=SPACE Sharespace & Incubator presents our 2020 EOY Report. This report showcases the hard work our team put into making this a successful year. We care about the well-being of our community members; and about the future of entrepreneurship, generational wealth, and true excellence. We are the future and will continue to fight for our mission to provide equal space, opportunity, and resources.
CHECK OUT OUR 2020 END OF YEAR SIZZLE REEL TOO!
Businesses are everywhere and competition is tight in almost every industry. One of the most common questions entrepreneurs get is “what is your unique selling point?” as this essentially sets a business apart. However, there are brands that still get confused whenever they’re probed about their business.
Suffering from brand confusion means being unable to articulate what your business is all about. In this day and age, it is challenging for business leaders to train all their employees in knowing the brand at heart especially with the ongoing pandemic. Apart from your staff, you cannot also expect your customers to communicate your business in the most precise manner possible if you are confused about the brand yourself. Ready to lose your credibility if that’s always the case. We’ve prepared some steps below which you can take to clarify your brand, avoiding brand confusion. Let’s get started!
Define and understand your core. Your mission, vision, and values make up the foundation of your brand that you should be carrying in your head every time. From your company pamphlet to the customer experience and product quality you put out there should be reflecting your core. Pursuing something without having any backbone is just a waste of time. You cannot move in the right direction without understanding why you’re there in the first place. This is crucial in your brand strategy as you operationalize your big idea.
The way you are perceived by your target audience can be traced back to your branding after all. This significantly affects your profits and customer retention. Therefore, if you haven’t ironed out your core yet, better start now. You need to ask yourself why your company exists, how you plan to achieve your vision, and what are your moral compasses. All these should be aligned with one another.
Develop and stay with your guidelines. Once you’ve grasped your core, you should start expounding your strategy alongside the brand guidelines that everyone must stick with. Consistency is key to ensure that all your stakeholders can easily identify your brand. You will be able to set up the guidelines once you’ve had a brand positioning exercise where you outline your audience, market, and goals. Upon understanding the pattern of how your customers perceive and engage with your brand, it would be wise to create customer profiles and then come up with key messages that are tailored for them.
Next thing to consider is the visuals that highly impact the level of brand awareness. Though, again, you should have done your research first and know your brand core by heart before even exploring other technicalities. Your visual identity basically encapsulates the imagery, typography, logo, and color palette of your brand. Needless to say, your logo should well represent what your business stands for. Think about it thoroughly and hire a designer. The colors and typography you will be consistently using will also invoke emotions and certain perceptions from your audiences so make sure they’re aligned with what you want to project. It’s the same with imagery where you’ll want to show the positive effect of your brand to both existing and potential customers.
Establish your brand persona. In doing so, you should have a clear idea of the levels of humor, enthusiasm, formality, and respect your brand is willing to take on. You can then create the voice and tone of your messaging without going beyond what’s apt for your brand. Constantly changing how you speak to your audience will only confuse them what kind of brand they’re subscribing to and would lessen the chances of them relating to you.
Make sure that your persona is also consistent across all your platforms. You wouldn’t want to have your website full of technicalities while your e-newsletter is sounding friendly. Stick with one persona that you think your customers can identify with. An approach that you may want to apply is exploring brand archetypes which are easily searchable to evaluate how you can comprehensively establish your own voice. One thing to note is that your tone can change depending on the context of the subject unlike your voice which should stay the same. Add this to your brand guidelines once you’ve finalized your persona.
Audit and align with your team. Don’t be too complacent after you’ve covered your bases. Consistently audit everything you’ve put out there including your social media posts, ads, and flyers among many others. It could be easier to have a tracking software or document that will allow you to see all your assets in one place.
Touch base with your team from time to time as well. Make sure that you all agree on a singular message so that the answer to what your business is all about would be something that is top of mind. When coming up with a concise answer, consider the problem you’re trying to solve and the reward of subscribing to your proposed solution.
These are only four doable ways that can help you and your team avoid brand confusion. Remember to establish the backbone first of your brand before zeroing in on the execution. You can also involve your teammates in planning the best way to project your brand and evaluate the strategy every now and then. Now, don’t waste any time and start your branding journey!
