Thursday, July 3, 2014

Blah Blah doesn't mean 'boring' anymore— at least not in Europe


While Americans enjoy the convenience of apps like Lyft and Uber, Europeans have embraced another share service app—BlaBlaCar—which pairs travelers together to save money and lessen the monotony of a road trip. Since 2006, BlaBlaCar has expanded to eleven different European countries, where consumers can connect with others in need of affordable transportation or company (users have profiles with reviews, personal and travel information, and even indicators of their chattiness—hence the BlaBla). Like Uber and Lyft, BlaBla’s success lies largely in its low cost, which is often more affordable than public transportation. In addition, drivers can only charge their companions a fixed price for gas upfront (from which BlaBla takes its percentage), thereby eliminating abuse from drivers looking to make a profit as with other share services. Although BlaBla does not have any plans to expand to the US soon, it could be a sign of the future for the growing sharing economy across the globe.

Monday, June 16, 2014

PopShop—Uniting vendors and clients, wherever they may be.


As a proprietor of artisanal goods, wouldn’t it be easier if the business could come straight to you, or if you could go straight to the business? Well, thanks to the newly founded PopShop Market, now you can. PopShop is a Fairfield based business that organizes pop-up conventions, and puts 50 unique local vendors in contact with hundreds of enthusiastic buyers.

According to trendreports.com, the benefits of pop-up brands increase affordability, reduce commitment, generate a greater buzz, with higher profit results. What could be better than that? In addition to broadening your market, experts at trendreports.com also say that pop-up brands allow more room for experimentation and creativity, and due to their spontaneity, customers tend to feel a sense of urgency to purchase products.

The founders of PopShop model their conventions after the Brooklyn flea market scene and carefully select the most impressive vendors selling handmade, organic, and repurposed products. Between bringing Brooklyn to the people of Fairfield County and bringing local vendors to hundreds of new clients, PopShop will put the move on your business, literally. 





-Sienna Arpi, Intern

Friday, June 13, 2014

“Inside Madeleine” and “Mr. Loverman”

This Sunday in the New York Times Book Review, our clients, Akashic Books and Soho Press, have the marginalized covered as two of their newest books that deal with some of the more underrepresented demographics are reviewed.

Soho Press’ Inside Madeleine by Paula Bomer reflects on the female psyche, specifically focusing on the characters’ sexual and bodily identities. According to Dayna Tortorici,

“bodily control [is] a desperate expression of free will: Bomer’s characters starve themselves, stuff themselves, walk until their feet bleed, and smoke up until they cannot move. At every turn they struggle to square their strong personalities with the ritual and class-coded humiliations of being young and female.”

While Bomer’s 229 page novel may lead to grim endings and futile efforts, Bomer seems to be commenting on the societal structures that bind young women.







Akashic Books’ Mr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo chronicles the life of Barrington Jedidiah Walker, a West Indian man living in Britain. Barrington is a closeted gay man, and at 70-something years old, he’s been hiding his secret for a long time. Barrington is married to a faithful Pentecostal woman, Carmel, but is truly in love with Morris de la Roux.

Mr. Loverman, set in 2010, is replete with flashbacks of Barrington’s life. Furthermore Evaristo deepens her novel as she also incorporates flashbacks of Morris’ life. According to Ellery Washington, seamlessly

“intertwines historical and contemporary issues of race, immigration, generational divides, neighborhood gentrification, sibling rivalries, social progress, social disillusionment and, most directly, African-Caribbean sexuality. 
This is rich territory — dense — and Evaristo clearly knows her subjects. So much is said, so much ground covered so quickly, that one might easily get lost in the interwoven threads if not for Evaristo’s confident control of the language, her vibrant use of humor, rhythm and poetry, and the realistic mix of Caribbean patois with both street and the Queen’s English helping to fix characters in the reader’s mind.”

Both novels, how different they are in style and content, deal with marginalized themes. It is refreshing to see these topics handled in a personalized, but unromanticized manner.

