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Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

November 15, 2018

With a growing awareness of food allergies and dietary preferences, more people are seeking out modern twists on classic Thanksgiving favorites to accommodate those who are vegetarian or vegan, on dairy or gluten-free diets, or who need to watch their sodium intake. The good news is that in today’s foodie-centric world, choices abound and myriad blogs and magazines explore creative dishes for all dietary restrictions.

Below are two of my favorite dishes that are vegan and gluten-free (according to the Gluten Free Society, quinoa is defined as gluten-free based on the definition of gluten for those with celiac disease, but it has “gluten like storage proteins that can mimic proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye.” See additional notes for substitutions.

Leek and Sage Quinoa Stuffing

(Adapted from Kevin Lee Jacobs’ A Garden for the House)

Who says a stuffing needs bread? The leeks give this quinoa stuffing (technically, it’s a dressing, since it’s not stuffed into the turkey or main dish) an oniony bite, and the tart sun-dried tomatoes complement the dish. It also calls for a generous addition of sage, a staple of fall entrees. Sage is also known to boost the immune system and aid digestion.

2 cups quinoa

4 cups unsalted vegetable broth

2 t. kosher salt, divided (or salt substitute like Mrs. Dash Original Blend*)

Freshly ground black pepper

2 T olive oil

2 T Earth Balance vegan butter (or substitute 2 additional tablespoons olive oil)

2 large leeks, white and green ends diced

10 fresh sage leaves

2 t. fresh chopped thyme

1 t. fresh chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish

1 t. fresh rosemary leaves, minced

4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes

5 garlic cloves, minced

Put quinoa, vegetable broth and 1 t. kosher salt into a pot. Bring to boil over high heat. Turn down heat to low, cover pot and let simmer until all the vegetable stock is absorbed. Fluff the grains with a fork and set aside.

Warm the Earth Balance and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, herbs, remaining salt and black pepper. Sautee until the leeks soften and turn slightly brown. Stir in tomatoes and garlic and cook for another minute.

Put quinoa in a large bowl and add the contents of the skillet. Stir to combine and transfer mixture into a baking dish and garnish with parsley and fresh ground pepper, if desired.

*Choose salt substitutes carefully; some have additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) or potassium chloride, which can taste bitter and cause an upset stomach.

Herb Roasted Vegetables

(Adapted from Colorado Collage cookbook, c. 1995)

This is a colorful, eye-appealing dish that looks great on the table, and you can use any root vegetables of your choice (I’ve made variations of this dish with added radishes and heirloom carrots).

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes*

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and halved

1 pound of fresh mushrooms, quartered (button or cremini work well)

2 medium leeks, white and light green ends cut into 2-inch pieces

1 medium red or green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into eights

1 large white onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (you can also use red onion)

1 pound new potatoes, quartered with skins on*

1/3 c. non-GMO/organic canola oil

¼ c. chopped fresh rosemary

¼ c. chopped fresh sage

¼ c. chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large, heavy roasting pan combine all vegetables. In a separate bowl, combine canola oil, herbs and desired amount of salt and pepper. Drizzle over vegetables and toss to coat. Roast 1 to 1½ hours, stirring every 20 minutes.

*For tips on how to easily peel raw butternut squash, visit

You can also buy squash already peeled and cut; however, that generates plastic waste from packaging. You’ll also pay more for the convenience.

*For color and variety, use a mix of red and purple potatoes, or 2 pounds of fingerling potatoes, halved

Wishing everyone peace and love this Thanksgiving holiday!

Sheila Julson is a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.


Go Green This Halloween

October 22, 2018

Orange and black are the traditional Halloween colors, but try greening up your Halloween by making some simple eco-friendly substitutions:

For decorations:

  1. When purchasing new decorations, try to choose items that are solid and can be reused every year, versus cheaper items that will quickly break, tear, pop or fade. Start with classic Halloween symbols like spiders, ghosts or witches so you can build themes off of those for variation; for example, simple skeleton figures can be altered the following year with distressed cast-off clothing to resemble ghost pirates.
  2. Resale shops and thrift stores often hold treasure troves of Halloween decorations. Be sure to also donate your used decorations and costumes.
  3. Swap or share holiday decorations with friends and relatives.
  4. Cut stylishly spooky Halloween window silhouettes from basic black construction paper. Websites such as DIY Network provide templates and step-by-step instructions (com/how-to/make-and-decorate/crafts/how-to-make-halloween-window-silhouettes). After Halloween, store the silhouettes flat in a large mailing envelope to reuse next year. If you accidentally tear a silhouette, most types of paper, including construction paper, is recyclable.
  5. Don’t toss the jack-o’-lanterns into the garbage after Halloween! Pumpkins provide dense nourishment for soil, so compost them by breaking them apart and placing in a compost bin, or just set them in the garden directly on the ground. The pumpkins will decompose over winter and whatever is left can be worked into the garden soil for the spring planting season. (Be sure to remove any candles or wax from the pumpkin.)

