Be a Smart Event Sponsor

Event marketing is smart marketing. Events allow you to physically see what your clientele looks like in the flesh. You can see what wows your consumers, what sparks their interest and learn about their routines.

Picking events to sponsor should be very strategic. Companies who place the quantity over the quality of events don't end up with the best results. Sponsoring multiple events that don't necessarily fit your company's mission isn't the best way to spread your company's message. The events you select to spend your dollars on should be so selective, that it could almost be an extension of your very own brand.

You may already be an expert at picking the right events for your brand, but in the "event" you need a refresher consider these 7 suggestions before signing that sponsorship check. 

1. Have a new perspective on your spending: Don't become hesitant when it comes to spending dollars on event sponsorships---its a great marketing strategy. However, you must keep your marketing budget in mind. If you look at sponsorships as an investment you'll value the experience more. 

2. Study your audience: Analytics are simply your friend. You can learn so much about the crowds that follow your company on social media. Dedicate time to compare trends in your audience dashboards monthly. Twitter does a great job of showing the interests of your followers as well as background information (education, gender, age and work industries). The more you know about your followers, the better your company will be at selecting the right sponsorships. Also, ask coordinators of the event you want to sponsor, for an audience demographic chart and compare it with your own.

3. Pick a message to convey at an event: You need to be strategic about what role your company will play on-site. It's ineffective to promote too many messages at one time. Prior to the event, it should be decided as to what message you want to push. Is your company launching a new product? Or is your company trying to sell memberships for an outstanding network? Whatever your message is, it should be clear, garner leads and most of all it should be attractive. Events are made to be interactive and entertaining. An exhibit with tons of paper and business cards and no interactive elements won't keep a crowd.

4. Be responsible: As a sponsor, it is also your job to promote the event. It essentially helps your brand and enhances the partnership with the company hosting the event. You should retweet and share posts about the event and create original content to let your followers know where you will be. Cross promotion could boost ticket sales and introduce your brand to new clients. 

5. Have measurable goals: Prior to the event create a list of goals. Having measurable goals will determine how successful the event was for your company and if you would participate again. Examples of measurable goals would be, setting a number of emails you want to collect, or how many products you want to sell, or a number of items to giveaway. 

6. Think about your staff: Your staff is important. They are the ones that sell your company, so you want to make sure they're accommodated. If you are fortunate enough to have multiple team members work at your exhibit during an event, make the shift times for 4 hour periods. More than likely the event you'll sponsor will be after work hours on the weekday or during the weekend. Make your staff feel good about working off the clock. This can be done by providing a stipend for lunch and parking or giving your staff time off the following week. These accommodations should be included in your marketing budget as well. 

7. Request a recap: To further measure your goals you should request an event recap that shows the analytics of the actual event promotion. You'll want to know how many attendees were present, how many purchased tickets, how many ads were placed, and etc. Having these numbers will help determine your ROI and measure the success of the event. Your exhibit may have had all the works, but did the event live up to the initial pitch that made you a sponsor? A recap is important to keep on file, so if you return as a sponsor for another year you can measure the growth of the event with your team. 

 

Best of luck!

Finding Sisterhood Support

In honor of Women's History Month we want to provide resources to female entrepreneurs, so we can continue to make history. The list below provides information for organizations and grants that cater to business women. Find your sisterhood support today.

Black Founders

Black Founders focuses on providing a ecosystem to stimulate tech entrepreneurs and foster economic growth. They support their mission by creating programming like events, HBCU Hackathons, conferences, and funding opportunities.

BlackFemaleFounders

#BFF is a DC based organization with a mission to provide a platform for Black female entrepreneurs. They want to level the playing field by providing awareness, support, and resources.

Bossed Up

DC based Bossed Up has created resources, expert training, and a community for women to take their power back, while keeping it real a bout the unjust system we’re operating in. Check out their next Bootcamp.

Creative Colony

Creative Colony is a co-working space owned by Brand Calling located in Silver Spring. They provide multiple membership options and host monthly entrepreneurship based events.

