JJ Ram­berg is passionate about busi­ness – and she’s not afraid to give you ad­vice about yours.

The Suit - - Distinguished Business Award - By Mon­ica Link

JJ Ram­berg is passionate about busi­ness – and she’s not afraid to give you ad­vice about yours. The MSNBC host and best­selling au­thor is con­stantly giv­ing small busi­nesses the boost they need to excel, not­ing, “On ‘Your Busi­ness’ we are all one hun­dred per­cent fo­cused on pro­vid­ing use­ful in­for­ma­tion to small busi­ness own­ers, so that their com­pa­nies can sur­vive and grow.”

This in­flu­en­tial woman got her first job work­ing for NBC. Af­ter a few weeks there, Ram­berg fell in love with jour­nal­ism and de­cided that broad­cast jour­nal­ism was def­i­nitely the right path for her. Since then, she worked for CNN, be­came a reg­u­lar on the “To­day” show, and also writes for a num­ber of mag­a­zines in­clud­ing “En­tre­pre­neur.”

Through­out her ca­reer Ram­berg has man­aged to use her pas­sion and drive to cre­ate and as­sist small busi­nesses. In an ef­fort to make a greater im­pact on so­ci­ety, she teamed up with her brother, Ken Ram­berg, to start the non­prof­itGoodSearch.com, a site that raises money for non-prof­its by do­nat­ing a penny for ev­ery search per­formed. The per­son search­ing can also des­ig­nate the char­ity. Along with two sis­ter sites – GoodShop.com and GoodDin­ing. com – to date, th­ese non-prof­its have raised over $9 mil­lion for char­ity and given her di­rect expe­ ri­ence as an en­tre­pre­neur.

In 2012 Ram­berg gained at­ten­tion for her hon­est ad­vice, not only as a broad­caster, but also as co-au­thor of the book “It’s Your Busi­ness: 183 Es­sen­tial Tips that Will Trans­form Your Small Busi­ness.” She gained in­flu­ence as more busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tions be­gan to lis­ten to and suc­cess­fully use Ram­berg’s ad­vice than ever be­fore.

In “It’s Your Busi­ness,” among the 183 tips that can trans­form a small busi­ness, are tips on man­ag­ing em­ploy­ees ef­fec­tively, un­der­stand­ing your brand and giv­ing em­ploy­ees raises only af­ter per­for­mance re­views have been fin­ished. Tip num­ber 109, for in­stance, may be one of the most im­por­tant in a tough econ­omy: “Never say no to a po­ten­tial cus­tomer.” Her ad­vice is straight­for­ward and helps keep busi­ness own­ers from blur­ring the lines be­tween their busi­ness and per­sonal af­fairs.

Ram­berg’s quick think­ing and sharp ad­vice has led to the success of her MSNBC show. “I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in hear­ing peo­ple’s sto­ries and in the power of sto­ry­telling to ef­fect change,” Ram­berg said. Among the sto­ries that in­spire her most is one from Kim Jensen, owner of “Kim’s Light Bagels.” Jensen – who had very lit­tle busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence – took $16,000 in sav­ings and started a com­pany mak­ing low-fat bagels. “Kim is an amaz­ ing woman. I left our in­ter­view com­pletely in­spired and­feel­ing like any­thing’s pos­si­ble if you put your mind to it,” Ram­berg said. “I think that Kim had an un­wa­ver­ing be­lief that there was a mar­ket for her prod­uct and a ‘don’t take no for an an­swer’ kind of at­ti­tude. Her abil­ity to hear ‘not now’ when peo­ple told her ‘no’ was what kept her go­ing in the be­gin­ning.” In­ter­views fea­tur­ing such en­trepreneurs help Ram­berg in­spire other small busi­ness own­ers.

In 2012, Amer­ica wit­nessed one of the most closely fol­lowed elec­tions in his­tory. Although Ram­berg isn’t mak­ing a lot of pre­dic­tions about the long-term im­pact of Obama’s re-elec­tion on small busi­ness, she does think 2013 might turn out to be a good year. “I think there is po­ten­tial for (2013) to be a great year. Small busi­nesses still face a lot of chal­lenges, namely slow eco­nomic growth, but op­ti­mism is def­i­nitely higher than it was a few years ago,” she said. “As far as start­ing up a busi­ness – good ideas that are well ex­e­cuted do well dur­ing any kind of econ­omy.”

Ram­berg will con­tinue her own small busi­ness cru­sade in 2013. “Dur­ing the cam­paign, both Pres­i­dent Obama and Gov­er­nor Rom­ney re­peat­edly spoke about and to small busi­ness own­ers, un­der­scor­ing their im­por­tance to the econ­omy,” she said. “My goal is to con­tinue with the work I’m do­ing now and ex­pand our reach.”

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