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NYC entrepreneurs enjoy wine, snacks, and networking at a festive seasonal event.

Los Angeles Owners Sleigh the Season with Hello Alice, Shopify, and TikTok

Hello Alice and our partners at Shopify and TikTok were delighted to host Los Angeles small business owners for a third at-capacity, in-person event designed to help owners sleigh the season on Tiktok this holiday and long after.  Following two successful New York events, hundreds of owners from our Los Angeles community gathered in Shopify’s DTLA space on December 6 to learn how to attract customers on Tiktok and set up a strategic plan for success, while enjoying light bites, swag, and jovial networking all around. During each event, special guest creators including Andrea Casanova, who has over 178K followers and 2.5M likes, joined our friends at TikTok to discuss authentic storytelling, fitting content creation into your daily schedule, and how to create videos that cater to TikTok’s unique audience. Specifically, she called attention to new research where Gen Z ranks TikTok as their search engine of choice.   "I don't go to Google any longer to search for answers, I go to TikTok because I know I'll find exactly what I need explained to me in 15 seconds through video,” Andrea explained. With this in mind, she advised that owners cater to the platform by creating how-to and behind-the-scenes content related to their business. Thank you to every New York and Los Angeles small business owner who has attended, asked questions, and made these events three nights to remember. Additional Support for Your Small Business Free Shopify and TikTok Guides Set Up Your Shopify Store Expand Your Reach with Shopify Tools Create a Winning Holiday E-Commerce Strategy Get Started on TikTok Create Scroll-Stopping Content on TikTok Boost Your Results with TikTok Tools New Grant Opportunities Visit the Small Business Funding Center to find new grant opportunities and lending options, including: $25K Small Business Growth Fund, accepting applications until January 6, 2023 from high-growth small businesses $5K Keep It Local Fund, accepting applications until December 16, 2022 from entrepreneurs of color Upcoming Hello Alice Events Get ready for success in 2023 with experiences designed to help you reach your goals: Make Confident Financial Projections for 2023 Workshop, January 19, 2023 Small Business Boost Camp Accelerator, January 23-25, 2023 Learn more about getting forward focused on 2023 with Hello Alice. Free Resources From Our Partners Do you live in NYC or LA? The Shopify calendar is jam-packed with pop-ups, workshops, art parties and more.  See what's upcoming in NYC or LA. Download your free TikTok Holiday Playbook for in-depth tools and resources to help build the business of your dreams on TikTok.
Dec 12, 2022 • 2 min read
Black entrepreneurs and representatives of Hello Alice and Mastercard pose at an event for Black-owned small businesses.

Hello Alice and Mastercard Celebrate New York City’s Black-Owned Small Businesses

November 3 was a night to remember with more than 100 small business owners from across New York City joining Hello Alice and Mastercard to network and discuss the challenges and triumphs of Black entrepreneurship — all part of the Mastercard Strive tour, encouraging the support of Black-owned small businesses across the country. Guests gathered at the stylish Flatiron District boutique Noir et Blanc and enjoyed drinks from Brooklyn’s Happy Cork as speakers from Mastercard and the Hello Alice community led a lively discussion on breaking down barriers and opening new pathways to success. Speakers included: Ginger Siegel, North America Small Business Lead, Mastercard International  Deann Donahue, VP of Business Development, Mastercard  Natalie Diamond, VP of Business Development, Hello Alice Ken Ebie, Executive Director and CEO, Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC) Savonne Anderson, owner, Aya Paper Co. Deborah Koenigsburger, owner, Noir et Blanc Deborah Koenigsburger, the recipient of a COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant and the owner of Noir et Blanc, inspired the room with her message of resilience and community: “Getting the grant was the first time someone gave me something for my business that I didn’t have to give back. My advice is to educate yourself about what’s out there to help you and take advantage of it. There are a lot of people trying to support our community right now. There are a lot of people that believe in us more than we believe in us. Get on the bandwagon!” Download the full recap of the event now! Wondering if a Mastercard Strive event is heading your way? Join a Strive City chapter now and stay up to date on all Mastercard Strive resources available for you! About the Hello Alice x Mastercard Partnership In partnership with Hello Alice, Mastercard has pledged $500 million to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap for Black communities across America. Together we’re focused on getting small business owners the capital, technical assistance, and tools they need to grow: The $25K Small Business Grant Fund — open until January 6, 2023 The Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard Mastercard Strive City chapters Educational resources to support digital readiness through Digital Doors
Nov 15, 2022 • 2 min read
A Black female entrepreneur smiles proudly.

