The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Archive for “Plan Your Business”

What Happened When One Entrepreneur Had Cleavage Issues

If you have an idea for a new product based on your personal experiences, you should definitely look into creating it. Just look at today’s interview. After having a difficult time finding a piece of clothing that would give her the ability to “manage” her cleavage in comfort at work, Julie Crotty quit her job, conducted [...]

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Why you Need to Build a Startup Family

Over the last 7 years, I have been involved in more startups than most entrepreneurs will in their lifetime. That’s not to say that I’m an “expert” in entrepreneurship (or an expert in anything for that matter), but I certainly have had a pretty diverse set of entrepreneurial experiences for a 27 year-old. I have [...]

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Invention in the Spotlight – September

INTRODUCING – MAGIC SPICER As autumn approaches, so does the season for savory “comfort foods” and holiday baking.  As you begin to pull out those spices from the back of the cupboard, spices like chili powder, oregano, nutmeg and cinnamon, consider how great it would be to have a convenient spice rack to both simplify [...]

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Expert Gene Marks weighs in on how to increase 2010 profits

Our friends at Kodak have generously (and very strategically) sponsored our next and upcoming 1-hour webinar: Ways to Increase Profitability and Productivity Gene Marks, a business management expert and entrepreneur I hold in high regard (as do Forbes, Business Week and American City Business Journals where he provides regular columns), is going to walk through proven, [...]

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Votes are in, Judging Underway for Leading Moms in Business

It is our hope that the competition creates exposure for mom-run businesses by creating excitement for each business’s constituency. It’s our hope that the ranking results are a big PR hit for the winners. And with this eBook, it’s our hope that we can warm newcomer moms to the fires of entrepreneurship!
If you’ve been on the sidelines and think just maybe you’re ready to follow in the footsteps of the millions of other moms who’ve started up, consider the first step we are happy to recommend: download your copy of Start Your Own Mom Business!.

I am ever amazed by the intensity and on-top-of-itness of competitors in the StartupNation Leading Moms in Business Ranking competition. The popular voting and entries phases have just closed and now we’re tabulating those votes and selecting stand-out competitors as judged winners. It’s always a difficult process – so many of them deserve the spotlight [...]

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Back to Business – Good News or Bad?

With Labor Day comes back-to-school and back-to-business. With this in mind, are you dreading your old routine and the cooler months ahead?   Well, here are a few things you can do now to make a smoother transition and have more business success.   1.      Check Your PR Action Plan. Review your plan of action [...]

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Get PR Results – Not Rip-Offs

“I just paid a small fortune to a big, PR agency and have nothing to show for it!”   “We hired a freelance copywriter, and he took our money and ran.”   “I paid a lot of money for media placements. Isn’t that how it works?”   Yes, folks. These are just some of the [...]

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Is Your TV, Computer or Bed Making You Lose Sales?

Ok. You may think I’m nuts, but I’m writing this at 4:45 on a Tuesday morning. I just put three loads of laundry into the washing machine, and I’m now tackling several, SEO writing assignments in addition to this blog. Don’t hate me because I’m a morning person. I had to train myself to get [...]

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The Secret Weapon to Stay Ahead of the Competition

You smell the freshly cut grass and the tangy barbeque sizzling on the grill. You sip a nice, cool beverage by the pool and start to fall asleep.   Ah…summer. It’s time for rest, relaxation and fun. But wait a minute…Wake up!   It’s also a time to be aware of your business. Why?   [...]

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Ladies: Getting Your Legal Foundation in Place is Sexy!

This one is especially for the ladies, because I think this is an epidemic issue with us.  But men, you are warmly welcome here!  I hope everyone gets something from this post….read on! There are so many programs out there that talk about marketing, sales, Social Media, finding your bliss, etc….  All of these things [...]

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How Do You Market the Only Way to Cross The Border Under Water Without Getting Wet?

Check Out Our Interview with Detroit Windsor Tunnel EVP, Carolyn Brown! Today, you are in for a treat because we are talking to the executive vice president of The Detroit Windsor Tunnel. It’s one of the great, engineering marvels of the world and is the only “vehicular international subaqueous border crossing in the world.” That [...]

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PR Too Expensive? Think Again.

If you are currently worried about finances, you may want to review your public-relations efforts and look into getting outside help.   Think it’s too expensive?   Well, you could be wasting time and money by continuing your current publicity activities!   By hiring a PR consultant who acts as an extension of your team [...]

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Chris D’Agnese of Inkhead Uses SEO Tactics to Grow Business

Does SEO really work? Well, former software developer Chris D’Agnese saw an opportunity to build a promotional products business solely off of online sales, based on the ideas that consumers like to research and compare before purchasing. Using simple SEO tactics, Inkhead’s sales increased 32% from 2008 to 2009. As a member of the Promotional Products Association [...]

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Marketing Planning Part II: Give Them What They Want

Give ‘Em What They Want, When They Want It Now that you’ve formed a better idea of who your ideal customers are, you need to identify how you can meet their desires. So let’s look at a few examples of businesses that have profited by aptly answering to their customers wants. Joe’s Real BBQ: Known [...]