For Trick-or-Treat:

  1. Minimize wrappings by baking your own cookies, cupcakes or other treats for school parties or church and community events. Not a cook or a baker? Many local bakeries have beautifully decorated cookies and other treats packed in to-go recyclable or compostable boxes or bags.
  2. When selecting fun-size candy to hand out to Trick-or-Treaters, avoid plastic wrappers and opt for treats packaged in boxes.
  3. Opt for ethically sourced palm oil (a common ingredient in commercial candy bars), chocolate and fair trade or union-made candy.
  4. Natural grocery stores carry some brands of Earth-friendly individual treats like Endangered Species Bug Bites or Yummy Earth Lollipops. (Although these options cost a little more than commercially produced candy.)
  5. Items like temporary tattoos or art supplies such as non-toxic crayons are good alternatives to candy.
  6. Use cloth bags or used pillowcases for Trick-or-Treat bags.

For parties:

  1. Choose reusable mix-and-match serving platters, plates, cups and cloth napkins (these items can also be found at resale shops) instead of paper plates and napkins. If you have to use disposable plates and cups, go with compostable or biodegradable tableware. (It’s tempting to go with fun Halloween themed paper plates and napkins, but those often contain artificial inks and dyes.)
  2. For children’s parties, have the kids create decorations from paper bags, non-toxic paints, leftover fabric scraps (cheesecloth makes amazing spider webs and ghost shrouds!) or buttons. Each child can take his or her decoration home after the party.
  3. Choose fabric tablecloths over paper or plastic ones.
  4. Make your own food and snacks for the party menu or have a potluck event instead of purchasing packaged snacks or carry-out/delivery foods.

With a little planning and creativity, Halloween doesn’t have to be wasteful or excessive. Happy Green Halloween!

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. 

What is Network Marketing or Direct Selling?

August 21, 2018

Source: One of the most common at-home business opportunities is the direct sales network marketing of products offered by a parent organization. Direct sales or network marketing has received a bad rap in the past, where advocates and adversaries share their pros and cons about this business model. We take a look at what networking marketing and direct selling opportunities are.

Network marketing/direct selling companies offer their products and/or services by employing a business model that includes a number of independent representatives or marketers who promote the parent company and its product line. The first method in which network marketers earn an income is based on sales commissions for product sales of the affiliated parent company. This applies to both single-level and multi-level marketing business models. Network marketers can then earn additional income from building an “organization” or “downline,” which consists of a network of other individuals they recruit to also sell the parent company’s products, making this the “multi-level” business model.

Multi-level marketing organizations have been pitched under a number of monikers. Some of the most common other names for multi-level marketing are network marketing, direct selling, community marketing, referral marketing, pyramid selling, person-to-person marketing, and relationship marketing. Network marketing or direct selling have been the most common terms dubbed since multi-level marketing has been associated with negative perception of the industry as a whole.

Some of the most successful and longest standing direct selling businesses include Avon, Amway, Primerica, May Kay Cosmetics, Legal Shield, and Shaklee. Within the past 40 years, the number of network marketing companies that offer products and services have exploded to an all-time high. There are well over 50 companies today that dominate the multi-level marketing landscape, and there are no signs of the industry slowing down.

Billions of dollars in product and service sales have been made for these companies as a result of this business model. In 2015, the industry posted $183.7 billion dollars in sales worldwide. Collectively, these companies claim that over $73.4 billion dollars (roughly 40 percent) of gross revenue was paid directly to “distributors,” who are the network marketers themselves. The majority of the industry’s sales were collected in the United States, with 20 to 30 percent of all sales having taken place stateside. The industry also did well in China, which is the industry’s second largest market, followed by South Korea, Germany and Japan.

So what makes the industry so attractive? Career marketers will tout there are multiple benefits to becoming involved in network marketing organizations. Network marketers claim the main reason for their decision to join network marketing is because of its unique business model and the flexibility the industry offers.

