In 2007 I founded Retail Minded, a publication and online destination committed to helping independent retailers through news, education and support. Additionally, I’m the Co-Founder of the Independent Retailer Conference, which takes place at various retail events and trade shows each year, encouraging retailers to engage, learn and connect with some of the industry's top thought leaders and companies. In 2014, I authored my first book from McGraw-Hill, “Retail 101: A Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business”, as well as had the privilege of representing Small Business Saturday from American Express as their official Spokesperson in 2014 - which is the celebratory kick off to the holiday season for independent businesses and takes place the Saturday following Thanksgiving. I’m passionate about retail and small business success - and can relate uniquely to small business owners because like them, I am one myself. The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.