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2019-10-14 07:27:22

One of the most popular ways to scale a service business is by creating an agency, but there are a lot of things that can get overlooked along the way. While I’m always happy to share my experiences with you, I wanted to bring a real-life look at how successful agency owners are really doing it. In this episode, we’re going behind-the-scenes of Simple Pin Media with its owner Kate Ahl.

I’ve been aware of Kate and Simple Pin Media for a long time, but over the last year, I’ve learned more and more about her business through mutual friends, and I gotta say, I’m sort of obsessed with how she’s built her team and how they serve over 100 clients. After getting connected with Kate on Instagram a couple of months ago, I knew she was the perfect person to talk about how she went from accidental business owner to where she is today.

Here’s What We Discussed:

  1. Kate told us about her business and how she makes money.
  2. How she went from starting a business offering Pinterest services to where she is today.
  3. How her team is structured and how that has evolved over time.
  4. How Kate spends her time as the leader and CEO of the business.
  5. Some of her biggest challenges as she’s grown an agency.
  6. What her biggest lesson has been about running an agency so far.
  7. What she would tell anyone who wants to start moving towards an agency model.
  8. What’s next for Simple Pin Media.


Kate’s Bio 

Kate Ahl is the owner and founder of Simple Pin Media, a Pinterest management company. They help their clients focus back on their business by taking over all aspects of Pinterest marketing. After working with over 600 Pinterest accounts, they have learned how to pin for all types of companies and niches. Kate has taught tens of thousands about Pinterest marketing through various speaking engagements and her podcast, the Simple Pin Podcast. She aims to teach simple, actionable tips to help you create forward movement in your business instead of feeling overwhelmed.

Three Lessons from Kate:

  1. You Own the Business — It Doesn’t Own You. Kate shared how from the start she set out to design her business in a way that meant ensuring she was able to stay in her zone of genius. She aimed to build a team that would take on the jobs that Kate didn’t want to be doing over time, such as managing Pinterest profiles.
  2. Your Culture Matters. When we step up and start leading a team, many times we’re not focused on the work environment we’re creating. It’s easy to lose sight of that when you’re focused on serving clients, but Kate shared how she built a leadership team that would help share the vision, and they set the pace for how things are done. Plus, they’ve created a culture that’s supportive and proactive, and Kate’s employee retention really shows how this culture facilitates business growth.
  3. Let Your Team Fly. While I loved so much of this conversation with Kate, I really identified with what she shared about getting out of the way, as many times when she steps back in, she makes a mess. Her take was that to truly grow, you need to let your team fly, which means not micromanaging and getting okay with letting your team fail.

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2019-10-14 08:42:50

How to Prepare Your Small Business for Sale with Mike Finger

Henry Lopez - Small Business Coach

How to Prepare Your Small Business for Sale with Mike Finger

Why your business may not be salable, and what you can do to fix it.  Mike Finger is an entrepreneur and an expert on what it takes to build a business you can exit. Mike shares his insights and experience on how to prepare your small business for sale. He also shares his personal entrepreneur journey. Mike also introduces his approach to validating how salable your small business may be: are your financial results desirable, can a buyer duplicate your results, and can you document your financial results.

[Learn more about Mike]

Mike Finger - Entrepreneur

Mike Finger is a successful small business owner, and the founder of Exit Oasis – coaching services and resources to help them prepare for the sale of their business. Over the last 25 years Mike has bought, built and sold multiple businesses. Building his first business was a rewarding challenge, but what really captivated him was selling his first business.

Mike explains that selling his first business was a miracle in his life. It changed everything, but it almost didn’t happen. He was 10 years in with 50 employees when he found out the business was unsalable. It was devastating. But he moved forward and focused on changing a few simple elements in the business. Those changes made that first sale possible, and it changed his life. He now focuses on helping other small business owners experience that same miracle.

Mike lives in Minneapolis-St. Paul area.


Online Course: Will I be able to Sell My Small Business?
Use the Promo Code “HOW” to receive a 40% discount on this course.

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[We receive commissions for purchases made through these links (more info)].

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You can find other episodes of The How of Business podcast, the best small business podcast, on our Archives page.

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2019-10-14 11:22:13

Ascension Parish Library invites all interested persons to attend a free small business seminar, Starting and Financing a Small Business.  It is designed for individuals who want to learn what it takes to start … [Read More…]

Based on the gothic horror classic novel by Bram Stoker, Dracula is the tale of the charismatic count from Transylvania who relocates to London. In his attempt to find new blood, Dracula battles with the … [Read More…]

On February 7 President Kenny Matassa declared “a big need in Ascension Parish for some type of detox facility for our people…Everybody knows about the opioid epidemic.”  Some know better than others.  … [Read More…]

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2019-10-14 11:32:46

NFIB completed a survey of the nearly 22,000 members across the state of Ohio on workforce development. In a recent 2019 national survey, NFIB’s August Jobs Report, a record 27 percent of small business owners reported finding qualified workers is their No. 1 business problem. Throughout the state of Ohio, members of NFIB echo this national concern.