Join us for Newark Small Business Week! =SPACE and Invest Newark have partnered to present Small Business Week; a series dedicated to bringing equitable resources to our booming city of Newark, leading them to success and continued growth. This is a 5 day experience for new and seasoned entrepreneurs, full of workshops, courses, and other events to help you build your business. With =SPACE’s focus on providing equitable access to resources for multicultural founders, LGBTQ+ businesses, and women ventures. Invest Newark’s primary focus is on advancing Newark’s strong and diverse economy; we are simultaneously building vibrant communities and opportunities for all Newarkers. Small Business Week is the ultimate experience for entrepreneurs of all types and stages.
The week kicks off on Day 1 (Nov 8th) with an Opening Night event (6:00 PM). This evening event will feature =SPACE and Invest Newark highlighting a prestigious small business owner in the community, following up with kind words from our Mayor about the importance of innovation and development within the City of Newark. Day 2 (Nov 9th) starts off with a Newark Diversity Certification Expo (9:30 AM) — and expo aimed to ensure Newark-based small businesses are competing for opportunities to grow their businesses. The event will take place at The Waterfront: 2 Grafton Ave, Newark, NJ. In the afternoon of Day 2 (5:00 PM) there will be a Sustainable Financial Planning meeting with Francis Picarillo, Allied Wealth. Focus: How can you build an iron-clad financial sustainability plan for your business? This event will take place at =SPACE: 89 Market Street, Floor 2, Newark, NJ
Day 2’s (Nov 10th) events include a ‘Lunch & Learn: Meet the Experts’ (12 PM) at the Robert Treat Hotel (50 Park Place, Newark, NJ) and ‘Building Customer Acquisition and Retention’ (5 PM) — a workshop focused on how can business owners can build their customer base and understand their target audience. The workshop will take place at =SPACE: 89 Market Street, Floor 2, Newark, NJ. (Attendees must be masked and/or vaccinated — with proof)
Day Four’s (Nov 11th) events will be ‘Life’s A Pitch – How to Properly and Effectively Pitch The Media’ at 5 PM with Tequilla White, Tequilla White PR. The focus of this discussion will be: How can you secure press for your business and build relationships with the media? Taking place at =SPACE: 89 Market Street, Floor 2, Newark, NJ. (Attendees must be masked and/or vaccinated — with proof)
The final day of Newark Small Business Week is Nov 12th: Day 5. Join us for our Closing Night Concert (6PM) where we will conclude SBW by celebrating all the small business owners (SBOs) that attended with musical performances and one of a kind artwork by The Rorshach Collective. SBW will be honored with kind words from our Mayor about the importance of innovation and development within the City of Newark. This event will take place at The InQbator at Teacher’s Village: 26 Treat Place, Newark, NJ.
The World Health Organization (2020) defines burnout as a syndrome that transpired from chronic workplace stress which has not been successfully managed. It is usually manifested by experiencing feelings of energy exhaustion or depletion, increased mental distance from the job or negative outlook towards one’s career, and reduced professional productivity.
Burnout is not a new terminology for employees since many of them, in different demographic backgrounds, experience stress, fatigue, and mental health challenges from time to time. However, it has gotten worse in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Burnout not only affected employees but also organizations in terms of employee retention. Worth noting, eighty-four percent of millennials mentioned that they have experienced some type of burnout at their current job and nearly half of them had to leave their jobs for good, (Deloitte, 2021).
Moreover, based on pre-pandemic data as cited by Threlkeld (2021), 52% of all workers feel burned out from work — a percentage that increased by 9% from a previous study with more than two-thirds (or 67%) believing that the pandemic aggravated or worsened their burnout. While one may think that burnout is only common to regular team members, managers or leaders are just as likely to suffer frequent or constant burnout, (Gallup, 2019). And just like any other employee, employee burnout may lead to lower levels of self-confidence, motivation, and productivity which can threaten their job satisfaction, retention, relationships, and overall contribution to business success. Many leaders have resolved such issues by acknowledging the situation first and then accept that they need to leverage their efforts for self-care and mental health. Never ever let the time pass and think it would go away like a bad flu, it is not a strategy that works and this may only lead to stress accumulation. The best way to do it start today with these tips:
- Improve your communication channels.
