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Looking to sell stuff online? A .store domain can help you stand out.

Looking to sell stuff online? A .store domain can help you stand out.

TL;DR: As of Jan. 25, score a .store domain extension for your online shop starting at only $4.99.


Launching an online store is simpler than ever in 2021. In fact, practically anyone with a basic knowledge of the internet can launch a digital storefront from home. 

But with that ease comes a different problem: over-saturation. It’s hard to find a catchy domain name that’s actually available. Sure, it’s the content of your website that matters most, but how are people going to find that content if you’re stuck using a clunky URL?

You can attract more customers, save time and money, and let your URL do some of the talking for you by opting for a .store domain extension. Read more…

More about Small Business, Domain Names, Mashable Shopping, Culture, and Work Life

Kanarys raises $3 million for its data-driven platform to assess diversity and inclusion efforts

Mandy Price was already a highly successful lawyer in private practice before she took the jump into entrepreneurship alongside two co-founders to launch Kanarys a little over one year ago.

The Harvard Law School graduated didn’t have to start her company, which helps businesses measure the efficacy of their diversity and inclusion efforts using hard data, but she needed to start the company.

Now, a year after its launch, the company counts companies like Yum Brands, the Dallas Mavericks, and Neiman Marcus among the dozen or so companies using its service and has $3 million in seed funding to help it expand.

For Price, the drive to launch Kanarys came from her own experiences working in law. It wasn’t the microagressions, or the lower pay, or casually dismissive attitude of colleagues toward her well-earned success that led Price to start Kanarys, but the knowledge that her experience wasn’t unique and that thousands of other women and minorities faced the same experiences daily.

I have had many things happen to me in the workplace that is similar to what many other women and women of color have dealt with and didn’t want to have my children have to go through similar issues,” Price said. 

So alongside her husband, Bennie King (himself a serial entrepreneur in the Dallas area), and her University of Texas at Austin and Harvard classmate, Star Carter, Price launched Kanarys in late 2019.

The company uses Equal Employment Opportunity reports and assessments of various policies involving promotion, recruitment, and benefits to track how a company is performing in relation to its industry peers.

“A lot of the inequities we see are from a structural and systemic standpoint. That is where Kanarys can see how they’re perpetuating inequity,” Price said. 

Kanarys starts with an independent assessment of a company’s policies and practices and then conducts quarterly surveys with employees of its customers to see how well they are meeting their stated goals and objectives. They also integrate with existing human resources systems to track things like pay equity and promotions.

The service has attracted the attention of the Rise of the Rest fund, Morgan Stanley, Jigsaw Ventures, Segal Ventures and Zeal Capital Partners, which led the company’s $3 million seed round.

“Organizations have typically tried to address this with individual interventions,” said Price. “What we’re saying is we have to address it on both fronts. So much of the inequities that we see are based off of institutional and systemic policies and practices.”

Not only does Kanarys track information on diversity and inclusion efforts for customers, but for job seekers there’s a database of about 1,000 companies which operates like Glassdoor . The focus is not just on worker satisfaction, but on how employees view the diversity efforts their employers are undertaking.

Notably, Kanarys founders join the (far-too-few) ranks of Black entrepreneurs launching businesses and raising venture capital. In 2017, studies showed that 98 percent of venture capital raised in the U.S. went to men, according to data provided by the company. Black entrepreneurs in general receive less than one percent of venture capital, and Black women founders make up only 0.6 percent of venture capital funding raised. 

“We know that a focus on DEI in business is not just the right thing to do for employees, it also makes good business sense,” said Price, CEO and co-founder of Kanarys, in a statement. “Kanarys’ DEI data arms companies, for the first time, to make precise, immediate, and informed decisions using real, intersectional metrics around their diversity goals and inclusion programs that ultimately drive bottom-line business objectives.”

 

Despite the pandemic, small business optimism persists

Businesses and consumers alike are finding ways to adapt and stay resilient during these unprecedented times. Though recovery may take time, a new report confirms the strength of entrepreneurialism and grit of small business owners, who remain optimistic that their businesses will overcome any present and future obstacle with the right resources and preparedness.

Even amidst the pandemic, the survey showed 75% of small business owners are optimistic about their business’s recovery.

In the inaugural American Express Entrepreneurial Spirit Trendex, which polled 1,000 small and midsized businesses, revealed notable insights about the entrepreneurial spirit in the United States. Even amidst the pandemic, the survey showed 75% of small business owners are optimistic about their business’s recovery and 82% feel that they are better prepared to handle a future crisis.

They continue to believe in their business and pursuing what they love. Of those surveyed, 81% believe the benefits of owning their own business outweigh the challenges, including financial stability, being their own boss, turning their passion project into a business and flexibility to set their own hours. The study uncovered more insights showing the current mindset of small businesses.

Small businesses are actively seeking advice

In order to successfully navigate these unprecedented times, business owners are searching for resources that can properly aid them. Businesses are actively seeking virtual business conferences and webinars (47%), virtual networking events (44%), advice and resources about leading through a crisis (44%) and learning ways to destress and stay mindful (42%).

Cash flow is top of mind

No surprise during an economic crisis, over 81% of business owners are prioritizing cash flow management and are identifying ways to cut back spending and increase sales, namely by moving services online. The survey found the top activities are:

  • Increasing marketing efforts (41%).
  • Increasing products/services online (40%).
  • Cutting expenses (36%).
  • Diversifying revenue streams (35%).

Pivot, then repeat

It would be difficult to find a small business that didn’t need to adapt their operations in some form due to the pandemic. It was the year of pivots for so many, and the survey finds the trend will continue into next year.

According to the data, 76% of business owners have pivoted or are in the process of pivoting their business model to maintain revenue, and among those that already pivoted, 73% expect to pivot again in the next year. Staying nimble to meet the demand of new market needs and demands is crucial to maintaining the health of your business, whether there is a pandemic or not.

Taking a stand

Aside from navigating the pandemic, business owners are also facing a historic moment in the fight for racial justice. Many business owners (43%) are fighting for change through public statements against racial injustice or monetary contributions to a racial justice organizations.

Business owners are also making change within their organizations, as 73% of those surveyed aim to increase diversity in the workplace. Top-of-mind actions include:

  • Completely changing their company culture to make diverse employees feel more included (54%).
  • Changing their hiring and recruiting processes (47%).
  • Making measurable commitments to addressing racial injustice in the future (47%).

This year has taken a toll on so many small businesses, yet the data shows the entrepreneurial spirit remains strong with a drive to push onward, improve and succeed. The full report from American Express is available here.