Founder Uses Technology to Streamline Functions of Business

By: Rebecca Alwine

Technology is making operations easier for business owners, though Shannon Siriano Greenwood admits digital cannot replace human capital.

“My iPhone is the only way I can do what I do,” Greenwood said. “As a business coach, I have the flexibility to be where I need to be.”

Greenwood is a serial entrepreneur. Technology has really helped her balance all her passions, including several businesses that she founded across several industries. And technology was instrumental in the success of her fitness studio, Boho Cycle Studio in Richmond, Virginia.

Technology that serves clients

When Greenwood launched her first business, she was balancing a full-time schedule with the opening of her new indoor cycling studio called Boho Cycle Studio. After just six months, the company was making a profit, and it received recognition as “Best Start Up” by Richmond Magazine. Soon, Greenwood found ways to streamline antiquated processes.

“Technology played a major role in the success of my fitness studio,” Greenwood said. To appeal to the desires of her customer base, she used MindBody—online management software that allows clients to reserve a space for class, which created an expedited experience and eliminated the inconvenience of arriving half an hour early to wait in line.


2017-10-30T14:47:09-04:00October 30th, 2017|


Is your website visitor friendly? 50% of online sales are lost because consumers have trouble navigating the website, according to a survey by Forrester. The online community is inundated with information, and time is a precious commodity. Streamline your information by making it easy to find.

Powerhouse can help with that. Our team offers services for website development and maintenance. We can assist your brand in creating uniformity through consistent branding and clean webpages. See our full offerings at Powerhouse Services.

2017-10-30T01:43:20-04:00October 30th, 2017|

Four Reasons to Have Consistent Branding

By: K.C. Hastings

Every minute, there are 290,000 new statuses on Facebook, and in just four years, 16 million local business pages have been created. Meanwhile, the Twitterverse is seeing rapid interaction with over 6,000 tweets per second. In the world of marketing, social media has become a highway with a traffic jam of people trying to get noticed. The question is, how can brands get people to remember their virtual billboard when shopping for their next product or service?

The key is a consistent brand strategy.

Uniform practices across traditional and digital platforms create brand recognition, which, in turn, increases return on investment (ROI). Here’s why:

They remember you.

The moment a need arises, whether it’s for a replacement product or a new dress for an event, potential consumers think about who the go-to person is. If they have seen your marketing consistently on social media—through Facebook-sponsored ads, for example—they are going to remember your company’s name. Instead of searching “place to buy a dress,” they’ll be searching for your store by name. People are more likely to trust a company they have heard of over a company whose advertising they’ve never seen.


2017-10-30T01:43:30-04:00October 30th, 2017|

How to Be a Telecommute-Friendly Company

By: Jennifer Morrison

Remote career opportunities are replacing the traditional brick-and-mortar way of employing people.

According to a Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs report, the number of remote job positions has increased 115% in just the last 10 years. As telecommuting gains popularity, employees are looking to take advantage of this option. Many are going so far as to use it as a negotiation point either in accepting a new job or in lieu of a pay raise. While the benefits for employees seem obvious—no commute time, cost savings on commuting expenses and office attire, and a better work-life balance—employers may wonder, “What does it do for me?”

The benefits

There is an obvious cost savings to having employees conduct their responsibilities from the comfort of their homes (or coffee shops). Fewer employees in a physical office means there are lower overhead costs associated with in-house items, such as office space, supplies, and utilities. Healthcare costs are also diminished for remote workers. A Staples study of its employees found that those who telecommuted were less stressed and able to make healthier choices when compared with their experiences in a traditional office setting.


2017-10-30T14:47:40-04:00October 30th, 2017|

Client Profile: Military Spouse Advocacy Network

“It was an absolute pleasure to work with Powerhouse! They helped Military Spouse Advocacy Network (MSAN) with a wonderful proposal that was a success. MSAN will be updating everyone on this proposal with a wonderful agency. Thank you, Powerhouse, for your support and professionalism and for making us feel part of your team…you are part of our success!”

– Verenice Castillo, Founder, Military Spouse Advocacy Network

 Interested in learning how we can help your company with proposal writing? Email us at We’d love to be on your team!