You need a reliable tool or system for communicating with your colleagues as this is the simplest way to boost employee engagement which can both be beneficial to you and them. Allot 30 minutes of your daily work time for check-ins or vibe checking. This presents an ideal way to practice positive speech and make everyone, including yourself, heard and listened to. Find out what everyone else is feeling at the time they clock in for work and you can share your own thoughts too. It does not have to be all negative, perhaps everyone can share what also keeps them busy these days and learn from one another. In the context of work, you can try implementing asynchronous communication. This can help leaders strategize at their own pace and relieve the pressure of responding immediately.
- Add flair to your normal work routine.
Doing regular engaging virtual events can aid the whole team to connect and lessen the daily work pressure. To boost employee engagement including your own, you can arrange and host events via a teleconferencing app. These events include:
- A virtual hangout – online coffee, tea, or wine party where everyone can talk, gossip, and share experiences as they would in the physical office
- A virtual awards night – recognizing small wins is one way to uplift everyone’s spirit especially during these times. This can be done by dishing out certificates or electronic badges.
- A wellness program – directed at prevailing issues and their solutions in the workplace like healthy habits, risks to productivity, or maintaining work-and-life balance.
- Try a different workspace.
Coworking spaces are effective. They are essentially shared spaces offered at affordable rates for those looking to escape the isolation of a home or physical office. Independent contractors and freelancers can use a coworking space to develop flexibility and diversity. To get a breath of fresh air and renew your energy and motivation levels, go somewhere different.
- Create a flexible schedule for everyone.
Be the change you want to see in the world, they say. If you long for something that might work for you, it can also be the thing that might work for everyone. Knowing when you and other people work best can pay off in their productivity and efficiency. This can increase your chance of having satisfied employees. Schedule flexibility can provide for the work-life balance your company encourages.
- Revisit your mental health and wellness benefits.
Take advantage of your PTOs and use them based on your needs. When you feel like you need to take your hands off from your laptop and disconnect for a while, you may feel free to do so on account that you make pre-leave arrangements to ensure everyone still works despite your being away. With this, you are modeling a behavior that responds to what your mental health needs so that you can encourage others to do the same and this can free everyone from the risks of burnout.
Sure that as a leader you are morally obligated to ensure that all your team members are happy, motivated, and satisfied with their jobs but do not forget yourself in this process. You are also an employee. You also get tired, exhausted, and demotivated, just like everyone else. Luckily, you have this list with you to make sure you will never have to deal with burnout in the same old way again.
JOIN US FOR A MOVIE IN THE PARK – Thursday, July 29, 8pm
We are excited to present Moonlight, a powerful, coming-of-age story during Newark Pride Month, in collaboration with the Newark Museum of Art. Our founder, Citi Medina, will be opening the night with an introduction to the movie and welcoming attendees to this experience.
This event is FREE and no registration is required.
Event starts at 8pm, movie starts at 8:30pm.
RIVERSIDE FRONT PARK: 730 Raymond Boulevard, Newark, NJ (Riverside)
Directed by Barry Jenkins. (111 min). Rated R.
A young African American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.
The film will be screened in English with Spanish subtitles.
September 11th – 13th | BREAKOUTFEST
Register HERE: https://www.breakout.today/breakoutfest
SEPTEMBER 17th | ‘DISCLOSURE’ NETFLIX PARTY WITH PRIDE CENTER NWK
Register HERE: https://bit.ly/tran2L1VESmatter
SEPTEMBER 28th | MASTER SPACE 5 DAY COURSE WITH TAKEYAH YOUNG
Register HERE: https://bit.ly/MASTERwTAKEYAH
RSVP LINK: https://bit.ly/mark3tspac3
Join =SPACE & Makerhoods as we support local makers, artists, and creatives on September 26th! =SPACE is presenting a new virtual venture, The Market SPACE, in collaboration with Makerhoods. This event was created in recognition of the innovation and creativity of our local artisans. A lot of these entrepreneurs have been hit hard by recent events and we want to give back.
=SPACE has always been a sharedspace dedicated to opportunity and resources, and to our community’s prosperity. This is especially the case when it comes to the well-being, health, and safety of the people who work in and use our space.
