• How a 15-year-old entrepreneur got her product into Nordstrom



    Fish Flops founder Madison Robinson meets one of her Nordstrom customers

    Yahoo editors have selected this article as a favorite of 2013. It first ran on Yahoo Small Business on May 31 and was one of the most popular stories of the year. The article describes how teenager Madison Robinson won big success for her line of colorful flip flops for kids.

    She launched her business two years ago, but Houston teenager Madison Robinson has yet to face something most new entrepreneurs do: rejection. Every store buyer she has approached has placed an order for her Fish Flops for Kids shoe brand.

    Robinson came up with the idea for her sea-creature-adorned flip-flops with battery-operated lights when she was just 8, living at the beach in Galveston Island, Tex. Her dad Dan, a former banker turned t-shirt designer, helped her turn her drawings into a product and get samples made. More than 30 stores placed orders the first time they exhibited at a trade show, so he hired an overseas manufacturer and started shipping in May 2011.

    Launched with “friends and family” financing,

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  • Survey: Projecting growth, most small businesses optimistic about 2014

    In spite of everything—limited loans, cash-strapped customers, healthcare woes, and a government shutdown—it’s been a half decent year for many small businesses. At least that’s what the Rocket Lawyer Semi-Annual Small Business Survey shows. The online legal services provider surveyed 1,000 of its customers who own U.S. small businesses and found that more than half experienced growth that met or exceeded their expectations in 2013, and 80 percent expect 2014 to be even better.

    Business owners aren’t wearing rose-colored glasses, though. Economic recovery is still a top concern: 50 percent say economic uncertainty is the primary impediment to their growth and 30 percent are still significantly worried about overall economic growth and health.

    Priorities for the New Year? Business owners surveyed put marketing and brand initiatives ahead of raising funds, developing new products or services, hiring, or international expansion. More than 40 percent say they’re focused on increasing their

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  • Brad Hunstable, Ustream’s founder answers questions via live chat

    Got a question for Brad? Use the chat feature below to get it answered live.










































    Brad Hunstable founded Ustream more than six years ago with a vision to bring live broadcasting technology to the entire world; Ustream was originally created to connect military service members to family and friends across the world. Since then, the company has established itself as a socially-fueled communications platform for businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals of any size to easily reach an infinite audience and share experiences in real-time.

    Brad serves as Ustream's CEO and has grown the company to more than 250 employees and 80 million users globally. He has been ranked among 50 "Digital Power Players" by the Hollywood Reporter and on Variety's Producers Guild of America's Digital 25: Visionaries, Innovators and Producers for his work at Ustream. Brad is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds an MBA from The Ohio State University.

    The Young Entrepreneur

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  • Announcing a live chat with Ustream Founder Brad Hunstable

    Brad HunstableUstream Founder Brad Hunstable will answer questions from readers at 3 p.m. ET (12 p.m. PT) here on Thursday, December 19th. As part of the Young Entrepreneur Council’s #StartupLab initiative, a virtual mentorship program, Brad will appear live via video chat broadcast on this site.

    Brad Hunstable founded Ustream more than six years ago with a vision to bring live broadcasting technology to the entire world; Ustream was originally created to connect military service members to family and friends across the world. Since then, the company has established itself as a socially-fueled communications platform for businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals of any size to easily reach an infinite audience and share experiences in real-time.

    Brad serves as Ustream's CEO and has grown the company to more than 250 employees and 80 million users globally. He has been ranked among 50 "Digital Power Players" by the Hollywood Reporter and on Variety's Producers Guild of America's Digital 25:

    Read More »from Announcing a live chat with Ustream Founder Brad Hunstable
  • Smarts, Luck and Hard Work

    Hard Work

    When the confluence of these three things happen simultaneously there can be magic in the air. Of course, that’s the magic everyone is seeking. Whether they are seeking to become a newly minted entrepreneur or whether they are a seasoned industry veteran. Corralling the smarts, creating the luck and putting in the hard work takes effort.

    The good news is… each of these can be learned and earned.

    For those seeking to stand out in their career there is work to be done upfront. Those that put in the work up front will find that their hard work will pay off as they “create” their own luck and it will all seem like magic to an outside observer. But, they’ll know how much hard work went into their overnight success.

    Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. ~ Thomas A. Edison

    Sure there are those that happen upon a great idea or have a flash of inspiration, but these magical situations are rare. It’s even more rare to know what to do… and then to do everything just

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  • 5 Creative Marketing tactics small businesses can use without breaking the bank

    Shawn PrezThe holiday season marks the time when companies begin bombarding consumers with expensive commercials and marketing campaigns. Toys “R” Us, for example, spent $88.3 million on marketing for the holiday season in 2012. Small businesses, with more down-to-earth budgets, often get lost among the multi-million dollar campaigns for major retailers and brands.

    This year, small businesses should focus on using unique marketing methods to reach a larger audience, instead of trying to compete with big retail advertisements and glitzy marketing campaigns. The following are five cost-effective and creative marketing tactics that will help your small business get recognized this holiday season:

    1. Social Media Marketing: Seventy-seven percent of adults in the 30-49 age bracket use social media, according to Pew Research Center. Since this age range represents a significant portion of those in a household with purchasing power, make sure you target your audience through social media platforms such as
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  • MobileShoppingByDayGraphic

    Americans spent $1.1 billion shopping on their mobile devices on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Purchases made by smartphone and tablet accounted for more than 20 percent of the $5.28 billion in online sales during the three super shopping days, according to an Adobe Digital Index analysis based on nearly 900 million visits to 2,000 retail sites and 3+ billion visits since Thanksgiving.

    In total, $7.4 billion in online sales were generated over the five days from Thursday through Monday.

    It was a record-setting weekend all around, and especially for mobile device shopping, according to Adobe, which tracks online sales and says its Adobe Marketing Cloud funnels 7 out of 10 dollars spent online with the top 500 U.S. retailers. Total online sales for the 5-day opening weekend of holiday shopping season rocketed up 26 percent from 2012, while mobile sales jumped 80 percent.

    “Consumers took full advantage of their mobile devices to shop on Thanksgiving Day and ‘omnishop’ while

    Read More »from Thanksgiving weekend shoppers send retailers a message: We’re going mobile
  • Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, AirPR’s CEO answers questions via live chat

    Got a question for Sharam? Use the chat feature below to get it answered live.










































    Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer is the CEO of AirPR, a company he co-founded in 2011. He was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Shasta Ventures focused on consumer internet and the social graph. Prior to joining Shasta, Sharam was a Senior Associate at Sierra Ventures focused on consumer internet, enterprise software (cloud computing / virtualization), and mobile. He served as a Board Observer at Makara (sold to RedHat) and TouchCommerce. Sharam began his career as a technologist at Appian, a BPM software startup where he managed the first enterprise wide tracking system for the Department of Homeland Security. Sharam graduated with honors with a BS in Computer Science from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He played NCAA D1 ice hockey and is fluent in Farsi.

    StartupCollective is a free virtual mentorship program created by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization

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  • In recent years, a successful trajectory of social networking for small businesses owners was closely tied with specialization in online marketing. By establishing a dialogue and building social environments for consumers, small businesses were able to grow out of their local markets.

    So you’ve started a business, bought a domain name, and registered a Facebook page. Now what?

    Nowadays, it is not enough to own a simple social profile and a template based website. More small business owners are becoming experts in various forms of specialization in social networking, including online social marketing.

    Keeping a focus on the next big thing – by sharing news, pictures, and comments - is detrimental to building a social network. Small business customers expect extra attention; and want to see what YOU are doing. Positive comments and testimony on social pages have a higher bearing on consumer’s decision making, according to research published by the Johnson & Wales University.

    When selecting

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  • The ability to fully concentrate on whatever you're working on is a critical component of success. As the saying goes, "The successful man is the average man focused."


    Most individuals, however, have difficulty staying focused. A Harvard University study shows that 47 percent of people's waking hours are spent not being in the moment—not being focused on whatever they're doing. In his new book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, internationally known psychologist Daniel Golemanwrites about the impoverishment of attention most of us suffer from.

    The two main distractions that erode our ability to focus, says Goleman, are sensory and emotional. Some of us are able to tune out sensory distractions, such as loud chatter in a coffee shop while working on a spreadsheet or ads on Facebook while catching up with our news feed. But emotional distractions, such as dislikes, disappointments, frustration, annoyance or aggravation, to name just a few, are the most challenging ones to manage for

    Read More »from Stay Focused: 8 Ways To Boost Your Attention Span

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