Small Business Majority Blog

Small Business Matters

For many micropreneurs or self-employed freelancers, working at home can be isolating. While home offices have plenty of perks, they don’t provide opportunities to interact with others and they can be full of distractions.

Sue Reardon set out to solve this problem with the creation of Suite Spotte, a coworking space in La Grange, IL dedicated to helping entrepreneurs thrive. Suite Spotte is a welcoming and energetic space that’s not just great for getting work done – it also provides a community of collaborative and ambitious entrepreneurs.

“About 50 percent of the economy is expected to be freelancers, micropreneurs and independent contractors by 2020,” said Reardon. “Suite Spotte is a space where these types of entrepreneurs can thrive.”

Suite Spotte has quickly become a productive workspace for like-minded small business owners, just as Reardon intended.

“I often leave Suite Spotte at the end of the day with my head swimming not only with thoughts of work I need to do, but also inspiration to make my business even better,” said Amber Dewey Schultz, founder of Clique Social + Design and a Suite Spotte regular in a blog post. “I know that my business wouldn’t be as successful today if I had never found this coworking space.”

It’s no surprise that Suite Spotte has been so successful in helping the local small business community. The coworking space is hardly Reardon’s first foray into the world of entrepreneurship. She’s also the owner of the Growth Coach, where she helps entrepreneurs turn their dreams and passions into a focused growth plan for their business. Plus, she’s written a book for entrepreneurs who want to succeed: Rocka Million – A Manifesto for the Gutsy Micropreneur.

“Entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy, which makes their success important to us all,” said Reardon. “My goal is to help entrepreneurs channel their passions into viable business opportunities that maximize their success.”

To learn more about Suite Spotte, visit:

For small business owners, navigating the insurance market can be a challenge, especially with all the new options and changes from the Affordable Care Act. Thankfully, many professional insurance brokers are dedicated to helping small businesses understand the market. Larry Lewis, who works as an Agency Development Manager with Colonial Life in New Jersey, is one such professional.

Lewis works closely with small businesses around the New Jersey region to help them navigate the insurance market and understand their options. For instance, if employers are interested, Lewis offers one-on-one counseling sessions for employees. Plus, Colonial Life offers voluntary benefits, which employees can opt into without any extra cost to employers.

“Sitting down with employers and employees, and having a real conversation with them about their needs, is important to me,” said Lewis. “I want to make sure everyone understands the full range of options so they can choose a plan that works best for their business, their employees and their families.”

Lewis’ expertise and dedication to helping small businesses is why he’s a member of Small Business Majority’s “Trusted Broker” program in New Jersey. The Trusted Broker program connects small business owners to brokers who have an in-depth understanding of insurance plans and can provide small businesses with the resources they need to make smart insurance choices. The full New Jersey Trusted Broker Directory can be found here:

The open enrollment period for health insurance is quickly approaching, and the insurance market will be facing changes with the pending expansion of the small group market to include small businesses with 50 to 100 employees. These changes mean that many small business owners will likely have questions as we head into 2016.

If you’re unsure about your insurance plan for the upcoming enrollment period, contacting an insurance broker may be a good idea. Brokers like Lewis can help you choose your best options.

“Health insurance is such an important benefit for employees and businesses,” Lewis said. “The process can be complicated, but I’m focused on making it as easy as possible so that you and your employees can be healthy and happy.”

If you’re a small business owner in New Jersey interested in speaking with Lewis or a trusted broker in your area, visit our New Jersey Trusted Brokers Directory.


For a road-based state like New Jersey, potholes can be a driver’s worst nightmare. That’s where Tathiana Carrasco comes in. Fed up with seeing the same locations riddled with unrepaired and reemerging potholes, Carrasco set out to fill those pesky holes once and for all.

“While working for BMW, I was surprised by the number of claims being made for damaged wheels and tires. I looked into the causes a bit further and came to realize how big of a problem potholes are,” Carrasco said.

While doing a bit of investigative work, she noticed the same locations popping up over and over again on the claims she processed, and an idea sparked to remedy those potholes with some actual finality. This was the genesis for her business Appliqué Technologies International.

With a patent-pending special material for pothole repair that is heated on the spot and compacted, Appliqué sets out to fill potholes once and only once. Their brand of filling is reinforced with ballistic fibers and two types of waxes – the fibers act as reinforcement agents while the waxes melt to create a permanent bond with the bottom of the pothole.

“I wanted to address an old problem in a new way, one that worked and made sense for all involved,” she said.

Going against the established method of things can be both a tricky and time-draining pursuit. And for a nascent business owner, time was one thing Carrasco couldn’t afford.

“In a business like this, it takes time to change the way people do things. The longer it takes to convince a market that you have something they should consider, the longer you have to fund the business. People often greatly underestimate this aspect of starting a business.”

As a Latina entrepreneur, Carrasco already stuck out in a male-dominated field, but this also allowed her to pave out a unique spot for herself in the marketplace.

