Neil A. Carousso produces WCBS Newsradio 880’s Small Business Spotlight with Bloomberg Business reporter Joe Connolly. Click here to watch the weekly video segments with Tri-State Area entrepreneurs for tips on how you can grow sales and expand your business.
  
See Neil A. Carousso’s original reporting on American heroes and veterans-related issues on Entercom’s ConnectingVets.com platform.
  
Neil A. Carousso is the Segment Producer and Features Editor of The 880 Weekly Rewind with Lynda Lopez, airing Friday nights at 7 PM on WCBS Newsradio 880. Each week Lynda talks with newsmakers for a deep dive into the top stories of the week and the impact it has on people.

    Entertainment

  • Retailers Find Pandemic Success In Livestreaming E-Commerce

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    By Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Livestreaming e-commerce is the new hot trend that is changing the way retailers sell now and it’s leading to profitability for some business owners who had been struggling to survive.

    “They can sort of take consumers inside their brand,” said NTWRK president Moksha Fitzgibbons on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by BNB Bank.

    He told Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso that his video app became a marketplace for retailers small and large to become what “Shark Tank” investor and FUBU founder Daymond John called a virtual “events space” on WCBS 880.

    “NTWRK became, really emerged, as that place that consumers can go every day to be entertained, to be educated and get access to that highly desired product,” Fitzgibbons said.

    The startup doubled its sales from March to April and he expects growth of 600-700 percent year-over-year after seeing the value of connecting brands with willing buyers that purchase products on the NTWRK app as they watch and interact with owners and influencers live.

    NTWRK was founded in 2018. Fitzgibbons joined the company in October 2019 after a couple stints at Complex Networks where he served as chief revenue officer before moving to Valence Media as CRO where he played an integral role in the merger of Media Rights Capital, Dick Clark Productions, The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard.

    “Millennials have the most wealth of any generation before them, they aren’t embracing more expensive responsibilities like home ownership and things of that nature, so they’re spending on consumer products, and we’re connecting with them in a medium that’s endemic to them,” said Fitzgibbons.

    It’s not only a pandemic pivot, but also a way to grow a retail business – an industry that’s been battered by the growing convenience of e-commerce, the health crisis and recession.

    Fitzgibbons, who will lend his expertise to business owners of various industries on the WCBS BNB Bank Virtual Business Breakfast on Thursday, October 15, told Connolly and Carousso about how one Manhattan designer, Jeff Staple, has benefited from using NTWRK the past six months.

    “What we offer him is an opportunity for him to reach a massive audience outside of New York City, which is his core, and introduce the brand to new consumers and ultimately drive new revenues for him,” he said.

    This speaks to customer behavior over the past decade that’s been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic and its related retail shutdowns. Fitzgibbons told WCBS 880 he saw engagement with younger customers, who are willing to spend, increase since March. He believes that could be credited to how customers have been trained subconsciously to buy necessities on e-commerce websites like Amazon for convenience rather than go to the store.

    “The same will be true with NTWRK, although, we will be curated and have a point of view and sort of be that Barneys/Dover Street-type of experience for this demographic,” he said.

    Business owners are encouraged to make their own video content out of their home or store, but NTWRK also offers a video production team and a studio where they collaborate with social media influencers and celebrities to endorse products on a livestream that is watched by prospective customers whom the video app service finds for the retailer.

    Moksha Fitzgibbons will share how any business owner can earn a substantial return on investment through livestream e-commerce at the WCBS BNB Bank Virtual Business Breakfast on Thursday, October 15 at 9 AM. Share your questions for Moksha, Joe Connolly and the panel by leaving a message on our listener line at (877) 987-WCBS, and follow the prompts, and we may use your question during the event.

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  • Barbara Corcoran Told Her ‘Shark Tank’ Companies To Reinvent To Survive

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    By Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK(WCBS 880) — Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran says 80 percent of the businesses she has invested in on “Shark Tank” will not survive the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    “The minute this problem started, I said, ‘Sit down and make a list of where every piece of your business comes from, and then, make, right next to it, a list of how you can replace it cause it ain’t going to be there anymore,'” Corcoran told Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso of her conversations with the owners of the roughly 80 businesses she bought stake in on the hit ABC reality television program.

