Alex Rodriguez: From Baseball Star to Business Supernova

LinkedIn
MLB player Alex Rodriguez attends the 2017 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on December 4, 2016 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize)

By Brady Rhoades

Did you know that Hispanics contribute $1 trillion to the economy every year?

Two years into his second career as a business executive and baseball analyst, Alex Rodriguez—always a student, always a numbers cruncher—knows all too well.

And he’s looking ahead.

“I think… we should be having really smart conversations on how to double that number,” he said.

Rodriguez was one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history, finishing his career with 696 dingers and winning a World Series with the fabled New York Yankees, but this is A-Rod 2.0.

Owner and CEO of A-Rod Corp. Investor. The first Hispanic to swim with the big fish on Shark Tank.

Rodriguez has gone from baseball star to business supernova.

“When people think about my career, they think about the championships, the RBIs, the home runs, but what they don’t realize is that I’m fifth all-time in striking out, so that means I have a PhD in failing,” Rodriguez, 43, said. “But I also have a master’s in getting back up and that’s what America is all about: getting back up, not getting defined by your mistakes. That’s what I try to push and encourage.”

Rodriguez, the father of two daughters, started A-Rod Corp, a private holding company with multiple businesses in the United States and Latin America, when he was 26. His motivation? “Fear.” He’d already seen too many players go broke.

His first investment was in a type of infrastructure he knew all about from his modest childhood: rental properties.

New York Yankees vs New York Mets -
New York Yankees batter Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out at Shea Stadium, Saturday, May 19, 2006, in Flushing, New York. The Yankees lost 7-6. (Photo by Jim Rogash/WireImage)

“We find ’em, we vet ’em, we underwrite ’em, we close ’em, we manage ’em, and then we rehab ’em,” he said. “We buy in secondary markets where job growth is growing. Millennials don’t want to own a house. They want to own an app. The last five or six years have been very healthy in the multifamily apartment sector.”

Today, A-Rod Corp owns or manages about 20,000 properties in 12 states and has branched out to fitness centers and automotive dealerships. The man who made hundreds of millions in his playing days also invests in Google, Amazon, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among others.

He espoused his investing strategy on his first appearance as a guest judge on Shark Tank.

“I always invest in jockeys, not horses, because business—like sports—is just about people and I always tell people that I want entrepreneurs and partners with a PhD, not from Harvard or Yale, which is nice, too, but I mean poor, hungry and driven. I want entrepreneurs that are scrappy, that are gritty, and that can think outside the box, and that are winning players.”

Rodriguez retired from Major League Baseball after the 2016 season, and after Sports Illustrated named him one of the 30 most influential Hispanics in sports. The shortstop/third baseman won three MVP awards, was named to 14 all-star teams, and knocked out 3,115 hits in a 22-year career.

He was known for putting up staggering numbers; he was also revered as a student of the game.

He had been in business for years while he played for Seattle, Texas, and New York. He even took marketing classes at the University of Miami and value investing at Columbia University.

Now, it was time to do a deep dive into business. Rodriguez did what he’d done in sports: stepped into circles of greatness.

He asked questions. He listened.

His mentors include Lennar CEO Stuart Miller, JPMorgan Asset Management CEO Mary Erdoes, billionaire Warren Buffett, and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who once said Rodriguez’ most impressive quality was “incessant curiosity.”

Rodriguez has never forgotten—and always applied—a simple lesson about business he received from Buffett: Never personally guarantee any debt and never hold too much cash, but rather put your money in great businesses.

Buffett also taught him that you can be a great businessman and a great guy.

“Always be a gentleman,” Buffett told him.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ, BARBARA CORCORAN, MARK CUBAN
SHARK TANK -“Episode 901” – Sharks include; Alex Rodriguez, Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban. Photo: ABC/EDDY CHEN

“That was simple, but it was genius,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez first appeared on Shark Tank in 2017 and is returning as a guest judge for its tenth season.