Inside Madeleine
229 pages, $
16.
Soho Press
Purchase


Mr. Loverman
284 pages, $11.96
Akashic Books
Purchase

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why Work Isn't Working



Today's workplace is a burnout factory for most people, from executives to interns, according to an extremely insightful piece by Tony Schwartz and Christine Forth. The article,Why You Hate Work, describes feelings shared by all of us at one time or another: the sense of being overworked, undervalued, unable to focus, pulled in too many directions at once - the litany of deleterious emotions is seemingly endless.


Schwartz and Forth's study along with Harvard Business Review found that when people have the following four needs met, they are more fulfilled and and enthusiastic in the workplace:

PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, MENTAL, SPIRITUAL

How people feel at work affects how they perform at work. Yet employers and entrepreneurs often ignore these issues.

Tips From the Study: 

PHYSICAL:

Take a break. Stand up and stretch. Look away from your monitor and do something else for 5 minutes. Read, grab coffee, and walk down the hall. Give your brain a chance relax and refresh. Physical activity gives the brain a chance to recover and rediscover solutions to problems.

EMOTIONAL:

People spend the bulk of their day at work so make time to listen and care about co-workers issues or concerns. Publicly commend people for successes and achievements.

MENTAL:

Make the workplace and workload manageable by shortening meetings, discouraging improper behavior such as aggression, anger, demeaning commentary and reward conflict resolution.

SPIRITUAL:

If you see a coworker or staff member in contemplation, don't assume they're slacking off. They might be in deep consideration of an issue or problem solving.



I urge you to read this article because it's a great reminder that some simple restructuring of attitudes and practices can generate both higher productivity, profit, and satisfaction. No one expects their office to be a warm and fuzzy place all the time but improvements can be made. Here are some of the attitudes we try to display at Benay, but as with all businesses, is a work in progress.
  • Our daily meeting is short, 15 minutes, and at 10 AM so everyone gets away from their desk and interacts with one another at least once during the day.
  • I want to urge staff to take lunch either in the office or out, but not with their computers on. Everyone needs a break to revive his or her body and mind.
  • We all try to inquire about staff's family, friends, or weekend activities. It only costs a few moments to show that not only do we care how they are doing but gives us all license to acknowledge that we all have lives outside our business that are more important than what we do between 9 & 5.
  • I try to reward suggestions and initiative with small gifts or words of thanks, and publicly acknowledge good ideas at our daily meetings. Offering to get coffee, buy lunch, or even just get a candy bar from the corner store is a daily occurrence by our team. This may be why my diet is constantly thwarted.
  • Offering flexibility in terms of our work schedule is key: my motto is I don't care how or where the work gets done, as long as it gets done. So hours are flexible when possible and people can work remotely when needed.  


We need to acknowledge that people can't be busy every second and require moments of downtime. Whether it's a closed door, headphones to block out other conversations, a silent moment at the desk to deal with all the issues facing us before 9 and after 5, or just getting outside for 5 minutes, we all deserve the chance to mentally and physically recharge and intentionally up our game at work.

Not everyone loves their job but they certainly shouldn't hate it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

iPad Giveaway Winner

Benay has just chosen their iPad Mini winner: Tiffany Salvia. Congratulations!


We want to thank everyone for entering. You can still be a winner by signing up for our bi-weekly newsletter on our website. You can also look forward to great information and advice from business leaders, future giveaways, and more!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Benay President, Dawn Reshen-Doty, Gives Advice at the Inaugural Boot Camp for Foreign Entrepreneurs

Dawn Reshen-Doty, president of Benay Enterprises, gave invaluable advice to foreign entrepreneurs looking to set up in the US at the recent Withers Bergman "Boot Camp for the Inbound Foreign Entrepreneur." Along with three other panelists, Reshen-Doty elaborated on "the complex array of legal, accounting and business management decisions that face foreign entrepreneurs when they are establishing a presence in the U.S."

From the Greenwich Time: "Chris Raines and Dawn Reshen-Doty provided insight to help foreign entrepreneurs who want to set up shop in the U.S. plan for the transition at the Withers Bergman inaugural 'Boot Camp for the Inbound Foreign Entrepreneur" on Thursday, May 8, 2014 at the Delamar Greenwich Harbor Hotel in Greenwich, Conn. Photo: Contributed Photo"


You can read more on the Greenwich Time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Granta & Tin House Receive Recognition for Their Fantastic Short Stories


 

Another literary win is in the bag for Benay clients, Tin House and Granta. The O. Henry Prize recognizes great pieces of short fiction and is “intended to ‘strengthen the art of the short story and to stimulate younger authors.’” Tin House has two winners with Kristen Iskandrian’s “The Inheritors” and Dylan Landis’ “Trust.” Granta has one winner with Mark Haddon’s “The Gun.” 
You can read “The Inheritors” in Tin House’s summer 2012 “Summer Reading” Journal Issue 52.

You can read “Trust” in Tin House’s summer 2013 “Summer Reading” Journal Issue 56.

You can read “The Gun” here (but you must be a subscriber to Granta Magazine).


Benay is always excited and happy to see our clients get well-deserved recognition. We wish Tin House and Granta the best.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

YOU'RE INVITED! Boot Camp for the Inbound Foreign Entrepreneur

I will be participating in Withers Bergman's first ever boot camp and you are cordially invited to attend!
If you are an entrepreneur looking to establish a presence in the United States, we are offering our first ever Boot Camp for the Inbound Foreign Entrepreneur on Thursday, May 8, 2014. This two hour seminar will offer insight into the business management, legal and accounting concerns that entrepreneurs face when arriving in the United States.  
When: 
Thursday, May 8 
8:00 - 10:00 am
 
Where: 
Delamar Greenwich Harbor Hotel
500 Steamboat Road
Greenwich, CT
 
Agenda: 
8:00 - 8:30 am: Registration and Breakfast
8:30 - 9:45 am: Panel Discussion
9:45 - 10:00am: Q&A and Networking

RSVP
For more information on the seminar: 
click here to view the invitation.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP by May 1st to:events6@withers.us.com or 203.302.4071. 

- Dawn Reshen-Doty

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

You Digital Presence Precedes You

Have you ever Googled yourself? I did, and it was both amazing and scary. Every single piece of information you've ever posted - every blog, quote, tweet, and response - it's all there streaming down the Google page, for everyone to see. 


Digital Precedes Physical

If you haven't Googled yourself, I can guarantee someone else has. Whether it's potential clients, prospective employers, love interests, or long lost friends from the past; someone has probably looked for your online presence before. 
Once it became apparent that everything posted on the Internet is essentially permanent and easily accessed by everyone, the advice against posting incriminating photos and posts began rolling in. Millennials have been the biggest victims of this, as they've grown up surrounded by this virtual portal into their lives. Posts of underage drinking, sex, and other illicit acts have quickly reaped their consequences on these young Internet users. 
But for the older generations, the lack of online presence can be just as damaging as having an over-the-top, shares too much presence. It's important to have a presence, especially if you're looking to change careers. But, having an online presence is also a great way to reconnect with friends and business colleagues and leave an online presence for future generations. 
If you're looking to make your business grow, creating an online presence is a great place to start, both for your business and your professional self. Remember to create that LinkedIn page or that a business geared Twitter you may have been putting off. Just spending ten to fifteen minutes a day toward your online presence can increase engagement and awareness for potential customers/clients.
And as LinkedIn guru Marc Halpert has reminded thousands:
"Not having your picture posted on LinkedIn is like having a business card without your name on it!"


Monday, April 14, 2014

Tin House Books' Newest Release "The Dismal Science" is Highly Reviewed in the NYTimes Book Review

Tin House’s (Benay Client) newest book received a rave review in the New York Times Book Review.  “The Dismal Science” by Peter Mountford is replete with Dante references and homages with “Purgatory [as] the underlying structural metaphor of the novel.”



The story follows Vincenzo D’Orsi, a 54-year-old banker as he leaves his cushy corporate job due to moral differences, as the bank will cease funding to Bolivia if the leftist candidate, Evo Morales, wins.  D’Orsi believes this goes against the mission of the company and gives the story over to a reporter friend. The story blows up and obviously D’Orsi’s career with the bank is over. To further his spite against his former company, D’Orsi chooses a new job with Morales’ public relations officer and chooses to give a speech on Morales’ behalf.

“Peter Mountford’s fierce imagination and intelligence drive ‘The Dismal Science’…Though many of the themes examine a darker shade of human nature, Mountford manages to infuse hope.” As D’Orsi traverses the new adventures life has laid out before him, it becomes apparent that Dante and Machiavelli is a driving force behind his (and Mountford’s) intellectual thought.  “They are integral to his attempt to make sense of where he is and reflect on the geopolitical landscape of 2005, shaped senselessly by the erratic nature of human behavior.”



Martha McPhee couldn’t have been more pleased with “The Dismal Science.” Her analysis and interest in the themes make the book a desirable read. We wish Tin House Books and Peter Mountford the best of luck as “The Dismal Science” (hopefully) takes the literary world by storm.


You can purchase a copy of the book through Tin House’s website.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Benay Clients, Akashic Books & Overlook Press Have Books Reviewed in the NYTimes Book Review

This past Sunday’s New York Times Book Review was a big one for two of Benay’s clients. Drawing Autism from Akashic Books received a shout-out, and Wonderkid from Overlook Press received a lengthy review.

Akashic Books


Drawing Autism is a compilation edited by Jill Mullin, a clinical therapist. Much of the artwork is from Glen Russ, “who at an early age developed a passion for music and art.” Mullin was fascinated and decided to explore the relationship between art and people with autism. “Russ’s pictures are primitive but not naïve, while other works in the book are more advanced.”

You can purchase Drawing Autism from Akashic’s site. If you order through Akashic, all copies of Drawing Autism are SIGNED by editor Jill Mullin, while supplies last!



Overlook Press


Wonderkid by Wesley Stace is the story of Blake, a rock ‘n’ roll obsessive, whose band, Wunderkinds, gets rebranded as “Wonderkids, a brightly costumed rock ‘n’ roll act for toddlers.” After Wonderkids’ first tour is scheduled and Blake is on the bus to leave town, the novel curiously adds a first-person narrator.
Lucinda Rosenfeld describes Wonderkid as “winningly dry, occasionally hilarious and enervatingly long-winded.”

You can purchase Wonderkid from Overlook Press’ site.


Benay wants to wish these two publishers, the best of luck and continued success as they continue wowing the literary world.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Creating an Innovation Community

Israel is home to a very unique business, and life-saving idea. United Hatzalah of Israel is a unique emergency response organization that has trained volunteers ready to respond at any moment by “Ambucycles.” These bikes are equipped with various emergency supplies, such as trauma kits and defibrillators. The “ambucycles” provide not only fast response times, but also allow the volunteers to be prepared and fully equipped to deal with emergencies. These volunteers can be doctors, nurses, or paramedics, and are on call every minute of every day.

This remarkable organization uses a system called LifeCompass. This innovative system “draws a virtual perimeter around an incident that is entered into the system. It then alerts only the medics in a predetermined radius to the incident.” LifeCompass is a spectacular system with 2,000 members signed up, ready to be alerted of and respond to any emergencies in their vicinity.

The goal of the United Hatzalah is not to overstep the local ambulances and hospitals, but instead, to provide emergency care prior to the ambulances arrival on the scene. On average, it takes six minutes for an ambulance to arrive; whereas, it takes the United Hatzalah less than three minutes. The United Hatzalah use these three crucial minutes to provide potentially life-saving care to those waiting for help. This “pre-ambulance” system is genius and effective, having responded to roughly 210,000 emergencies in one year.