    Corcoran said on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by BNB Bank, that only a few owners took her seriously when she told them to incorporate a tight team of workers into making decisions on reinventing themselves. Those that did “hit the floor running.”

    She said business owners who are persistent and tenacious in their approach are the “warriors” who will survive the recession. She also emphasized communication with customers while working to actively sell current and new products and services.

    “I’ve never seen a new business survive if it’s not led by a salesman,” Corcoran said, adding, “If you can’t sell your way out of a pickle, you don’t have a chance.”

    She said if an entrepreneur can demonstrate he or she is a master of selling themselves and their business on “Shark Tank,” she’ll “buy anything.”

    But, Barbara explained that getting on the show is not a true test of success even though it’s an arduous vetting process.

    “When I’m in business with someone three months, maybe four months the most, it’s when the crap hits the fan, what do they do about it? The minute they start blaming somebody else, I know they’re a victim, they’re never going to make it,” she said.

    On the flip side, Corcoran told Connolly and Carousso that those owners who take responsibility and actively look for solutions, are the successful business leaders with whom she is making profits.

    She also told WCBS 880 that the model for a successful entrepreneur is their track record as a person. Overcoming failure and obstacles in life is an indication to Corcoran that she should invest in the person’s business.

    “When I can spot somebody who’s been injured with something to prove, they get a burn in their chest that’s going to make them succeed if they’re hard workers,” she remarked. “I’m looking for that hustler.”

    Meanwhile, with tens of millions of Americans unemployed amid the COVID-19 outbreak and business shutdowns, Corcoran is seeing a sizable shift in the real estate market with people fleeing the City for suburbs in New Jersey and Connecticut. The Corcoran Group owner says employers see their employees working efficiently at home and will cut unnecessary brick and mortar costs. U.S. office vacancy will rise from 16.8 percent to 19.4 percent by year’s end, according to Moody’s Analytics REIS estimates. Corcoran sees that as good news for tenants who have taken negotiating power from landlords.

    Barbara Corcoran Told Her ‘Shark Tank’ Companies to Reinvent to Survive

    ‪SOUND ON 🔊: Office vacancy is expected to rise as we are acclimated to our work from home space. I asked Barbara Corcoran her outlook on the the real estate market on the WCBS Newsradio 880 Small Business Spotlight Podcast with Joe Connolly. 🦈🎙🇺🇸‬‪More: https://wcbs880.radio.com/articles/news/barbara-corcoran-told-companies-to-reinvent-to-survive

    Posted by Neil A. Carousso on Wednesday, June 10, 2020

    “The value per foot has got to drop substantially for the landlord to attract tenants and he’s going to have to become a salesman,” she said.

    But, Barbara is bullish on the Big Apple.

    “I have such confidence in the City. I have no doubt that the City will chug like it always does. We’re just going to hesitate and push forward,” Corcoran, who has lived in New York since she was 22 years old, said, punctuating, “I think it may recover faster than we think.”

    She remembers seeing how the country rallied around New York City after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the “love” Americans displayed while embracing their fellow countrymen and women. She recalled she told her Corcoran Group sales team the real estate market would get “hot within 6 months” and it did with a new crop of buyers.

    “I had that deep faith that the City always recovers,” said Corcoran.

    Hear innovative and actionable ideas from Barbara Corcoran for business survival with examples from “Shark Tank” on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight Podcast on the RADIO.COM app or on the media player above.

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  • ‘Shark Tank’ Star Daymond John Reveals Creative Business Solutions To Survive Coronavirus Pandemic

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    By Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880)  Entrepreneur Daymond John, an investor on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” is encouraging his businesses to think outside the box to survive the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

    “Once you know what you have with your staff and what you have with your inventory, find out who else out there you can collaborate with,” John told Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight focusing on small business survival, sponsored by BNB Bank.

