#Smallbizchat Podcast LIVE is a monthly video interview show where small business owners can get answers to their questions. The focus of #Smallbizchat is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss. Please join us live every third Wednesday of the month from 8-9 pm ET Live on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube Channel and LIVE on Twitter.
The Business of CBD
Kayla Fioravanti has been a leading expert in the natural cosmetics industry as a cosmetic formulator for over 22 years. She has always had a deep and abiding passion for aromatherapy and natural personal care products. In 1998, Kayla co-founded Essential Wholesale – one of the first all-natural cosmetics/ingredients companies – which was listed as an INC. Magazine 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America for three years in a row. Essential Wholesale Started out $50 in her kitchen and grew to a multimillion-dollar company. At this time, Kayla was formulating for large cosmetic brands and small businesses. For more information, visit www.ologyessentials.com.
SmallBizLady: How Did You Get Into the CBD Industry?
Kayla Fioravanti: I had been struggling with adenomyosis as well as uterine cysts and fibroids for several years. After trying alternative treatments and medical procedures she had given in and scheduled a hysterectomy. My son, Keegan Fioravanti, was adamant that she try CBD oil to help with her pain. I was a little hesitant – thinking that I had already seen every natural remedy under the sun. Within three days my symptoms stopped along with reducing the chronic pain she I lived with from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). It has been 3 years since taking my first drop of CBD oil, and I still has not had that hysterectomy and I have been able to stop all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications previously used to manage pain from EDS.
CBD had completely changed my life, and I knew I needed to spread the word about its astounding benefits. When I entered the CBD industry, I saw a desperate need for quality, all-natural, transparent formulas. I have been able to do this in Ology Essentials by combining my love for natural remedies like aromatherapy, herbal medicine and now CBD with expert knowledge as an organic/natural cosmetic formulator.
SmallBizLady: What kind of obstacles did you face in the beginning? Do you still face a lot of obstacles?
Kayla Fioravanti: Ology entered the hemp CBD industry in 2017 – it was an emerging industry which meant endless possibilities, but this also meant we had an uphill battle to climb when it came to educating our target audience.
Unfortunately, there was (and still is) a misunderstanding about the hemp plant. For decades, hemp has been incorrectly classified as a drug, with most people confusing it with its cannabis relative, marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are different varietals of the plant species Cannabis. One could say they are relatives but scientifically polar opposites. By the legal definition, hemp contains a trace level of THC (0.3% or less) and a high level of CBD; marijuana has low CBD and high THC. You can get high on marijuana, and you can’t get high on hemp. Period. We have been in this industry for over 3 years now, and people still confuse these completely different plants.
Because of this confusion, this industry is considered high risk. In the beginning, banks were unwilling to work with us, and popular merchant service providers wouldn’t let us use their service. We struggled to find a bank that would work with us, and we hopped from merchant service to merchant service – we were even blacklisted at one point FOR LEGALLY SELLING CBD. But after the 2018 farm bill, which removed hemp-derived products from its schedule-1 status under the Controlled Substances Act, banks and merchant service providers began to open their doors to the CBD industry.
An obstacle we continue to face is social media and advertising. We are allowed to have Facebook and Instagram accounts, but reaching people on these platforms is an entirely different story. We struggle with being shadow-banned on social media, meaning it is difficult for new audiences to find us. And technically, CBD products cannot be advertised on Facebook or Instagram, as they still consider it to be a mind-altering substance, similar to alcohol, which also cannot be directly advertised on these platforms.
What would you recommend to people interested in entering into the cannabis industry?
Before entering into the industry, people need to understand that there is still a mountain to climb when it comes to education and obstacles. There is still a lack of understanding of this miraculous plant, and you need to be ready to educate people. There is still plenty of opportunity in the cannabis industry. Just know that you will be stepping into the pioneer phase of the industry. Build your business with transparency, education, and high-quality products to help lift the entire industry to the next level.
Why is Marketing Broken?
Rick Shant Koletavitoglu is a serial tech entrepreneur and the Founder of 150birds, a platform that provides marketing teams to small businesses. Previously, Koletavitoglu founded CreatorDen, a marketplace providing influencer marketing for brands including Netflix, Wella, Pantene, Dell, P&G, Careem, and 100s more. For more information, visit www.150birds.com.