As usual, he looked like a natural, as if he’d been swimming in those waters all his life. Truth be told, his success is a result of hard work and preparation.

He says starring on the show with the likes of Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner is a thrill.

“Of course, being the first Hispanic on Shark Tank is something to be really proud of,” he said.

In one of his investment victories, Rodriguez teamed up with Cuban to invest $150,000—for a 15 percent stake—in an Ice Shaker business, which sells insulated bottles that are an upscale version of plastic cups used to mix up protein shakes.

Chris Gronkowski—brother of famous New England Patriot Rob—said Ice Shaker sold about $80,000 worth of shakers in the first few months after he, Rob, and his three other brothers appeared on Shark Tank.

Rodriguez has stayed involved in baseball, honing his skills as a broadcaster for FOX before ESPN named him their lead analyst in early 2018. During his playing days, Rodriguez was versatile enough to switch from shortstop to third base when he joined the Yankees. As a broadcaster, he seamlessly goes from color commentator during games to studio analyst.

“It’s an exciting time in baseball and now I get that front row seat to tell that the story,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has proved to be studied, insightful, and articulate in his off-the-field role. Listen to him for ten minutes and you’re bound to learn something about the national pastime. Recently, in a studio appearance on the morning sports show Get Up!, Rodriguez named the five greatest hitters he’d ever seen.

His take went viral. Many agreed. Many disagreed. Nobody questioned his baseball acumen, or his reasoned arguments, however.

For Rodriguez, life is never business as usual. There’s parenting, and there’s giving back to the community.

Rodriguez has spearheaded the Alex Rodriguez All-Stars in Education Scholars, offering hundreds

Alex Rodriguez on the phone doing business
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 11: Baseball player Alex Rodriguez attends the annual Charity Day. (Photo by Mike McGregor/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)

of thousands in scholarship money to those determined to be the first in their families to earn a college degree.

He also premiered a TV show called Back in the Game earlier this year, designed to help athletes who are down on their luck, financially speaking. His co-star? Former NFL great and current TV superstar Michael Strahan.

“Michael and I, something we’re really passionate about is taking athletes who have run into some bad luck … [and] lend a helping hand and hopefully they can get back on their feet,” Rodriguez said. “If you look at the data, they suggest that a lot of our players are going bankrupt way too soon. You make 90 percent of your money between age 20 to 30. Less than 5 percent of our guys in the major leagues have a college degree. What happens from age 30 to 80?”

Alex Rodriguez seems to have packed several lifetimes into his 43 years. And he’s come a long way from his early life as a child of Dominican immigrants who was raised by a single mother and had to move every 18 months “because the landlord would raise the rent.”

He was born in New York City and spent time in the Dominican Republic and Miami, Florida. He has never forgotten his Hispanic roots.

In 2005, amid confusion about his ethnicity, Rodriguez stated: “I want to say it out loud. I am Dominican.”

He has gone the extra mile to help Dominican baseball players thrive in “The Show.”

When Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, he and Jennifer Lopez visited the country and raised more than $30 million to help victims and rebuild infrastructure.

His mission is to improve financial literacy among Hispanics and athletes in general.

What comes next for A-Rod?

If past is prologue, as Shakespeare said, he’ll surprise us with yet more accomplishments.

If humility is wisdom, as Proverbs says, he’ll continue to grow wiser, because he’s got two secret weapons named Ella and Natasha.

“My girls are great at making fun of dad,” he laughed. “They’re never impressed with anything I do. I love that.”

 

From Makeup Artist To Barrier-Breaking Model

LinkedIn

When Denise Bidot was 18 years old she had one dream — to become an actress. Her first baby step towards that dream was to move from her native Florida to LA. Her first encounter with how the best dreams are sometimes the ones we stumble upon was when her career as an actress took a detour and instead found her becoming a makeup artist.

“One day, [at a shoot where I was the makeup artist] a photographer asked me if I’d ever modeled before and if she could take my photos,” shares Bidot. “I was at a crossroads in my life and thought what do I have to lose? Sometimes life guides you on a path so that you can find yourself.”