“In papers across Ohio every week, there is a report of an impending recession, but that is not what we are hearing. Small business owners are continuing to produce and grow in spite of the negative headlines. The main impediment for Ohio entrepreneurs to grow at an even more rapid rate is the need to find qualified workers that can show up on time, pass a drug test, and have basic customer service skills,” said Roger Geiger, Vice President and Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

The state of Ohio under the leadership of Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted, who was appointed to head the new InnovateOhio, has placed a renewed emphasis on meeting the needs of Ohio business owners going forward. Members of NFIB have been participating in the In-Demand Jobs Survey that looks to direct future resources to areas of need, and the association continues to partner with the administration in streamlining the information process.

Another positive sign included in the current state operating budget is dollars allocated to reimburse employers for training their employees in industry-recognized credentials. To add structure to how these dollars will be utilized, House Bill 2, which NFIB supports and awaits approval by the Ohio Senate, reimburses businesses and provide individuals with grants to financially assist with attaining new credentials and certificates in high demand fields, allowing employees to retool their skills so that they can maximize their potential in Ohio’s growing economy. Under House Bill 2, the state will also assist those employees in enhancing their skills through the TechCred, Individual Microcredential Assistance Program, and Industry Sector Partnership grants.

Several findings of interest in the Ohio NFIB Workforce Survey include (See Full Results): 

  • Three-quarters of respondents indicated finding qualified employees was hindering their ability to grow/expand the business is a problem.
  • Nearly the same amount responding indicated candidates lack soft skills, such as a strong work ethic, customer service skills, and being on-time to work, as the biggest challenge when hiring new employees.
  • More than 1 out of 3 employers report job applicants cannot pass required drug testing.
  • Nearly seventy percent anticipate within the next six months, having open positions that will be difficult to fill.
  • That same percentage also feels Ohio’s education system is not adequately preparing students for today’s workforce, and 95 percent believe the greater emphasis should be placed on encouraging people to pursue skilled trade careers.
  • Almost eighty percent have never utilized any state or federal workforce training programs, as they were unaware of any for their industry, or if they exist, they are too burdensome to access.
  • Eighty-six percent conduct their own in-house training program for employees.
  • Finally, as busy as small business owners are, a third indicated they are willing to serve on their local school district or career and technical school business advisory council.

“We have been able to get plenty of candidates for our warehouse, but passing a drug test and the desire by those individuals to actually want to work a 40 hour work week with good habits like arriving to work on-time seem to be our toughest issues when it comes to retaining these new employees,” said Doug Johnson, a member in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“When we try to employ individuals not currently working, they either can’t pass a drug test, don’t want to work, or have no work ethic once hired. Our company is faced with trying to hire from the pool of those already working, taking employees from other companies by allowing them to move up and make more,” said Brent Dudgeon, a member in Bellville, Ohio.

“Despite our good-paying openings with benefits, we struggle to find candidates who have mechanical abilities and are drug-free. We just don’t have jobs; we have careers that offer a fruitful living if you want to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty. The problem is that skilled trades careers are often looked down upon, and we are trying to change that narrative. Ohio has plenty of job openings in a variety of areas that only require a little bit of training. You need to put a little skin in the game and enter into a career or trade school to get those skills, and then, as they say, the world is your oyster,” said Claudia Kovach, a member in Youngstown, Ohio.

NFIB is strongly committed to working with elected officials to improve Ohio’s workforce development strategies. The initiatives by the DeWine Administration are important first steps to solve this crisis and prepare Ohioans not for just the jobs open today, but for those of tomorrow. Members of NFIB serve on local boards of education, community college boards, and state agency committees such as the small business advisory council. Small business owners also participate heavily in their local vocational schools.

“By identifying in-demand jobs, the training needed, including soft skill development, streamlining access to workforce training programs, and continuing to work together, Ohio must be better prepared for the rapidly changing workforce demands to come our way,” Geiger concluded.      

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2019-10-14 12:35:06

About Small Business Trends. Try our Forever Free Plan!. "ALL THINGS MUST PASS" available now through Amazon, Apple iTunes, Google Play and …

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2019-10-14 12:37:32

E8: How to be Successful Starting a Small Business Now

In this episode, I interview Joe Solari. Joe Solari is an author, entrepreneur, and consultant. He writes on the topics of Energy, the Environment, and on how to reduce risk in your entrepreneurial ventures. Finding that many business owners struggle with the same problems he has worked to create tools and systems to help passionate business owners professionalize their team and operations to achieve exceptional results.