Network marketers can earn unlimited commissions with most multi-level marketing companies, as well as paid performance bonuses when sales goals are met. They are also paid a percentage on sales from their downline. A common claim of advantage in network marketing is the sense of owning a business without the hassle of a brick and mortar location, so very little financial investment is required in comparison to the capital necessary to start-up a traditional retail or service oriented business. Network marketers have the flexibility to create their own schedule, and are not limited to any one geographic location.

Other terms coined for the sales force of independent sales people who make up a direct selling organization include: distributors, marketing consultants, promoters, representatives, independent business owners, independent contractors, marketing directors, and relationship coordinators. Some of these terms have been viewed by former network marketers as misleading, because the network marketer does not directly own part of the parent company; and many of the network marketers do not operate their venture in an official business structure (such as a corporation or limited liability company). Instead, network marketers are encouraged to register a business name and obtain a tax identification number, so the parent multi-level marketing company can pay a business entity versus paying an individual. This is where the phrase “getting into the business” was developed.

Traditionally, network marketers would introduce the parent company’s products and/or services to potential consumers directly by word of mouth advertising. Some of the most popular forms of this word of mouth advertising would come in the form of “home parties,” where the network marketer would set an appointment to host a home party (or have a family member, friend or acquaintance host the party for product discounts or gifts), and invite guests to attend the party. At the home party, family and friends would gather to share in refreshments and would view the presentation made by the network marketer, who would also showcase the parent company’s product lines and take orders from the invited guests that attended. Once the product orders were available, the network marketer would deliver the products to their customers.

With the coming of the information age, the digital age, and the age of mobile devices, network marketing has become far more complex, with a host of new direct marketing tools and techniques. Individuals can now sell products and recruit members for their downline from anywhere in the world that the parent company is set up to do business with. Social media have given rise to the growing number of network marketers, where one may expect to see the latest pitch in their news feed or receive a private message from someone who is trying to share the multi-level product line or opportunity that they have chosen to partner with.

Just as the methods in reaching potential customers and recruits have advanced, so have the systems used by both single-level and multi-level marketing business models. Most of these companies now offer direct ship programs for their products, so the network marketer no longer has to hand deliver personal orders to customers. Multi-level marketing companies have also integrated back offices, online dashboards and apps, allowing for the network marketer to go paperless while managing their organization or downline. They have also made many of their tools available online to their network marketers, eliminating the need to purchase clunky marketing kits for personal use. They have become more transparent in recent years, providing financial reports, sales commission reports, and earnings in real-time for network marketers to review.

Even with the advancements in technology, marketing tools, training, and the many success stories throughout the network marketing industry, the multi-level marketing industry and business model is still viewed negatively by many. Some claim that network marketing companies are nothing more than pyramid schemes that prey on people who are hopeful and looking for a remedy for their financial duress or other personal challenges. It is important to note, however, that some of the most successful multi-level marketing companies are also those that have come under the most criticism.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who currently lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration.

As Seen on TV

August 7, 2018

Just when you thought the deal could not get any better, just wait, there’s more . . . call now and your order will be doubled . . .  In “As seen on TV,” we review some of the most successful infomercial campaigns and why they did so well.

We have all experienced at some point in our lives, while flipping through the television channels, that moment when we came across a presentation of the latest and greatest widget, gadget or contraption, with a deal we just could not pass up. From products like OxiClean and the George Forman Grill, to exercise equipment and other inventions that seemed like no one would ever buy, infomercials have catapulted sales and brand recognition for a number of inventors and marketers, resulting in millions of dollars in returns on their ideas and inventions.

Not all infomercials or products reach the success of the Thigh Master or the Snuggly, however each product that is pitched on television infomercials has a life cycle that assures the product continues to get exposure. As of recently, specialty retailer stores have sprung up to showcase product offerings once seen on television. Walmart and Target have even dedicated shelf space to offer products that were once pitched on infomercials, offering a second chance to connect with consumer audiences.

Some of the most successful infomercial products include the exercise device called the Thigh Master. The Thigh Master was a simple contraption made up of two metal loops joined by a spring mechanism in the middle that was designed to assist consumers in toning legs, hips, and their waists. The pitch was that a consumer could operate the Thigh Master while attending to other activities such as reading, watching television (other infomercials), or just about any other activity that did not require the use of one’s legs at the time of using the Thigh Master. Thigh Master achieved huge success in sales, grossing over $100 million. The Thigh Master incorporated the celebrity endorsement of television personality Suzanne Somers to help pitch the device to would-be consumers.