Although a system like this is expensive to operate, any country would benefit from implementing a “pre-ambulance” response system similar to the United Hatzalah.  There are many generous people in the world like Mark Gerson, the co-founder of the Gerson Lehrman Group and philanthropist, who can donate money toward saving lives.  Mark Gerson donates around $1 million a year to the United Hatzalah.


Israel has truly set a new standard of emergency care that should be mimicked around the world. What do you think of this business idea? Would it work in the U.S.?

Jason DeLeo Jr., Intern

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Benay Client, Steerforth Press, has a Newly Reviewed Book in the "New York Times"

Benay is always excited to see our clients getting the positive press they deserve. This time the praise is for Steerforth Press, whose new book The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan, was favorably reviewed by The New York Times.

The Spinning Heart encompasses 21 chapters, each chapter narrated by a different character from a run-down Irish town. Each character has been negatively affected by the economic downturn, in which the local town developer has left town, leaving the laborers stuck. As Daphne Kalotay writes, “Each speaker has been wounded — by the economy as well as by grim parents, cruel lovers, violence, mental illness and the grief of accidental loss.”

“While the material often feels familiar (we even meet the kindhearted town floozy, now aging and abandoned), Ryan writes with compassion, honesty and an appealing deadpan humor.” Kalotay notes her hesitation at reading a chapter narrated by a completely different chapter, but says that Ryan seamlessly connected them so that she “rarely had to check back to keep everyone straight.”


Benay would like to extend their congratulations to the Steerforth Press team and author Donal Ryan and wish them continued success. You can purchase a copy of The Spinning Heart here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Family Offices: A Supercharged Benay for the Super Wealthy

If you're not a billionaire or up-to-date on the financial trends of the super-rich, you probably haven't heard of a "Family Office." A Family Office is essentially a supercharged Benay for the super wealthy. 

"Jon Carroll, president and chief executive of Family Office Metrics, a business consultant to Family Offices, said the best ones act like multidisciplinary professional services firms with experts in investments, auditing, legal services, tax preparation and compliance all under one roof, with the family as the only point of concern." Though, not all Family Offices are so extensive. 


It probably goes without saying that a Family Office isn't cheap. "Charlie Grace, managing director at the Family Office Exchange, said the annual costs could run from $400,000 for a couple of employees for a $100 million family office - which would be on top of investment management fees - up to $8 million to $12 million per year for 30 or 40 employees at a multibillion-dollar office." 

It seems that one of the largest driving factors behind utilizing a Family Office is the emphasis on confidentiality. While all of us cherish our privacy, establishing a Family Office offers protection from filing certain documents with the FCC, hence the greater discretion offered in the creation of such an entity. The other attraction is that Family Offices keep the finances within the family. Their number one concern is the family and their financial security, prosperity and successful financial longevity - all concerns that the wealthy and the hoping to become wealthy share. 

"Mr. Carroll said that when family offices work well they give a family three things: control, security and quality." 




In the New York Times article, "A Family Office for the Superrich, and Lessons for the Less Wealthy," author Paul Sullivan emphasizes that virtually every household has a Family Office. Of course, it is on a much smaller scale, but it is also important to find a balance between family members. "Tavan L. R. Pechet, president of Pechet Advisors, who previously ran a family office" explains that "you need to select the right team, manage them effectively and get them to work together. The important challenges and benefits in life come back to families: how they work together, how they can collaborate and cooperate, how they can educate their children and give back to their communities together." 

THE BENAY WAY While not everyone is in the market for a true Family Office, we treat our clients like the important families of individuals that they are and offer a team to help them effectively manage their business and finances. Besides business management and back office services we connect our clients to a wide range of service providers they need through our trusted associations with attorneys, accountants, financial advisors and others. We offer most of the back office services required by Family Offices but at a fraction of the cost and all under one roof, ensuring that they receive the highest quality of service.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Benay Enterprises is featured in the CEDF's 2013 Annual Report!

The Community Economic Developing Fund has released their 2013 annual report and it features a page on Benay Entperises. You can view the entire document here!