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CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP AND March EVENTS

By: Monica Peña

We are consistently encouraging our alumni to increase their circle of influence by attending professional events in the area. We are proud of the community partnership that we have with the four chambers; including Austin Young ChamberGreater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC)Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), and Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). When our clients graduate from the Build Your Business PLAN workshop series, they qualify for one year membership to one of these chambers. Each chamber has unique opportunities for business owners.

Here are some of the opportunities the chambers have this month to learn something new or meet other business owners.

March 20th- Coffee Connection Presented by Rudy’s

March 22nd and 23rd- Asian Eats Night Market

March 28th- Small Biz U

MEMBRESIAS DE CAMARAS DE COMERCIO Y EVENTOS DE MARZO

Por: Mónica Peña

Constantemente alentamos a nuestros alumnos a incrementar su círculo de influencias atendiendo a eventos profesionales en el área. Nos sentimos orgullosos de la asociación comunitaria que tenemos con las cuatro cámaras de comercio; incluyendo, Austin Young ChamberGreater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC)Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), y Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). Cuando nuestros clientes se gradúan de la serie de talleres; Construye tu PLAN de Negocios, ellos califican para una membresía de un año a cualquiera de las cámaras. Cada cámara tiene oportunidades únicas para dueños de negocios.

Aquí están algunas de las oportunidades que las cámaras tienen este mes, para aprender algo nuevo o conocer a otros dueños de negocios.

20 de marzo- Coffee Connection Presented by Rudy’s

22 y 23 de marzo- Asian Eats Night Market

28 de marzo- Small Biz U

LA ALEGRIA DE PROBAR NUEVAS RECETAS

Por Hye June Park

La primavera es un buen tiempo para aprender a cocinar. Te recomiendo que visites la página web Tye Cooks Austin la cual tiene muchas recetas.

Tye Lewis, dueña de Tye Cooks Austin le encanta enseñar a la gente a cocinar comida gourmet saludable, utilizando materias primas que se encuentran en la mayoría de las despensas. Su negocio combina su entrenamiento como maestra y su pasión por la comida. Ella ofrece clases de cocina personalizadas y en grupos pequeños. Además, ofrece clases de cocina en grupo a equipos de organizaciones del área de Austin. Ella se siente feliz cuando sus clientes se dan cuenta de que pueden cocinar platillos saludables y sabrosos en su propia cocina.

Sin embargo, no siempre ha sido fácil comenzar un negocio. Ella enfrentó obstáculos: cómo desarrollar una misión clara, encontrar a su “cliente” y obtener fondos para la puesta en marcha. Ella obtuvo ayuda de Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI). EGBI le ayudó a aprender los conceptos básicos de cómo crear una empresa desde cero. “También el valor del seguro, la fijación de precios, el refinamiento de mi propuesta de ascensor y ver el valor total del servicio que ofrezco a mis clientes” Tye se ofreció. “Ahora mis metas son expandirme dentro de más mercados aquí en el área metropolitana de Austin, así como también otra ciudad de Texas. Estoy trabajando en la publicación de un libro de cocina multicultural orientado a quienes padecen alergias e intolerancia alimentaria”. Puedes encontrar sus recetas en su sitio web, las cuales consisten en ingredientes encontrados en la mayoría de las despensas de las personas, pero también de un ingrediente que puede ser encontrado muy fácilmente en cualquier tienda local, pero es muy versátil. Cualquiera puede probar una de las recetas gratuitas y aumentar su confianza en sus propias habilidades culinarias.

Para más información acerca de Tye Cooks Austin, visita www.tyecooksaustin.com.

The joy of trying out new recipes

By Hye June Park

The spring is a good time to learn how to cook. I recommend you visit Tye Cooks Austin website which has plenty of recipes.

Tye Lewis, an owner of Tye Cooks Austin loves teaching people to cook a healthy gourmet meal using staples found in most pantries. Her business combines her training as a teacher and her passion for food. She offers highly personalized one-on-one and small group cooking classes. Additionally, she offers on-site team building cooking lessons for organizations in the Austin area. She is happy when her clients realize that they can cook healthy flavorful entrees in their own kitchen.