Another well-known infomercial product that has transitioned to shelf space at your local retailer is OxiClean. OxiClean was pitched by Billy Mays, who would claim, “I’m not yelling, I’m projecting,” as he would hook viewers to stay tuned with the line, “but wait, there’s more.” Billy Mays’ unique, raspy voice and the multitude of scenarios presented on how OxiClean would solve every cleaning situation as the latest miracle for your household grabbed consumers to gross over $500 million dollars in sales to date. Part of the success of OxiClean is its transition from infomercial to its placement on shelves at selected retailers.

“Set it and forget it,” was the tag line for the device that would promise steamed vegetables piping hot; meats cooked to be tender and succulent. The Ronco Rotisserie Oven, also known as the Showtime Pro, steamrolled its way to the top by having the inventor and marketer Ron Popeil invite celebrity guests to accompany him in infomercial sessions. The Showtime Rotisserie raked in over $1.2 billion dollars for Popeil, putting Ronco at the top of infomercial success. The oven is still available today, and continues to be sold on television, Amazon, and in selected retailer outlets.

Richard Simmons not only had you Sweatin’ to the Oldies and managing your meals; he had consumers dole out over $200 million dollars for his fitness programs, making Simmons one of the wealthiest fitness gurus ever. Sweatin’ to the Oldies was a series of exercise regimens coupled with music to entice baby boomers to want to engage into a healthier life. Over 20 million of these programs were sold. Simmons targeted the “regular” person as part of his campaign, which attracted tens of millions of out-of-shape people who might have never taken the time out to visit a gym or hire a personal trainer. The business plan worked, branding Simmon’s as a fitness expert and television personality for life.

Then there was the blanket you could wear called the Snuggie. If you doubt anyone would spend their money on this product, you are highly mistaken. Tens of millions of Snuggies have been sold. In essence, this body-length blanket with sleeves was advertised that it could be worn by anyone, anywhere, anytime, and even boasted that it would bring people closer together if they all had a Snuggie. Sadly, it did the opposite, as the Snuggie was designed for a single person to use at a time. The Snuggie would rake in over $400 million dollars can still be found in selected retailers, on the internet, and on the infomercial, which still airs from time to time.

The infomercial product industry is a multi-billion dollar per year industry, and since its inception, the infomercial product world has grossed over $250 billion dollars in sales to date. With the widespread use of additional digital media, television is not the only medium used in pitching a message to would-be consumers. Digital social media platforms allow for a plethora of video content to be made readily available and stream to almost any mobile device, bypassing the conventional television set.

It is estimated there are over 500 products that have been initially developed and marketed specifically for infomercials. One of the largest companies in the infomercial product sector is Telebrands, located in Fairfield, New Jersey. Telebrands is responsible for launching over a hundred products alone, and has been doing so since 1983.

Based on these metrics, you wonder why more products don’t go down the infomercial path. Not every product is a good fit. The more technical the product, and the higher the investment a consumer must make, the less advantageous it becomes for the product to be featured on an infomercial. Typically, products marketed on infomercials are similar to the impulse buy at the register of a retailer; where consumers feel comfortable with the risk they are taking. Most infomercials offer a risk-free money back guarantee.

Infomercials have been rumored to get a bad rap. Complaints from consumers include inferior or poor quality in the manufacturing of the product itself, or products that claim they will last a lifetime, but don’t. Some products seem so far-fetched that some people don’t believe they can actually function as advertised. As a result, the Federal Trade Commission has taken aim at infomercial marketers, bringing an average of five cases to court each year.

Some infomercials can be outright comical, as they might pitch a product’s suggested use or durability in situations that a consumer might never intend to use the product. When was the last time you purchased Tupperware to have an elephant stand on it? The next time you mock an infomercial, just remember it’s the inventor and marketing company that is getting the last laugh.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who currently lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is the author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, and Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses.