DC Women's Business Center

DC WBC assists women entrepreneurs in the Washington, DC Capitol region by providing training and consultation to aid in the growth of their business. Services offered include Business Assessment, Counseling, and Procurement.

Hera Hub

Hera Hub is co-working and meeting space for women entrepreneurs. Besides being a co-working space Hera Hub offers many monthly events for entrepreneurs. Check out Hera Hub DC.

InnovateHER Challenge

The InnovateHER Challenge is a annual SBA competition that awards up to $70,000 to entrepreneurs that provide products and services that impact the lives of women and families. Submissions are being accepted until April 29, 2017.

Pipeline Angels (Investors)

Launching in 2011, Pipeline Angels has had more than 200 women graduate form their investing bootcamp. The Pipeline Angel investor network has invested over $2 million in more than 30 companies. Check out their Bootcamp held in DC, Baltimore, and Charlotte or their upcoming Pitch Summits.

MicroMentor

MicroMentor connects small businesses with mentors from around the world. They also have a online platform that matches volunteers with entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits

Walker's Legacy

Founded by Natalie Madeira Cofield Walker's Legacy is a professional collective that promotes career advancement, skill sets and networks of women in business and women entrepreneurs

Monthly Nuggets: Christian Benjamin

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Meet Christian

"Every seed WILL harvest."

Christian Benjamin is a Entrepreneur, Storyteller, and Partner at Story MKTG. Christian, launched his entrepreneurial career with 12.26 Studios after briefly playing for Washington’s AFL team, Tri-Cities Fever. As a creative agency, 12.26 Studios worked with companies and brands such as KitchenCray, YearUp, Women's Venture Fund, Tiny's Tequila, DJ Beauty & The Beatz, Madieu Williams, and Project Sierra Leone. In 2016, Christian teamed up with Micheal Morrow of The Status Brand and merged their businesses to launch Story MKTG.

Insights on Merging with Another Company

Tell us about 12.26 & The Status Brand before deciding to merge.

Well, I started 12.26 as a creative agency that worked on branding, web development and other visual services, but it morphed into more of a marketing agency, that developed campaigns and ads for startups, non-profits and other brands. The story behind 12.26 led our mission statement behind what branding really means.

The Status Brand was an agency based in Philadelphia, that focused on the experiential side of branding - ie. events, individual and in-person experiences with a brand, and social engagement.

What sparked the thought process of merging with another company?

Really, it was realizing how tough it was to grow my own company just using my own expertise and background and then having offices in WeWork, where I got to see lots of startups with multiple leaders, which I envied in a way.

Once Mike Morrow and I connected just as friends, we realized that we had very similar thought processes on the future of the creative and marketing fields and that we had both not been able to jump over certain humps in our businesses - his being the variety of clientele I was able to develop, mine being that scale of brands that he was able to engage.

What was the decision process like? How did you choose to merge with The Status Brand and launch Story MKTG?

First, we felt that we were so married to our own brands that both had such personal meaning to us that we tried to create an over-arching holding company where 12.26 & Status could run on their own. After awhile we decided that we were really stretching ourselves thin, and needed to come together as one entity in order to be most effective.

We came up with a few names, decided on the one that best fit our ethos (Story) and agreed on our approach, aesthetic and offerings, and went full speed ahead.

What has it been like going from being solo to a partnership?

It's very different. One person told me before I started to be careful because a partnership is like a marriage, which (though I'm single lol), I see to be true.

If you are really serious about a 50/50 split with someone, you are really dedicating yourself to his or her best & worst personal traits, work ethic and your finances are tied to that person. Also, your processes in terms of working on a project are likely totally different from his or hers, and you need to make sure you are clear on the best methodology moving forward in every aspect of your business.

What are the top three things entrepreneurs should consider when thinking about merging with another company?

Legal Paperwork. Make sure you have every scenario covered, both good and bad, legally before you start. Sit down with a lawyer and run down the whole gamut, from pay-outs to severance and everything in between.