Bidot’s path since then has found her breaking barriers as the first Latina plus-size model to walk NYFW runways and being featured in campaigns for everyone from Target to Nordstrom. Tapping into her Latinx roots and the pay-it-forward values she was raised on, Bidot has also founded “No Wrong Way Movement” — a body positive Instagram account that celebrates that “there is no wrong way to be a woman.”

She currently champions all of these overlapping values as one of the judges on Univision’s Nuestra Belleza Latina, the Spanish-network’s longest-running talent competition, which premieres its final episode of its revamped season this Sunday.

I’ve been part of NBL’s creative board and was able to give input when the show was being reimagined,” notes Bidot. “I wanted to make my mark and ensure that the modern Latina woman was reflected on the show. When you look at the three NBL finalists, you see diverse representation of Latinas. This show has even inspired my own daughter who is Afro-Latina to speak Spanish as she sees more representation on television.”

Below Bidot shares advice she has for Latinxs who are looking to break into the modeling industry, her tips on negotiating, and why she started “No Wrong Way Movement.”

Vivian Nunez: What helped you when learning how to navigate the business side of the modeling world?

Denise Bidot:What has helped me the most to navigate the business side of the modeling world was having open conversations with colleagues. When I first started out, I asked other models about compensation and started learning more about the business and uncovering the truth. Having these open dialogues helped me understand more about the business side.

I also talked to my aunt who is a doctor and had her own business. She advised me on how to start my own business. She taught be how to be business savvy, how to save and be smart about this business.

Nunez: What has been your biggest lesson learned through this season of Nuestra Belleza Latina? 

Bidot: The biggest lesson I’ve learned through this season is really from watching the girls and how they deal with the different challenges they encounter on a weekly basis. Often in life, you get thrown curveballs and how you handle them and how you bounce back from them, will define who you are. I made a special connection with many of the contestants on the show and I will continue to follow their careers and mentor them long after the show is over.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

The Nun

LinkedIn
The Nun

While investigating a suicide, a novitiate and priest risk their life and faith when they are confronted by a malevolent force in same form of a demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in “The Conjuring 2.”

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TRAILER!
#TheNun

Loved Rita Moreno in ‘West Side Story?’ You can see her again, in the Spielberg remake

LinkedIn

“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” said the legendary Puerto Rican actress.

It appears Rita Moreno took the West Side Story lyrics “I’ll never stop saying Maria!” to heart. The award-winning actress recently announced that she will not only be starring in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, but she will also be an Executive Producer of the film.

The Puerto Rican actress captured the hearts of audiences with her performance as Anita in the 1959 version of West Side Story, a role which landed her an Academy Award. But in this go-around she will play the role of Valentina, a reimagined version of Doc, the owner of the corner store where Tony works.

Moreno currently portrays Lydia on the hit Netflix show One Day At A Time, a sitcom about a Cuban-American family grappling with immigration, generational differences, PTSD and parental issues. She has also recently appeared as a guest star on Jane the Virgin, Frankie and Grace and Getting On.

Moreno is one of 15 actresses to achieve EGOT status — she’s won an Emmy, a Grammy, and Oscar and a Tony — yet she says she herself is surprised to be returning to West Side Story.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” said Moreno in a statement. “And to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling! … I am tingling!”

Steven Spielberg envisioned Moreno as part of his West Side Story remake from the beginning. He said he was so moved by her performance as Anita in the original version that he and his team created an original role for her.

Continue onto NBC Latino to read the complete article.

ABC Is Developing Brooklyn-Set Latino Web Series ‘East WillyB’ Into a TV Show

LinkedIn

Forget pilots. Apparently, if you want your TV shows to star non-white leads, you’re better off making a web series first and getting a network to pick it up later. It worked for Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure). And for Fatimah Asghar (whose Brown Girls is also being developed by HBO). It was only time a kickass Latino project would be next. More than six years since Julia Ahumada Grob and Yamin Segal first released their web series East WillyBABC has put their half-hour comedy into development.

