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The Fearless Conference Uniting Entrepreneurs of Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Fearless Conference
Panel of Speakers at The Fearless Conference 2015
Alam Melissa Femme and Fortune

Melissa Alam, Creator of The Fearless Conference

The City of Brotherly Love is gathering this coming October for a weekend filled with fun and workshops to encourage women to be inspired by local entrepreneurs.  The founder,
Melissa Alam, is the brains behind The Fearless Conference, and also the founder and editor-in-chief of Femme and Fortune, a digital platform focused on ambitious women. The creative energy in Philly is at an all time high, and The Fearless Conference will showcase some of the most influential individuals in their fields. The conference is coming to Philadelphia for its second year on October 1st at WeWork NoLibs and October 2nd at Power Plant Productions. You can expect to have an amazing time and hopefully learn something new. It caters to career driven women who are looking to network or motivation to drive them in their endeavors. What makes the event different from other women focused conferences is that it was created to be as easy and casual as possible. Conversations are encouraged, which will not be too difficult during their happy hour! There will be a photobooth, headshots, and many more activities to guarantee an amazing experience.The conference will be a star studded event, featuring speakers like Jen Denis of Honeygrow and Rachel Smith of The Crafted Life. The creators of Lola, Jordana Kier and Alexandra Friedman, will be attending as keynote speakers to show their process on how they became a success. Lola is a brand for women, by women. The 100% Organic Cotton Tampon got the nation buzzing about periods, and the conversation is coming to Philadelphia. Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner of PiperWai will also be in attendance. The childhood friends created an effective all natural charcoal based deodorant that Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank could not get enough of. They are only a few of the most sought out entrepreneurs at The Fearless Conference, and there is much more to be excited for. If you did not attend the conference last year, you’re in for a treat! Melissa has attended many conferences in her day and has some advice for you. “Do not be afraid to speak up! Be confident and scream questions!” She also suggests to bring a notebook to write anything down that you may find helpful. Social media is also a great way to engage during the event, such as live tweeting as much as you can, and posting photos on Instagram with their hashtags #TheFearlessConference and #borntobefearless. If you are a student, there is a scholarship fund dedicated to support women who are interested in business. The ultimate goal is for attendees and speakers to leave with an amazing start to their week. Because there are seldom events targeted towards women, The Fearless Conference is on a mission to help. Melissa’s idea of gender equality is to treat others the way you want to be treated, and she wants to give women in Philly and beyond a voice for their opinions. She describes her mother as “badass’ and thanks her for raising her into an independent woman who can stand up for herself. Creative energy inspires Melissa, whether they are female comedians or local artists. She loves producing something that started as an idea, and seeing the final outcome, whether it is successful or becomes a lesson for the future.The Fearless Conference will be live tweeting as the event is happening both days. If you are not able to make it, watch them on Facebook Live. At the end of the day, the conference is successful when you leave with a bit of knowledge and a few new friends. Update Tuesday, October 4, 2016The Fearless Conference was packed with motivated female entrepreneurs, eagerly awaiting the knowledge the speakers brought with them. Some of those include Amanda Steinberg of Daily Worth, Jordana Kier of LOLA, and Rebecca Garcia of Geek Girl Web. Invited to attend Sunday at Power Plant in Old City, Philadelphia, there was much to be admired. The decor was meticulously chosen and there was a wide array of food for those waiting patiently for the event to begin. A beauty bar and photo booth attracted many, and encouraged a relaxing atmosphere. Business cards were exchanged and friends were made for many. If you are looking to be inspired or maybe learn about others in business, The Fearless Conference is a great place to start.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

Succeed As A Veteran Owned Business

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Starting and maintaining a business may be hard work, but can be made easier with the right network. Having the right support and connections may be the thin line between success and failure. If you’re a veteran entrepreneur with a business idea, you can receive funding to help bring those ideas to life. We will explain the steps to succeed as a veteran owned business.

Find Out If You Qualify

If you have previously served in the military and/or have an injury-related disability, you may be eligible for government contracting and additional funding. In order to receive this certification, the individual must own at least 51 percent of the company that they are applying for, and manage the day-to-day operations of the business. There is also a procedure that you’ll need to follow in order to prove your veteran and/or disabled status. In order to prove veteran status you will need to provide a Department of Defense Form (DD214). If you are applying as a service-disabled veteran, you will need to get a letter from the US Department of Veteran Affairs proving that you are actually disabled. In many cases, if you are not interested in securing government contracts for your veteran owned business, these steps are not necessary.

