How to Understand the Economic World Around You (Podcast)


Marketplace is a podcast hosted by Kai Ryssdal, which is about providing context on the economic news of the day.  Through stories, conversations and newsworthy numbers, Marketplace helps listeners understand the economic world around them.

According to Wikipedia, Marketplace is the third-most-listened-to radio program in the US by weekly listeners (14.8 M).

Tune in.

World’s Largest MBA Tour is Coming to Chicago 6/25


Good day Global Small Business Blog fans!  Join the world’s largest MBA tour in Chicago!

An MBA is a distinction in the workplace and a designation in the world of business. However, more importantly it’s a confidence booster, a way of thinking analytically and critically, and a training ground for making better personal and professional decisions.

This event will answer all of your MBA-related questions through presentations, networking opportunities, and valuable interactions with recruiters from 25+ top business schools.

In addition, you’ll also receive the following for free:  a professional LinkedIn Headshot, your resume reviewed, access to a pool of scholarships worth $7M and much more.

All of this is FREE of charge for those attending, so register today or well before 6/25! Space is limited.  Sign up here.

After More Than $700,000 Disappeared, They Launched the World’s First Embezzlement Insurance

These entrepreneurs invented a product to protect business owners from the next Bernie Madoff — or any other crooked financial advisor.

4 min read

One summer day in 2007, Suzanne Foglio made a discovery no one wants to make: Her partner had been stealing company money to use for personal expenses. She’d later find out that his embezzlement amounted to more than $700,000 over the course of three years.

Foglio, her husband Jim, and a third partner were running a payroll business, Kaibobo, as a side venture of the couple’s health insurance company. The year before, she had received a tip from a friend and manager at Kaibobo: The finances didn’t look right, the books were a mess and the Foglio’s third business partner might be to blame. Every time Foglio called a meeting with the partner, she recalls, he’d explain away the discrepancies or promise to follow up with more information and fail to deliver. Months later, while the partner attended a payroll convention in Las Vegas, Foglio decided to pursue the answers for herself by taking a meeting with the company bookkeeper. Across the desk, she recalls, he told her of the partner’s missteps: using the company checking account as his personal account. Writing a $50,000 check “payable to cash.” Buying a new kitchen for his house with company money. Buying a new house! Foglio felt physically ill.

Related: El Chapo and the 15 Biggest Money-Making Criminals of All Time

“There’s so much shame and embarrassment when you’re a victim of embezzlement,” Foglio said. She and her husband took drastic measures to keep clients at both companies from finding out about their partner’s misdeeds, including taking out a $700,000 personal loan, refinancing their home and selling their stock options.

The incident cost them their own money and peace of mind, but as decades-long veterans of the insurance industry, they knew a hole in the market when they saw one. In January 2019, the Foglios and a new partner — Travus Pope, who had hundreds of thousands of dollars embezzled from him — launched the world’s first embezzlement insurance: Capital Shield Management.

What to do when you suspect embezzlement.

When you discover someone may be embezzling from you, the first thing you’ll likely do is call an attorney. Foglio’s corporate lawyer charged about $500 an hour, and although she and her husband had a significant nest egg, she knew this was the beginning of a long, drawn-out court battle. The next step: law enforcement. After reporting the incident, the prosecutors’ office told the Foglios they’d need to prove it. She hired an accounting firm to do a forensic audit and chart their partner’s alleged crimes via recreated bank statements. It took three years to come up with the proof they needed, resulting in her former partners’ indictment and conviction. He served a year and a week in jail.

Related: The 9 Weirdest and Craziest Crimes and Heists of the Year

Even if an embezzler is convicted, there’s no guarantee you’ll recover the stolen funds. The courts can award a judgment against the person, but there’s no automatic wage garnish or other steps to certify your repayment — instead, you’d likely need to hire a specialized law firm to make sure the embezzled money is returned. Capital Shield’s policy costs $1,500 per $1 million per year, and eligible insurees must have between $1 million and $10 million in invested assets. As soon as an insuree suspects embezzlement, they contact the insurance carrier, which then investigates on their behalf and pays out the claim after an indictment.

There’s a caveat here: The policy covers any investment advisor registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), but it doesn’t cover business partners or anyone else with access to company funds — meaning even the Foglios’ own insurance product couldn’t have protected them from their former partner’s embezzlement. They’re hoping to work up to expanded coverage.  

“We would hope that within the next five years,” said Foglio, “that would be something that we’d be able to do.”

Related: Fortnite’s Real-Life Crime Wave (60-Second Video)

This Entrepreneur Wants Us to See and Record the World in a Whole New Way

The cofounder and CEO of OPKIX explains the birth of his social-first wearable cameras.

4 min read

In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)

Who are you and what’s your business?

