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8 dad entrepreneurs share how they balance work and life

This father’s day, we salute dad entrepreneurs who share with us how they prioritize their family.

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Happy father’s day, dad entrepreneurs

If you are the child of an entrepreneur, you’ve watched your parent work their fingers to the bone (sometimes literally, other times figuratively), and you have admiration for his grit and determination.

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The next generation of dad entrepreneurs is here, and their take on the work/life balance conundrum is very different. Tech startup founders, inventors, and business men of today involve their children, care about every waking moment they can spend with their kids, and go above and beyond to make them a priority.

Eight fathers tell us below how they balance their work with their family life, and we salute them this father’s day:

Kevin McCarthy – founder and CEO of McCarthy Music

“My daughter Sophia, 6, has been intimately involved in the development of my company’s first product, the Illuminating Piano. Since Sophia was 4, she’s been playing occasionally on various prototypes. It’s been a great way for us to connect about what I do and it’s inspired her to want to invent all sorts of things. I think trying to involve your children in your business is a somewhat overlooked aspect of work/life balance, but it gives them a much better understanding of what you actually do. I also work 7 a.m.-4 p.m., which gives us an additional hour or two each night to spend together.”

Marc Gorlin – founder and CEO of Roadie, Inc.

“Anytime I have a decision to make, I ask myself  ‘What’s most important?’ I do this at Roadie all the time. When put through this simple filter, questions get, well, simpler. For example, last week, I had the choice of being five minutes late to a meeting or ordering flowers for my daughter’s debut as the Dragon in Shrek the Musical. The meeting could wait.”

Edward McCloskey, founder of WaterWipes

“Ensure that, as a father with kids of teenage or younger ages, you make sure that you allow enough time in your life to spend regular ‘family’ time with them and to be around, available and interested in their day-to-day lives. It is way too easy to get sucked up into the ‘thrill of the chase’ when building your business, but your kids will have grown up and moved on before you know it, and you don’t want to miss out on their developmental years. So the challenge as an entrepreneurial dad is to both do the best you can in growing your business and also make sure to spend regular quality time with your children. It’s as easy – and as difficult – as that.”

Peter Waisnor, Vice President, Tenba

“Be home for dinner, be in the moment and arrive with excitement. I travel about 25% of the year, much of it internationally, and I could easily travel twice that amount if I went everywhere I was asked to go. To minimize my time away, I often take red-eye flights home so that I don’t lose a full day for travel. And when I arrive home, no matter how little I have slept for the time that I was away, I arrive ready to do whatever my son wants to do. My son is very excited to see me and hang out when I return, so I don’t want to spoil it by letting him know that I’m exhausted.”

Sean Folkson, Founder, NightFood, Inc.

“Get your kids on board: It might not be possible, depending on your business, but my both my kids love NightFood, so they understand when Daddy has to work late or on weekends. Whenever we are in a mall with a GNC store, my 5 year-old Benny wants to go in and do a sales call. We’ve even featured him in some promotional videos and ads we’ve done. He tells his friends and teachers about the bars. He feels a sense of ownership, which makes me proud and makes things easier. Also, try your best to leave work at work and understand your priorities.”

Roger Wilson, Owner, GermBloc

“Keeping perspective on what truly matters can easily change when you stretch your mind to think outside the box and create innovative products that you become emotionally attached to. Whether your new idea becomes a success or failure, you want to maintain your priorities realizing that having faith and family will last forever and your awesome new idea will not give you true fulfillment long term.”

Jon Sumroy, creator of mifold

“It’s never easy being an entrepreneur – bringing something new to the world. But there are two huge myths that make people think being a ‘daddy entrepreneur’ is particularly hard: the myths that only young entrepreneurs can succeed and that being a “daddy entrepreneur” requires life/work balance. To combat these myths I suggest: be a good entrepreneur (do your research!), merge life and work, commit to the very important things, bring your kids with you to business activities, and create kiddie entrepreneurs.”

Gregory Schern, Founder of Ogden Made

“My success is wholly dependent upon my family’s support – any success at being a ‘dad entrepreneur’ relies upon understanding that long days, and extended periods away from home are not possible without a great family support network. The best way for that to happen is involve them in the big ideas and let them come to work, meet the team, and share the success. Also, time management is the toughest battle – and don’t forget that your employees and team members have families, too!”

#DadEntrepreneurs

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

Business Entrepreneur

Amazon sets eyes on couture with launch of online Luxury Stores

(ENTREPRENEUR) As of this week, Amazon is an online luxury retailer. Is this good or bad news for smaller luxury retailers?

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When I think of high-end fashion shopping, Amazon is not the first store that comes to mind. Groceries, random knick-knacks, and pet accessories for my adorable pooch are the items in my cart.

For years, the retail giant has tried taking over every single market. This year, they came one step closer to realizing drone delivery to customers. And now, they have their eyes set on couture.

This week, Amazon confirmed the launch of its high-end online designer fashion and beauty brand shopping experience, Luxury Stores. Currently, Oscar de la Renta is the first brand to launch on the platform, but more are on the way.

Available by invitation only to eligible Prime members, the store launched on Amazon’s mobile app. Eligible customers received early access to the designer’s Pre-Fall and Fall/Winter 2020 collections. The collection included “ready-to-wear, handbags, jewelry, accessories, and a new perfume,” according to Amazon.

If you’re a Prime member and didn’t receive an invitation, you can request an invite by visiting amazon.com/LuxuryStores.

Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta said, “Oscar de la Renta is thrilled to partner with Amazon for the launch of Luxury Stores.” He told Vogue that “somewhere near 100% of our existing customers are on Amazon and a huge percentage of those are Prime members. For me to get more mindshare with existing customers in addition to getting new customers—that’s the name of the game.”

According to The Verge, Amazon has over 150 million Prime members. With that big of a number and potentially huge customer overlap, we can all see why Bolen is so thrilled.

But what does Amazon’s break into luxury retail mean for smaller luxury retailers? Smaller companies are still struggling to keep up with the retail giant. With small brick-and-mortar stores fighting to stay afloat during the pandemic, could Amazon’s online Luxury Stores be an all-inclusive solution?

According to Amazon’s press release, the company doesn’t plan on only partnering with established fashion brands, but also with “emerging luxury fashion and beauty brands.”

“We are always listening to and learning from our customers, and we are inspired by feedback from Prime members who want the ability to shop their favorite luxury brands in Amazon’s store,” said Christine Beauchamp, President of Amazon Fashion.

Engadget reported that Amazon is taking a hands-off approach with Luxury Stores. The company will offer backend and merchandising tools support. Brands will have control over their pricing, inventory, and selection. With brands being able to have more control over their experience, maybe smaller luxury retailers will feel inclined to use this new sales outlet.

“It’s still Day One, and we look forward to growing Luxury Stores, innovating on behalf of our customers, and opening a new door for designers all over the world to access existing and new luxury customers,” Beauchamp said.

Amazon has yet to reveal which new luxury stores will arrive on the platform. Hopefully, we will also see our local luxury stores on Amazon in the future, too.

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Business Entrepreneur

Small businesses must go digital to survive (and thrive)

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) A study at Cisco reveals how digitizing small businesses is no longer optional, but critical to success, thanks to the pandemic.

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Black woman working on a laptop on a couch, running her small businesses' needs digitally.

As digital transformation efforts ramp up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study released by Cisco has highlighted some key insights into how small businesses will need to adapt in order to survive in the “new normal.”

The study, conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC), analyzed more than 2,000 small businesses across eight different markets, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Mexico, United Kingdom, Brazil, Chile, and France. Using a four-section index to assess a small business’s digitalization efforts, the research found that 16% of companies said they were “thriving and feel their businesses are agile and resilient.” While 36% stated they were in “survival mode.” Regardless of where they were ranked in the index, the study concluded that 70% of firms were in the process of ramping up digital transformation within their company due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide that was already present in the small business market, and it is forcing companies to accelerate their digitalization,” said Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, AVP, head digital transformation & SMB research at IDC. “Small businesses are realizing that digitalization is no longer an option, but a matter of survival.”

The study also highlighted several challenges associated with digital transformation. The three biggest obstacles that businesses seem to face during the process were digital skills and talent, budgetary issues (lack of funds or previous commitment of funds), and cultural resistance to change. Despite these roadblocks, 45% of companies surveyed stated that they expect over 30% of their business to be digital by 2021. And 32% responded that they are planning on developing a digital strategy. This included investing in talent with the right set of digital skills moving forward.

Those decisions fall in line with Cisco and IDC’s recommendations. These include creating a three-year technology road map and building a workforce with the right skills to succeed in a digital world. Other suggestions include finding the right technology partner, and keeping up with industry trends. Leveraging financing and remanufactured equipment can aid with cash flow and budget requirements.

As small businesses continue to adapt to consumer behavior and the whirlwind of ever-changing rules that have come with the coronavirus, digital transformation will continue to play a major role in the post-COVID world. According to the report, if half of the small businesses surveyed can reach the second-highest tier of the index by 2024, those companies could end up adding an additional $2.3 trillion to the eight markets’ gross domestic product (GDP), contributing to the global economic recovery.

As we approach the six-month mark of the pandemic, just when and how the “new normal” will emerge is still uncertain. But there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses — even if it’s faint green and contains zeroes and ones.

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Business Entrepreneur

Choose your startup business partner wisely

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Creating a startup business with a friend sounds amazing, but consider carefully if you may be better off as friends.

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Young couple working on startup together.

So, you want to be your own boss? Maybe get out and into a new career to crawl out from under the corporate drone motif? What better way to do it than to go into a startup business for yourself?

Hundreds of Americans have ideas that could turn into a new career. But not as many have the support structure, either financial or social, to make these dreams become a reality. A few of these people might look for someone to go into business with to help with the financial burden.

Can you think of a better way to start off a new business than with your best friend by your side? I sure as hell can.

My best friend and I get along great in our personal time. We’re both zombie horror nerds. He’s straight, I’m gay. He’s a cop, I’m an out of work geophysicist/bartender/writer – the jokes don’t quit with us. Our typical nights together include drinking at bars and smacking the other one upside the head as deemed necessary. We’re both slightly better than Neanderthals some days. And most importantly, neither of us should be trusted to work together.

Now of course that’s probably more specific to my situation, but let’s just realize that finding two people who can be the closest of friends and business partners is pretty rare.

There are a few people who have figured it out though and you can find a number of pointers online for new/established startup companies. A few of these tips include: Lots of structure to try and keep the fun at home and the business in the office, clearly defining roles, honest open communication, and strictly defining fiscal expectations.

So basically, it’s like committing to another marriage, which is what another set of people do for their startup business as well. Numerous married couples have put together careers and their relationships, and a great many of them are very successful.

So, if you have someone who you can commit to another potentially lifelong relationship with, and you trust to follow all of these rules, then go for it.

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