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

Archive for “Plan Your Life”

How to Get Publicity Now

Do you need publicity right away to build some buzz for your products and services? Well, here are three things you can do right now that will help you get the word out… fast: 1. Write to your local paper. Check your local paper to see if they have an “Opinions” or “Letters to the [...]

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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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Are You A Sick Entrepreneur?

Beep! Beep! Beep! The alarm blares, and my hand slams down on the button to turn it off. Ugh. Monday morning. And no matter how much sleep I get, Monday mornings never seem to get any easier, do they? Well, this morning is a little worse… My head is throbbing, and the pillow is soaking [...]

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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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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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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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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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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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Pew Study: Small Business Most Trusted “Institution”

Trust Congress? Sorry, that institution got among the lowest ratings in a Pew Research Center study that was recently released. The Pew Center polled Americans to determine who they trusted least and who they trusted most. Small business owners – you should be proud. America trusts YOU most. More than churches, our President, labor unions, the [...]

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Life Planning – Starting a Business after Retirement

Life Planning permeates every aspect of human existence – while you were young and building your dreams, up to the moment you achieve them and retire from work. For a lot of people, retirement is supposed to be that time in their lives when they can simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the golden years. [...]

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