I am Lawrence Greaves, co-founder and CEO at OPKIX. Created specifically for a social-first generation, our first of its kind OPKIXOne wearable camera boasts a uniquely compact size, and pairs with an integrated app that allows you to edit your footage with the addition of filters, music and AR, and share across your favorite social platforms. 

What inspired you to develop it?

My business partner, Shahin Amirpour, came up with the original idea one day while snowboarding when he realized that there was a need to capture video content hands-free. I had a similar “a-ha” moment when my wife came to me and said, “If you could capture video of the kids without looking at them through the screen of your phone, it would be a game changer.” That’s when we knew we were really onto something.

Related: Spoil Your Customers and Make Deliveries the Best Part of Their Day, This Entrepreneur Says

How is it different from other cameras in the category?

We are defining our own category! This is truly the first wearable camera that can be integrated into everyday life as well as adventures — it’s not just for action sports. The OPKIXOne is available in a set of one or two cameras with the accompanying Egg that charges the camera and also wirelessly uploads content to your smartphone device almost instantly. The camera can integrate into a variety of wearable accessories including sunglasses, rings and even a necklace, allowing the user to capture content 100 percent hands-free. With the lenses just 1.4 inches long and the Egg measuring just under 4 inches, the whole system is the smartest compact device on the market.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

What is your marketing strategy? Who is the customer you want to reach and how are you going about it?

We launched this year direct-to-consumer, leveraging our incredible team of brand ambassadors and their followings. Our camera fits into so many different lifestyles, and we work with a diverse pool of ambassadors that we’re proud to have representing the brand, from a musical artist using the camera onstage while headlining rock concerts to a professional boxer using it in the ring, and even a celebrity makeup artist filming beauty tutorials. This word-of-mouth approach has helped us reach a vibrant audience of potential creators.

What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?

It means leading by example, running through walls, and being the first among equals.

How did you fund this? What advice can you share about the dos and don’ts of funding a company?

We have closed a Series A and Series B fundraise that brought our total funds raised to $11.8 million. We have raised from private investors, including my own personal investment. My investment was one of the first ones in the business because I truly believe we are doing something revolutionary. A majority of our brand ambassadors have been on board as initial investors as well. 

Related: ‘Risk It All and Risk It Often’ According to This Veteran Entrepreneur

How did it feel the first day you began running this business? When did you feel like “Okay, this is real, we’re doing this!”

From day one this has been the most exciting journey. The opportunity to start OPKIX brought me out of retirement; I couldn’t wait to get involved and help build this incredible brand. What we’ve created truly sunk in for me when we had a digital clock countdown to launch day, February 19, 2019, on the OPKIX website. When the clock hit zero, we truly felt how our vision for this brand was officially a reality, and it was surreal when the orders for the cameras started pouring in.

What was your toughest challenge and how did you overcome it?

The toughest challenge was having industry-leading experts tell us that our vision was not possible. Through hard work, determination, and never taking no for an answer, we made the impossible possible.

Is there a particular quote or saying that you use as personal motivation? 

“Family over everything and never give up.” This is my own personal quote and mantra, and I really take to heart that you should treat everyone you meet and work with as a member of your family. You never know how much someone’s support will mean to you down the road.

A More Humane World: Crispr

©2019 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.

For all the anxiety and ambiguity surrounding Crispr – focused on developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious human diseases – there’s little doubt that it could revolutionize farming.

If and when the FDA decides to weigh in, says Hank Greely, a bioethicist and professor of law at Stanford, it will have to reckon with the unique risks of gene editing—that an edit might produce new allergens, for example, or spread from livestock to their wild cousins. His underlying fear, however, is “the democratizing nature of Crispr.” 

Learn more about Crispr and how gene editing aims to make our food supply kinder and more efficient. But it’s struggling to leave the barn.

How To Win in Today’s Amazon World

Create a brand that will inspire customer loyalty across all platforms, both online and off.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is adapted from Timothy Seward’s book Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

There’s an old saying “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.  In today’s Amazon-centric online world, I’ve noticed an ever growing number of ecommerce only sellers folding their tent and walking away.  

The common thread? The companies I’ve seen close their doors in the last year or so are those who resell products made by other brands, not brands they own.  

So if you’re intent on winning in today’s Amazon world, how do you do it?  

The first step to winning is to realize that today’s consumers are loyal to brands, not retailers or sellers, Amazon included.  Online resellers make one-off sales. Brands create loyal customers.  

Let me share with you a couple of personal examples.