“I think to be an entrepreneur, especially a woman Latina, you need to be both aware of the opportunities and ignorant of the challenges. In my case, I am a woman running a business in an industry dominated by men.”

That alternative perspective has helped Appliqué rise above its many competitors and allowed it to tackle New Jersey’s potholes through an experimentation process that challenges the status quo of her industry.

“We are innovators and strive to bring new and beneficial materials and equipment to those who take care of our roads. [Manufacturing both our materials and equipment] allows us to optimize the way one works with the other.”

Carrasco notes there are 565 New Jersey municipalities she wishes to serve and repair roads for, hoping to perfect Appliqué’s technique before rushing it out to a wider market. Because at the end of the day, customer satisfaction is what matters most to Carrasco.

“I love the challenge as well as the satisfaction of seeing something grow from a concept to a reality. Then to see people actually validate our ideas by spending hard-earned money on our solutions is very gratifying.”

View from Pastry

Combining the favored adult beverages of the morning and evening, Slipstream blends together crafted coffee and libations to create a unique, trendy bar going experience in Washington, D.C.

Owners Miranda Mirabella and Ryan Fleming were inspired by the specialty coffee scene while living together in San Francisco. As the quality of coffee continued to rise, they realized they lacked a sufficient means of truly exploring and learning about what tickled their palettes.

Fleming came from a family of small business owners, and his interest in the story around craft coffee and cocktails sparked his inner entrepreneurial bug. Mirabella was instilled with a passion and love for food and quality ingredients at a young age from her Italian grandmother. This combination, much like the one of coffee and spirits that has been such a success for Slipstream, paid off in spades.

“Our focus is taking coffee from a commodity to something unique and special,” Mirabella said. “We felt people would appreciate the opportunity to explore the flavors and nuances of coffee and cocktails, and learn what they liked and why they like those particular flavors.”


Slipstream became the physical embodiment of that – a small, locally owned business that has the feel of a tastemaker hotspot while remaining accessible. It’s a comfortable environment where people can learn and develop their tastes around the complex flavors and attributes of coffee and spirits.

“A slipstream is the area of reduced resistance behind a moving object, and similarly our café hopes to provide a smooth path for the coffee and cocktail experience.”

It’s a risky venture for sure, and one that didn’t come without its unique set of challenges.

“One of the more difficult things about our concept is that we are pushing coffee service beyond what people are use to from existing shops. Our vision for true baristas behind a bar lent itself naturally towards also having spirits. There is so much to explore when the two worlds collide.”

Newcomers have three options when visiting Slipstream to find what sort of coffee experience speaks to them. The menu allows for the ability to try any of their single origin coffees three ways: filtered, espresso or espresso with milk. Beyond that, the menu is constantly in flux to try to stay ahead of the trend.


“Our baristas and bartenders are constantly researching and trying new coffees, spirits and house-made pairings. We make it a collaborative process so that every member of our team has influence over our menu.” Currently, people are flocking in to try their nitro infused iced coffee, Mirabella thrillingly notes.

“We are truly grateful for every single person that walks in our door. And when someone really appreciates the concept and wants to spend time chatting with us and our team, it really makes it worth it.”

The idea behind Slipstream is actually rife with opportunity. Just think of how many people wake up to a cup of coffee or enjoy any number of occasions with a cocktail in hand. Slipstream is a crafty small business making sure that people want to both start and end their days with them.

Small Business Majority CEO John Arensmeyer

Small Business Majority CEO John Arensmeyer

We’re pleased the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s provision that allows consumers in states with federally-run health insurance marketplaces to receive federal tax credits to help offset the cost of insurance.

The Supreme Court’s decision protects the millions of small business owners, employees and self-employed freelance entrepreneurs from losing the valuable health insurance they have secured in the past 18 months. Moreover, eliminating the credits would have led to a return of “job lock,” which shackled many would-be entrepreneurs to jobs working for others rather than starting their own businesses. Employment and access to affordable health insurance historically have been tightly linked. That linkage pressures individuals to seek out and remain in jobs that provide affordable health insurance, even if they would otherwise choose to start their own business or pursue a more attractive job opportunity with a growing small business.

If the Supreme Court had eliminated these tax credits in states with federally-facilitated marketplaces, an estimated 9.6 million people who bought insurance through would have lost their subsidies, according to the RAND Corporation. What’s more, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found 1.5 million people will launch their own business and become self-employed because of provisions in the Affordable Care Act that will make purchasing insurance on the open market more accessible. The opportunity for these millions of people to strike out on their own could have been eliminated if the Court had removed the subsidies from federally-run marketplaces.

The health insurance marketplaces are the most important component of the Affordable Care Act for entrepreneurs, and it’s critical they are kept as robust as possible. We’re glad the Supreme Court has upheld this provision that is crucial to the success of the health insurance marketplaces and to our nation’s entrepreneurs.