Before Gente-fied was tackling gentrification, before High and Mighty was putting young Latino talent front and center, before Grown was telling local stories in urban areas, there was East WillyB. The pioneering web series was a kind of Latino Cheers set in Bushwick. It starred Flaco Navaja as Willy Jr., who runs a bar in the quickly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood. As he sees the barrio around him changing and his arch-nemesis (who stole his gf Maggie) fully taking advantage of the new hipster crowd in a competing bar, Willy Jr. finds himself needing to face the music lest he lose the two things he loves most. Throughout its two-season run the salsa-infused series showed the full breadth of the Latino experience, with characters from all over: Mexican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Puerto Rican and even some halfsies. Moreover, it was warmly received by the New York community it was representing; many of whom are now celebrating the ABC news.

“When we created this show as a web series we did so by using our grit, emptying our piggy banks, and paying our cast and crew with our tia’s arroz con pollo,” said show creators Grob and Segal. “To have the opportunity to bring an authentic Brooklyn story to television is a dream come true for two New York kids raised on city stoops.”

Continue onto Remezcla to read the complete article.

Four Companies That Are Getting Diversity & Inclusion Right – And How They’re Doing It

LinkedIn
5-Business-People-at-table

Not that long ago, Diversity & Inclusion was viewed as a sort of “icing on the cake” issue – companies knew that having a team dedicated to these issues was a good thing to have, but not totally necessary to the bottom line.

Thankfully, that viewpoint has shifted over the past few years, as more and more data is showing that diversity and inclusion is actually correlated to value creation and a company’s profitability.

Therefore, companies are realizing (some more quickly than others) that focusing on total societal impact is fundamental to driving long-term financial success. But how do we measure total societal impact? What factors do we take into account, and how do we quantify and measure that data? One approach to tackling this problem has come from Thomson Reuters, who recently released its 2018 list of the Top 100 Most Diverse and Inclusive Organizations Globally.

The team behind the annual D&I list looks at more than 7,000 companies across the globe and ranks them according to how they’re doing based on environmental, social and governance data spread across four key pillars: Diversity, Inclusion, People Development and News Controversy. Companies that score the highest across all measures are awarded a spot on the list.

It’s not easy to become a leader in Diversity & Inclusion, but it’s well-worth trying. Many companies who have invested in D&I practices over the years have seen significant growth and financial gains as a result. Here are four of the top leaders in D&I, as well as an overview of what they’ve been doing right over the past few years to help them gain this ranking.

Accenture PLC: In 2017 alone, Accenture added 1,800 employees of diverse backgrounds, up from approximately 1,000 in 2016, and increased the number of women in their workforce from 36 to 37%, with a goal of hitting 40% by 2020. The company also hired 750 veterans and military spouses, bringing them halfway to their goal of hiring 5,000 by 2020.

Medtronic PLC: Medtronic has made an effort to develop a series of robust diversity networks and employee resource groups for their employees across the globe. Their networks include the African Descent Network, Asian Descent Network Hispanic Descent Network and the Medtronic Women’s Network. They also have 12 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are built to engage employees around shared interests and affinities.

Diageo PLC: In addition to boasting 50% female representation on their board and 40% on their executive committee, Diageo has also set goals of hitting 35% female representation on their senior leadership team by 2020, with a goal of 40% by 2025. They’ve also launched Plan W, a program that’s part of Diageo’s 2020 sustainability and responsibility targets which aims to build thriving communities by empowering women. As of 2017, Plan W has empowered over 315,000 women through learning, and indirectly impacted more than 1,700,000 people and is building thriving communities across 17 countries.

Gap Inc: In addition to business resource groups and advisory boards designed to provide opportunities for cross-cultural learning, mentoring and relationship building among employees, they’ve also launched ASCEND, a program devoted to developing an inclusive, diverse workforce and a pipeline of future leaders. ASCEND is designed to help minority leaders realize their potential and achieve their career aspirations through mentorship, building opportunity and individual capability building.