SmallBizLady: Why is marketing broken today?
Rick Koletavitoglu: In the last 10 years, we’ve seen an explosion of the number of Martech tools from 100 to more than 8000 – this should give you an idea of the magnitude of shift we see in the way advertising is done. From 1-way mass communication just 30 years ago, we are well on our way to a world where each step of the customer journey is personalized based on a variety of attributes we know about the buyer. Agencies don’t have access to real-time company data, which means they lag in the decision-making process. They also aren’t transparent, and their business model of hourly pricing leads to a misalignment in goals.
Freelancers are unreliable, and it’s impossible to get a team of marketers to function together over a long period of time. In-house hiring is expensive and not suitable for small businesses with limited budgets. So what ends up happening is that marketing is fragmented across specialists, and you don’t have a holistic marketing strategy from the get-go. Each agency wants to sell you their array of services, which is generally not the best solution for your business. What you really want is a one-stop-shop that will work with you to build out a holistic strategy that encompasses all the relevant marketing activities.
SmallBizLady: Why is holistic marketing important?
Rick Koletavitoglu: It is estimated that the average consumer sees anywhere from 5-10,000 ads daily. While it’s important to figure out what channel works best for your business and double down on it, we’ve found that spreading your marketing budget across several categories of marketing activities plays a positive impact on funnel conversion rates.
You don’t have to run as many ads as long as you’ve optimized every step of the customer journey; this will lead to higher conversion rates. What this really means is starting with buyer personas and competitors analysis, which help with positioning and messaging, and design style guide for consistency – we’ve developed a calculator that shows how each of these marketing activities plays an impact on increasing funnel conversion rates whether it’s for an email, search, or social campaign.
SmallBizLady: How are you fixing today’s marketing challenges?
Rick Koletavitoglu: We are fixing it by unbundling these marketing opportunities into structured plans, identifying what specialists are required and for what time period, and then coordinating the deliverables amongst team members and assuring the quality of the work. This is about providing higher-paying, long-term opportunities to the extent that it becomes the equivalent of full-time employment whilst retaining the independence that comes with being a freelancer. In the last decade, we saw the rise of the gig economy, low-end, short-term work being made accessible online. In this next decade, we will see the rise of the knowledge economy, which will consist of the specialized workforce plugging into platforms like 150birds to find long-term, more meaningful work.
How Can a Business Owner Operate in Their Ultimate Peak Performance
Joseph McClendon III is one of the most sought-after Ultimate Performance Specialists in the world. His unique techniques rapidly trigger the personal change that effectively moves you to take more consistent action and go Further Faster with your personal and business achievements. For more information, visit https://www.josephmcclendon.com/.
SmallBizLady: Does someone need to be a neuroscientist to understand how to reach their ultimate performance?
Joseph McClendon III: You do not need a neuroscience degree; you simply need a neuroscientist (who has been doing this successfully for decades) to train you in what actually works. It sounds complicated, and that’s because it involves a lot of complicated processes and systems, but the methods themselves are really quite simple and easy to apply.
SmallBizLady: How can Neuroscience help anyone run their business better?
Joseph McClendon III: No matter what business you’re in, at the end of the day, it takes people to run your business, and understanding how to get the best out of people, means getting the best out of your business. This is vitally important, especially if you are a solopreneur because your business can only go as far as your own capacity and ability. Additionally, all businesses must work with client and vendor relationships. Applying behavior-based, proven neuroscience methods to your interactions means getting more sales, more contracts, and more opportunities with way less friction and stress.
SmallBizLady: Do you need a daily mantra to be your most effective everyday with your business results?
Joseph McClendon III: Imagine waking up each day with the mentality: What do I GET to do today? Not saying it as a mantra or pump up, but actually knowing and believing it in your core. That’s what Neuroencoding does. It allows you to choose your default attitudes, behaviors, and responses you’ll have and program your brain or neuro-encode your mind so that you have the physical wiring to do what needs to be done. How? By employing the method of pattern interrupt…
Now imagine being able to do that with your clients, teams, and organizations! To anchor behaviors and attitudes, develop stronger connections, and…
Let’s say your business is consulting or coaching. Once you have programmed yourself, you can begin to use these methods with those you interact with, without them even knowing you are using optimized behaviors to optimize results.
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