Posts Tagged ‘micro business’

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Even With Coaching, How-To Books, And Seminars… It’s Still Up To You

This is an extraordinary time to venture into business ownership.  The Internet has changed the entire game. There is unprecedented access to information and guidance, and this has leveled the playing field.

But whether you work with a business coach, attend seminars, or read how-to books and blogs, you are the one who has to make it happen.  All of these activities are there to give you direction and/or tools, but only you can get your business up and running.  Only you can create the business you envision.

Take an honest look at how much time and money you’ve recently invested in any or all of these things. Then take a look at where you are with your business.  How long have you been operating at your current level, compared to how long you've wanted to take it to the next level?

A lot of people get stuck in the “information gathering” stage.  In this stage, it is easy to convince ourselves that we’re doing something.  But if you’ve been on a merry-go-round of learning and development activities, the reality is, you’re avoiding doing anything. The best way to actually move your plans forward is to take a break from the planning. Put the information you’ve gathered to use by creating an action oriented to-do list, and start moving through it.

For some of you, the next level is actually getting your business set up.  For others, it means expanding your product or service line or building your customer base.  Wherever you’re at, you are responsible for being there.  And wherever you want to be, you are responsible for getting there.  Feel confident from your past achievements, use the knowledge you have gained, and start moving toward your goals.

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Flattery Will Get you Everywhere

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere from Beth Andrus on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Video As A Marketing Tool

I can feel some of you cringing as you read this, but I think you should at least consider incorporating video into your marketing plan.  Video can be used in a lot of ways, and it’s very effective. That’s one of the reasons HSN and QVC are so successful. They are constantly connecting with their customers with conversation and demonstrations.  Video can do the same for you.

I love fresh pineapple but never bought it because it’s such a mess to slice up.  Then I came across a video of the Vacu Vin pineapple slicer.  The 2 minute demonstration showed how easy it was to use, so I purchased one.  It worked as promised, and now I would try other products from this company.  So, if you have a product that has a function you can demonstrate, video is a great way to go.

If your products that don’t lend to an instructional video, you can still show your products in motion, whether you sell apparel, makeup or jewelry. This also gives your potential customers a chance to get to know you.  And if your company offers a service, video is a great way to build trust.  People will start to develop a relationship with you before even meeting you.

Getting started is easier than you may think.  You don’t have to spend a lot to get a decent camera, and they all come with software so you can do some basic editing.  Then you can set up a YouTube channel and link from your blog, or you can put your videos on Vimeo and imbed the videos in your website, which is what I do.  Here’s a list of other video sites, if you’re interested in doing a little research on your own.

If you’ve never done anything like this before, practice. You will definitely get more comfortable with each try.  In the beginning you may feel embarrassed watching yourself, but keep practicing.  Sometimes I still cringe a little, especially if my lighting is bad, but I re-do it if I have time. (You can find a few examples where I ran out of time – not good, but, oh well.)  Like anything else, the best way to get started is to jump in with both feet.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

But How Do You Know It’s Your Passion?

We all hear it and read it every day – your work/job should be something you’re passionate about. As much as we all want to follow our bliss, many people don’t know what that is for them.  This is understandable.  Throughout our lives we’re told what it means to be successful, and which paths will lead us to fulfillment.  But upon arrival, we realize we were following the path of someone else’s dream.  So how do we switch directions and head toward our dream?

First, you have to remember what makes you happy. Go back as far as your memory will allow.  You will find clues in the games you liked the most, and the kids you played with.  Did you create neighborhood newspapers, or set up elaborate lemonade stands during the summer?  Did you like putting on plays with your friends?  We’re you the actor?  Or the producer, joyfully bossing your friends around?  Did you draw and paint pictures, or create costumes from your mom’s discards?  What you loved doing as a kid is what you still love, just maybe in another form.

Once you determine the “what”, spend some time figuring out why you liked these activities. Was it the problem solving, the creativity, the organizing?  It may take a little time, but as you get closer to the truth, you’ll know it, because you’ll feel energized and engaged.

The final step is simple, but not necessarily easy.  Step onto your path.  Changing the direction of your life is scary, but it can be done.  Approach the process as if it were a marathon, not a sprint.  Maybe take on a hobby or side job that reflects the true you. That may be enough for you to be fulfilled.  As your comfort level increases, though, you may find yourself wanting more.  And now that you’re on the right path, you’ll know what to do, because when we’re in touch with our true desires, we’re also in touch with our instincts.  So take the first steps, and the rest will fall into place.

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

The Winds Of Change Are Always Blowing

As 2010 gets under way, business owners struggle to make progress,as each day brings more discouraging news about unemployment, and credit continues to elude many.  The signs of battle fatigue are apparent.