Continue on to Forbes.com to read the complete article.

Employees of diverse business owners are more likely to receive robust benefits packages

LinkedIn

New Nationwide survey reveals more than 80 percent of both African-American and Hispanic business owners of companies under 500 employees indicate they offer some form of employee benefits.

As unemployment rates remain low across the country, strong employee benefits packages are a key driver of both recruitment and retention. Diverse business owners — specifically those owned by Hispanics and African Americans — appear to be leading the way, as they are the most likely to offer benefits that can increase employee satisfaction.

According to Nationwide’s fourth annual survey of U.S. business owners with 1-499 employees, 85 percent of African-American business owners and 81 percent of Hispanic business owners say they offer some form of an employee benefits package — well exceeding the broader business owner market (64 percent).

“We treat our employees like family,” said Natasha Pongonis, a native Argentinean who is co-owner of Nativa, a Nationwide-insured independent multicultural marketing communications agency based in Columbus. “That’s why these survey results weren’t that surprising to me. They reinforce the fact that diverse business owners are diligent not only in job creation, but also in job security.”

Across every benefit category included in Nationwide’s survey, more African-American and Hispanic business owners indicate they provide more benefits to their employees than the general population of business owners:

  • Medical insurance: Offered by 62 percent of African-American business owners, 52 percent of Hispanic business owners and 41 percent of total business owners
  • Dental insurance: Offered by 48 percent of African-American business owners, 43 percent of Hispanic business owners and 25 percent of total business owners
  • Paid time off: Offered by 45 percent of African-American business owners, 40 percent of Hispanic business owners and 33 percent of total business owners
  • Workers’ compensation: Offered by 40 percent of African-American business owners, 43 percent of Hispanic business owners and 33 percent of total business owners
  • Life insurance: Offered by 38 percent of African-American business owners, 38 percent of Hispanic business owners and 22 percent of total business owners
  • Retirement benefits: Offered by 37 percent of African-American business owners, 37 percent of Hispanic business owners and 27 percent of total business owners
  • Vision insurance: Offered by 34 percent of African-American business owners, 34 percent of Hispanic business owners and 20 percent of total business owners
  • Short-term disability: Offered by 23 percent of African-American business owners, 24 percent of Hispanic business owners and 17 percent of total business owners
  • Long-term disability: Offered by 20 percent of African-American business owners, 19 percent of Hispanic business owners and 14 percent of total business owners
  • Domestic partner benefits: Offered by 13 percent of African-American business owners, 17 percent of Hispanic business owners and 8 percent of total business owners
  • Pet insurance: Offered by 4 percent of African-American owners, 7 percent of Hispanic business owners and 2 percent of total business owners

“Employee benefits help business owners take care of their most important asset: their employees,” said Syed Rizvi, Nationwide’s chief specialty insurance officer. “And when it comes to caring for their employees, diverse business owners appear to be among the most generous. From retirement plans to workers’ compensation and even pet insurance, they are more likely to invest in their employees’ futures and personal well-being.”

Continue onto PR Newswire to read the complete article.

This is what it’s like to be one of the few Hispanic women leading a company in 2018

LinkedIn

Latinx leaders are still relatively scarce, but those we spoke to are blazing a trail for others to follow.

As we round out National Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs from September 15 to October 15), celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, Fast Company spoke to Latinx leaders to acknowledge their contributions and recognize their opportunities and challenges.

The challenges are not insignificant with under-representation across the board. Although the Latinx workforce is one of the fastest growing–increasing from 10.7 million in 1990 to 26.8 million in 2016 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 11 CEOs lead companies in the Fortune 500 and only 3.5% of Fortune 500 board seats were held by Latinx executives in 2016. The Alliance for Board Diversity says that represents just a .5% increase between 2010 and 2016. Hispanics have the highest rate of new entrepreneurs, but at 12% they have the lowest rate of business loans from financial institutions among all other firms. Hispanic women-owned businesses represent nearly half of all Hispanic firms. However, access to capital, a major facilitator of business growth, isn’t available to them as readily, according to a report from Stanford. And Hispanic women’s equal pay day–the additional number of days in the year they have to work to equal a white man’s pay–isn’t until November 2.

