Episode 29

Melinda Emerson: America's #1 Small Business Expert on What You Can Do to Save Your Business After COVID-19

Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady, is America’s #1 Small Business Expert. She has been a thriving entrepreneur for nearly 20 years and is an internationally known keynote speaker and expert on small business development and social media marketing.

She publishes a resource blog www.succeedasyourownboss.com. Her small business advice is widely read reaching more than 3 million entrepreneurs each week online. A pioneer in social media marketing, she is the creator and host of #Smallbizchat, the longest running live chat on Twitter for small business owners. Forbes magazine named her the #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter.

Melinda is a founder and president of Quintessence Group, an award-winning marketing consulting firm based in Philadelphia, PA, serving Fortune 500 brands who target small businesses. Notable clients include Visa, Sam’s Club, FedEx, American Express, ADP, Verizon Wireless, Pitney Bowes, Staples and The Hartford.

She has lectured at numerous colleges and universities including; MIT, The University of Pennsylvania, Rosemont College, Chatham University, Point Park College, Temple University, Cheyney University, Delaware State, Howard University, and Morgan State University.

In addition to being a former columnist for The New York Times, and Entrepreneur, she is frequently quoted by other media organizations including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Fast Company, CNBC, MSNBC andFox NewsForbes magazine named her one of Top 10 Tech and Business Experts for 2017. She is also a contributor to Inc., Essence and Black Enterprise. She is an expert on what it takes the start a successful small business, go-to-market strategy, and social media selling. She is the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, 2nd Edition and the ebook How To Become a Social Media Ninja, and her latest book Fix Your Business. She is a proud graduate of Virginia Tech, and mother to her amazing son JoJo.

Transcript of the episode:

*this transcript is generated automatically*

Alex Romanovich (00:00):
Hi, this is Alex Romanovich, and welcome to the GlobalEdgeTalk. Today we have a wonderful friend and an amazing small and medium-sized business, pioneer, and promoter, Melinda Emerson. Hello, Melinda.

Melinda Emerson (00:20):
Hi Alex. How are you?

Alex Romanovich (00:22):
I’m doing great. And one of the things that we wanted to immediately talk about is, first of all, you. I want to introduce you. You have been one of the leading voices, one of the very few leading voices in the small and medium-sized business arena. You have your own podcast, which is called the Smallbizchat, which is dedicated to helping women achieve this small business success. You’re a book author, you have a couple of books, one of which the notable one is Fix Your Business in 90 Days. You have another book called Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, which is great. The host of the Smallbizchat, media outlet, and media channel. And you’re also the president of the Smallbiz Lady enterprises. Welcome to our show.

Melinda Emerson (01:11):
Thank you so much. Gosh, I don’t know how I do all those things in a regular week.

Alex Romanovich (01:16):
You will tell us, you will tell us how this is all done, but I also wanted to congratulate you, recently you received an MBA from Brecksville University, is that correct?

Melinda Emerson (01:32):
Yes, I graduated in June and I just recently got my actual sheepskin with my degree on it. So very, very excited about that. That was something I always wanted to do.

Alex Romanovich (01:44):
Wonderful. So congratulations. And your background also contains some technical and technology stuff. You’re a graduate of Virginia Tech. So we’ll talk a little bit about this as well. So without further ado, I would love to talk and jump into the favorite topic of yours, which is small, medium-sized business, and a lot of different topics. It’s an election year, it’s just so much going on with COVID, PPP grants and loans, just so much going on for small, medium-sized businesses. Good and bad.

Melinda Emerson (02:27):
Well, most of these bad. Unless your cleaning company is so mass, you’ve probably hit a speed bump. I would imagine.

Alex Romanovich (02:37):
So let’s talk about that. So what are you seeing out in the market, first of all, what are you seeing from your clients? What are some of the issues they’re bringing up right now to you? And I know you work with a lot of the large brands who work with small, medium-sized businesses, like major banks and financial services companies and other major brands. What are they seeing? Let’s talk about that.

Alex Romanovich (03:03):
Well, I think that as a small business owner myself and a small business coach, the biggest things that I’ve been hearing is people who have retail space or people even who have professional office space, people are trying to figure out how to break leases, how to get out of paying these big monthly lease payments. I think that’s one thing that I’ve been hearing about, some people’s landlords have been kind and let people pay 50% of the lease. Some people found out everyone else in their business, in their building wasn’t paying, but they were still paying, so people have been finding out that everything is not equal. I think that for some small businesses that applied for PPP loans, people were pretty disheartened the first time when they found out that $300 million went to corporations and not to the small businesses as intended.

Melinda Emerson (04:03):
I also think people were a little bit taken aback that so many large organizations and nonprofits, big universities got money and the Lakers got money. It was just, it was rolled out in the absolutely worst way possible. And only 5 million small business owners had even gotten PPP loans. And I think that’s important to note because there are 28 million small business owners. I also think that one of the other things that I think is important to point out is as of May 41% of African American businesses have already closed, they are shuttered. They will not have the opportunity to reopen, let alone the health crisis that is upon us. I mean, myself, I recently lost an uncle. He was only 63 years old. He had just retired and now he is gone and he left behind three daughters and three grandchildren.

Melinda Emerson (04:59):
And so there’s nobody at this point who doesn’t know someone who had it or know someone who lost someone who had it. And I think that has really affected everything about our lives and people’s businesses. And I was just asked earlier today by someone, they’re going to finally open up Philadelphia restaurants for inside dining as of September 8th. And they were like, would you feel comfortable going? And my answer is absolutely not. I’m not stepping outside of my house till January. I’m not doing it. I’m also not sending my kid to school. I’m not comfortable putting him on a school bus or public transportation and sending him anywhere. So whether or not they open schools or not, it’s inconsequential to me. My kid’s going to go virtual until we get this thing under control until there’s a vaccine and a bunch of other people has taken it. That’s where I’m standing on all of it.

Alex Romanovich (06:02):
So, doom and gloom, what is a small business going to do? Tell us about some of the good news or some constructive news or something that a small, medium-sized business can do today in this environment. Obviously, it’s August, it’s a little bit slow. It’s always a little bit slow in August. And are we going to see some kind of an uptick in the September-October timeframe, folks are going to do more of the face-to-face business and online businesses are doing phenomenal, Amazon just hit a $2 trillion mark. Obviously, they’re doing extremely well. And they employ a lot of people, they help a lot of small businesses as well who are selling stuff, they are through Amazon and so forth. But can we actually see some uptick in small, medium-sized business interactions in the same way that we’ve used to?

Links & Info

Melinda Emerson’s Social Media Profiles:

Alex Romanovich’s Social Media Profiles:

GlobalEdgeTalk Social Media Profiles:

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