Waste Not, Want Not

July 30, 2018

More than once, my grandma mentioned that “waste not, want not” phrase. She also frequently reminded us that there are people starving throughout the world, so we’d better appreciate our food by cleaning our plates. Grandma would probably be horrified to learn that today, the United States is one of the worst culprits when it comes to wasting food; food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. The percentage comes from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, which corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010 (

Reading stats like those immediately conjures up news footage of starving children and adults in our own country and globally, as well as all the earth’s resources such as water that’s used to produce food that’s ultimately never consumed. Grandma’s “waste not, want not” words immediately echo in my head, but instead of feeling guilty, let’s look at some solutions to help reduce food waste:

Don’t overbuy: This tip might seem obvious, but it can take real discipline to avoid buying on impulse, or loading up because the item is such a great deal. Be conscious and consider whether you will really use up that 10 pound bag of potatoes that’s on sale; if you waste half the bag, it’s not such a good deal after all. Do you need only one carrot for a recipe? If so, don’t buy a whole bag. Most produce departments offer loose items, so you can buy only what’s needed. Try not to shop when you’re in a hurry, as that can further lead to impulse buys.

Consider what lasts, and what doesn’t: With an abundance of summer fruits in season, it’s easy to want to grab them all, considering that Wisconsin’s summer growing season is so short. But unless you plan to preserve that bushel of peaches, or make lots of pie or freeze that box of beautiful Michigan blueberries, buy small. Blueberries keep better than raspberries, which can go bad in what seems like minutes.  Unless you plan to eat raspberries right away, choose fruit that keeps longer and that you can still enjoy later in the week.

Don’t be afraid of ugly produce: We’re conditioned to think tomatoes have to be perfectly round and red, or that carrots aren’t supposed to have legs, but nature produces lots of shapes and sizes. Some imperfect produce might look weird at a glance, yet these items are still flavorful and safe to consume.

Try “kitchen sink” smoothies, casseroles and quiches: Produce on the verge of going bad can still make tasty additions to dishes and drinks. Slightly mushy fruit can be tossed into smoothies, juices, or mashed, heated and sweetened with a little sugar or honey to make ice cream topping.  Chop that wilted broccoli or spinach to use in a quiche or casserole.

Don’t toss those veggie tops: Did you know that wispy green carrot tops taste remarkably like parsley? I didn’t, until I talked to a chef who tipped me off as to how he uses vegetable tops to jazz up dishes. Instead of lopping off and tossing carrot tops, use them in place of parsley or to flavor soup stock. Beet tops can also be sautéed and seasoned to eat in place of greens.

Compost: Despite our best efforts to reduce food waste, there will still be that occasional tomato that rolls to the back of the refrigerator, or a few potatoes that go bad. If you have the space on your property, start a compost pile. I have a small city yard, so I use a compact rotating compost bin with a latching door. It fits discreetly into the corner of the yard near my garage, and every spring, I have rich, nutritious soil to add to the garden. Not a gardener? Compost anyway, and give the product to your gardener friend or relative, or contact a local composting organization like Kompost Kids ( or a community garden to see if they can use your food scraps.

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.

Small Business Ownership vs Entrepreneurship

July 24, 2018

Source: So, which are you – a small business owner or an entrepreneur? We compare the similarities and differences between the two, so you can decide which category you best fit into.

Both the small business owner and the entrepreneur have significant impact on our economic system. They are both creators of opportunity for others, they both offer a product and/or service, and they both contribute to the success of the economy. So how do you know which one you are? There are some stark differences between being a small business owner versus being an entrepreneur; although both add great value to society.

Small business ownership usually means that a person owns a business that is tied to a limited geographic area, whereas an entrepreneur’s value proposition is not limited to any one community or location. Both the small business owner and the entrepreneur offer a product or service that others may need. The size of the audience in which each respective marketer serves is dictated by their reach, location, and vision. Small business owners are usually centered and consider themselves as the local authority for their respective town, city, community, or even county. The entrepreneur knows no boundaries, no boarders, no defined geographical lines, but rather focuses on the demographic of their market reach.

Both the small business owner and the entrepreneur take a risk to start their venture. They are equal in the aspect that they must invest hard financial investment, their time, their skill sets, and sweat equity in order to upstart their enterprise. The difference between small business ownership and entrepreneurship risk is the amount of risk one is willing to take and the scope of risk one is willing to endure. A small business owner’s ability to take risk may be limited to how much capital they have available. They rarely ask for others to invest into their local business. Most small business owners will put their personal assets on the line to drum up the cash needed to start their business. The return on investment and risk is limited to the size of the market in which the small business owner provides their product or services.