It is important to realize, though, that throughout the country’s history, the economy has undergone a number of structural changes.  These shifts were brought on by both negative and positive circumstances. Of course, the stock market crash in 1929 is an obvious example of a negative occurrence.  But technological advances have also wreaked economic havoc.  Established industries (and their jobs) have disappeared or shrunk dramatically and quickly. And the new industries taking their place needed a few cycles before they substantially contributed to economic growth.

No matter what the cause, over time, the economy has reorganized and stabilized, just like it will again. And I can tell you that this is the time to push your hardest.  As some people close their businesses, it clears the field and provides you an opportunity to increase your customer base. Also, because of general angst and burnout, companies want a change and you can be the person to provide that fresh outlook.  When things do improve – and they will – you will be out in front of the crowd.

Keep in mind that things are always changing, in all aspects of our lives. As a business owner you need to be prepared for the upswings, as well as the downturns.  The less you fear change, the more easily you’ll adapt. And that is the key to survival.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

AwardSync Will Help You Get The Attention You Deserve

As we all know, PR and marketing plays an essential role in the growth of your business.  One thing that surely brings attention is a special honor for your company. Awardsync is an online resource that lists awards programs.  Whether you are posting and promoting awards programs, or looking for award programs for your company, registering is free.

As you market your company, it definitely helps if you have something that sets you apart in your field.  An award as one of the top new eco-friendly companies, for example, adds to your company’s positive reputation and builds your customers’ confidence is what you have to offer.

Make sure you only submit for award programs that are appropriate for your company. This will enhance your chance of winning.  Also, make sure the award program reflects the values of your company. Winning just to win is not the point.  The potential award should strengthen your brand identity. You can read more at AwardSync.com

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

There Will Always Be New Ideas

There Are Unlimited New Ideas from Beth Andrus on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Lessons From Dominos Pizza’s Ad Campaign

I know almost everyone has seen Dominos Pizza’s new ad campaign.  The company is painfully honest about people’s comments about their pizza, which include comparing the crust to cardboard and the sauce to ketchup.  They are offering a 100% money-back guarantee on their new and improved pizzas.  They also have a website with a live feed of Twitter comments about their new pizzas.

The internet is filled with people’s opinions about this approach and its potential success or failure.  This may or may not help the company overcome its many recent PR nightmares.  But it has been reported in The Brandweek Buzz Report by YouGov that Dominos’ positive buzz score has increased from 2.3 to 35.3 (out of 100), since the campaign began.  Whether this leads to a permanent shift in perception for the brand is yet to be seen.

What is interesting, though, is that Dominos is taking this risky approach.  I think they realized they had to.  Since the dawn of man, bad news has always traveled a million times faster than good news.  Dominos experienced this with the unfortunate YouTube experience last year. Maybe that social media lesson is what led to their current campaign.

Beyond the stark honesty, they are actively incorporating social networking sites into their ad campaign.  While many large corporations have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, the communication is frequently one-way – toward the customer.  Dominos is encouraging communication from the customer, and they are acting upon what they are being told.  As things continue to evolve, companies are going to have to interact this way.  If a customer feels screwed over, trust me, everyone that follows them and has friended them, will hear about it.

By going on the offensive, Dominos is giving the customer (or potential customer) the chance to support them with positive comments.  If that’s what happens, it will should help Dominos, because a third-party endorsement carries a lot of weight.  If it goes the other direction the damage will be huge.

The world is continuing to change.  Keep this in mind when making decisions or reacting to problems.  If your company does everything right, people may tell their online community, but if you do something wrong, they will tell them.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

DBA vs Trademark

I have recently talked to three different people on three separate occasions that had the wrong idea about filing for a DBA. So I’m going to (hopefully) clear things up.

When your business has a name that does not include your legal name you must file a fictitious business statement (also known as a DBA – Doing Buisiness As). For example if your name is John Johnson and your company name is John Johnson Plumbing Services, you do not need to file for a DBA certificate. But if your company name is On Time Plumbing, you need to file, and notices need to be placed in local area newspapers.  This does NOT give you legal rights to the name On Time Plumbing.  Filing a fictitious business statement is all about the right of the public to know with whom they’re doing business.

In order to gain legal ownership of a company name you must register your name as a trademark.  The registration fee is $325.  You can conduct a trademark search and file yourself, or you can use one of the gazillion websites out there. Some will do it for you for a reasonable fee, and some for an outrageous fee. No matter what route you choose, though, protect your name and logo up front.  It could save you time, money and heartache.

This should clear things up, but if you have additional questions, just ask.

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Paying Your Dues

Paying Your Dues from Beth Andrus on Vimeo.