4 Ways to Celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week! Celebrated from November 14–20 with over 40,000 events taking place in more than 200 countries around the globe, #GEW2022 is the week for adventurers, dreamers, risk-takers, and small business owners just like you to come together, reflect, plan, strategize, contribute to your community, and — okay — brag a little about just how amazing you are.  Organized by our friends at GEN Global, this year’s celebration focuses on four key pillars: education, inclusion, ecosystems, and policy. Each pillar is at the heart of ensuring small businesses continue to find the resources they need to succeed and contribute to the health of our communities worldwide.  Get out in your community and enjoy Global Entrepreneurship Week. Find a listing of events in your area from GEN Global, and share your story on social with #GEW2022!   Here are four more ways you can celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week and work to propel your business forward at the same time! Here’s to YOU! 1. Get Educated — No Matter Your Budget or Time to Spare Investing in yourself is critical, even when you’re over-extended, strapped for cash, and trying to make it through the busiest time of year. Keep calm! We’re ready to help you take action and thrive in the year ahead.  Milestones Hello Alice Milestones break down essential business topics like fundraising, marketing, and branding into step-by-step guides to help you level up your operations for FREE any time you need. Get started now. Goal Setting Workshop: Charting the Course for 2023 Refresh your clarity, direction, and focus with this engaging virtual class. Hello Alice Chief Product and Technology Officer Kelsey Ruger will share his science-backed approach to reaching goals and taking charge of your business. Register now: December 9, 2022, at 3 p.m. ET Boost Camp  Reset your business and mindset for 2023 over three powerful days led by Hello Alice Co-founder Carolyn Rodz! Carolyn designed Boost Camp with her own failures and your specific needs in mind. She’s now determined to help you strategically focus your priorities, define your roadmap, and de-risk your business model to change the way you operate and grow — with workshops, feedback, accountability check-ins, loads of invaluable learning, surprises, and incredible guest speakers on the schedule, including: Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder and CEO of Bumble Sallie Krawcheck Co-founder and CEO of Ellevest Noora Raj Brown, Executive Vice President of Brand at Goop Allan Jones, Founder and CEO of Bambee Phyllis Newhouse, legendary entrepreneur and investor    Register now: January 23-25, 2023, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET 2. Connect With Your Inclusive Community to Grow You’re part of 1,000,000+ small businesses spanning all industries, demographics, and locations in the Hello Alice community. Every time you attend an in-person or virtual event, apply for a grant, connect with a fellow owner on social media, or even tell somebody about an opportunity on Hello Alice, you’re bolstering the diverse and driven community that we’ve built together.  A few inclusive offerings on Hello Alice right now: Mastercard Strive Join a community of Black-owned small businesses in Atlanta, Birmingham, Dayton, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, and St. Louis. The Hello Alice Small Business Secured Mastercard Helps you build or rebuild your credit over time and unlock opportunities as you grow.  Every entrepreneur deserves a chance to secure their financial future! NEW Grant Opportunities Hello Alice, in partnership with the Nextdoor Kind Foundation and NAACP, is now accepting applications for the $5K Keep it Local Business Fund. Preference will be given to businesses in Home & Garden, Personal & Professional Services, Retail, Restaurant/Food Services, Health & Wellness, and Child & Pet Care. Application deadline: Dec. 16, 2022, at 6 p.m. ET The Small Business Growth Fund, in partnership with Mastercard and part of the Year of Small Business movement, offers high-growth small businesses the opportunity to receive a $25,000 grant to help them reach their next big milestone. Application deadline: Jan. 6, 2023, at 6 p.m. ET Search for grants, loans, and other financing options and get the capital you need to grow your businesses in The Hello Alice Small Business Funding Center 3. Access Free Resources from Our Ecosystem Partners Nearly 80% of Hello Alice owners tell us they can’t access the resources they need to grow.  We’re working hard with our trusted partners to break down those barriers and help your small business thrive. FREE resources from our partners designed specifically for New Majority owners:  StartOut supports LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and startup founders, with community events, one-on-one mentorship, one-on-one office hours with experts, a 6-month accelerator program, and investor connections USHCC Navigates offers free bilingual counseling for the Hispanic entrepreneur community. In partnership with Hello Alice, they’ve also created bilingual guides to grow your business: Understand Your Business Model: English | Español Map Your Business Model: English | Español Create Your Vision Statement: English | Español Choose Your Business Structure: English | Español Create a Competitive Analysis Report: English | Español Write a Traditional Business Plan: English | Español Get an EIN: English | Español Bunker Labs provides community, programs, and courses to help military veterans and military spouses start and grow successful businesses  The SBA offers a multitude of resources, from funding to education, and stellar local assistance opportunities from its invaluable Small Business Development Centers to helpful business mentorship in partnership with SCORE  Likewise, GEN Global is a hub of resources and is especially helpful for staying up-to-date on opportunities in your area to connect and network with other entrepreneurs  4. Advocate for Yourself and Your Community Inflation. Supply-chain woes. Access to capital.  Barriers. Hurdles.  Knowing what you’re up against as an entrepreneur is critical to understanding where advocacy begins. Stay apprised:  Listen to Hello Alice co-founder Elizabeth Gore discuss the overwhelming need for equitable access to capital with GEN’s Jonathan Ortmans in honor of GEW2022, and her recent interview with Cheddar News about military-connected entrepreneurs finding pathways to success. Keep an eye on our Impact Reports to stay up to date on the challenges and needs facing small business owners just like you.  Find out more about the important policy work our partners are doing on your behalf.  Visit the SBA Office of Advocacy and read the latest policy news from GEN Global.  For more information on Global Entrepreneurship Week, head to genglobal.org/gew!
Nov 14, 2022 • 4 min read
Illustration of Atlanta's skyline with a large peach among the buildings.