Responsibilities. Who is doing what? Do you fully trust that person to commit to their tasks, without having to check up on them to make sure they are done?

Trust. How much do you trust your counterpart? It's one thing to like and agree with someone, but remember, your lifestyle is directly tied to another person now - do you trust them to make the right decision, even in tough times? How and why?

Tax Season – 5 Tips for the Self-Employed

It’s that time again. If you are just starting a business for yourself, you want to know the ins and outs of filing self-employment taxes. Having your own business requires a lot of recordkeeping you have to do for tax purposes. Remember those gas receipts you accumulated from making that meeting with a client? Yes. You want to keep those.

Here are a few tips that can make tax time less painful and help you take advantage of some of the tax benefits of working for yourself.  

1. Company Form…. Keep it simple

Schedule C, Sole Proprietorship is the simplest way to file if you are self-employed. Its’ an easy way to go. 

2. Automized Record-keeping

No more old school record-keeping (unless that is something you want to do).  Start using personal finance software like Intuit QuickBooks that synchronizes to your bank accounts. Automatic record-keeping not only saves you time, but it’s less prone to mistakes too. 

3. Charitable contributions can be business expenses

Unfortunately, with the Schedule C, you can’t deduct charitable contributions. However, if you give money to charities in exchange for advertising or other means of service, it’s a business expense. A greater tax benefit is what you want to have. 

4. Know your allowable deductions

You know that website you built, email account you made and domain you purchased? These are allowable deductions. You can deduct expenses you paid to run your business that are both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and proper for your trade or business. (IRS.com) 

5. Business mileage… Track It

Keeping records of your business mileage does add up and is needed for your records to deduct vehicle expenses. Expenses could be gas, oil, or even maintenance. Your records must include mileage driven, the purpose, and the date. You will also want to know your commuter mileage for the year as well.  Miles add up. 

We hope this tax information has been beneficial for you this season. Make sure to visit the Internal Revenue Services IRS website for more valuable information.  The deadline to file taxes is April 18th. 

Monthly Nuggets: Dominique Broadway

Meet Dominique

"Don't Fear Failure, Fear Regret"

Dominique Broadway is a award winning Personal Finance Coach and the Founder of Finances De•mys•ti•fied. She has been named one of the top Financial Advisors in the U.S. for Millennials. Dominique is a Bowie State University alum and has received many accolades such as Top 30 Under 30 in Washington DC, the DC Future Business Leader of America Businessperson of the Year and a nominated for the Changemaker of the Year for her work with Financial Literacy.

Top 5 Financial Tips for Budding and Thriving Entrepreneurs

Know Your Numbers

As an entrepreneur, it's vital to know exactly how much money your business is making and the amount that it is costing you to run your business every month. Take the time to use a free tool such as Mint or a low-cost tool such as Quickbooks to track your business expenses.

Set Sales Goal

You're in business to make money right? So you need to set sales goals. You should set an annual sales goals and break it down to a monthly, weekly or even daily amount to ensure you are on track to the money you desire within your business.

Keep Your Business and Personal Finances Separate

Commingling business and personal finances is a common mistake that many new and established entrepreneurs often make. To help avoid getting into this situation, be sure to open a business checking and savings account ASAP and ensure your personal expenses come out of your personal account and business expenses come out of your business account.

Establish Business Credit

You can start establishing business credit as soon as you start your business! To do so, make sure you obtain your Employer Identification Number from the IRS and this will serve as your businesses social security number. You also want to obtain your DUNS number from Dun & Brad Street and be sure to use both numbers for all bank accounts, credit card and credit lines for your business.

Remember Your Why

Being an entrepreneur can be tough and in those times when money can get pretty lean, it is very easy to forget why you started! Keep your "why" posted somewhere near your workspace so, in times when money may not be flowing as well as you desire, you can remember why you started and keep pushing to reach your financial goals. 