However, it has not always been easy starting a business. She faced obstacles like developing a clear mission, finding her “client”, and startup funding. She got help from Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI). EGBI helped her learn the basics of how to set up a business from scratch. “Also, the value of insurance, pricing, refining my elevator pitch, and seeing the full value of the service I provide to my clients.” Tye offered. “Now my goals are to expand into more markets here in the Austin metro area as well another Texas city. I am working on publishing a multi-cultural cuisine cookbook geared for those who have food allergies or intolerance.” You can find her own recipes on her website, which consist of ingredients found in most people’s pantries, but also one ingredient that can easily be found in a local grocery store but is versatile. Anyone can try one of the free recipes and building confidence in your own cooking skills.

For more information about the Tye Cooks Austin, visit www.tyecooksaustin.com.

Unity within the community leads to business growth

By Hye June Park

The number of black-owned businesses in Austin is growing. February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. To celebrate Black History Month, Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) recognizes two clients that operate an African food mart and a nonprofit that highlights black history. One brings Ethiopian food to the Austin community, while the other helps youth shape their identity and learn from their past.

Sitotaw Degefaw, one of the owners of Selam International Mart & Café on North Lamar, sells imported Ethiopian and East African foods and spices in his grocery store. Visitors can explore East African culture while enjoying traditional Ethiopian food without the need to travel to Ethiopia. Selam International Mart & Café is a place where the East African community in Austin can come and enjoy their native Ethiopian culture, as well as a place for non-Africans to try something new in a very friendly environment. Degefaw’s favorite part of owning his business is meeting new people and having a place where his community can gather.

He started his business with just an idea. He came to EGBI to get the support he needed for his small business, with the idea of starting a slaughterhouse for a particular type of beef important to Ethiopian food. EGBI helped him to understand the governmental regulations around processing meat, and as his idea got better defined, he had the opportunity to purchase a grocery mart that had space to add a butcher shop for his specialty meat.

He worked with Joni Foster, EGBI’s Program Director, through one-on-one coaching sessions. “She connected me to the supplier that slaughters the specialty meat according to my country’s custom,” Degefaw offered. “She worked with me side by side to make my dream happen.” He continues to visit with Joni once a month to talk about this business. For more information about Selam International Mart & Café, visit selamcafe.com

The Living History Foundation was founded in February 2018 when the first group of people sat around the table and called the meeting to order. In the past year, the organization has received its 501(C)(3) status from the IRS and presented three living history programs in Central Texas. Edgar B. Garza, the Board President of Living History Foundation, said, “The mission of the Foundation is to inspire children and the young-at-heart to learn about the contributions people of color made in the building of this great nation from the time before the first Europeans to the present day.

“History is an important part of our personal lives,” Garza continued. “It is the key to understanding who we are as humans. The youth will ultimately develop their own perspective on human life and society. One that is based on stories about ordinary people just like the youth that are in the program. They will also learn from ordinary people lessons in courage, leadership, and constructive protest.

It is the first time for many of the board members to be a part of a non-profit organization, but EGBI meets with directors a couple of times per month to help them put everything together. The board gathered in December 2018 to make plans for 2019, and Joni Foster, Program Director at EGBI facilitated the conversation. Keep a lookout for one of the 12 living history programs the organization will offer in the months to come. For more information about the Living History Foundation, visit facebook.com/livinghistoryfoundation.

Board members of Living History Foundation
Black History
Salem Mart

Membresia de camara y eventos de febrero

Por Monica Peña

Estamos orgullosos de la asociación comunitaria que tenemos con las cuatro cámaras; incluyendo  Austin Young Chamber, Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC), Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), y Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). Cuando nuestros clientes se gradúan de la serie de talleres Buils Your Business PLAN, califican para la membresía de un año en una de éstas cámaras. Cada cámara tiene diferentes beneficios de membresía que ayudan a sus miembros a aumentar la visibilidad en línea, y tarifas especiales para eventos de desarrolo profesional/de red.


Siempre animo a nuestros alumnos a visitar cada cámara o visitar al personal de la cámara  para ver qué organización se adapta mejor a sus necesidades comerciales. Estas son algunas de las oportunidades que las cámaras tienen éste mes para aprender algo nuevo o conocer a otros dueños de negocios.

21 de febrero – Power Networking Breakfast con GAHCC

27 de febrero: Leadership Talk with Minoj Saxena quien compartirá su experiencia como empresario con GAACC.

28 de febrero: Reúnase, salude y asista al Mixer con la Austin Young Chamber.