Hello Alice and Mastercard Celebrate Black-Owned Small Businesses in Atlanta

Over 100 Atlanta small business owners joined Hello Alice and Mastercard on September 13, 2022 for a curated evening of networking, conversation, and light bites while shopping Black-owned small businesses at The Village Retail — all part of the Mastercard Strive tour heading to New York and more cities soon!  The evening featured a lineup of intriguing speakers from Mastercard and the Hello Alice community who discussed the triumphs and challenges of Atlanta’s Black-owned small business community, including:  Paul Wilson JR., Innovation & Entrepreneurship Director,  Russell Innovation Center for EntrepreneurPatrice Jackson, owner, Sweet Honey RoseDr. Erica Gamble, owner, The Wig Dr. Boutique and Hair Loss CenterLakeysha “Dr. Key” Hallmon,  founder and CEO, The Village Retail Market The support, creativity, and energy among all attendees was a reminder of the resilience of Hello Alice’s community of 1M+ owners and our commitment to getting you the resources you need to grow.  Why? As Patrice of Sweet Honey Rose summed it up: “It’s the pride you feel when people keep coming back, time and time again, not just to do you favors – but because your product is changing their lives.”  Download the full recap of the event now! Wondering if a Mastercard Strive event is heading your way? Join a Strive City chapter now and stay up to date on all Mastercard Strive resources available for you! About the Hello Alice and Mastercard Partnership In partnership with Hello Alice, Mastercard has pledged $500 million to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap for Black communities across America. Together we’re focused on getting small business owners the capital, technical assistance, and tools they need to grow: Grant opportunitiesThe Hello Alice Small Business MastercardMastercard Strive City chaptersEducational resources to support digital readiness through Digital Doors
Oct 12, 2022 • < 1 min read