Joe graduated with a BFA from the School of the Art Institute and an MBA from Chicago Booth School of Business. He has been an owner, investor, partner, and operator of numerous businesses.

He lives in River Forest Illinois with his wife Suze, author of the T-Shirt & Jeans Handbook, and their two sons Rowan and Vincent.

Your Better Life Topics Discussed:

  • A little about Joe and what he does
  • What it means to be an entrepreneur
  • The mistakes most people make when starting a small business
  • How to incorporate your business properly
  • What is an “authorpreneur”
  • Understanding basic branding and marketing
  • The many different ways of starting a successful business

Episode Resources: 


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2019-10-14 04:29:41

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity introduced a five-year economic plan last week, focusing on six industries that can boost the state’s economy and a variety of programs to build its workforce and encourage population growth.

It’s the first such plan since former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn released his plan in July 2014 and declared, “Illinois is in the midst of a resurgence.”

“Over the past five years, the state has battled back from the worst financial crisis in seven decades to put the economy on a positive trajectory,” Quinn said in his 2014 plan.

Pritzker expresses similar sentiments in this year’s plan. He touts his first seven months in office and emphasized the passage of a $45 billion capital infrastructure plan, legalized recreational marijuana and sports gambling, and the passage of several pro-business reforms.

“For the first time in nearly two decades, we’ve seen simultaneous strong job growth in every region of the state,” Pritzker writes in the plan’s executive summary. “Underlying my vision is the fundamental principle of equity. No matter their ZIP code, every Illinoisan deserves economic opportunity. Where in the past sustainable and inclusive economic development has been elusive, instead I am committed to reinvigorating the most important foundational element of Illinois’ economy: our diverse and talented workforce.”

The report, which serves as a loose, guiding document rather than binding public policy, also lists challenges to overcome, including outmigration.

“Illinois has experienced a mild outbound migration of approximately 0.3 percent on average for the past five years,” according to the report. “This trend is driven particularly by migration among young people, minorities, and rural populations.”

The Illinois Board of Higher Education reported this year that 48.4% of Illinois public high school graduates who enrolled in a four-year institution in 2017 chose an out-of-state institution.

Pritzker’s plan calls for a 50% funding increase for Monetary Award Program grants from 2019 levels by fiscal 2023. Those grants go to college students who have a financial need and help them attend college in Illinois.

The report adds: “New business creation in communities of color and a downstate revitalization effort undertaken since the beginning of 2019 are intended to reverse outmigration in communities that have historically suffered disinvestment.”

Other challenges noted in the plan include income inequality by race and gender, unresponsive bureaucracy, lagging commercialization of research and development, and indistinct industry strength.

It also mentions a “history of fiscal imbalances,” calling attention to a 736-day budget impasse under former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and claiming the budget passed this year was the first such effort that was “bipartisan and balanced” in years.

“The fiscal condition of the state has affected the ability of government to operate efficiently and the ability of businesses to invest confidently,” the document says. “It has also driven many costs down to the local government level, where property taxes are now high relative to other states.”

The plan focuses on “winning in key industries,” including agribusiness and ag tech, energy, information technology, life sciences and health care, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and small businesses.

Pritzker emphasizes reforming government to “provide world-class customer service,” and “aggressively marketing” the state to its young people and those thinking of moving here.

The governor’s plan looks at government as an entity that can facilitate business growth through “regional economic hubs,” in which “all the key economic actors in regions across Illinois, including state and local governments, industry, unions, universities, and nonprofits are communicating well and working together to accomplish the same economic vision.”

The plan calls for creation of an online platform “that allows Illinois-based small businesses and startups to easily access resources, content, and connections to build and grow their businesses from anywhere at any time.”

It also calls for “updating and broadening” incentive programs for businesses, and collaboration between industry and community colleges to develop apprenticeships and training programs, and the development of a “Governor’s Champions” program to acknowledge employers making workforce commitments.

It will be necessary to revitalize downstate communities and increase investment in communities of color, according to the plan.

“Our state has a legacy of redlining and decades of commercial and industrial disinvestment in communities of color,” the plan says. “We will focus efforts and invest resources in transportation, broadband, small business development, and a range of programs that meet those communities’ needs. We will bring down barriers that affect startup businesses and low-income workers, and set targets for diversity in government procurement, oversight, and programming.”

Outside the Chicago area, the revitalization effort would “work closely with towns and cities throughout downstate Illinois to develop comprehensive plans that could include downtown redevelopment; new housing, parks, or shopping centers; transportation and public transit improvements; new or rehabilitated schools or career and technical education centers; and more,” the report says.