Asegúrese de visitar cada uno de sus sitios web para obtener más información sobre las cámaras y sus eventos. Por favor déjeme saber si usted es un ex-alumno y tiene alguna pregunta sobre las cámaras.

Chamber Membership and February events

By: Monica Peña

We are proud of the community partnership that we have with the four chambers; including Austin Young Chamber, Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC), Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), and Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). When our clients graduate from the Build Your Business PLAN workshop series, they qualify for one year membership to one of these chambers. Each chamber has different membership benefits that assist their members increase online visibility and special rates to network/professional development events.

I always encourage our alumni to visit each chamber or visit with chamber staff to see which organization would best fit their business needs. Here are some of the opportunities the chambers have this month to learn something new or meet other business owners.

February 21st- Power Networking Breakfast with GAHCC

February 27th- Leadership Talk with Minoj Saxena who shares his entrepreneur journey with GAACC

February 28th- Meet, Greet, & Give Mixer with the Austin Young Chamber

Be sure to visit each of their web sites for more events and information about the chambers. Please let me know if you are an alumni and have any questions concerning the chambers as we are active with each of them.

Yelp Logo

The Yelp Experience

By: Michelle Rutan, owner of Prescription Pest and EGBI volunteer

Three years ago I bought an existing pest control company.  I had large dreams and not always realistic expectations, but despite some missteps, owning my own business is amazing and going great.

Our company’s differentiators are that we are family owned, good values and no contracts.  I have learned many times over that thinking big will not get us as far as focusing on doing the best job possible and those people will tell others.

Our Yelp profile started to bring in organic leads so I started to focus on it. I made sure to have compelling pictures and content to make things personable.  We do everything we can to keep customers happy so they leave more good reviews. After a couple months, I decided to do some paid advertising to try and build up our customer base and review count.

One of my first jobs out of college was buying online advertising for a large tech company, so I was familiar with the terminology of online advertising contracts. When reading the Yelp contract I came across this verbiage.

Cost-Per-Click (“CPC”) Auction-based Auto-bidding Program: Yelp delivers a variable and unguaranteed number of ad impressions to the Site to promote Client’s business, as determined at Yelp’s sole discretion based on available inventory and other factors, and Client pays Yelp for the number of clicks during a given period of time. A “click” is a single instance for which Yelp records that a user acts on an ad impression, such as clicking on it (including clicks that drive traffic to Client’s Yelp listing or that lead to phone calls and reservations) or sending Client a message in connection with it.

There are several alarming words and phrases in here: variable, unguaranteed and Yelp’s sole discretion. So they decide how many impressions (views of your ad) they give and only charge you for the clicks you get.  This is standard in the industry.   I asked the account representative what the CPC would be and she said it varied and gave me an estimated range.  It is not standard that they only list how much you are willing to pay per month rather than CPC in the contract. We discussed my goals and I assumed everything would work out. At $350 per month for 6 months, we would need 5 new sales a month (or 30 overall) to pay for this experiment which seemed reasonable. We created our ads and we were off.  I always put people on everything as it makes things more personable, especially when one of our main differentiators is family owned. You can see one of our ads below:



The first thing I learned is that Yelp “clicks” are just to your Yelp profile, not to your website. I was, in essence, paying Yelp to make even more money by having people click around on their site. After a week or so, I was not seeing conversions from clicks to leads or actions and I called Yelp support.  They looked over my profile and said that everything looked good and that it might help to add more pictures. We had 6 professional pictures and I couldn’t see how more would help.  I believe an issue with conversion was once visitors made it to your Yelp profile they could get distracted by ads by other pest control company ads (see Image 2).  There are no real guarantees on leads, since CPC is based on a “formula”.  For example, in July, I spent $335 for 31 clicks to see my Yelp profile, which resulted in 11 calls, emails or visits to my company website. This did not result in 5 new sales.

I contacted Yelp support weekly and it was painful. They had pleasant young women answering the phones that would only repeat pre-authorized phrases even if they didn’t answer or address my question, which was maddening.  Right away I could see this was going to be an issue.  I did everything I could to get credits and see what they could change to better fit my company’s needs.