3 Lessons About AAPI Small Business Owners in 2022

What are the unique challenges and triumphs of the AAPI small business community, and what can corporate America do to support this demographic of owners moving forward?  To discuss this crucial topic, Erica Chan, head of brand, experience, and insights, B2B North America for Alibaba.com, Darien Siguenza, program manager for Hawai’i FoundHer, and Hello Alice Co-Founder and President Elizabeth Gore gathered to offer their perspectives as business leaders. Here are some lessons for enterprise leaders looking to support AAPI small businesses everywhere. 1) The Challenges of AAPI Small Business Owners Are Both Different and the Same On one hand, AAPI business owners face the same challenges as anyone else. Pandemic shutdowns, inflation, supply chain shortages, and other macroeconomic trends will continue to plague owners through 2022 and beyond.  “Whether you’re AAPI or not, there are shared challenges,” said Chan. “Last year, it was supply chain challenges.” Even so, Hello Alice identified hiring as a growing and unique challenge for AAPI owners. Survey data showed a 42% percent year-over-year increase in the number of AAPI owners reporting hiring as a top barrier to growth; the top industry for AAPI owners is also Food and Beverage, a sector that shouldered the burden of pandemic restrictions and over-indexed for layoffs. As the economy fully reopens, AAPI owners in particular face an uphill battle as they staff up to meet renewed demand. In addition, the AAPI community continues to experience a rise in racist violence and hate crimes.  Business leaders focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion should continue to conduct intentional outreach to meet the AAPI community’s specific needs. “We cannot just pay lip service but offer actual support and acknowledge that times are tough,” Chan said. 2) Culturally Competent Solutions Will Actually Solve Problems for AAPI Small Business Owners Panelists agreed that one-size-fits-all solutions will not produce universal results. Enterprise and business support organizations must tailor their efforts to account for unique circumstances surrounding race, culture, gender, and other distinguishing factors.   According to Sigueza, Hawai’i FoundHer started during the pandemic as one of the first accelerators for women, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawai’ians. This filled a gap left unaddressed by other entrepreneurship programs. “I’ve worked in a couple of accelerators, and the values are very different," said Siguenza. "Here in Hawai'i, founders are deeply rooted in community, in culture, and wanting to make an impact on the environment and their families. Being able to facilitate that in person was really important for us.” As a program for women, FoundHer also addresses childcare — a responsibility that disproportionately falls on mothers — by automatically providing those services in addition to non-dilutive grant funds and mentorship. This allows women to focus their full attention on building their business from the ground up. Gore lauded FoundHer’s childcare pillar. She and her co-founder, Carolyn Rodz, were both raising young children while getting Hello Alice off the ground.  “We ended up moving in together and sharing childcare,” Gore said. “I cannot say how important it is to have that unique offering.” 3) There Is No Substitute for Capital Access According to Hello Alice data, AAPI owners are unique in their lack of optimism. Only 28% of AAPI owners reported that their business is steady and they are confident it will stay afloat. That's nearly 10 percentage points lower than the overall population. Unsurprisingly, the top two challenges cited by AAPI owners were growth and finding capital. Supporting growth means many things. Entrepreneurs need tools, mentorship, and access to networks — but they fundamentally need cash flow.  “What we’ve realized is that to support small businesses and help them grow, we don’t just need to provide tools and services — what’s equally important is content, community, and access to capital,” Chan said. Ultimately, panelists acknowledged that funding is the fuel that amplifies all else. “Women entrepreneurs are over-mentored and underfunded,” Siguenza said. “They really need the capital to take their incredible ideas and push them to the next level.“ More Resources To hear the full discussion and discover more insights surrounding AAPI owners, be sure to check out the complete recording. Watch It Now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkY9lCfcoK0 For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
May 12, 2022 • 3 min read

The State of Capital Access for Small Businesses

Access to capital consistently ranks as the number one challenge for small business owners. How can these owners find the capital they need, and what can enterprise leaders do to help?  To discuss this crucial topic, Ginger Siegel, North America small business lead at Mastercard International, Ashraf Hebela, head of startup banking, analytics, and sales ops for Silicon Valley Bank, and Hello Alice Co-Founder and President Elizabeth Gore gathered to offer their perspectives as financial leaders. “​​We have more businesses being registered than we have in the last three years combined,” Gore said. “What we haven’t seen yet is this crawling toward growth.” Here are some takeaways for enterprise leaders looking to advance capital access necessary to fuel growth for small businesses everywhere. 1) A wave of new businesses needs capital to grow and ultimately survive. The pandemic unexpectedly unleashed a startup boom. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau recorded a 53% increase in new businesses during 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels, with the trend continuing into the first half of 2022. However, there are signs that these early-stage businesses are struggling to find the capital they need. According to Hello Alice survey data, more than half of small business owners have pursued some type of financing to fuel growth, counteract inflation, or overcome supply chain challenges.  “That’s massively high,” Gore said, adding that 41% of owners reported these financing applications were not approved. Capital outcomes are also unequal, with 49% of Black owners rejected compared to 28% of white owners. In the venture world, entrepreneurs are having greater difficulty securing investment funds, too. Hebela noted a slowdown in the pace of funds closing deals but cautioned that any slowdown must be considered in context. For example, 2021 was a record-setting year for venture capital. A relative decline from that peak still leaves plenty of VC funding to go around. “In perspective, last year was the best year VC had,” Hebela said. “To come in silver medal is not so bad. You can’t have the best year every year.” 2) Eliminating the digital divide will go a long way toward improving cash flow and relieving the need for outside capital. In the early days of the coronavirus, digitally savvy businesses were most likely to beat the pandemic odds. According to Siegel, e-commerce sales increased 200% during COVID. That shift presents a huge problem for the roughly one-third of small businesses that have no digital presence. Businesses left on the wrong end of the so-called “digital divide” became functionally invisible.  Additionally, Siegel noted that the majority of small business owners have been slow to adopt digital solutions for bookkeeping, accounting, and other critical administrative tasks. In particular, she noted that as much as 75% of businesses still use conventional invoicing, which can lead to months-long delays in payment that can severely limit cash flow.  “​​I hear so much talk about access to capital and everyone’s mind goes to borrowing. However, if you look at a small business, we can help them get their own money in quicker through digital payments, digital invoicing,” Siegel explained, pointing to Mastercard’s Money Connect Solutions as one step toward a solution. Real-time invoicing and payments will help small business owners increase cash flow and reduce the need for financing altogether, she added. 3) Institutions need to look inward and outward to determine effective, long-term solutions to capital access. According to Siegel, many small business owners lack the tools and knowledge necessary to secure available capital. In fact, more than half of owners get less or none of the capital they ask for, often because they don’t harness the necessary data to tell a compelling story about their business. “Data can really democratize access,” she said. This problem reflects a skills gap. Most entrepreneurs are everyday people who start with a good idea and figure out the rest from there. Gore explained that only about 3% of New Majority owners have a business degree, making it difficult to know their options for capital and navigate complicated systems.  Part of the solution involves sustained mentorship and knowledge sharing to help new entrepreneurs build the skills and network to grow their businesses. That said, institutions must also do the work to eliminate biases and build diversity across their own organizations. After all, people like to do business with people who share their values and backgrounds. At Silicon Valley Bank, Hebela, a first-generation Egyptian American immigrant himself, recognizes the importance of intentional diversity initiatives. He said it’s important to make diverse hires, support diverse entrepreneurs, and work hand-in-hand with new business owners to harness the necessary data and connections required to tell a compelling story to lenders and investors. There will be no easy solutions to these thorny, human problems, however. “I believe in the laws of physics,” Hebela said. “Complicated and long duration problems require complicated and long duration strategies.” More Resources To hear the full discussion and discover more insights surrounding capital access, be sure to check out the complete recording. Watch It Now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taZSc39ZjVY For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Apr 28, 2022 • 3 min read

3 Ways Enterprise Companies Can Support Women-Owned Small Businesses

How can enterprise businesses support women-owned small tech businesses? It’s a straightforward question with a less than straightforward answer — or answers. For Women’s History Month, Community Impact and Corporate Responsibility team lead for UBS in the Americas Jamie Sears, CEO and Founder of Posture Stacy Kirk, Co-Founder of tech company Meylah and Women in Cloud Chaitra Vedullapalli, and Hello Alice Co-Founder Elizabeth Gore met to discuss exactly this. “Right now, only 3% of the corporate procurement dollars go to women and 5% of federal contracts go to women-owned,” said Chaitra Vedullapalli. “And when you slice that data, it’s less than 1% for tech founders.” Here are some takeaways for enterprise businesses looking to support women-owned small businesses in tech. 1. Do Business With Women-Owned Businesses This may seem obvious, but it’s hard to support women entrepreneurs when you never interact with them in a meaningful way. And the most meaningful way to engage these businesses? Simply use their services or purchase their offerings. “It's not just about investment dollars — it’s about buying from women,” explained Jaimie Sears of UBS. “We can provide mentorship and support and training, but at the end of the day, the ability to grow a company is going to be through customers and an investment.” What does that mean for enterprises? Start by seeking out women-owned small businesses for procurement needs.  2. Support Female-Built Tech Stacks When Stacy Kirk started her business, she knew she wanted to work with enterprise businesses. And eventually, the opportunity arose. “My dream eventually came true, and I was able to work with enterprise,” Stacy Kirk said. “But then my nightmare started: I was sent to the security review board and asked to meet all of these cybersecurity requirements that I didn't know how to do. And I had to be able to do it in the next week or two.” This spurred Stacy to found Posture — an affordable cybersecurity solution for small businesses.  “[Entrepreneurs] have very limited budgets as founders, and we're just trying to stay alive,” Stacy explained. “There are solutions out there, but they're $50,000 starting, and that's just not realistic.” After all, most small businesses don’t have the capital to throw at cybersecurity. Elizabeth Gore shared during the panel that “MasterCard came out with some data that cyber is in the top three risks of shutting down a small business now.” Enterprises can support women-owned businesses by providing cybersecurity or helping to refine their already in place cybersecurity measures. 3. Collaborate with Women Entrepreneurs “Digital transformation in the enterprise is actually driven by data,” Chaitra Vedullapalli. “It's really changing a process and automating the process with technology.” And one of the best ways big companies can get that data? Work directly with the people you want to learn about. “One of the ways enterprise [companies] can pull in women entrepreneurs,” says Gore, “is through content-based educational partnerships.” A great example of this is the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, an initiative that uses MasterCard data to help small businesses learn and grow. Enterprise companies can create more strategic partnerships to empower women-owned small businesses. More Resources For detailed stats about the current needs of women small business owners, read our full report here. Finally, to hear the full discussion and discover more ways to support women-owned small tech businesses, be sure to check out the complete recording. Watch It Now! https://youtu.be/nl4D1mAHbKc For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Apr 1, 2022 • 2 min read

