Co-Founder Incorporates Social Responsibility into Business Practices

By: Meredith Flory

When thinking of ways to fight poverty, our minds may initially drift to charitable giving, political work, or volunteering, but we should also consider what impact our spending habits have on workers around the world. Business leader Andy Lower is doing just that by demonstrating how entrepreneurship can be used to empower workers in developing countries.

Lower’s career has always been focused on market-based approaches to eradicating extreme poverty, but a catastrophic event on the news led him to refocus and make changes in his personal and professional life.

“In 2013, I was leading a foundation, transitioning them from traditional grant making to investing in early-stage social businesses that were having an impact on extreme poverty. Rather than just giving money away, we wanted to invest both time and money that would lead to long-term, sustainable impact on extreme poverty,” he explained.

Later that year, a building collapse in Bangladesh resulted in the deaths of 1,134 people “who were making cheap clothes for Western consumers,” Lower says. That event changed him.

“I was personally confronted about the glaring disparity between words and action, specifically regarding our clothing. How can it be culturally acceptable to buy clothes that we know are made in sweatshops when we claim to care about issues of extreme poverty? I had various excuses/reasons that I used to justify not buying in line with my values, so I decided to go all in, and gave away all my clothes and built a new wardrobe from scratch only of clothes where we knew that everyone had been treated fairly,” he said.


2019-02-23T19:16:49-05:00February 23rd, 2019|


In a day and age when hashtags can reach anywhere in the world with an internet connection, it is vital to craft a social media policy for your team.

Unlike the traditional public relations mantra, there is such a thing as bad press when it comes to social media—and it can affect your bottom line. For business owners, this means a negative image on Twitter or a bad customer service interaction on Facebook can land your company on the evening news pretty quickly. Set yourself up for success by establishing a clear and precise policy for anyone who can represent (or destroy) your brand online.

Not sure where to start? The team at Powerhouse can assist you in creating guidance that empowers your employees to share your messaging while keeping your business out of legal trouble. Check out Powerhouse services to learn more about our COMPANY DEVELOPMENT offerings.

2019-02-23T19:17:09-05:00February 23rd, 2019|

Five Things Your Company Needs to Do on Social Media in 2019

By: Jan Wesner Childs

Whether you are just getting started online or already have a robust social media following in place, a new year is the ultimate time to evaluate your strategy. Users want more engagement from brands with a focus on personalization. After all, whom are you more likely to follow or purchase from? Someone you feel a connection to.

Check out these five tricks for getting more personal with your audience.

Connect. Making connections is the whole reason social media exists. Yet many social media managers make the mistake of posting something and then promptly moving on to the next message. Savvy marketers know that personalizing your brand and starting conversations with your followers are the keys to increased engagement. Share user-generated content. Respond to every comment, retweet, and mention. Ideally, you should put as much thought into the message in those replies as you do to each individual post, but even a simple “Thank you!” is better than nothing. Followers want to know you are listening to them and appreciate them.

Create. Post selfies, photos of your employees at work, or behind-the-scenes shots of your company. Better yet, do those things with video, preferably in 30- to 60-second clips. More than 500 million people view videos on Facebook EVERY DAY, according to an article in Forbes magazine, and posting more video should be a top priority for every company. IGTV, YouTube, Twitter, and your company website are all great platforms for video. Remember to keep it engaging and interesting. Try apps like Adobe Express, Boomerang, and InShot.


2022-11-01T18:19:02-04:00February 23rd, 2019|

Four Best Practices for Contracting Freelancers

By: Rebecca Alwine

Freelancers are increasing in popularity as the gig economy continues to grow. For many, freelancing is the perfect way to blend their professional passions and their personal goals. But they are still professionals. They work hard, and those efforts should be rewarded appropriately.

Here are a few ways to make sure you are treating freelancers well so that they will want to work with you in the future:

  1. Use the right terminology.

Freelancers are not employees. You don’t hire them. They don’t work for you. Starting a professional relationship with a freelancer is the best time to lay the foundation of the agreement. Make sure you are using the correct terminology when referencing the contract, terms, and compensation. If you have questions on what these terms should be, check with your legal department.

  1. Honor the contract.

Just as you would not conduct business with a new client without a contract, a freelancer won’t either. And you shouldn’t expect them to. A freelance contract or agreement can be as simple or complicated as needed. But it should include a few important things like payment terms, length of period for work, and any specifics for the project they are being contracted for. Once both parties sign the contract, do not assume that “because they are freelancers” you can choose to change or ignore it.


2019-02-23T19:17:26-05:00February 23rd, 2019|

Client Profile: Beyond 214, LLC

“We were excited to work with Powerhouse Planning from the beginning after seeing the quality of their work with other companies, and we could not be more pleased with the end result. As a new retail business with a unique concept, we weren’t sure the best way to capture our audience with a printed advertisement.  Jessica and her team took our information and came up with a design that perfectly encompasses who we are, what we offer, and why consumers should shop with us. Throughout the entire process I found Jessica and her team to be incredibly professional, organized, and responsive—which is not easy to come by. Plus, we are proud to work with a company that shares in the mission of supporting our military, our veterans, and families. Thank you, Powerhouse Planning! We’ll be back!”

– Mindy Whalen, Co-founder and Manager, Beyond 214, LLC

2019-02-23T19:17:33-05:00February 23rd, 2019|


Want to run more effective social media campaigns in 2019? Lean on the power of the hashtag. Proper usage of hashtags online can attract new customers to your business and expand your digital presence. Luckily, there are tools in place to tell you exactly what’s trending while also helping you track analytics. Here are a few of our favorites: is useful if you want to zero in on your niche. The tool allows users to search for general topics, track hashtag success, and learn from featured resources. Membership is free, and there are four paid plan options with more offerings.

Trendsmap is a Twitter tool lets you see exactly what’s trending by location, so whether you are a small business in North Carolina or you run an online marketplace with global aspirations, Trendsmap is a great fit for you. It also tells you top Twitter users and offers an alert for emerging content.

Hashtagify is useful for Twitter and Instagram users. Focused on hashtag marketing, the site has a toolbar search function to look up keywords. If you’re not yet sold on the idea of how hashtag tracking can help you, the company offers a seven-day free trial.

2019-02-23T19:17:40-05:00February 23rd, 2019|

NONPROFIT PROFILE: American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network

By: Bianca Strzalkowski

There are roughly 5.5 million military caregivers in the United States, with nearly 20% caring for post-9/11 veterans, according to findings by the RAND Corporation. The men and women who find themselves in this new role often provide their loved ones with round-the-clock care, including emotional, physical, and medical support. Research found this level of responsibility can oftentimes lead to social isolation, which led to the creation of a peer-based network to help caregivers feel less alone.

The American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) was launched to serve caregivers of all eras, of all relationships, and across all locations. It uses peer-based programs and services to meet caregivers in a way that works best for them, whether that be one-on-one, in a support group, or through an online community.

Director Melissa Comeau explains the top challenges facing caregivers today include employment, mental health, finances, lack of respite, and difficulty accessing VA caregiver programs. MVCN leans on volunteers to create a strong peer support network to address these trends. (more…)

2019-02-23T19:18:02-05:00February 23rd, 2019|
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