it's actually not a good probably time to sell because you're not going to do well by selling. >> if your company is not growing, it's not a great time to scale, i think, because there's so many pitfalls there. you can go from having a company to not having a company. >> for sure. when you're thinking about who the right parent would be who
the right acquirer would be, you're thinking of somebody to help you scale and grow. that's going to increase the value. if you have exposure in the up scale, that's going to do well for you. >> i think one of the things as an entrepreneur and as you look at your business there comes a day where there's a fork in the road. you can either i think for me it was either raise a lot of money and build the kind of infrastructure you would need to scale your business or a really strategic merger where you're taking advantage of some of the things they have and scale they have. >> great. let's move to the last question. it's about company culture. >> what are some great ways that you can authentically integrate your company culture that really gets everyone feeling enveloped in that culture but also seeming not forced? >> i love company culture questions. we've profiled companies that has instituted this great culture from the start. i think it's interesting to
think about how do you create a culture not to start. easy when you're starting out. if you have a company how do you start to think, oh, wait now i need to think about culture. >> it's funny. we had a distinct corporate culture going into the merger. it feels different from a cultural perspective, but i think it all comes down from the sort of people that start it. so for the founders. i think whatever your kind of you know mantra is put it out there and put it out there consistently. so if you know if team building is what you're after, then do it do it consistently and do it authentically. when you hire a bunch of consultants to come in and tell you, people understand that and feel it. it feels forced. i think if it comes from the leadership in the company, it's really authentic, then people will buy it like it and, you know, put it forth. >> i think the point is you have to talk about it, too, right? >> you do have to talk about it. >> if it's you thinking about
the culture, then people might not know. >> distilled. different cultures hiring someone, sharing the stories. that's why they say the greatest leaders are story tellers. they're constantly reciting stories. the other thing about account tur, culture, it's the hardest thing to build but the easiest thing to lose. it's like a toxic infection. you have to immediately fix it. cultivating and being the steward of the culture is an active responsibility. >> that is the point. at quirky you know the company quirky we did a story on them recently. they have eight core values or six core values. when you have that written down and they're specific right? it's easy because you can bounce everything against those core values. >> i also think accessibility is important. it's a sort of economy 2.0 kind of notion that you can walk into the ceo's door and you can talk about things and there's a lot of communication.
that's important. that's one of the distinct advantages parker had. door open. this is our community. >> transparency. >> we're all talking about this together. we're all in it together. when people feel like we're all in it together and there's not a lot of layers then they're willing to coalesce and get behind that. >> i love company culture. some of my favorite stories to do. great to see both of you. >> thank you. >> if any of you have a question to our experts go to our website because we answer them every week here on the show. the address is openforum.com/yourbusiness and hit the ask the show link. send us an e-mail. the e-mail address is yourbusiness @msnbc.com. we are always checking out twitter to see what entrepreneurs and small business owners are talking about. here are some tweets we'd like to share with you. business consultants has this warning, always be prepared. some angel investors unassumingly lurk in random
places just to scout their next investment. your business panelist and tech entrepreneur jennifer shaheen tweets the stweet spot in digital marketing is strategies that bridge the gap between mobile devices and in person experiences. and we have this advice, i've said this before but it bears repeating, you have to say no to the good to make room for the great. thank you so much for joining us today. if you want to catch any of our segments again, just head on over to our website. it is openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's pieces plus web exclusive content with a whole lot more information to help your business grow. you can also follow us on twitter, @msnbcyourbiz. we are on facebook and instagram as well. we profile a core business by day and hot night life place by night.
>> one of the cool things about having the geek easy it brings people into this comic shop that would maybe never set foot in a comic shop that they have to literally walk through the comic shop to get into the geek easy. >> how this orlando-based retail store is converting new clientele into new customers. until then i'm j.j. ramburg and remember, we make your business our business. american express for travel and entertainment worldwide. just show them this - the american express card. don't leave home without it! and someday, i may even use it on the moon. it's a marvelous thing! oh! haha! so you can replace plane tickets, traveler's cheques, a lost card. really? that worked?
american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here. next week in boston a jury will consider how to sentence this man for his part in the boston marathon bombing. federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty as they sought it for another terrorist, timmy mcveigh. sunday marks the 20th anniversary of the oklahoma city bombing. as we again try to understand why that happened, there is the remarkable fact that timothy mcveigh left a record of why it happened on tape. tonight a special presentation of the mcveigh tapes.