Despite these significant challenges, Latinx leaders continue to blaze a trail for others to follow. Here’s what they told us about the opportunities they’re leveraging to make a difference.

“MY CULTURE RELEASED ME FROM THE FALSE PRESUMPTION THAT THERE WAS ONE RIGHT PATH.”

The biggest challenge is the invisibility of our community in all of the narratives of leadership. We are rarely present. The Latinx folks who have traveled the path are so few, far, in between, and hidden. You rarely get the benefit of learning from the pathbreakers.

For chunks of my upbringing, I resented having one foot in the world of my cultural heritage and one foot in the American experiment but my career helped me deeply appreciate it. Straddling both worlds gave me such a unique lens on what it means to carry different perspectives as a result of different life experiences. It helped me see and grow people for what they could be instead of molding them into a bootleg version of myself. My culture released me from the false presumption that there was one right path.

–Karla Monterroso, CEO, Code2040

“I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE A NATIONAL CONVERSATION.”

As a Latina business executive at a high-growth tech company with a strong consumer brand, I have the opportunity to influence a national conversation. Our country is grappling with so many issues that affect the Latino community: immigration reform, refugee rights, political representation, and voting engagement, and the reality is that those making, executing, and influencing policy are likely to listen to strong members of the business community. Every time I have an opportunity to speak or write something that will be publicly shared, I ensure I am speaking to these issues in some capacity.

It’s no surprise that there is not equal representation of Latinx leaders in the tech industry. This means we are working extra hard to show up everywhere our community needs us. I wear a lot of hats at Lyft–from a VP on the Lyft Business team, to the executive sponsor of our Latinx ERG group, to the company’s representative at events or meetings where the insights from a Latinx executive might be helpful. I also advise a VC fund that is focused on supporting Latinx entrepreneurs–it’s the only VC fund I know of that is focused specifically on this–and while my participation is extremely rewarding, it requires a lot of time and dedication. I feel responsibility for this work, because every voice matters.

–Veronica Juarez, Area VP of Social Enterprise at Lyft

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Google Doodle honors baseball great and humanitarian Roberto Clemente

LinkedIn

The Hall of Famer gave his life trying to help victims of a massive earthquake.

Roberto Clemente’s legacy as one of baseball’s greatest players is matched only by the memory of the selfless sacrifice he made trying to help others in need.

The son of a sugar cane worker in Puerto Rico, Clemente showed athletic promise at an early age, joining the Puerto Rican amateur league in 1952 at the age of 16 and signing a minor league contract with a Brooklyn Dodgers affiliate two years later. In July 1954, Clemente’s first home run in North America resulted in an extra-innings walk-off win for the triple-A Montreal Royals.

Later that year, the Pittsburgh Pirates made Clemente its first selection of the rookie draft. As a Pirate, Clemente would go on to win 12 Gold Gloves (tied for most among outfielders), four National League batting titles, two World Series rings, and the World Series MVP for 1971. He had a batting average of over .300 for 13 seasons and is credited with professional baseball’s only inside the park, walk-off grand slam.

He recorded his 3,000th and last hit during the final regular season at-bat of his career in 1972.

Hall of Fame numbers, for certain. But it’s also for Clemente’s humanitarian efforts that Google, in the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month, dedicated its Doodle on Friday to the first Latin American player enshrined in Cooperstown.

Clemente spent much of his off-season involved in charity work, delivering baseball equipment and food to those in need in Latin American and Caribbean countries. After a 6.3 earthquake killed thousands and caused widespread damage to Nicaragua on Dec. 23, 1972, Clemente began arranging emergency relief flights to deliver aid to survivors.

