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Running a Small Business Takes Strategy: Here’s How Six Businesses Did It with Help from American Express


American Express has for decades backed small business owners, helping to meet their unique needs and challenges. And now, in today’s fast-paced environment, customers are seeking deeper relationships with financial institutions that are digital-first and well-connected – and can streamline their overall processes.

Amex is stepping up to be their one-stop shop for managing their business’ money.

We’re delivering on this not only with our full Card portfolio, but also with American Express Business Blueprint, a dashboard designed exclusively for small businesses, featuring free cash flow insights. Small businesses can also learn about digital financial products such as our Business Checking and Business Line of Credit, and have an easy way to reach and manage American Express Business Cards.

To help facilitate idea sharing between businesses and foster community among entrepreneurs, we talked with American Express small business customers across the U.S. to learn what’s working for them and how they plan to drive success and growth:

According to these entrepreneurs, there are three primary ingredients in their recipe for success: financial intelligence, preparedness, and authenticity.

Financial Intelligence: Planning for Sustainable Growth

In the early days of Melissa Jenkins’ BAM Desserts, she had to figure out what was popular among customers, how to market those products and how much to charge. “Overpricing meant it wouldn’t sell. Underpricing meant I made no money,” she said.

Launching a business requires strategy – and savings. All the business owners we spoke with said they wish they had gotten more counsel on their financial strategy.

Realistic financial goals are now part of Theresa Majeed’s plan with Rise AD. “We thought we could scale to a seven-figure business without outside investment, which was unrealistic,” said Majeed. In Majeed’s view: “You must not only factor in your immediate expenses, but also the money needed to pour back into your business for manufacturing your next production, continued marketing, and selling expenses, while you work on scaling to obtain bigger accounts.”

Ron Holloway of Woofbowl is a long-time Amex Card Member. Over the years, he has evolved his financial strategy to align with the growing offering of American Express’ business services. “We’re syncing our Amex account with other financial tools to automate and simplify our processes. It’s been quick and easy and extremely helpful to the way we do business,” said Holloway.

Preparedness: Adaptation and Innovation

After hours-long conversations with her mom and multiple homegrown recipes, Lulu Cordero channeled her interest in chemistry and came up with an oil blend she was proud of, giving rise to Bomba Curls in 2019.

By the summer of 2020, her beauty brand graced the shelves of major retailers. “American Express provided me with a range of financial management tools, including expense tracking and reporting, which was essential for staying on top of our finances as we increased Bomba Curls’ footprint in retail,” said Cordero. “Plus, as a small business owner, my Business Card is an invaluable resource, helping me manage our expenses efficiently and offering various rewards and cashback benefits.”

D’Andre Good initially focused on food delivery with Urban Goodz but says today he’s focused on expanding his company’s scope and finding new opportunities. “We expanded into delivery from food, to clothes, and everything else in between. Now, we’re focused on expansion across Texas and east into Alabama. But before we could do any of that, we had a lot to consider, like what type of metrics we needed before pitching to investors.”

Authenticity: Leadership and Connection

Being a small business owner means wearing many hats and juggling multiple responsibilities. But it also means being authentic and honest with yourself and your team.

Building a trusting and reliable team is how Ed McFarland of Ed’s Lobster Bar says he has sustained his restaurant for more than 15 years: “Build your team, regardless of the cost or initial effort it takes upfront, and delegate work and trust them to get it done.”

Similarly, through trusting her own leadership abilities, BAM Desserts’ Jenkins allowed herself to delegate additional tasks to her team: “It was a lot for me to handle on my own after my partners left, so I had to learn to share responsibilities with others. For example, I love that Amex has Employee Cards. I can set spending limits [1], track spending and more. Now, my employees can make that store run for ingredients we need when I don’t have time.”

Running a small business is not easy, but it can be rewarding and fulfilling. Whether you are just starting out or looking to scale up, these owners suggest focusing on these key areas to keep you on track. And remember, you’re not alone. To discover how Amex can support your business’ growth, learn more about our Business Card offerings here and our support beyond the card here.


[1] Employee Card Spending Limits may be set up online or by calling the number on the back of your Card. The Spending Limit is not a guarantee that the Employee Card Member will be able to make purchases up to that limit. There are certain purchases where the limit does not apply, such as, for example, restaurant tips and hotel stays extended beyond their original reservation period, and the overall Account capacity is taken into consideration. You agree to pay all Charges without regard to whether any Charges exceed a limit, and you agree that we are not liable to you or any other person when a limit is not applied to any Charges and/or when Charges are incurred and billed that exceed a limit. For more information on the application of the limit, please refer to the Employee Card Spending Limits Terms and Conditions at, which will also be provided when you enroll Employee Card(s) in this feature.

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