About a year ago, I needed something to clean a new kitchen island, a black granite countertop in my home. Washing it with a kitchen cloth was just leaving too many streaks. So like you may have done, I pulled out my phone and searched my Amazon app for granite cleaners. I found a highly rated granite wipes product made by Weiman.  In a moment that product was in my Amazon shopping cart and on the way. Days later, I found that the product worked exceptionally well, the countertop looked amazing. Fast forward, as I’m shopping in Publix, I noticed the Weiman brand on the shelf and picked up some Weiman brand kitchen stainless cleaner. A win — discovered online, purchased offline — for Weiman and for my kitchen. I’m now loyal to the Weiman brand.

Read this: Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Recently while speaking at a conference, I worked out in the gym at a massive Atlantic City hotel and casino with an unusual machine for strengthening a specific area of the upper back.  I was sore after working out that area so headed straight for the spa. One of the products used by the spa was a massage cream made by Biotone. It was the best product I’d ever experienced during a deep tissue massage. So naturally, I wanted to own it, and purchased this — discovered offline, purchased online — on Amazon before I was even 200 feet away from the spa. I’m now loyal to the Biotone brand.

If you don’t own your own consumer product brand, and are simply an online seller of someone else’s products, why don’t you begin the journey toward building your own brand? And if you already the owner and developing multiple unique in-house brands, you are one step ahead of the game.

Early last fall, as I was traveling for one of our ecommerce events, I spent time in the warehouses of two different clients. They were in two distinct parts of New Jersey and both sold highly commoditized products in their respective product categories.  Both had been selling on the Amazon marketplace for at least five years. Each had independently switched to branding their products so that they were no longer reselling someone else’s products; their packaging now carried their respective logos, brand colors, web addresses, and even their phone numbers.  

You can have others manufacture your branded products for you, or you can manufacture them yourself. Resist the urge to build your business by only selling someone else’s branded merchandise. If someone else owns the brands you’re selling, Amazon, Walmart or any reseller is — or eventually will be — selling them too, in competition with you.

With your own new or emerging brand, you’ll have a greater opportunity to win in today’s Amazon-centric world, and get some of their 310 million customers to discover, and then buy, your brand’s products.

7 Prolific Business Lessons Nipsey Hussle Gifted the World

Long live Nipsey the Great.

8 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Nipsey Hussle’s Crenshaw mixtape dropped in 2013, I was in the penitentiary serving a two- to five-year sentence. I had been following his music since 2008 when I first heard the song “Bullets Ain’t Got No Name,” and because I am a Socal native, it gave me pride to see him coming up. While in the joint, I found a way to purchase a smuggled bootleg compilation of Nipsey’s music and would bang the lyrics in my Discman on my prison rack while teaching myself to code with textbooks, or when I was getting tattooed.

On March 31, 2019, Nipsey was attacked by an envious gunman, and tragically passed away. His untimely demise has shocked his childhood community of Crenshaw and the world at large. Nipsey was more than a rapper. He was an entrepreneur, visionary and leader. He provided hope to so many people, including myself, who have had crazy pasts. He showed us it didn’t matter where we came from or what happened to us, we could still accomplish anything. He taught us that by betting on ourselves and keeping it real we can still make it to the top.

In 2018, before he dropped his Grammy-nominated and arguably the best album of the decade, Victory Lap, I sat with him to chop up life, music and his legacy. We met at his latest investment, Vector90, a coworking space in the heart of his hometown in Crenshaw. As a tribute to his legacy, my show Action & Ambition (hosted on the Entrepreneur Network) will be replaying the episode we did in 2018. You can catch it on our Facebook Watch Page.

Nip was a business savvy musical genius who gave back to his community in big ways. The world will no doubt feel his loss. In his honor, here are seven lessons we can take from his life and his legacy.

1. Never stop learning.

Nipsey was never one to stop learning. Maybe he built his business from a natural sense of savvy, but he also built it by listening and learning. He read a lot of books. In fact, his idea for his $100 mixtape, where he made only 1,000 copies, was born from the book Contagious by Jonah Berger. Anyone that knew him will tell you he was relentlessly focused on getting better in every way, and made a habit of personal development and growth.

“Told my mama I’mma gang bang graduate/ Pioneered the transition from this Crippin’ wasn’t easy n—a, but I mastered it/ That’s why I still deliver raps so passionate/ Built my own lane, ain’t no n—a ever hand me shit/ Slauson Ave., do you understand the averages?/ The fact I’m still standing speaks volumes to my savages.” (“Love?”)

2. Be prepared to do all the work.

Nipsey saw success because he was willing to do any work, no matter how menial it may have seemed at the time. Even as he soared further and further toward the top, he still maintained a willingness to do the tasks that others might consider to be below them. “Most people want to skip the process,” he said, “not knowing that when you skip steps, you miss the lessons.”

He took out the trash and swept the floors of his own studio. Starting out, he built his own basement recording studio to make sure that he could engineer and record his own music. Without this willingness to put in all types of work, he would not have learned what it would take to achieve the goals he set.