We have taken the last couple of months to prepare new guidelines. These guidelines were put together with the help of medical experts, government officials, our partners, and of course, the =SPACE Team. As a sharespace dedicated to being a resource, we are committed to doing all we can to keep every person that walks through our doors healthy.
General Building Updates:
The entire building air filtration system will be upgraded, to increase ventilation.
There will be a maximum of 2 people on our elevators, we will provide a stairwell option during normal business hours.
Coworking Area Updates:
24 inch plexiglass partisans will be added to the 24/7 dedicated desks
Conference room: Limit of 6 persons at any given time
Podcast studio: Limit of 2-3 persons at any given time
Multimedia studio: Limit of 6 persons at any given time
Huddle room: limit of 1 person at any given time
Kitchen: All seating has been removed, and enforcing an “as needed” protocol for time spent in the kitchen
- Spacers will have access to biodegradable plates and utensils
Mandatory use of face masks while in general space with other spacers. While in private office, masks are not required
Maximum of 30 people allowed per floor
All visitors will need to wear a mask in any and all common areas to enter space
No walk-ins are allowed, people will need to schedule their meetings to enter the space
No third party visitors, it is preferred that meetings are held virtually instead of in person
Visitors will be screened upon entry, they will be asked to sign a confirmation of health
- ES team has digression to turn away visitors if ES team has reason to believe the visitor in question displays COVID-like symptoms
- ES will be recording each individual that enters ES, who they came in contact with and touch points recorded to help track should someone that has been in ES contract COVID-19
Event Protocol Updates:
No in person events larger than <30 people standing; sitting: 20 people max in event space and 10 people max on secondary floor, to attend virtually through a livestream
- No same-day, in-person registration for events [unless attend we max has not been reached]
All attendees and staff are required to wear masks at all times (excluding moments when eating or drinking) – all masks must cover the nose and mouth
- High-risk individuals are encouraged to attend virtually, otherwise they will be seated in back areas [with less contact] and heavily ventilated areas
Routine sanitizing of all surfaces both in the front and back of the house will take place every hour throughout an event
Pre and post event, all touch points will be sanitized
- These areas will be cleaned and disinfected regularly [per usual], particularly high-touch surfaces such as faucets, toilets, stall doors, doorknobs, countertops, diaper changing tables, and light switches
- We already clean and disinfect restrooms daily , but we will be doing it more often, with EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19
- We will be spraying air disinfectant pre and post event to handle droplets in air
An =SPACE Rep will be at the elevator to ensure it is not overcrowded
Attendees leaving will be encouraged to exit via stairs to reduce elevator congestion
No open buffet, catering is permitted as long as they follow correct guidelines:
- The employees from the catering company have to be checked by their employer
- Their employer needs to sign a health confirmation document stating that they ensure their employees are not suffering from any symptoms, covered their hands and faces while prepping the food, will continue to do so when delivering, and were temperature checked before arriving at our venue
- Only offer sealed box/container meals and sealed personal drinks with utensils (preferably biodegradable)
- Offer no touch delivery
NJEDA will award a total of $45 million in federal CARES Act funding to small businesses. To support the Governor’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, $15 million will be reserved for businesses in Opportunity Zone-eligible census tracts, $15 million of Phase 2 funding will be set aside to support qualified businesses located in one of the 715 census tracts that were eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone.
NJEDA has collaborated with a multitude of NJ organizations and businesses to provide info-webinars on eligibility, application processing, and will answer any other questions you may have. The upcoming webinars are below:
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3RD
LGBTQIA x EDA Webinar
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST
Carlos Medina Statewide Hispanic Chamber x EDA Webinar
5:00 – 6:00 PM EST
Prospect Park x EDA Webinar
6:00 – 7:00 PM EST
THURSDAY, JUNE 4TH
Port Authority x EDA Webinar
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EST
NJ/NY MSDC x EDA Webinar
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST
Newark Alliance x EDA Webinar
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST
FRIDAY, JUNE 5TH
Montclair Center BID x EDA Webinar
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EST
Meeting ID: 839 7573 0814
Senator Ruiz x EDA Webinar
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST
ZOOM Meeting ID: 968 6997 6077
NJ State Chamber, Booker, NJBIA x EDA Webinar
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST
Latino Legislative x EDA Webinar
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST