Neil A. Carousso produces and co-hosts WCBS Newsradio 880’s Small Business Spotlight series with Joe Connolly. Click here to watch the weekly video segments featuring advice for business owners on survival, recovery and growth opportunities.

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  • How to Negotiate Anything from Business Deals to Dinner with Confidence

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    By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — There have been countless books written about negotiating, but only one man is considered the “World’s Best Negotiator.”

    That’s Herb Cohen who has made business deals, advised presidents and even helped settle a baseball strike. His son Rich Cohen, a Wall Street Journal columnist and acclaimed author, shares some of his “timeless” lessons on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.

    1. Don’t Run Yourself Out of a Negotiation

    Cohen said most people make business negotiations more complicated than they need to be.

    “Often, dumb is better than smart, and inarticulate is better than articulate,” he said.

    He suggested a technique he often uses in news interviews: ask “who, huh and why.”

    “Sometimes you get in a situation where the best thing to do is to not talk. And that creates kind of an awkward silence and into that awkward silence, People will fill it in with things they shouldn’t tell you.”

    2. Know Your ‘Real’ Deadline

    Herb Cohen famously negotiated the release of American hostages from Iran. Rich told WCBS 880 the strategy his father used in 1981 can apply to anything in life or business today.

    “Figure out what the real deadline is and to do that, you have to figure out the other side’s needs,” said Cohen. “With the Iran hostage crisis, (my father) looked at the Iranians and all these deadlines had been set. And he said for the Iranians, ultimately the deadline became the inauguration of Ronald Reagan.”

    Reagan had aimed strong rhetoric at the Iranians who feared the incoming president would “carpet bomb” them if they didn’t release the hostages. The crisis was settled during President Reagan’s inauguration on January 20, 1981.

    3. Take Yourself Out of the Situation

    The elder Cohen recommends people should never negotiate for themselves, because they are too personally invested.

    Rich Cohen said, instead, do your research and have someone negotiate for you.

    “Gather as much as you can and then try as an exercise to see the problem or the deal, how it looks through the eyes of your opponent,” Cohen said, continuing, “You have to figure out how the world looks to that other person, what they care about, and then use that as leverage because what you care about might not be what they care about.”

    4. Make it a Game

    As a kid, Cohen would travel with his father to Sears or a used car lot where he would watch him negotiate for sport.

    “His whole thing is approach business and life as if it were a game and you’ll have more fun and do better.”

    The “Adventures of Herbie Cohen” author noted business deals are no different than menial decisions like deciding what you will eat for dinner.

    “You don’t have to learn to negotiate. You already are negotiating every day. You just don’t know it. And if you could just realize what you’re doing, you could become good at it and actually have fun at it,” said Cohen.

    See tips and examples on how to negotiate better and more confidently on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above.

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  • Running Alongside the TCS NYC Marathon

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    Executive Produced by Carousso Enterprises, LLC.

    New York, NY — One of the most iconic New York City experiences is the TCS NYC Marathon in which 47,839 people from around the world finished in 2022. NY2C’s On The Call was along the marathon route.

    NY2C’s On The Call is executive produced by Carousso Enterprises, LLC.

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  • Connecticut Business Program Helps Owners Scale

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    By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso

    STAMFORD, CONN. (WCBS 880) — A business development program in Connecticut has had a strong track record of helping mostly female business owners improve their operations and scale.

    For 25 years, the Women’s Business Development Council of Stamford has provided operational and marketing training to business owners at all stages.

    “One of the most common problems we see with entrepreneurs is they’re not charging enough, and women entrepreneurs in particular are not paying themselves, which makes it particularly difficult if they want to scale their business down the line,” said Carol Cheswick, a WBDC advisor and entrepreneur.

    Cheswick joined her mentee Annya White-Brown of NaturalAnnie Essentials on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank, to discuss the resources available to business owners through the WBDC.

    “The WBDC is focused on helping women and men become empowered financially through education, through understanding the opportunities and how they can grow their business and really understand what the different tools are that they can use to help build their businesses,” said Cheswick.

    The advisor calls White-Brown a “natural marketer.” She took a nine-week course through the WBDC to improve her grasp on budgeting, margins and other core financial elements of her business.

    “You got to look at the numbers to see your past activities, to see how you’re going to profit as a business and move forward,” said White-Brown, continuing, “Those numbers are crucial in how you market your business. Those numbers are crucial as to how you stay in business. So having to go through that every week was really good.”

    White-Brown started NaturalAnnie Essentials as a skincare business in 2015 after she developed a home remedy for her daughter. In 2019, she introduced candles.

    “About a year later, candles was all that we were selling. So, we had to make that decision to move forward with what was working best,” she said.

    Most of NaturalAnnie Essentials’ sales are via their website. White-Brown also created a “candle bar” called Sip & Pour where customers can make their own candles.

    “It’s a BYOB event. So, they bring their own beverage, food, if they’d like, and they make candles and have a great afternoon.”

    White-Brown is planning on applying to a new $10,000 grant offered by the WBDC for businesses in existence for at least two years with at least $25,000 in sales that have identified a specific traceable need that will help them scale.

    See more on the Women’s Business Development Council on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above.

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  • Brooklyn Store Owner Launches Concert Series, Sees Sales Growth after COVID

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    By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A Brooklyn store owner has found creative ways to grow during the pandemic.

    Doug Grater took advantage of lower rents during the pandemic shutdown and moved his Something Else apparel store in Park Slope one block from its original location in a residential neighborhood to the corner of Fifth Avenue and Union Street that is once again flooded with tourists.

    “Union is turning into a major thoroughfare,” Grater said on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.

    He pointed to the proximity to Prospect Park and the subways as one reason he was confident in the move he first described to WCBS 880 in May 2021. Now, many bars and restaurants are opening on Union.

    “I believe in New York City, I believe in the street traffic, and I believe in people walking down a street for a AAA location and that’s what I pay for,” he said.

    "I believe in New York City, I believe in the street traffic," Grater said
    “I believe in New York City, I believe in the street traffic,” Grater said. Photo credit Doug Grater

    Grater recently invested in a fully hand-painted storefront, which has attracted more people inside the store.

    People in the community are also rushing to the gates to enjoy free weekly concerts outside Something Else.

    Grater told WCBS 880 he came up with the idea while riding his bike around his Brooklyn neighborhood one day during the height of the pandemic and saw a band playing in the street to no one. He invited them to perform when COVID restrictions in the city were eased.

    Grater recently invested in a fully hand-painted storefront, which has attracted more people inside the store
    Grater recently invested in a fully hand-painted storefront, which has attracted more people inside the store. Photo credit Doug Grater

    “We pretty much built a venue outside called the Something Else Concert Series,” the retail owner said. “We’ve probably had over 50 shows with all different local bands and it’s become a real success.”

    Grater said that experience is his way of giving back to the community.

    See more marketing and growth ideas on the Small Business Spotlight video above.

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  • Queens Smoothie Bar Provides Job Training for Local Youth

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    Executive Produced by Carousso Enterprises, LLC.

    Jamaica, NY — The Nourish Spot made history at the most recent U.S. Open when it became the first minority-owned vendor from Queens at the tennis tournament. Dawn Kelly, a former communications executive at Prudential, has shaped her health-conscious brand around giving back to her Jamaica community.

    Kelly provides career training to local youth and hopes to have more openings by being a vendor at New York’s sports stadiums.

    NY2C’s On The Call is executive produced by Carousso Enterprises, LLC.

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