“My thing is that I don’t give no person that much power over my path that I’m walking. Not one person can make or break what I’m doing, except me or God.”

3. Make genuine connections.

Entrepreneurs know the importance of networking and making connections. For some, it’s a tedious process of trying to get in with important figures of a particular industry. It’s a game of kiss-ass. But for Nipsey, he focused on making genuine connections based on true talent. Relationships he formed with musicians such as Kendrick Lamar and Puffy were lasting and real. They were collaborations that meant something. But he also knew how to create genuine connections to the people who consumed his music. He’s always been the people’s king and it’s because he not only shared the good but his struggles too, which made him that much more relatable.

“If you sharing your success and not your struggle, you’s a fool.” (“U Don’t Got a Clue”)

4. Build your brand.

Nipsey understood his brand and what it represented. He was the one who built it and promoted it. He knew what he wanted to represent. His brand-based goals were clear. Nobody understands his brand like he did, and that’s part of the reason he was so successful.

“I never wanted to alienate my brand for business.” Nipsey said, “I always wanted to keep it authentic and keep it as pure as I could.”

5. It’s a marathon.

Some people want success to happen overnight. It doesn’t work like that. Nipsey, and artists like him, all knew that the road to success would be paved with long-ass hours and year after year of struggle. Talent wouldn’t cut it. A true desire to achieve success, whether as an artist or as an entrepreneur, means never approaching your work halfheartedly. Nipsey didn’t focus on immediate wealth. He didn’t want to churn out one hit single after another. He wanted to build and develop his own label. He focused on long-term wealth and a lasting reputation as an artist.

“I’m about seeing the long-term, seeing a vision, understanding nothing worthwhile happens overnight, and just sticking to your script long enough to make something real happen.”

6. Focus on what makes you passionate.

It’s easy for people to lose themselves in their desire for success in any industry, including both business and music. Fortunately, Nipsey knew himself and stayed true to that image and to his own story. He found fans that loved and related to him. He didn’t create a character or pursue something that just wasn’t him.

Like he said in Victory Lap, “Find your purpose or you wastin’ air.”

7. Remember the community that built you.

There is no doubt that Nipsey loved the community he came from. His childhood neighborhood is known for being violent and rough, one of the places where its residents try to leave and outsiders tend to avoid. Nipsey found success, but he never left that neighborhood behind. He invested in it, building playgrounds, helping children learn and offering residents opportunities for economic success.

Some of the most powerful words Nipsey sang were from the song “Dedication”“These songs just the spirituals I swam against them waves with/ Ended up on shore to their amazement.”

He not only kept history in mind, but he also worked with the history of U.S. racism and acknowledged its impact on his music. He doesn’t forget the factors impacting his community and all the structural inequality they need to fight against.

Nipsey Hussle’s death is tragic. He was no doubt a brilliant self-made artist and visionary. He was smart and charitable, and he believed in his roots. He never wanted to take his achievements for granted and he wanted to give people the building blocks to create achievements of their own. Had he not seen such an early and tragic end, he would have certainly seen further successes. But he achieved what he wanted, saying in “Killer,” “And when I visualize success it look like right now/What was once gray skies is now white clouds.”

Yes, his life was cut too damn short. The loss is being felt around the world. Prayers to his family, real friends and all fans. But, as he would tell us all, the marathon continues. And, his legacy will live forever through his words, and the people he inspired on a regular through his lyrics and actions. Long live Nipsey and his hustle.

“Try to have more faith and less fear, try to express it to your peers, I’m talking about dreams / Better to do it and let it be seen, cause then it’s so clear.” (“Am I Gonna Make It”)

The New World of Artificial Intelligence


Africans are ready for the fourth industrial revolution, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa confidently asserted at the World Economic Forum (WEF) conference in Davos earlier this year.

WEF founder Klaus Schwab sees the fourth industrial revolution as being shaped by the emerging digital technologies that will “fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.”

The new world of artificial intelligence, which requires the cultivation of independent thought and self-learning skills at the school level to prepare children for a world where life skills are critical, is conspicuous by its absence in Africa.

As the article below goes on to say:  “Africa is not short of young entrepreneurs with good ideas, ambition, energy and talent, which can be harnessed to drive more inclusive growth.”

Read more about the new world of artificial intelligence and how Africans are eager to engage with technology to create new opportunities for themselves and their country.

How You Spend Your Money Sends a Message to the World

Put your money behind businesses that actually make a difference.

2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Phil Town explains that you send a message to the rest of the world when you put your money behind certain causes. That’s why it’s important to do the research. You should know where your money will end up and whether or not it will align with your values. Take ownership of your investments, so that you are making decisions — not your financial advisor.

To hear more about how your investments speak to others, click the video.

Related: If You Want to Break Out of the Middle Class, Avoid These Money Habits

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