The campaign did result in leads, but we had two main issues with the people that contacted us. The first was that people expect to hear back right away, and we have specific business hours.  If Yelp flooded our impressions over the weekend and people contact us, we didn’t respond until Monday, which was too late. Yelp support said they had no control over what days the ads were shown.  The other issue was people primarily shopping for bargain priced pest control.  Some companies will offer $25 pest control and they don’t do much.  We provide a quality service, guarantee it and treat our employees fairly, which is not cheap.  This meant that many of the leads Yelp generated for us were not good match. Over all the advertising campaign did not meet our goals of 5 new customers a month and resulted in a lot of work and frustration on my part. Below is a snapshot of three months .



On the bright side. The organic leads we get from Yelp are usually good so we switched went back to that model. The leads we received in 2017 were about steady with what we did in 2016.  In 2018 our leads shot up. I am not sure if it was how long we had our profile up or that our reviews increased, but we got better in their “formula” and got more leads .


While my experience was not great with Yelp paid advertising, their organic leads are great.  I believe if a company has a more expensive service, or product, it could be more beneficial. I don’t believe Yelp will be flexible with their pricing, duration of contract or other details to make businesses more successful, but you can always try. Yelp itself is a good platform for our business as we get more leads than through Google or other advertising methods.  I would suggest going into it knowing exactly what you need to get out of it. For us it was not enough to continue paying and the organic leads far outweigh the paid. Free and better is good enough for me, even if it won’t double our business.

The Metal Wizard Turns Talent into a Growing Business

By: Hye June Park

Jason McClain and his wife, Silvia Solorzano, had a vision four years ago to start McClain Metal Works.  From a modest beginning in 2014 working from their garage with one client, Jason and Silvia now have a shop, a team of six employees working full time, and lots of ideas to grow in 2019.

Over the years, Jason grew a reputation in Austin as “The Metal Wizard”. Jason learned on old school 1940 machinery and his talent earned him recognition which in turn encouraged him to open his own business.

Jason and Silvia manage the business together from fabrication to office paperwork. “We are constantly learning from our projects. Every project is unique. Some are designed as a piece of art or as décor, some are designed for industrial or commercial purposes. Sometimes both architectural and art are integrated to meet functionality and décor at the same time. We never get bored with this kind of challenges. McClain Metal Works’ goals for the business 2019 is to expand their services.”, explains Silvia.

Currently, they have a nice variety of clients, from interior designers, architects, construction companies, to DIY homeowners.

The McCain’s story is one with lots of sweat and hard work combined with training, coaching and support from Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) . Silvia took classes at EGBI years before the two of them met. “The people at EGBI are there when we needed them the most, not only with the classes but during the process of the business growing, and to help us to find the solutions that we need.”

“We are so happy at how fast we have expanded our capabilities.  Today, we are a team of six people working full time in our shop. The more we grow and expand, the more help we need on operating the business.  We always go to Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) when we need help, they provide us the coaching we need.”

For more details on McClain Metal Works, visit mcclainmetalworks.com.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

PEOPLETALK SPEAKER SERIES

wednesdAY, november 7, 2018

 

Join us in San Antonio on November 7 for PeopleTalk with Elijah May of The Experience Firm.

Elijah May is co-founder and managing partner of The Experience Firm, a customer experience consultancy focused on building brands and driving word of mouth. Elijah’s career as a brand strategist spans over two decades and began at his alma mater, the University of Southern California, where he managed the University’s appearance in commercials, TV shows and movies. Since moving to Austin in 2006, he has launched numerous startups, lectured at every college and University in town, and designed customer experiences for some of the world’s most famous brands. His personal mission is to help companies realize the ROI of investing in people.

When: Wednesday, November 7 from 11:30am – 1:00pm

Where: PeopleFund San Antonio, MAUC Center  

2300 W. Commerce St. #309

Register Here

 

 

 

 

Certification 101: Overview and Application Forms Review

Thursday, November 15, 2018

 

The City of Austin’s Small & Minority Business Resources Department (SMBR) invites for-profit business owners interested in working with government contracts are invited to learn more about small and minority business enterprise certifications and how they can be used as a marketing tool for businesses that are qualified.

  • Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) for City of Austin funded contracts and projects
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) for federally-funded aviation, transportation, and highway projects such as Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Cap Metro), Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)
  • Small Business Enterprise (SBE) which is a race and gender neutral certification for single scoped construction projects.

The City also has an agreement with the State of Texas to review applications for Historically Underutilized Business Enterprise (HUB) certification when application is submitted with MBE/WBE or DBE application. If approved, qualified HUB candidates will receive their certificate from the State of Texas.

Register Here