The entrepreneur is a larger risk taker, willing to not only put all of their money and time on the line, but he or she also has a business plan that allows for others to take a risk or invest into their idea as the growth plan evolves throughout different phases. The ability to gain a return on investment has far more opportunities because the entrepreneur’s offering is not limited to any one market. The entrepreneur sets higher sales goals, and extends their market reach to higher aspirations, therefore in order to achieve these goals, the entrepreneur needs to put even more at risk. For instance if the entrepreneur visions their product or technology being utilized worldwide, they will need more capital and resources to launch their idea.

The small business owner focuses on a proven business model that they can personalize and put to work. Most small businesses have a standard business model. Say you desire to own an auto parts store, hardware store, or hair salon; these types of businesses have an industry standard business model that fits the geographic locale in which that intended business is to service. A local retail business such as a hardware store or grocery market does not invent anything, they supply a local community with a select array of product offerings which they can purchase from a wholesale supplier. Even the planogram of the retailer’s store location has a standard recipe in line with their industry.

An entrepreneur follows a different path. The entrepreneur has to develop their own road map for taking their invention or idea to market. An entrepreneur may offer a product, technology, or unique service proposition; however, they are usually either the inventor or have a partnership with the inventor to take the product or device to market. This includes all the steps of research, development, manufacturing, distribution and service, while marketing and advertising the value proposition through all of the phases of its entry into the market place.  If the product, technology or service does not yet exist, the entrepreneur must develop the methods and practices for each step in the process of creating, manufacturing and delivering their offering to market. This requires the ability to envision each moving part of the business when there may not be a business model that yet exists.

Even the style of planning and leadership is distinctly different between the small business owner and the entrepreneur. Small business owners plan a day-to-day schedule, a plan that may extend up to months at a time as their business model requires. Most entrepreneurs with a new idea to the market must plan for years ahead, because their market strategies may need far more time to develop. A small business owner may have to micro-manage their business enterprise due to the limited staff their business employs. Entrepreneurs can delegate more tasks from the to-do list to others as their enterprise grows. Entrepreneurs are also involved in more of the technical aspects of their value proposition, where they are part of the product or invention development process.

A study by The Quarterly Journal of Economics revealed that most small business owners are involved in businesses that require manual talents, verses the entrepreneur, whose enterprise is based on high-level cognitive skills and creativity. The study further provides that entrepreneurs are naturally larger risk takers and their offering is not yet common to the market. Most small business owners are either merchants or service providers of specific needs relevant to a geographic market.

What makes the small business owner and the entrepreneur character so unique? They both share passion for their value proposition.  Both types of business leaders feel their product or service offering will be of great benefit to the audience they are serving.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who currently lends his expertise as a consultant firm to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, and Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses.


Who are the Voices for Small Business?

July 16, 2018

Source:When the small business owner needs a voice, where do they go? We provide a host of some of the largest organizations that advocate for the small business community.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy and account for half of the total number of jobs and persons employed. Small businesses account for the majority of local economic engines. When Small businesses need support or a voice to stand up for their concerns, there are a number of organizations they can rely on to advocate on their behalf. Here are a few organizations that have received positive rankings from small business owners:

Association of Washington Business: Since its formation in 1904, Washington’s oldest and largest business association continues to serve as the state’s chamber of commerce as well as the manufacturing and technology association. AWB advocates on behalf of businesses of all sizes and from all industries, working to unify and find solutions to issues facing Washington employers, their employees and communities. AWB is located at: 1414 Cherry St. SE, Olympia, WA 98501, toll-free number: 800-521-9325, e-mail: Additional information can be found on their website:

Entrepreneurs’ Organization: Founded in 1987, EO is a global business network that enables business owners to learn from each other by providing numerous resources to assist in educating and inspiring personal and professional growth. EO has international locations in Singapore, Belgium, Panama, and Canada, EO’s global headquarters is located at: 500 Montgomery Street, Suite 700, Alexandria, VA 22314, telephone: 1-703-519-6700. Additional information can be found on their website:

Minority Business Development Agency: MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Their focus is to assist in the development and growth of minority-owned businesses, utilizing private and public sector programs, policy, and research. Additional information can be found at:

National Association for the Self-Employed: Since 1981, NASE has been the nation’s leading resource for entrepreneurs, utilizing publications, media relations and a foundation with which entrepreneurs and their small businesses can benefit from. It is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan association of its kind in the US. NASE is located in Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0241, telephone: (US) 1-800-649-6273 and (AK & HI) 1-800-232-6273. Additional information can be found on their website:

National Business Association: The NBA has been working alongside small business owners for 35 years, providing resources and benefits needed for business owners to succeed. The NBA can be reached by telephone: 1-800-456-0440. Additional information can be found on their website:

National Federation of Independent Businesses: Founded in 1943, the NFIB is the largest small business association in the U.S., working to defend the right of small business owners to own and operate their businesses without undue government interference. NFIB has offices in all 50 state capitals, including Washington, D.C., with its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. They can be reached by calling: 1-800-NFIB-NOW, or 615-872-5800. Additional information can be found on their website:

National Minority Supplier Development Council: NMSDC is a nonprofit organization that advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises and connects them to corporate members, building long-term strategic partnerships which encourage economic commerce between large corporate interests and locally developed small businesses owned by minority men and women. NMSDC also assists minority owned small businesses to obtain their certifications. NMSDC is located at 1359 Broadway, 10thFloor, Suite 1000, NY, NY 10018. You can also call NMSDC at (212)-944-2430 or through the NMSDC website:

National Retail Federation: The NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing retailers from over 45 countries, including the US. Their mission is to use advocacy, communications and education with which to promote the best interests of the retail industry. The NRF is located at 1101 New York Ave. NW, Washington, DC, telephone: 1-800-673-4692, or 1-202-783-7971. Additional information can be found on their website:

National Small Business Association: Since 1990, the NSBA, Inc. has provided small business owners, their employees, and retirees access to innovative services, resources, and benefits, such as collegiate scholarship awards to eligible NSBA members and their families. The NSBA is committed to small business advocacy and public awareness. Telephone: 1-888-800-3416, and email: Additional information can be found on their website:

Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association: Starting in 1973, the international OOIDA represents the interests of independent owner-operators and professional drivers on every issue affecting truckers in all 50 states and Canada. OOIDA seek to ensure that truckers are treated with equality and to ensure highway safety and responsibility among all highway users, as well as improve the business climate for all truck operators. Located at 1 NW OOIDA Drive, Grain Valley, MO 64029; telephone: 1-800-444-5791. Additional information can be found on their website:

Small Business Administration: Founded on July 30, 1953, the U.S. SBA focuses on four main venues with which it works: assistance to capital, entrepreneurial development, government contracting and advocacy for small business across the United States. The SBA provides millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and various other forms of resource and assistance to small businesses. The SBA has several key locations, with a toll-free number: 1-800-827-5722. Additional information can be found on their website:

Small Business Association of America: Since 1964, the SBAA has provided insured benefits, discount benefit plans and services to its members, who included small business owners, those self-employed, individuals and families. Monthly dues are required. SBA is a non-profit organization located in Washington DC. Additional information can be found on their website:

Small Business International: SBI provides guidance and resources when a small business entertains the possibility of connecting with international partners, including matching products and services with over 80,000 other members. Business can find out more information about importing or exporting, trade laws and compliance, and more. Visit Small Business International at

Small Business Owners & Professionals Association: SBOAPA of Canada is a nonprofit organization founded with the mission to provide small business owners, their employees and retirees access to a wide variety of services, programs, information and benefits, such as sponsorship activities, networking opportunities, scholarships, and advocacy, all to aid in the success of their businesses. Additional information can be found on their website:

United States Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship:  The USASBE is an organization that seeks to assist the entrepreneurship community through teaching, scholarship, and practice opportunities. The USASBE includes members who are teachers, researchers, program directors and practitioners. Located at: 1214 Hyland Hall, 800 W. Main St., Whitewater, WI 53190, telephone: 262-472-1449. Additional information can be found on their website:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Founded on April 22, 1912, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization representing the interests of over 3 million businesses with 3 main areas of focus: advocacy, community, and leadership. Members include mom-and-pop shops, local chambers, large corporations and leading industry associations. The USCC is located at: 1615 H Street, NJ, Washington, DC 20062-2000, telephone: 1-800-638-6582. Additional information can be found on their website:

Young Entrepreneurs Council: YEC provides all the tools needed for its members to become successful business entrepreneurs. The YEC staff utilizes their extensive knowledge, networking opportunities, media exposure, and personal branding development to bring their members from novice to polished professional. YEC is located at: 745 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02110, email: Additional information can be found at:

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who currently lends his expertise as a consultant firm to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, and Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses.