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Archive for “Plan Your Business”

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!.
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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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Inspiration to StartUp: Should YOU Follow Your Passions?

This question has been in my heart and thoughts lately as my pet project, FitandFearLESS.tv, finally launches. As always, there are naysayers. Naysayers that question what a childrenswear designer could possibly know about the crazy world of online entertainment. As I take my first steps in this new venture, I’m often asked “I know this [...]

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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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What Stinks?

Ahhh. Summer. You sit back in your lawn chair with a cold beverage in one hand, and your favorite book in another. Enticing barbeque aromas waft past your nose, and your stomach grumbles with anticipation. You catch the sweet scent of roses in the garden and the fresh cut grass from next door. But wait [...]

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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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Want Free Publicity? Pick up the Phone!

  As a small business owner, getting the media attention you deserve is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, it’s just a matter of picking up the phone and being a good sales person!   Here are five tips to help you get started.   1.      Research.   Before you contact reporters, [...]

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Are You Ready to Send Out That Release?

You have your business up and running and are ready to announce it to the world. Hold on! Before you send out that press release letting everyone know about your services, there are three things to keep in mind:   1.      Is your site ready?   If people see your press release and visit your [...]

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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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8 Tips for Fast and Free Publicity

After optimizing your site for the search engines and pursuing other marketing-efforts, it’s time to use the “power of the press” to boost sales, awareness and credibility cost-effectively.   But how do you pitch your story to a reporter?   Here are eight quick-tips to help you through the media process:   1. Know Your [...]

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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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80′s Tech Company Stay Successful with PR and Marketing

With all the ups and downs of the economy, I’ve tracked down a technology company that has remained successful since 1983. To find out the success secrets of Apricorn, www.apricorn.com, I spoke to Michelle Fischer, Apricorn’s Marketing Manager. Here’s what Michelle had to say: Tell us about your business. Headquartered in Southern California, Apricorn was [...]

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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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Is Your Website Putting Your Business At Risk?

a. Have a Terms of Use Policy on your website:

All business websites should have a “Terms of Use” page. It is basically a contract that sits on your website under a “Terms of Use” tab and it spells out in detail the terms required if someone is going to use your website. If your site contains copyrighted content, offers advice, or sells products or services, a Terms of Use agreement is a must. What language in your Terms of Use agreement depends on your business.

For example, if you sell clothes, you will need terms of use that governs use of the website and the terms by which your customers purchase items from your website. If you offer professional services of some kind (like a law firm or doctor’s office), your terms of use might include a statement that no attorney/client or doctor/patient relationship is formed by the mere use of your website or by the act of sending you an email.

If you allow people to post comments or content on your site, or you have an interactive forum, you absolutely need terms of use that govern those activities and that spell out what is prohibited, and that reserves your right to exclude people from your site.

No matter what your business is, you need to give some real thought to what needs to be contained in this agreement, and you should use others in your same business as a guide for what needs to be in there. This is a really good time to retain a reputable lawyer who knows how to draft terms of use properly for your type of business.*

b. Have a Privacy Policy on your website

Next, you must also have a clearly posted privacy policy on your website. If you have forms that collect personal data from visitors to your site, such as an opt-in form to collect email addresses or other personal information, you should post an abbreviated and clear privacy policy right below that form. But then you also need a more comprehensive policy published on your site somewhere that is easy to find. The policy should deal with how visitors information is handled, collected, kept safe, the use of cookies, etc…

The reasons for having a privacy policy are twofold. One, it is about building trust with your customers and clients. As we have seen with the privacy faux pas by Facebook, people care passionately about their privacy and don’t take lightly an unauthorized use of their personal information. In order to build trust, which is critical in today’s world of social media/relationship marketing, you must have a clear policy on how you will use the information you gather, and you must adhere strictly to it.

The second reason for having a privacy policy is to protect yourself legally. This is very important, especially if you collect any kind of information from visitors on your website. For example, if you collect personal information for an opt-in box for a newsletter or ezine, or from people who want to use your online forum, or from people who register for an account or membership on your site.

Also, if you send out email communications with your customers or clients, you absolutely must adhere to the federal Can-Spam Act or you could find yourself being prosecuted and fined heavily for being a spammer. This is no small thing and I have had clients almost go out of business because they were embroiled in litigation with the US Attorney’s office for violation of the Can-Spam act. Among other things, you must have clear authorization to contact someone via email, and you must provide a clear and easy way for someone to unsubscribe from your list. Never ever send an email to someone who didn’t voluntarily give you their email address and agree to you using it to contact them. I personally think the best way to handle this for yourself is to use a service that will collect and monitor emails for you, such as Aweber, iContact or Constant Contact. They will receive the “unsubscribe” requests and the database will automatically remove that email from your list and will put it on a “do not contact” list to comply with the Can Spam act. There is a monthly fee to use these services, but this is about easily minimizing a huge risk in the virtual world and I wouldn’t bat an eye and using one of these services.

If you put these two items in place on your website, you will make huge leaps forward in protecting your hard work, your business and your reputation as your business grows in the virtual world.

*As an alternative, I will be offering several versions of a sample terms of use policy in my Business Brilliance University, so go check out my self-help resources there as a way to jump start this process yourself and possibly save yourself thousands in legal bills.

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I love the internet. It is a great leveling force, allowing small businesses to have the same presence at huge corporations. It allows start-ups to reach as wide an audience as multi-national companies. And these days, getting online and having a great looking, user-friendly website is as easy as saying 1-2-3. But before you launch [...]

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Worms, Raves, Poker, and Culture – Book Review: “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh

Hi gang, How does worm farming + raving + poker playing = Zappos? What everyone knows about Tony Hsieh is that he’s the Zen Master of Culture at Zappos, a wildly successful shoe website that was just sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion – not bad for 10 years work.  I think what most people [...]

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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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Got Data Management? Exclusive Interview with Mark Wozniak, InfoDome VP of Products

Today, we have the pleasure of talking to Mark Wozniak, the VP of Products at InfoDome (yes, and the brother of Apple Co-Founder, Steve Wozniak). InfoDome is a new, online, critical business data management solution that launched in March to help small businesses handle data. Tell us about InfoDome and why you created it. InfoDome [...]

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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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