Interview: Rachael Harper on Entrepreneurship

Rachael Harper, owner of Vida Calma Wellness and owner of On Track Yoga shares her thoughts on entrepreneurship for my Entrepreneurial Marketing graduate course. Rachael and I discuss what it’s like to start a business, grassroots marketing, the importance of creating a business built for community and social good, and many other things in this interview for my Everyday Entrepreneurs podcast.

You can listen below on Soundcloud or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.


How social media trust changed marketing

Trust is one of the great cornerstones of life. The most successful relationships, whether personal or business, are built on trust.  Trust is a key factor in the consumption of news and information, too. Over the years, many readers, listeners, and ultimately viewers placed trust in their preferred media channel for the most current and accurate news and information.  Subsequently, each channel began to exploit the trust gained from consumers by accepting advertisements which allowed businesses to leverage the media’s credibility and intimacy through association. The challenge was then, as is now, to determine how to align the marketing and advertising of the business with the media most apt to have the greatest trust among the target customers. Unfortunately, those trusted channels of media and communication are constantly changing.

Much like early newspaper readers became radio listeners, and radio listeners ultimately became television viewers, social media platforms give individuals a different way in which to consume news and information, and this influences how trust is granted. Trust is still the currency, but it is no longer given freely to traditional media (newspaper, magazines, radio, or television) and marketers do not benefit from this association as they once did. Social media has taken the concept of trust in one-on-one personal relationships and created a somewhat commodified version of trust with online peer relationships that are enabled through the distinct differences of each platform. Trust has shifted from the medium itself to an ever-evolving value placed on an online peer relationship with roots established through relational identity (Pan, Lu, Wang, & Chau, 2017). More specifically, if an online peer seems to like and do things similar to the individual granting such trust, a value is created regardless of whether there is any meaningful engagement outside of the online relationship. Social media, then, has established an entirely different trust model—a model built on peer influence and not channel trust. This new model requires entrepreneurs to think differently about advertising and marketing.

Entrepreneurs may realize the benefits of social media tools to both spread word about their business and to engage with customers in a meaningful...

Interview: Kim Stewart on Entrepreneurial Financing

The following is an interview with Kim Stewart, SVP, Working Capital Solutions Advisor, BB&T for my Entrepreneurial Feasibility Analysis graduate course. Kim and I became acquainted in 2016. We discuss entrepreneurial financing.

Q. What is your role in banking as it relates to “investment” in small business?

A. I work in an area of the bank that provides various solutions to companies that need working capital financing to support their on-going business activity or growth.

Q. What role do you now or have you in the past played in determining financing support for an entrepreneurial venture?

A. I have in the past worked in a banking environment where we would provide working capital lines of credit down to a minimum of $1MM, which may likely be too high of a minimum for many entrepreneurs that are “start-up” ventures, but I was still able to work with many entrepreneurial companies.  I am involved in working with the customers on the front end in determining what their financing need is and how best to structure a financing solution.

Q. How is bank “investment” in small business different than, say angel investment? Does a bank often provide seed or startup investment?

A. It is inaccurate to say that banks invest in small business in the normal course of their operations.  Providing financing is not investing, and for that reason, banks have to be stringent about identifying the risks and appropriately mitigating those risks.  Traditional banks are paid a reasonable rate of interest for the use of funds as opposed to having an opportunity to participate in the upside of a business venture.  There are ways that banks can work through the Small Business Association (SBA) to provide funding for a start-up investment, and there may be banks that are willing to take more risks on start-up ventures, but they would generally be interested in opportunities where the entrepreneur had a track record of successful ventures and had some capital to invest in the venture.

Q. How might bank financing requirements of an entrepreneurial venture differ from an angel investor?

A. Both are going to underwrite the risk of success or failure of the venture and the likelihood of...