Local Black Women-Owned Businesses

In the continuation of honoring Women's History Month we want to provide a list of just a few Black Women-Owned businesses in the DMV area that you can support!

Website: 1stchoicegov.com Category: management consulting Owner: Michelle A. Bell Location: md

Website: 1stchoicegov.com
Category: management consulting
Owner: Michelle A. Bell
Location: md

Website: cafyonline.org Category: Non-Profit Owner: Arleen Joel Location: MD

Website: cafyonline.org
Category: Non-Profit
Owner: Arleen Joel
Location: MD

Website: naturallychicsalon.com Category: Natural Hair Salon Owners: Ziyadah Deen & Myra Chapman Location: MD

Website: naturallychicsalon.com
Category: Natural Hair Salon
Owners: Ziyadah Deen & Myra Chapman
Location: MD

Website: rubyscoops.com  Category: ICE cream, sorbet, cookies Owner: Rabia Kamara Location: DC

Website: rubyscoops.com 
Category: ICE cream, sorbet, cookies
Owner: Rabia Kamara
Location: DC

Website: seedinc.org Category: Non-profit Owners: Lisa Butler McDougal Location: MD

Website: seedinc.org
Category: Non-profit
Owners: Lisa Butler McDougal
Location: MD

Website: theblackupstart.com Category: Training, Entrepreneurship Owner: Kezia M. Williams Location: DC

Website: theblackupstart.com
Category: Training, Entrepreneurship
Owner: Kezia M. Williams
Location: DC

Website: embracedc.com Category: Yoga Owner: Faith Hunter Location: DC

Website: embracedc.com
Category: Yoga
Owner: Faith Hunter
Location: DC

Website: oyinhandmade.com Category: Hair Care Owner: Jamyla Bennu Location: MD

Website: oyinhandmade.com
Category: Hair Care
Owner: Jamyla Bennu
Location: MD

Website: sheayeleen.com Category: Soaps, Body Creams Owner: Rahama Wright Location: DC

Website: sheayeleen.com
Category: Soaps, Body Creams
Owner: Rahama Wright
Location: DC

Website: thespicesuite.com Category: Dry Spices, Hot Sauce, Oils Owner: Angel Anderson Location: DC

Website: thespicesuite.com
Category: Dry Spices, Hot Sauce, Oils
Owner: Angel Anderson
Location: DC

Website: calabashdc.com Category: Tea, Cafe Owner: Sunyatta Amen Location: DC

Website: calabashdc.com
Category: Tea, Cafe
Owner: Sunyatta Amen
Location: DC

Website: heavensentcupcakery.com Category: Bakery Owner: Location: md

Website: heavensentcupcakery.com
Category: Bakery
Owner:
Location: md

Website: theredbloom.com/home Category: Spa Owner: Germaine Williams Location: md

Website: theredbloom.com/home
Category: Spa
Owner: Germaine Williams
Location: md

Website: solesavers.co Category: Apparel Owner: Melodie Narain Location: DC

Website: solesavers.co
Category: Apparel
Owner: Melodie Narain
Location: DC

Website: threepartharmonyfarm.org Category: Farm, CSA Owner: Gail Taylor Location: DC

Website: threepartharmonyfarm.org
Category: Farm, CSA
Owner: Gail Taylor
Location: DC

Work - Life - Balance Tips for Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur and business owner often times we lose sleep, forget to eat and sometimes our exercise regimen goes from 3 days a week to zero days a week. We spend countless hours working to build, that we sometimes forget the work-life-balance elements for success. Here are a few tips to keep you motivated and introduce some self-care in your day-to-day activities. 

Time Your Tasks

Set aside time each evening to write down your tasks for the next day and a completion deadline. Concentrate on your most important tasks first (they should be your money makers).  Try tracking your time for an entire day to see how you spend your time. Start spending it wisely. 

Work It Out

Working out at your local gym or at home (away from the computer) can increase daily productivity and eliminate stress. Eliminate your business planning stress out by doing a daily workout routine. Stay healthy! 