    The FUBU founder and bestselling author of “Power Shift: Transform Any Situation, Close Any Deal and Achieve any Outcome” pointed to Cowboy Fitness, based in Utah and Colorado, which he invested in on season 4 of “Shark Tank,” as an example of how business owners should pivot.

    “They basically loaned (their members) the equipment, and then, now, he does video conferences, kind of like a Peloton,” John said, adding that Cowboy Fitness retained most of its members by creating a new service.

    They have also secured partnerships with local stores that are shuttered and suffering from the lack of foot traffic. The retailers sell athletic apparel to its gym members at a 30 percent discount. In turn, Cowboy Fitness earns 5 percent on each sale. John calls this a “win-win” solution.

    The 51-year-old businessman says technological advancements have been implemented much faster because of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing companies to develop new efficiencies and work-from-home policies. The fashion brand expert says traditional retail will not be able to bounce back without making vast changes to its business model.

    “If I had Macy’s, one of the most famous and iconic retailers in the world, I would have cameras in there that are showing people’s style or various other things that people can feel like they can go in there because they’re an influencer,” John said, emphasizing, “They have to really make sure they become more of an events space than anything else.”

    At The Shark Group, which he founded in 2009, John advises businesses on product awareness and developing genuine, innovative approaches to grow brands. One of the companies he works with is Bombas, a sock company founded by Dave Heath, whose core mission is to donate one pair of socks to the homeless community for every pair bought.

    “The millennials today, and people today, they want to say I didn’t give one time at the end of the year, I gave 400 times,” John explained. “How do you find ways to add more value to the person and barter in your deals?”

    That’s what he is looking for on “Shark Tank:” Companies that are not only making money, but also demonstrate authenticity and passion for the communities they serve.

    “I’m trying to find out if I like the entrepreneur personally, if I feel that I could communicate with them, I could add value to them, they’re a problem solver not a problem creator and whether this business works out or not, we’ll do another business together,” he said.

    John took Connolly and Carousso behind the scenes of the reality TV show, telling WCBS 880 that the Sharks are competitive and the negotiating among the millionaires and billionaires is “real.”

    “You don’t want to get embarrassed on national television by Mark Cuban or Barbara (Corcoran) beating you out in front of everybody,” John said.

    He revealed “Shark Tank” pitches can last up to two hours, but viewers only see 8 minutes. Finalizing deals can last months after the taping as the Sharks vet businesses carefully before writing a check out of their own bank accounts.

    When asked if he believes entrepreneurs are born or made, the Queens native said it’s “instinct,” elaborating that people are often discouraged from starting their own businesses because of difficulty or the dismissive attitude that it’s “never been done before.” But, John had already started a few businesses before he was 18 when he launched FUBU, now worth about $400 million, out of his home in Hollis.

    While driving around Queens, his mother, Margot, encouraged him to follow his dreams. She said, as John recalled, “Every single thing around here started with one person that had one idea that took one action. Why can that not be you?”

    “I started by selling hats on the corner in 1989 and I had sold $800 worth of hats in one hour,” he said of his first designed ski caps that he made by hand. “I just had to sow a straight line to really figure out how to make these hats.”

    He closed that business three times between 1989 and 1992 because he ran out of money. But, his shirts became popular, in part, because he loaned them to local artists on the rise who wore FUBU T-shirts in music videos.

    John’s mother took him to trade shows around the country where he earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales. But, he needed inventory. As an inexperienced young businessman, he was unable to secure a loan from a bank, so Margot took out a $100,000 loan on her house that John said was only worth $75,000.

    “I sell all the furniture in my house, move in industrial sowing machines, sleep in sleeping bags next to the sowing machines,” he said of his hustle.

    He also worked at Red Lobster at night to make money to invest into his dream clothing business that he operated during the day.

    John said he bought an advertisement in The New York Times or New York Daily News seeking investors to provide the funding he needed to fill orders and move FUBU out of his home in Hollis.