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Baby Boomers Compete in Internet Age- Interview with Ron Tannebaum of In The Rooms

  Are you a Baby Boomer who thinks you can’t compete against younger folks in the Internet Age? Well, check out my interview with Ron Tannebaum, co-founder of In The Rooms, and you just might change your mind.   Tell us about In The Rooms. Why did you create this site?   In The Rooms [...]

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Business Financing and Structure

One of the most important, and yet the least understood part of your business financing is how your business will be structured. You can choose one of six options: Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, C Corporation or S Corporation. You will find that each of these differ to the degree of [...]

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Marketing Planning For Your Startup Business

So you’re getting ready to start your own business; have you thought about your marketing plan?

Your marketing plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages of graphs and charts; it can be as simple as a one-page snap shot of all the strategies that you plan to implement to get the word out about your business.

Every business needs to have a marketing plan.     Here’s a simple way to put one together that I call the “10 Minute Marketing Plan TM.”

1.          One an Excel spreadsheet, write the 12 months of the year in a column down the left-hand side leaving about 10 spaces between each month.  This will be column 1.

2.         Create a second column to the right of the months, label it “Highlights.”

3.         Create a third column to the right of the highlights; label it “Marketing Activities.”

4.         Create a fourth column to the right of “Marketing Activities” and label it “To Do’s.”

I can make this even easier for you, email me at and ask for the “10 Minute Marketing Plan TM spreadsheet.

Marketing Planning

Now it’s time to fill it out.

For this exercise, I’m assuming that you already know who your ideal customer is.  Now you will need to do some research.

  • Highlights: For the “Highlights” column, you need to research events, holidays, or happenings in your industry, and even seasons because these will help you create marketing promotions that will help create excitement and tap into the mindset of your clients.  For example, for January, highlights could include; New Year’s Resolutions, White Sales, certain sporting events, winter, New Year’s Day, etc.
  • Marketing Activities:  In the Marketing Activities column, write down the marketing activities that you plan to implement each month.   Don’t spend all of your marketing budget on just one marketing activity.  You should do a minimum of 3-5 marketing activities monthly because your customers are every where.  Furthermore, it takes time for marketing to work.  The marketing you do this month will pay off next month, next quarter, and even next year!  Always be marketing!
  • Some sample marketing activities could include: email newsletters, daily Twitter and Facebook updates, blogging, website optimization, direct mail, networking groups, newspaper or television advertising, publicity, contests, door-to-door canvassing, etc. (Note:  You don’t need to do each marketing activity every month.  For example, you could decide to send out an email newsletter once every two months.  The idea of the calendar is for you to write it down so you have a schedule of when the activities are going to occur.)
  • To do’s: In this column write down activities you need to do to make your future marketing activities occur.  For example, if you have decided to do a direct mail campaign, then in the “To Do” column you could write down “Contact Direct Mail companies.”


How much should I spend on marketing?

The answer is: It depends.  What are your revenue goals?  What kind of business do you have?  For some companies, it might be appropriate to spend more than others.  The key is to have a budget and use it wisely.  For many smaller companies, low cost and no cost marketing strategies such as networking groups, social media, publicity and direct mail can be very effective.

What marketing strategies should I use?

Again the answer is; it depends.  Strategies will differ based on what your business is, who your customers are, and where they are, and what your revenue goals are.

Survey what other companies in your industry have done that has worked and hasn’t worked.  Ask your CPA to help you with a budget, and then stick to it.  And most importantly, measure the results of your marketing efforts to you can understand what is working and what is not.

For a list of 101 Marketing Strategies, email me at

Are you a new startup business?  We would love to hear from you.  Post your business website and your favorite marketing strategy here!


Wendy Kenney is a nationally known Buzz Building Expert and the Founder and CEO of 23 Kazoos, a marketing firm specializing in inexpensive and creative small business marketing strategies.

She has honed her marketing skills through over 26 years of entrepreneurship and business management.  She fell in love with marketing with her first marketing at Showbiz Pizza Place.  Since then she has gained experience marketing for several industries including restaurants, legal, insurance and financial services, independent retail, nonprofits and more.

Wendy is about to release a new book called “Buzz: How to Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business” based on her knowledge of what works and what does not work in small business marketing.  This book features practical and low cost marketing strategies, such as “How to Grow Your Business Using Social Media,” as well as valuable links, resources, and tips.

Wendy frequently speaks to organizations about marketing for small business.  To get more information or to schedule Wendy to speak go to:  Business Marketing Speaker

Claim your free download (no email necessary) on Wendy’s website:  23 Kazoos

How to Build Buzz for your Biz:  23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed

Wendy lives in Mesa with her husband Mike, and three teenage sons.   Her personal goal is to visit all of the Major League Ballparks in the US before she turns 49. So far she has been to 12.


So you’re getting ready to start your own business; have you thought about your marketing plan? Your marketing plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages of graphs and charts; it can be as simple as a one-page snap shot of all the strategies that you plan to implement to get the word out about your [...]

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Business Models—Choosing a Business Model

When choosing a business model I always recommend that it be something that you are passionate about. It seems that when passion is lacking, it is harder to get up in the morning and to do the things that you need to do in order to work your business. So, that would be the first [...]

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