Learn Something New and Travel

Picking up a new skill or having the opportunity to travel to new places may contribute to your next big idea for your business. Take some time to find a new hobby, make plans to take in a cooking course or explore a new destination. See what other cultures are doing to improve economic stability in their country and how it could improve your own business partnerships.  

Black Businesses In The Media: Angels and Tomboys

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This month we not only celebrate our history, but we also celebrate success stories of black owned businesses that made it in media this past year.  After making their debut as one of the youngest Black-owned businesses to win over viewers and investors on  ABC  'Shark Tank', we spoke with Madison, 12  and  Mallory, 11  about their kid brand 'Angels and Tomboys.'  Angels and Tomboys is a kid friendly perfume and body products brand designed just for the next kidprenuer. 

What made you girls start this brand Angels and Tomboys? 

We started Angels and Tomboys because there was nothing else on the market for kids our age. We saw brands like Victoria Secret, but they of course were for an older audience and parents we knew weren't comfortable letting their children shop there. So we created Angels and Tomboys for girls our age to enjoy it.

What do your friends at school think about your business? 

Our friends love our idea. They say "OMG, we see you on Shark Tank!" which is a great thing because it encourages them to one-day create their brand. It's really exciting We take products to school to sell it to our friends and they love it. 

You were featured on ABC's Shark Tank in 2016. How has being on the show enhanced your business?  

e really appreciated the business since we have made it this far and because we have a lot of orders from customers.  Being on the show has really enhanced our brand and being recognized. Thats the Shark Tank effect of course. 

How important is it to you to support black-owned businesses? 

Very important, because it should inspire people to do it and starting your own business. It's also important for people to get out of their own shell to make things happen.

What advice can you give for African-American business owners just getting started? 

Go for it! Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something or can't make it. You'll never know how your services or products will contribute to the world. 

How has your schedule changed since starting Angels and Tomboys? 

Our schedule has changed a lot. We have school and extra-curricular activities but we find a way to manage it. Our mom is very supportive and makes sure it doesn't get in the way of school. 

As 'kidprenuers' Mallory and Madison also find to time to enjoy hanging out with friends, run track and play basketball while building their business. There products consist of lotions, scents and body sprays for young girls.  

Angels and Tomboys is based out of Memphis Tennessee. For more information about the business visit www.angelsandtomboys.com

 

BBNE Partners With the Women's March on Washington

BBNE has been asked to film moments of the Women's March by a New York based documentary director and producer and we want you to join us. Clips will be used for a documentary inspired music video, for a song, titled GIRLS THAT NEVER DIE. Join us in recording history. We will post the produced project when complete!

Message from the Director:

Technically speaking, people can use whatever video recording device they want (iPhone, Android, GoPro, etc), but the big thing to remember is to shoot horizontally, since we are making a cinematic documentary style video.
They can film themselves, their friends, their feelings, plus any signs, and general excitement. If someone wants to get a little more artistic, slow motion shots always look nice, as well as close ups of people's faces, or emotional moments spotted throughout the march. If you are feeling up to it, you can even chant the words "WE ARE THE GIRLS THAT NEVER DIE"
After the march, people can EMAIL the videos to me using whatever storage service they prefer (dropbox, hightail, google), or they can send it using THIS server, with contact information in the file name. (Username: marchfootage  Pw: marchunity)
Happy Marching!

eXposure Short Film Series in partnership with BBNE

The eXposure Media Project supports and educates the local art community by providing a platform for individuals to display their short films. Come enjoy Film makers from the DMV region as they share their vision on the the big screen at the Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival held at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Come experience the art of film making with stories about life, social injustice, diversity, culture, love and the cool animations from returning film makers.

eXposure Media is now accepting submissions for films for the eXposure Short Film Festival. To receive guidelines on how to enter for free, please click complete the form below. 

Name *
Name

Tickets are now available for eXposure Short Film Festival.

Filmmakers selected do not need to purchase tickets.