    “Thirty-three people called. 30 of them were loan sharks or Kevin O’Leary-type of people,” his fellow “Shark Tank” star quipped. “One of them was Samsung’s textile division.”

    They signed a deal for Samsung to take over manufacturing, reducing costs, and John learned a lesson in business he would later impart on others while living the American Dream.

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  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman Opens Up On Being Held at Gunpoint: ‘What Am I, Pablo Escobar?’

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    By Jacquie Cadorette

    Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman sat down with Anthony Scaramucci and his wife, Deidre Scaramucci, to open up about his experience with being nearly arrested for driving a “stolen” car. Turns out, the situation was more embarrassing than anything else.

    The Scaramuccis recorded their RADIO.COM Original podcast, “Mooch and the Mrs.,” live from New York City’s Hunt & Fish Club in Times Square on Tuesday. When Cashman took the stage, Deidre couldn’t resist asking him about the details of his near-arrest.

    Cashman begins by explaining what happened. Back in August, he went outside in the morning to take a cruise in his convertible Jeep, only to find that the car had been stolen. The car was soon recovered without damages.

    Upon retrieving the car and driving back to his home, Cashman quickly learned that the vehicle had not yet been taken off of the “stolen” list. He was pulled over, held at gunpoint, and asked to raise his hands above his head.

    As terrifying as the situation sounds, Cashman remembers one overwhelming emotion: embarrassment. “I wasn’t scared, I was embarrassed,” he explains. Patrons of a nearby Starbucks saw the whole thing.

    The Yankees GM could only imagine what they must have been thinking. He continues, “They’re thinking, ‘What am I, Pablo Escobar?’”

    Still, Cashman lauds the NYPD for their fast acting, despite having mistaken Cashman for a thief. “I give a huge applause to them,” he says of the incident.

    Cashman’s got one confession regarding the whole ordeal. “I just didn’t want the body cam footage coming out,” he explains.

    You can hear more about Scaramucci and his guests by downloading the RADIO.COM app here.

    Neil A. Carousso executive produced the “Mooch and the Mrs.” live event at Hunt & Fish Club in Times Square on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, including leading event planning, guest booking, activation, sales, and technical, digital and engineering support. 

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  • ‘RHONJ’ Alum Jacqueline Laurita Says New Podcast ‘Lets Her Let Loose’

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    By Tarrah Gibbons, RADIO.COM

    Several guests appeared on the live taping of RADIO.COM original podcast, “Mooch and the Mrs.” on Tuesday night including “Real Housewives of New Jersey” alum Jacqueline Laurita.

    During their conversation, Laurita talked about her RADIO.COM original podcast “The LookOver Ladies.”

    The podcast features just about any topics that are on a woman’s mind.

    Jacqueline Laurita, the host and former housewife of seven seasons, joins her girlfriends Jill Ashley and Melissa Polo as they talk about their hectic and exciting lives. “It’s our platform to let loose and talk about things that women love to talk about,” she said.

    “We all have backgrounds in beauty, health, wellness, fashion,” Laurita said. “We touch on all that but then we always go off on tangents and just start talking [about] random, inappropriate things,” she continued.

    But the “Real Housewives” star has never been shy when it comes to her personal life. She recently shared that her son, Nicholas, has autism.

    “My life is very autism focused. I have a son with autism. I help families that are affected by autism all the time.,” Laurita said.

    She uses her real-life experiences to help other families who have children with autism. Laurita said she coaches them to live healthy lives every day.

    In terms of her podcast, she sees it as an opportunity to escape the craziness of day-to-day life. “This is my kind of release to let go of all that and just be a girl,” she said.

    “The LookOver Ladies” can be found on the RADIO.COM app and everywhere podcasts are available.

    Neil A. Carousso executive produced the “Mooch and the Mrs.” live event at Hunt & Fish Club in Times Square on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, including leading event planning, guest booking, activation, sales, and technical, digital and engineering support. 

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