2017-10-30T14:48:12-04:00October 30th, 2017|

Tools to Maximize ROI

Time is not always on your side. There is a common misconception about the existence of a fictitious work-life balance. For business owners who are depleted of time, money, and resources, finding tools to maximize the return on investment of activities can make or break how successful you are in your personal and professional life. In response, technology is emerging to maximize productivity while minimizing wasted effort. Here are three trending digi-tools helping entrepreneurs with common business functions:

Toggl: Time is money, especially when you are paying employees for theirs. Toggl is a free time-tracking tool that helps you evaluate where the hours in the day are being spent. The visual tracking system allows users to see how long tasks take, who’s working on what, and what the current progress is on assigned projects. Who has time for an overwhelmed inbox? Email is one of the most common forms of communication among B2B, business to consumer, and managers with employees. is an effortless way to eliminate clutter and get rid of unwanted spam mail or correspondence that becomes too frequent. Instead of having to take the time to unsubscribe from everything you’ve ever signed up for, will do it for you.

Dropbox: This tool is especially useful for virtual teams. Dropbox lets teams collaborate more easily from any location and works as a backup system for files. Employees can work on the same projects and files without having to take up extra space on a hard drive.

2017-10-30T01:43:55-04:00October 30th, 2017|

NONPROFIT PROFILE: Healing Household 6

By: Randi Cairns

Almost daily, people can expect to be bombarded with the latest news report, research, or commentary about how technology is a curse. We hear how we’re less connected to each other now than we’ve ever been before and how we’ve become so reliant on computers and social media that we’ve forgotten how to interact with each other in meaningful ways.

Well, one small—but mighty—nonprofit is turning those ideas on their heads by using digital tools to strengthen their nonprofit’s mission.

Healing Household 6 (HH6) connects caregivers of American veterans with the essential resources needed to strengthen the family support foundation. Their goal is to build resilient households by focusing on the wellbeing of the whole family, helping alleviate household tension, and empowering caregivers and children. They offer programs for domestic violence assistance, emergency financial assistance, and peer support for caregivers of wounded warriors. They also partner with other organizations to provide services and retreats to children of wounded warriors.


2017-10-30T01:44:03-04:00October 30th, 2017|

Q&A with Direct Sales Superstars – Feature Four: Mary Kay

This month, Powerhouse Planning is featuring superstars of the direct sales industry who have taken the time to share with us their experiences and viewpoints gained over time. Through the words of those doing it—and doing it well—our Powerhouse team aims to help both new and established direct sales professionals grow their businesses as a result of the insights (including some of the harder lessons learned) of those in the field who are finding success.

Company: Mary Kay
Industry Professional: Ashley Virnau
Title: Independent Senior Sales Director

Top beauty brand Mary Kay has been in business selling cosmetics and skincare products for over 53 years. The multi-billion-dollar company, which is headquartered in Texas, supports entrepreneurial ventures across 40 countries, according to its website. It all started with the vision of one woman: Mary Kay Ash. At a time when men dominated careers outside the home, Ash was a trailblazer who wanted to create opportunities for women to have their own earning potential. The company also prides itself on empowering awareness efforts for domestic abuse prevention.

Air Force wife Ashley Virnau first learned about Mary Kay when she was in high school and her aunt introduced her to the products. Ashley fell in love with the products to the point where she started sending customer referrals to her aunt. By college, she made the decision to get into direct sales on a part-time basis to make some extra income. Today, Ashley has attained status as an Independent Senior Sales Director, which means she not only has her own customer base whom she assists with their cosmetic needs, but she also educates and mentors a team of consultants to build successful businesses themselves. Her career with Mary Kay complements her unique lifestyle as an on-the-go military family. She can bring her business from duty station to duty station and stay fully engaged with her team of consultants and customers.

Ashley spoke with Powerhouse Planning about her experience with Mary Kay and her advice for achieving success in direct sales.

What challenges have you faced in establishing your business?
My biggest challenge has been myself. I am my own worst enemy in just having the confidence that I can do this—that I have the skills and that I have what it takes to run a business myself. But what I have found is every year the personal growth that I’ve experienced no longer makes it a challenge; it makes it … worth it. I’m learning new business skills and new communication skills, and I’m learning how to keep up with technology because I don’t have anyone doing that for me. It’s up to me, and I need to believe in myself.

How has technology helped the functions of your business?
It helped my reach—the availability that I have to stay connected to my customers and consultants. I am able to do more, and because I move around a lot, I am not physically with my people as much as maybe another director may be. Social media has provided me an opportunity to stay connected much more than before. When I started there was no such thing as Facebook.

Why has direct sales been a good fit for you?
The flexibility and being able to adjust my schedule around my husband’s training schedule.

What is your greatest accomplishment with your company?
I would say earning my first pink Cadillac in 2015. It is an achievement based on unit production as a team.

Whom do you consider a mentor?
There is a retired Mary Kay national director, and she is one of the most successful active sales directors. She has tough love, and she understood the business so well she opened my eyes to long-term possibilities.

Below, Ashley shares her tips for using the trending tools of direct sales to expand a customer base and strengthen relationships.

Online Party Tips:
Facebook parties provide an opportunity for connections to be made. But don’t only go after the one-time sale because establishing those long-term relationships are valuable. I truly believe every man or woman on this planet has a skincare need.

Utilizing Social Media Tips:
Don’t overdo it with your social media strategy. Direct sales are a people-driven business, and you can only connect with people so much online. Face-to-face interaction is important.

Establishing a Customer Base Tips:
The beauty of Mary Kay is that we service men and women. Consultants have to open their eyes and see every person as a potential customer. Start with your real estate agent—the first person you get to know in a community. Join local Facebook groups. Invite everyone to try the products.

Finding Local Customers Tips:
There are community events in every area where you can set up, meet new people, and put your face out there. The second thing I will say is military spouses are looking to connect with people. I have been my best hostess when I’m inviting the spouse groups over. It creates community. I present it as an opportunity to connect. I don’t make it just about trying the products; I cook for them, I take care of them, I invite them into my home, and maybe we’ll have a play date after.


2017-10-27T19:34:40-04:00October 27th, 2017|

New Hire at Powerhouse

Angela Caban is a freelance writer, published author, and branding expert. In 2010 she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support site created to assist spouses and families through encouragement, educational articles, and resources. This network is dedicated to assisting National Guard and Reserve families with resources and to ensuring no spouse is left behind. In 2013 she was named the New Jersey National Guard Spouse of the Year by Military Spouse Magazine and Armed Forces Insurance.

In January of 2017, Angela was elected to the Milford Public School Board of Education. She is an advocate for military kids attending civilian schools as well as for current issues affecting curriculum and regionalization of smaller school districts. She also sits on advisory boards for The Milspo Project, Military Family Advisory Network and MilTribe.

As a branding expert, Angela has worked with clients such as A&E, Lifetime Network, Chevrolet, Carnival, and many more. Currently, she is one of the Community Managers for the USAA Member Community, which provides engaging and resourceful content for military and families.

Angela has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. She has been married to her Army National Guard soldier for 13 years, and together they reside in the Garden State of New Jersey with their two children.

2017-10-18T14:51:01-04:00October 18th, 2017|

Q&A with Direct Sales Superstars – Feature Three: Scentsy

This month, Powerhouse Planning is featuring superstars of the direct sales industry who have taken the time to share with us their experiences and viewpoints gained over time. Through the words of those doing it—and doing it well—our Powerhouse team aims to help both new and established direct sales professionals grow their business as a result of the insights (including some of the harder lessons learned) of those in the field who are finding success.

Company: Scentsy
Industry Professional: Emily Goodknecht

Direct sales leader Scentsy revolutionized the way consumers use fragrance by creating a safe, alternative option to traditional candles. Headquartered in Idaho, the company designed a customized line of home and personal products, including scented wax bars and warmers. Bi-annually, they release new catalogs along with seasonal collections that capture the feel and smell of the holidays. According to the company’s website, they have earned recognition from the Direct Selling Association (DSA)—the trade organization of the direct sales industry—through the DSA Ethos Awards (2009-2015) and the Rising Star Award (2009).

Scentsy, founded in 2004, has grown to over 100,000 independent consultants across 11 countries. Among them is Emily Goodknecht, a SuperStar Director with 750 distributors under her leadership. To manage hundreds of motivated sellers efficiently, Emily utilizes a trickle-down model of leadership that allows her to work directly with her upper-tier team leaders. Some of her directorship role includes mentoring, training fellow Scentsy sales reps and conducting recognition activities to highlight individual achievements. She says she initially started with the company as a side gig, but soon realized the earning potential of running her own business after her husband transitioned from his military career. Six years later, her business continues to grow and so do her goals.

Emily spoke with Powerhouse Planning about her history with Scentsy and her tips for success in direct sales.

How did you know direct sales would be a good fit for you?
I had pretty good success early on in my business. When I joined, I got my kit and I was reading through the guide, and I’m someone who’s really driven by goals and incentives. So, if the company is putting out some kind of bonus, I tend to look at that and think, This is what successful people do—I’m going to go for that.
Emily added that her paycheck steadily grew over the years. Over the last two years, she says her business has produced an income more significant than some traditional careers; as a result, she has been able to take care of her children at home while also running her business.

What is your greatest accomplishment with your company?
My promotion to SuperStar Director. The reason it holds so much merit to me is because it means that I’ve achieved a level of leadership that … helped cultivate other leaders to realize their dreams as well. Because had I never chosen this business, there’s a possibility that those other 750 lives that have been changed by this business would have never joined. I don’t know that for sure, but I don’t know where we all would be if I hadn’t chosen to purchase that $99 starter kit.

What is your hardest lesson learned?
In terms of my own personal-family life, I learned that it’s okay not to be able to do it all. And comparison is really the thief of joy. I see what other people are able to accomplish in their businesses and it’s hard not to think, I wish I could do that, but I realized we come from all different backgrounds and we all have different life experiences that are going to bring different levels of success.

In terms of my team, I’ve learned that you can’t want it for somebody. In this business, you have to be extremely disciplined and self-motivated, and it’s up to you to keep your cup filled and to stay inspired. It’s hard to watch people go down a different path and not see the potential, but I can’t want it enough for someone—they have to want it for themselves.

What’s your favorite professional/personal quote?
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking…As with all matters with the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

How have you grown your team?
Usually when I’m looking to bring people into the business, it’s typically people who I think can use the blessing—either they’re having some financial struggle, or they’ve recently lost a job and can use another income. I also get a lot of referrals. People tend to be drawn to those who exude confidence and success, and I’m not shy about sharing the adventure I’m having with Scentsy. When I’m online, I keep an upbeat presence. I share the benefits of being with the company, such as the trips they pay for and the lifestyle I am able to maintain because of my work.

I always have a recruiting hat on. I’m always thinking of how this business can bless someone’s life. Everyone has a need, whether it’s financial or emotional, and it’s just a matter of tapping into that. Scentsy doesn’t always have to be just about the money. Some people do it because they want to make new friends, some people do it because they want a break from their kids, or they do it because there’s something else that they want in their lives. If you tap into that, there is something that Scentsy can literally provide to everybody.

Below, Emily shares her tips for using the trending tools of direct sales to expand a customer base and strengthen relationships.

Building Your Team Tips: Focus on the relationships. It’s the people who build your business. Take care of them and they, in turn, will take care of you.

Online Party Tips: Engage and connect with your audience in a fun and meaningful way. Involve your hostess every step of the way AS MUCH as possible; you’ll have a much higher probability of recruiting her for your team!

Utilizing Social Media Tips: Your profile is your storefront. People want to do business with a person who has a funny, inspiring, and positive ZEST for life and who is passionate about what they do. If you aren’t exuding that in your online presence, then you won’t draw people in. Be AUTHENTIC!

Making it YOUR Company Tips: Trust and loyalty from your customers and your team come from your dedication and consistency to your business, both of which take time to establish. So don’t give up on it.


2017-10-17T19:36:08-04:00October 17th, 2017|
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