Register with The VA

Another crucial step in the qualification process is to register through the VA or Veterans Affairs. Registering will not only assist with the strategic marketing of your business but will also add a legitimacy factor in being known as a veteran owned business. People are generally supportive of service men and women and want to support your endeavors, so proudly promoting that you have a veteran owned business will add to growth. The VetBiz Registry, which acts as a business database is the first step in registering with the VA. You will need to have your DD214, letter of disability status, tax forms, bank statements, business license, any partner agreements, and some other additional documents may be requested at the discretion of the VA.

Utilize the SDVOSBC

The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act was created in 1999. The goal of this act is to generate over $15 billion of contracting dollars for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. Being that some veterans return from duty with disabilities stemming from conflict, this program sets aside a certain amount of contracts to service them first. As long as you are considered disabled from service no matter your rating, you are eligible to securing a contract. However, if you do have a 100 percent disability rating the government has contingencies in place to allow a spouse or caregiver to run the business in place of the veteran. It’s very convenient and an amazing opportunity for vets who have served to be able to get their ideas out no matter their status.

Marketing Your Veteran Owned Business

Veterans are normally praised and promoted for their service in the armed forces, but the magnitude of entrepreneurship in this demographic is overlooked. According to Forbes, there are over 3 million Veteran owned businesses run in the United States, 5.7 million people are employed by Veterans, and Veterans are twice as likely to own a business than non-vets. These statistics show that there is a strong thread between the personalities of veterans and the interest in entrepreneurship. Strength, discipline, and leadership are all valuable traits to possess in business. Registering your business with BuyVeteran.com can also be a great resource to use for promotional items. When you register you will receive badges to display throughout your business/store, along with apparel (T-Shirts, Hats), Magnets, and other marketing items. Using the local media in your community, as well as social media, can help with promotion. Using your veteran status to appeal to an audience who already has admiration and respect for you will surely render growth.

Know Everything About Your Industry

If your chosen business field is completely out of your realm of knowledge be sure to research as much as possible before requesting support/investors. You should be an expert on your business idea as well as having a solid business plan ready to execute. Doing research includes finding out who your target audience is, how to price your products/services, who your competitors are, and what laws are in place in that industry. Will you need a license to provide certain services? How does paying taxes change for a business owner as opposed to an employee? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered before you move forward with the business. Once you have completed all these steps you are ready to take on the world as a Vetrepreneur! Good luck!
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Business

Have An Organized Work Area With Grovemade

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A cluttered work space is unappealing. With Grovemade, their unique wool felt desk pad is designed to change your desk experience. By adding a touch of style to your work desk to enhance your productivity, the desk can influence a positive effect on your day. In reducing the stress caused by your packed desk, the desk pad also allows an eased flow for your paperwork by providing a non-slip surface. The surface top will take away all of your concerns from the potential damages related to your desk including the scratches, stains, and heat damage from computers that can devastate a perfectly attractive desk. This will prevent the desk, as well as the office, from looking undesirable. Whether the damage to your desk is from the imprints of pen marks or coffee mugs, the desk pad will ensure the harm won’t happen. “Design inspires what you do”. Grovemade believes that the tools you embrace yourself in have personal correlation to who you are and the meaning behind your work. In other products for your office spaces, Grovemade promotes an organized work area.
 A messy desk creates more negative outcomes than we acknowledge. “Our productivity is impacted by our level of organization,” says Susan Kousek, a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO). Entrepreneurs tend to lose track of time, resulting in a short period of disconnection from the real world. You will then come to realize how cluttered your desk is. With the piles of paperwork, coffee mugs, trash, and more. No matter how busy, you should always arrange your desk. There are five reasons why you should keep an organized work area:

You Can Find Things Quicker

It can be difficult to get anything accomplished if you’re repeatedly losing company documents and you are misplacing important paperwork. Working in an organized environment helps smoothen your work processes and can also make your work more efficient. If everything is in its place, you can find the things that you need in order to complete your daily tasks more quickly. Organizing things to where they belong will create a less surface clutter that will ensure you to know where things are at when you need them. With an organized work area, everything is in reach for you to find and use.

Limit Visual Distractions

The effects of working at a cluttered desk can be noticeably negative. Workers tend to be less productive and efficient when they are in an area with potential distractions. If your leftovers are still affecting you on your desk, it’s time to organize your work area. A cluttered desk will divert your attention away from what’s important. Not only are you distracted, but your coworker’s attention is drifted away as well, wondering when you are going to clean that mess. An office needs order and when you’re not following that guide, everyone is thrown off. 