After learning that the aid packages were being diverted by corrupt government officials, Clemente decided to accompany a New Year’s Eve flight to ensure the supplies were delivered to earthquake victims. But the plane, with a history of mechanical problems and overloaded by more than two tons, suffered an engine failure and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean immediately after takeoff.

The body of the pilot was found a few days after the crash, but the bodies of Clemente and three others who were on the DC-7 were never recovered. He was 38.

The next March, the Hall of Fame waived its candidate waiting period for Clemente, and he was posthumously inducted into Cooperstown with 393 out of 420 available votes.

Continue onto CNET to read the complete article.

5 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs

LinkedIn
Hispanic Woman Business Owner

1  Transparency.
Operating with transparency used to be a luxury versus a necessity but, now, it’s quite mandatory. Millennials, in particular, who wield a tremendous amount of influence and purchasing power, make buying decisions based largely on the provenance, manufacturing processes and overall business practices of a particular company.

Because millennials are now the largest population in the United States, to say that transparency will drive how businesses are perceived is an understatement, at best. However, the good news is that establishing and maintaining transparency doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply communicating regularly with honesty and unequivocally holding yourself, your staff and your company accountable will go a long way toward fostering goodwill with not only consumers and prospects but also with vendors, strategic partners and your industry at large.

2  Loyalty.
It used to be that only airlines had “loyalty” programs. Now, everybody from giant corporations like Pepsi Co. to mom-and-pop corner coffee shops have some sort of loyalty program. And rightfully so. Every industry faces new competition on a daily basis and customers are understandably price sensitive, often buying from whoever has the best sale or perks. However, what loyalty programs really come down to is creating that coveted repeat customer. For instance, airlines offering free first-class upgrades or hotels upgrading size of the room for elite travelers often creates an allegiance that trumps price point. This principle can be applied in every business. If you’re a service company and a client is at the end of his or her agreement, offer a specific service at a discount or another deliverable with a high perceived value. Those who do business online can easily build an awards program that fosters a faithful following.

3  Crowdfunding.
The ugly truth is if you need a loan, chances are extremely high you won’t be able to get one. In fact, the recent small business study also revealed that the majority—a full 61 percent—of those who tried to get a favorable loan were unable to do so. Venture capital and private equity funding is equally, if not more, difficult to come by. While some types of capital are actually easier to procure, the interest rates are usually more aggressive, often prohibitively so. Instead, focus on crowdfunding and non-traditional lenders, such as Bond Street, Kabbage and Deal Struck. According to Massolution’s 2015CF–Crowdfunding Industry Report, global crowdfunding was anticipated to be more than $34 billion. A revenue source of that size is simply too big to ignore and not tap into.

4  Pay-for-Play Social Media.
Facebook was among the first to implement the “pay-for-play” model by removing organic reach and focusing on paid advertisement. Since being acquired by Facebook, Instagram is destined to follow. Pinterest and Twitter are also both currently growing into their pay-for-play systems and will likely make it difficult for pure organic reach as well. Unfortunately, this means entrepreneurs will need to increase their social media budget. However, Facebook’s paid ads have been shown to reach a significantly greater percentage of users than organic posts, making paid ads well worth the investment. However, social media shouldn’t only be leveraged as a form of advertising. Rather, social media is an ideal way to handle customer service in a way that not only improves marketplace loyalty but also your company’s transparency endeavor.

5  Instant Gratification.
Simply put, if you don’t offer some form of instant gratification, your prospective customer will likely go somewhere that does. This truth is particularly problematic for businesses that require information from customers, such as insurance or financial services. Having prospects fill out contact request forms to be contacted later on for products or services is becoming less and less effective in the “Age of Impatience.” To be competitive, you need to deliver to the customer instantaneously in some way, whether that be with the information they are seeking or some other deliverable that will satisfy them in the moment and keep them interested for a longer term. Even just offering quicker and more efficient processes for dealing or transacting with your company is certainly a form of instant gratification. At every available touchpoint, strive to impress the customer—an incredibly effective way of evoking that gratified feeling. No matter what industry you’re in or what type of business you run, you can still make a profit, no matter what the current economic outlook happens to be. That begins with giving customers what they want, how they want it and in a way that’s more sensitive to marketplace vs. company needs.

