Archives for August 2012


Small businesses need a BIG break!

Hey there!

Last week, I shared my thoughts on how you can have it all but you can’t do it all. You are only one person and can’t be in every place at once, and the minute you try to balance them all, a few are bound to fall. What makes a business owner successful is knowing how to delegate and reach out for help or advice. People always equate running a new or small business with raising a child, and the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child” works well with businesses too. With the right assortment of team members to turn to, for support, advice, encouragement, or inspiration, you can accomplish incredible things.

One such incredibly accomplished business owner is Michael Berl of Kyotofu. As a member of the Retail Recipes community, I have gotten to know Michael and his unique approach to food – tofu to be more exact. “Inspired by Kyoto tofu artisans, Kyotofu takes the soybean to the next level.” From dinner dishes to luscious desserts, Kyotofu infuses tofu into every aspect of its menu. Their motto: “changing the world, one soybean at a time” says a lot about Michael’s passion and intensity. Always one to find ways to grow and improve he sought out further advice, which brought him to

He has expressed his thanks by telling me that “Retail Recipes has been a priceless asset in growing my business, providing expert insight and tips for marketing, social media, sales and management.” I can confidently say that the feeling is mutual. I have valued learning alongside him, expanding my own knowledge of the food industry, collaborations and the various ways one can approach and run a small business.

Michael has recently been selected as an “Amex Big Break for Small Businesses” contest finalist. I am so excited to support him and encourage you all to vote for Kyotofu. With his incredible talent, ability to stay malleable while sticking to his unique vision, and strong network of support I have no doubt that he will find lasting success.

Are you putting yourself out there? What would you do if you won this Big Break? I would love to hear from you!


do you have a dream team?


Hey there!

There was a hot debate earlier this summer when the Atlantic posted a cover story on Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. It’s clear that there is plenty of area for agreement and disagreement. From my perspective, I do think that you can have it all. You just can’t do it all. When it comes to running your own business, determination and hard work is just two parts of the equation. You must also surround yourself with the right people to get what you want.

Do you have people on your team who give you honest feedback? Are you open to change or set in your ways? And are you just doing “busy work?” Don’t get me wrong. Devoting your time and energy to creating a high quality product or service is very important. However, if you don’t surround yourself with what I like to call your “dream team” (and put yourself out there), it will be harder for you to reach your full potential.

What’s great about having a great, strong team is that you can start to delegate responsibilities so your business can start to run without you. Everyone on the team is responsible for a piece of the pie and keeps each other accountable.  A great team will also be able to anticipate your needs, give you feedback, and be your ambassadors to customers. They will be able to support and encourage you while giving you an equally knowledgeable, yet slightly more objective, perspective on things. You can have it all but you can’t do it all.

Do you know how I created my dream team?
First, teamwork is about more than telling people what to do and how to do it. It’s about fully educating and training people to be able to work autonomously. The more time and energy you invest and the more you open up your process and philosophy, the more you will get back ten folds. Second, you will need to be selective as you will be sharing important things with them, but it’s worth the effort to find hard-working, honest. creative people. Lastly, know when to delegate and to give ownership to your team members. A good team will feel as responsible for and invested in your company as you do. Train them fully, encourage their questions, reward them amply and they’ll be as influential to your business as you are!

Here’s to building your dream team!

do you have accountability?


Hey there,

Have you been surrounding yourself with the right people?  As Oprah Winfrey says, “We need to surround ourselves with people who are going to lift us higher.” Why you ask? When you surround yourself with these like-minded people, they will not only lift you up but hold you to it. These expectations are not selfish ones; it’s about expecting a certain level of quality from you. Having people like this in your life makes you accountable to them, further encouraging your own productivity and level of excellence.

When you have a group of people who are so enthusiastic about moving you forward, it makes it easier to hold yourself to these standards as well. Ssurrounding yourself with people who think so highly of you is a surefire way to lift your spirits and inspire new heights of creativity. Not only will you not want to disappoint them, but you’ll also see your own abilities in a new light. These are the people you want in your inner circle (i.e. your posse). Having supporters of this caliber in your arsenal also give you a place to go when you’re feeling stuck creatively, or when you want to test out a new idea or venture.

Being supportive and uplifting, however, doesn’t’t mean sugarcoating everything. You don’t want to be “yes-ed” to death or told you’re perfect all of the time. You want people whose constructive criticism comes from a place of respect and real knowledge of your product and the market. You can’t put a price on the advice you’ll get.

Do you have someone who keeps you accountable? I would love to hear your story below!



p.s. Are you flying by the seat of your pants? Do you need some expert advice to keep you accountable and help move you forward? I have pulled together all of my best advice, templates, and resources that I’ve used to help my private clients in my Retail Recipes workbook + DIY kit. It’s time to put some accountability in your life. Are you in?


do you want my recommendation?

Happy Wednesday!

I have always been a huge proponent of building a community for yourself. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people, fans, fellow entrepreneurs, and knowledgeable members of your professional community can do wonders for yourself and your business. With limited resources and time, it is smarter to arm yourself with an arsenal of comprehensive tools to support you than to go at it blindly. From apps, to websites, to software there is so much out there to help save your time and money.

Much like the possible difficulties associated with finding the right people to surround yourself with, it can also be hard to find the right tools. Here’s where comes in. I had the opportunity to chat with the founder Jeff  Giesea of BestVendor at a tech summit last month, and his team has figured out a way to make this oh so easy for us. Instead of spending hours, or even days, searching for software for everything from finance to sales to design only to hope you purchased the right one for your needs, take a few minutes to browse through bestvendor’s recommendations. You can search by popularity, by certain tags or by similarity to yourself. It’s worth taking the time to sign up to get customized recommendations, you can even sign up through facebook, twitter, or linkedin and find out what tools your community members use, bringing this philosophy full circle!  

Sounds cool right? Do you want to know what I use to run my retail business? Click here.

Want to create your own list? Check it out and let me know what you find! :)


are you social?

Happy August!

It’s hard to believe that Fall is just around the corner and that we only have 5 months left in 2012. Time sure flies!

How was the first half of the year for you? With so many ways to be social these days, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are 5 simple tips you can apply to your business right away and get social.

1. Blog – Make sure each post, picture, link and word you put up is 100% authentically you and your brand, you want to create a full story of who you are and what your brand represents

2. Twitter/Facebook – Support complementary brands and businesses, they’ll be more likely to spread the word about your brand in return and you’ll be building a community with similar ideals and similar audiences. Plus, it’s good karma.

3. Blog/Facebook – Upload both unique original content, along with a variety of tips, humor, quotes and photos that fit within your style and vision on a regular basis. You want people to keep coming back to see what you’ve posted next!

4. Twitter – Keep it simple, keep it you. You don’t want to overload people with information, but you do want them to be able to see your overarching style and philosophy.

5. Be both inspirational and aspirational. Customers want to find experts that they can trust and follow implicitly. Hold yourself and your brand up to a high ideal and only post what you feel truly represents the core of your brand and vision. Be original, be accessible, be YOU!

Are you looking to make your product retail ready? Be sure to grab our new Retail Recipes e-book + DIY Kit here.