An Organized Desk Helps You Remember Important Tasks

It’s difficult to prioritize your projects if you’re not organized. Visual cues can help you remember as well as prioritize your important tasks. In comparison, a disorganized desk is the same with a packed e-mail inbox. You have to dig through the spam in order to find that important email, there is always that thought, “What’s important in all of that clutter?”

Company Image

An unattractive work area can be of discomfort to anyone who visits. You want to make your company appear welcoming, especially to potential clients and workers. Whether it is a simple desk cleanup or a makeover with desk pads or plants, these are essential to creating an aesthetically appealing work space. If you’re the only one with a messy desk, you’re the one to blame for impacting the company’s image negatively.

Health Safety

A buildup of dust, lint and pollen can create breathing hazard for everyone in the office, with the possible influence in asthma attacks, stuffy noses, and other harmful health issues. With workers who regularly eat at their desks without cleaning up can attract a multitude of disease-carrying pests, including the cockroaches and mice. Not only do you need to maintain an organized work area, but you need to keep it clean as well.How you design your space can greatly impact your mood and emotion. Most people aren’t always fully aware of it, but your environment has a distinct psychological influence on your subconscious. Becoming more self-aware in how you’re decorating your space will be in consideration towards your personal needs, so the look of your work desk is crucially paralleled to your work attitude. With a cluttered work area, things are more difficult to complete. Organization is the solution to limit these problems. 
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Business

5 Tips On Raising Money

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Entrepreneurs know that raising money to start your business is one of the toughest things you have to do. Competition for funds increase every day so your chances of securing an investment grow slimmer. However, finding an investor is not impossible and fundraising does not need to be stressful. Here are some things you can do to take some of the pressure off and start rolling in investments.

Tell Your Story

Tell them what your company is all about. If you are raising money for a certain purpose, people are more likely to support it if they see or know where their money is going. You have to make investors understand how your product or service will change the lives of your potential customers. In TV shows like Shark Tank it is common to see entrepreneurs give the investors their background and the background of their company in story form. Try to evoke emotion in your investors so that they will be more inclined to write checks.

Determine The Amount of Money You Need

When you’re fundraising for your business, you're using other people's money. Make it easier for them to part with their money by telling them how much you need. Get quotations, documentations such as bills and business costs and your business budget. You need to be able to show investors that there is attractive profitability once the business takes off and the bills are paid.  In this connection, you need to keep your business costs low. Investors like to see attractive profit margins so that they will be able to get a return on their investments as soon as possible.

Approach Relatives and Friends

You can perfect your sales pitch by starting with your family and friends. Invite them to become shareholders of your company by telling them of the advantages of joining you in business. If your relatives like the idea, they become shareholders of the business. However, make sure that you retain majority ownership of your business. If you sell too much, you become diluted. This could spell trouble if you need to raise more funds.

Borrow From Banks

Banks are good options for raising money. You don’t need to give them equity because they will be lending you money. For this option, you need to show banks that you will be able to pay your loan. Documents like cash flow and collateral are needed to secure a bank loan. Generally speaking, banks are more comfortable with lending their money to businesses that have a proven track record. If the business consistently sees profit and this profit is good enough to cover additional debt, then the loan is more likely to be approved. If you’re a startup, you need to prepare a thorough loan package with explanations how your company will grow and repay the loan.

Keep Business Costs Low

Now that you have money, it is normal to be tempted to buy new office equipment like computers, desks and chairs. You have to resist temptation because this is not why you wanted to start raising money in the first place. Burning through your investment is the first mistake new entrepreneurs make. Once business capital has been secured, you need to be careful how you spend it because everything is an expense to your business especially if you’re not profitable yet. Avoid getting burned by cutting down costs like working from your house instead of renting a fancy business address or buying new furniture. It might not sound ideal but the savings can be put in other areas of the business that really need money like new manufacturing equipment, automated software that will make service faster or hiring new people to make more products if supply is behind. Keeping business costs low does not only prevent you from burning through capital but it also improves your profit margin.Starting a business always comes with new financial responsibilities on top of personal expenses like rent, mortgage, student loans, gas and utilities. Many entrepreneurs learn that starting a business is not the easiest way to make money; it is the easiest way to burn through it. Starting a business can be a nerve-wracking track, but it can also be rewarding.
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