The State of Black Business & Entrepreneurship in 2022

Hello Alice‘s VP of Product Kelsey Ruger sat down with NAACP President Derrick Johnson and CEO of Phillip Ashley Chocolate Phillip Ashley Rix on February 23 to unpack the current — and future — state of Black entrepreneurship in the U.S. One of the things we do here at Hello Alice is survey owners around the country to get a temperature check on how they're doing. As such, many of the fielded questions came from small business owners and offer valuable insights into their current concerns. Read on to learn more about the key numbers from the virtual roundtable, and be sure to check out the recording at the end. 1) 84% of Black Business Owners Predict Growth According to data from Hello Alice and the NAACP’s combined 2.5M+ members and small business owners, Black owners are optimistic about 2022, with about 84% of them predicting growth. This increase is more than double the increase reported by non-Black entrepreneurs in the same time range, from 2020 to 2021. “I'm very optimistic about ’22,” Phillip Ashley said. “And I think a lot of it came as a result of this intersection, during COVID, of everyone having this heightened awareness of Black business and supporting Black businesses.” 2) Revenue for Black-Owned Businesses is Growing COVID’s presence pushed entrepreneurs to pivot and embrace new methods of business they may have previously neglected — mainly, technology. “With the onset of COVID and being isolated, those businesses that survived did so because they were agile enough to adapt,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson explained. “I can think of a very smart restaurant where I live, and I ask the owner, ‘How’s business?’ He said, ‘It's up 35%.’” The reason for this? People may have stopped physically coming in, but the restaurant employed an app to facilitate pickups. Now, customers order food, drive over, and pick up their freshly made meal. “All that is about new technology,” Derrick said. “But here's the most unique thing: the restaurant owner said, ‘I don't think we're going back. I think this is the new way we're going to be doing this.’” 3) Raising Capital is the Number One Concern What is the top business challenge that owners expect to face in 2022?  The number one answer time and time again seems to be the ability to raise capital. In fact, 34% of Black owners cite raising capital as their primary obstacle. And this challenge is substantially over-stated among Black entrepreneurs — only 24% of other demographics cite this as the top challenge. Many Black owners have to pivot and explore other options to bootstrap their ventures. Phillip Ashley,  CEO of Phillip Ashley Chocolate, was able to raise capital by diversifying his revenue streams. “The primary thing was, we started with corporations,” said Phillip Ashley. “So some of my first customers were larger insurance companies that were doing corporate gifting.” Forty-eight percent of Black owners reported that they would deploy new capital to cover general operating expenses such as utilities, rent, permits, and cost of goods. “With every new band of revenue that I raised,” says Ashley, “I was able to buy equipment or hire someone and that sort of thing.” Meanwhile, 21% would use this capital for marketing and advertising, which leads us to the number two concern. 4) Marketing is Number Two When asked, outside of capital, what would be most helpful to their business, the number one answer from small business owners was simply “the opportunity to market my business to generate sales.” Growing and marketing their businesses are ranked as the second and third challenges for Black business owners, with 25% and 15% reporting this, respectively. Technology has definitely helped increase exposure. A shift to digital offerings has also crept into the marketing side of things, transforming traditional ways of learning about businesses. People are sharing links on social media and “word-of-mouth” has become “touch-of-keys.” “Technology has provided more exposure,” Derrick confirmed. “If you say, ‘What is a quality product?’ you will begin to see an acceleration of people saying, “Have you tried?’ ‘Have you heard? Traditional marketing that has taken place in our community, whether it was through a local Black paper, or word-of-mouth, or the church has now been put on steroids.” 5) Enterprises Can Interact More Constructively with SMBs So how can big corporations and large enterprises help small businesses succeed in 2022? The NAACP President has some ideas. “Corporations suffer from a level of myopic approaches to procurement,” Derrick observed. “They often go to the people they know, the processes they’re familiar with, and create a very limited pool of individuals. They have to create avenues like what we are doing here.” This means, next time your procurement team needs to secure a vendor, reach out to local small businesses. Diversifying your vendors starts with diversifying your search parameters. To hear the full discussion, be sure to check out the complete recording. Watch It Now! And check out Hello Alice’s Black Business Temp Check for a review of the numbers.
Mar 8, 2022 • 3 min read

Is Small Business Boost Camp Right for You?