There is no timeline for the implementation of any of the proposals in the plan, all of which would require further action from either the governor, the General Assembly or both before taking effect.

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2019-10-14 08:03:45

Exports are a central part of America’s economic growth under President Donald Trump. With 96% of all consumers living outside our country, two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is also located outside of our nation. It’s incumbent on small businesses and entrepreneurs to focus their attention on the value of trade and the benefits of exporting.

Under the president’s leadership, the U.S. has reached an agreement with Mexico and Canada in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a mutually beneficial win for American businesses, farmers, ranchers and workers. When finalized and implemented, the agreement will expand Americans’ access to Canadian and Mexican markets, enabling greater global competitiveness.

Moreover, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement goes hand in hand with a prosperous economy where job opportunities continue to grow and lift Americans out of poverty. The independent International Trade Commission predicts the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement would create 176,000 new jobs, increase U.S. exports to Canada and Mexico by $19 billion and

$14 billion, respectively, as well as add $68.2 billion to the United States economy.

The U.S. Small Business Administration also does its part to engage small business owners in this regard through the agency’s State Trade Expansion Program. STEP is currently a pilot trade and export initiative that makes matching-fund grants available to states; they assist small businesses in their entry and success in the international marketplace.

The U.S. Small Business Administration resource partners like Kutztown University Small Business Development Center, provide invaluable assistance to export hopefuls with access to export assistance, such as U.S. Small Business Administration’s STEP Grant program and the U.S. Commercial Service, which help businesses achieve exporting successes all over the world. Pennsylvania’s Klinge Corporation is an example of a small business that started and grew with 30 years of exporting success because exporting is not an afterthought. Klinge has been international since its founding in 1984 and exports to more than 18 countries representing 80% of total sales.

Since the program’s establishment, Pennsylvania has received over

$5 million in STEP funding. Pennsylvania’s STEP award is administered through the Office of International Business Development, a program office within the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, which uses the funds to support its Global Access Program, a financial assistance plan to help new-to-export and market-expansion firms offset their costs of international business development activities. For more information visit:

The U.S. Small Business Administration STEP grant program plays an active role in supporting the 21st century economy and recognizes the fundamental role of small business as engines of the United States and North American economies. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will build upon that, better serving the interests of American workers and small businesses by supporting mutually beneficial trade that leads to freer markets and robust economic growth.

STEVE BULGER is Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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2019-10-14 09:33:45

Registration is now open for a free How to Start a Business workshop set for 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Small Business Development Center, 103 W. Pine St., Georgetown.

The content is for people wondering if they have what it takes to start their own business, or those who have entrepreneurial ideas but need assistance or financing to make them happen. Although the program is free, space is limited and preregistration is required.

“Fall may be the optimal time to get started on your business planning,” said David Root, director of the Small Business Development Center in Sussex County. “The hectic summer season is behind us, and we are now registering clients with a variety of business ideas, such as retail shops, restaurants, day care centers and automotive repair facilities.”

“No matter what you plan to start, the workshops will help you determine whether you are ready and what you need to do to move forward,” said Root.

The workshop is intended to help participants decide if they are conceptually, physically and financially ready to start a business. Workshop topics will include exploring whether a particular business is the right one to start; risks involved in starting a business; types of business formation; licenses, legal and accounting issues; how to develop a business plan; creating a business timeline; and what business resources are available.

For more information or to register, go to or call 302-856-1555.

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2019-10-14 09:56:15

On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome back Tom Sullivan, Vice President of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber to discuss the key findings of Q3’s small business index. Every quarter, the U.S. Chamber randomly selects 1,000 small businesses nationwide to survey them on their outlook, performance, and optimism. This quarter’s  Small Business Index reached an all-time high of 70.7, up two points last quarter. While there are many factors that contribute to this increase, Tom says that lower tax rates and less regulation are two main components that are spurring confidence.

small business indexOther key findings from this quarter’s index include:

  • 56% of small businesses say their local economy is in good health, up five percentage points from last quarter
  • 58% feel the U.S. economy is in good health, on par with last quarter (59%)
  • Two-thirds (66%) of small businesses continue to feel good about business health, including 41% who feel very good

In this segment, we also find out whether now a good time to start a business in the U.S., what challenges remain for veteran-owned small businesses, and how minority-owned small business are excelling in their hiring efforts.

The Atlanta Small Business Network, from start-up to success, we are your go-to resource for small business news, information, resources.

Follow us on Facebook here and stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest business news know-how from Atlanta Small Business Network.

This has been a JBF Business Media production.

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