Source: americanbusinessmag.com

About the Author
Brian Greenberg is a multi-faceted entrepreneur who has founded and currently
spearheads an assortment of successful online businesses. He currently co-owns
and operates multiple entrepreneurial companies with his father, Elliott
Greenberg, which have each flourished for over 10 years, including Wholesale-JanitorialSupply.com, TouchFreeConcepts.com and TrueBlueLifeInsurance.com.

Latino Baseball Players Build Their Brand Through La Vida Baseball

LinkedIn

In Latino countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, baseball is king.  Kids grow up playing it, and the chosen ones who live out a dream to play in the Major Leagues, become icons.

In America, those players play in a foreign country.  They face challenges such as language barriers and the hardship of playing far away from home.

Throughout history, Latino players have become iconic stars.  In the 1960’s it was Roberto Clemente. Recently, David “Big Papi” Ortiz has been an icon both in the U.S. and in their home countries.

La Vida Baseball is here to raise the profile of these Latin players, and grow their brand in the social media age.

“Baseball throughout the Caribbean region, throughout Venezuela, northern parts of Colombia, is something that connects Latinos across nations, even as we take great pride in the work of those players from our own homelands and countries,” said Adrian Burgos, editor in chief of La Vida Baseball. “There are these moments of transcendence. For example, seeing a Francisco Lindor, who leaves Puerto Rico as a teenager for Florida and when he returns and hits that Home Run, the roar of the crowd is a roar that was so much about connection across a generation. It is similar to those Cubans who see the success of the Gurriel brothers and of Puig and Cespedes. Whether they’re on the island or they’re in the U.S., they take pride, ‘That’s one of us.’”

La Vida Baseball is a website that runs features on Latin stars. The site also profiles future stars. They also do not shy away from issues of prejudice and any other stories that would pertain to a Latin player or be of interest to fans of said players.

“The goal of La Vida baseball is to serve what we believe is an underserved market and create a sense of community for the Latino baseball fan by celebrating baseball,” said Jay Sharman, creator, and CEO of La Vida Baseball. “Creating that nexus of baseball culture and identity. We just saw that there was just an unmet need there and it seemed logical to all of us that it wasn’t being served and that we could engage a critical mass of fans around subject matter that they cared deeply about. If you can do that, there’s usually business that follows.”

The website does run ads and is a business.  The question though, is how does La Vida Baseball properly measure success? If people love Jose Altuve of the Astros, does that mean the mission statement is working?

For us, we look at engagement,” said Sharman. “If you step back and look at the digital media publishing landscape right now, there’s still a lot of lip service given to the size of audience or size of followers and things like that. We are really about people engaging with the content consistently on a daily basis. Whether it’s Javier Baez or Jose Altuve, what we want to do is find an angle on what’s going on in the baseball world that isn’t being covered by the major sports media companies. That tends to be the human interest stories, at that intersection of culture and Latino baseball.”

La Vida Baseball is in partnership with the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Storytelling is what the Hall does best, and they can help with the production of content.

“There are multiple ways that we measure our success,” said Burgos. “We do look at our social media follows on Facebook and on Twitter and on Instagram and how our audience is growing that way. But another measure of success is, we look to see how the players themselves are engaging our content. Are teams sharing our content? We will always produce quality work, but do the players find it compelling?”

Burgos added, “ A few weeks back, we posted a graphic of Yadier Molina with the Puerto Rican flag as a backdrop. And Yadier re-posted that on his Instagram. All these other players were commenting on how beautiful it was. It’s like, one person is like, “Who did that?” And it’s like, it’s La Vida (Baseball). Part of how we measure our success is both by the audience and also knowing, that the players make time to share our work, to sit with us, to talk with us and help them tell their stories.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.