Growth is a challenge that every small business owner will face on their path to success. But what if you could grow your small business revenue in just three days, and forever after? As part of our mission to help small businesses launch and grow, Hello Alice developed Small Business Boost Camp to help busy entrepreneurs do just that. Whether you’re launching your business or years into your venture, the three-day virtual accelerator will help you optimize customer acquisition, improve purchase conversions, and learn how to experiment with growth — skills that will support you at every stage of your journey.  Even so, not every entrepreneur will be ready for Boost Camp, which runs from March 22–24, 2022. Here are three reasons why it might be the right choice for you. 1) You have the time and energy to invest in your growth Growth is hard work, and you need to be ready for the additional demands that it will inevitably bring. Likewise, Boost Camp requires you to invest time, energy, and funds to establish the systems and strategies necessary to scale. Be honest with yourself. Are you ready to take a close look at your business fundamentals and make the necessary changes to grow? If your answer is a resounding “yes,” then we’re excited for you to join us for three days of hands-on and transformative learning! 2) You need trusted tools and strategies that will save time and work for you These days, you can find an answer to most questions online. If you can’t (or simply don’t want to) do something yourself, just hire some extra help with a few clicks.  But when you don’t have time for the DIY approach, and you don’t have the budget to outsource, Boost Camp can accelerate your path to more sales with proven tools recommended by experienced entrepreneurs. Everyone who registers for Boost Camp gets access to templates and toolkits to assist you with: Strategic planning Audience mapping Customer messaging  Testing and feedback If you’re looking for an arsenal of all-things-growth tools that will serve both now and for years to come, Boost Camp is right for you. 3) You want a network of support to lean on and learn from Entrepreneurship can be a lonely path with plenty of dead ends. Boost Camp solves for this in two ways. First, we’ve curated a panel of experienced experts and mentors to guide you through the three days of workshops and roundtable discussions. These are folks who have been there, done that and know exactly what you’re going through. You’ll get individualized feedback as you work through Boost Camp activities; even better, each speaker will be available via Slack for 30 days following the accelerator to help you as new challenges arise. Second, Boost Camp helps you build a network of fellow entrepreneurs who are in the thick of the growth process right there with you. Move forward knowing that you have a cohort of peers to lean on, not to mention the nearly 600,000 small business owners in the Hello Alice community. What are you waiting for? Book your seat and get started on your pre-work today! Register for Small Business Boost Camp March 22 – 24, 2022
Mar 3, 2022 • 2 min read

A Small Business Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Shop this incredible Valentine's Day gift guide featuring small businesses you'll love. From jewels to sweets and handmade cards, we’ve got you covered when it comes to showing your loved one just how much you care.  Cards & Paper Goods First up on our Valentine's Day gift guide, The House That Lars Built Shop is a DIY dream land. The shop sells printable PDFs of easy and beautiful crafts like this paper heart wreath (which would make a great activity to do with kiddos!). Further, there are a plethora of printable cards and Valentine kits to choose from ranging from $3-18. The print-at-home aspect makes this shop perfect for last minute shoppers.  Copper and Brass Paper Goods greeting cards shine a light on Black culture, making positive representations of Black people, couples, and families the centerpiece of their designs. Their Valentine’s greetings include Galentine’s cards and cards for sisters and mothers to honor all types of love. Better yet, the offerings don’t stop with cards. There are notebooks, key chains, calendars, and more.  Effie’s Paper is a lifestyle brand for the young and young-at-heart women on your Valentine’s shopping list. The designs are fun with touches of whimsy and winks to pop culture touchstones. Perfect travel mugs, desk accessories, or stationary for the gal in your life that is going non-stop and looks cute doing it.  Candles Candles get a bad rep as a lazy gift, but in reality, candles are an intimate gift. Scents are strongly tied to memories and Paddy Wax Candles’ candles are designed to be those memory-makers. If your Valentine is a bibliophile, The Library Collection pairs quotes from literary greats with fragrances. For instance, we love the Charlotte Bronte featuring notes of bergamot, lemon, and nutmeg. If you’re overwhelmed by the massive selection, there’s a gift guide and even a fragrance quiz to help you find the right fit.  Surprise your astrology-loving sweetie with a zodiac candle by Modern Theory. The Astrology Collection captures the essence of each sign in a combination of distinctive fragrances. Bonus points: all Modern Theory products are clean and non-toxic.  Jewelry & Accessories  BingBangNYC jewelry epitomizes cool girl/guy street style. The Jordan High Top necklace is a bestselling mini replica of the Retro Air Jordan 1s plated in 14k gold and a perfect gender-neutral gift. Choose from one of the sweet or salty nameplate necklaces or create a custom design for your best guy or gal.  Fair Anita sells cute jewelry, accessories, and bags that are cute, affordable, and ethical. What more do you want in a Valentine gift? Fair Anita challenges the norms by creating supply chains that invest in women every step of the way. It’s more than fair wages, it’s collaborating with more than 8,000 artisans across nine countries to create products that you can gift proudly.  Why not switch things up this Valentine’s Day and gift yourself something special? FredandFar is a self love jewelry company and movement. The Self Love Pinky Ring represents a daily reminder to choose YOU. Make a commitment to love and care for yourself in 2022.  Home Goods & Games The ethos at Pretti Cool is practical and fun. The quality products are intentionally designed, ranging from jewelry to planters. The aesthetic is minimalism with a pop of color. Perfect for the design-lover in your life.  Did your Valentine become a puzzle guru during quarantine? Ordinary Habit sells stunning, limited edition puzzles featuring one-of-a-kind works of art. Support two small businesses at once when you shop the Ordinary Habit bundles. Each limited bundle comes with a puzzle with a matching small-business-sourced goodie like this Studio Proba pillow.   Plants & Flowers Flowers for Valentine’s Day never go out of style. But, there are always ways to make them more stylish. Enter, itsbyu, where you can send farm-fresh flowers with easy-to-follow arrangement instructions to your DIY Valentine. You can order one time only or sign up for a subscription kit to deliver joy monthly.  If your Valentine has a black thumb, they might appreciate a visit from The Plant Fairies. The indoor plant consultants will virtually “walk” through a space and create a custom plant design to fit any decor and budget—all to be delivered, installed, and maintained by the fairies.  Beauty & Skincare  Lip Esteem’s mission is to make their customers feel good, “one tube at a time”. The plant-based, gluten free, and cruelty free products look good on a wide range of skin tones and lip profiles. Surprise your Galentine with a lip stick, lip gloss, lip line, or all three!  LAMIK Beauty delivers their Makeup Refresh Box at the beginning of each season to quite literally refresh your routine. Give it to your bestie who is always on top of the latest trends and loves to switch up her look. Even better, LAMIK’s products are all natural, organic, and vegan.  Owner Melissa Fernandez carefully selects everything Gold & Grit carries. The native Brooklynite has an eye for style and stocks handmade jewelry and homegoods but the crown jewel of Melissa’s shop may be her “apothecary” selections. Products include hand-crafted herbal creations from Fat and the Moon; face, body and lip butters from The Best Kind; and Linear Beauty’s cocoa lotion bar.  Lana Ogilvie’s 30 years as a beauty model exposed her skin to a LOT of products. This led to Lana discovering natural skincare years before the trend took off and founding LANA OGILVIE COSMETICS. The oils, serums, and lotions are non-toxic and free from parabens, silicone, synthetic dyes or fragrances, petroleum and mineral oil. Food & Drink For couples that drink together, Pomp & Whimsy’s CocktailGram is a fun and spirited way to celebrate. Answer a few simple questions and they’ll send you a signature recipe and toast. Shop their collection of spirits for the ingredients and impress your date with a drink just for you two.  Why send a regular box of chocolates when you could send Noteworthy Chocolates? Send a personalized note made from premium fair-trade chocolate and laser engraved with a message. Choose from milk, white, or dark chocolate and a variety of heartwarming designs for any sweetie you are looking to spoil.  Last but not least on our Valentine's Day gift guide, if your Valentine prefers savory to sweet, send them a specially crafted charcuterie or cheese board from Casero Austin. The boards come straight to your door ready to entertain. Complete  with a board and utensils, your cheeses and/or charcuterie comes beautifully arranged with fruits, pickles, olives, and whatever accouterments complement your choices.   We hope you enjoy this Valentine's Day gift guide! For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Feb 4, 2022 • 4 min read