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  • 11/19/2017 9:28 AM | Lisa Pisano (Administrator)

    Do you have a Passion Project?


    Some call it a “side hustle” if it tends to bring in income, but I think a hobby or pastime can qualify, too.


    Whether you play golf, knit, write novellas, garden or – in my case – bake, having a creative outlet away from your day-to-day work is a fantastic way to keep you vibrant, engaged and fulfilled in your work, and life. A passion project may also nurture relationships in your life, unlock a skill that you didn’t realize you have and enlighten you in unexpected ways.


    For me, baking chocolate biscotti has been a passion project this time of year since 2001.

    I was a young publicist working in Corporate Marketing at Liz Claiborne Inc. and it was the beginning of the holiday season.  I struggled with what to “gift” to my boss and coworkers, which was a tall order, as fashion executives tended to have very specific taste. I was also told that “gifting up” was frowned upon in corporate culture.


    What to do?


    I Baked.


    Who can say no to an elegantly packaged box of homemade double chocolate biscotti? And there was no concern with “gifting up” since it was a box of baked goods that could have been easily shared with the team.


    That holiday season, more than one coworker came up to me to say, “These are so good….I’d pay you to make these for my own holiday baking needs.”


    And a seed was planted. As well as a passion project.


    I never really thought about launching a baking business. But that next holiday season, I did. LMD Biscotti Company was formed and word-of-mouth referrals propelled it forward.

    Over the next few years, at the holidays, LMD Biscotti Company sold at house parties, continued to flourish via word of mouth, and even provided hundreds of packaged baked goods at an AIG corporate party in NYC (for 2 years in a row)!


    Of course, there were a few years that LMD Biscotti Company turned the ovens off – when my mom was ill and when I was pregnant with my son and daughter. But the nice thing about a passion project is that you can just pick back up again and carry on where you left off.


    My biscotti business is fulfilling for me and allows me to work outside of my everyday format (seated, at a desk, on a computer) in a commercial kitchen, alongside my dad and bring joy to others in the form of a decadently sweet chocolate confection.


    I love what I do, and wholeheartedly believe that it shows in the product.


    For now, my passion project is tied solely to the holiday season and Valentine’s Day. But as I continue to network and as word-of-mouth picks up, I’m coming across new opportunities to consider taking LMD Biscotti to the next level.


    If you’d like to share in my passion project, you can learn more about LMD Biscotti Company here: http://momalamode.net/lmd-biscotti-co/


    Happy Holidays!

    Lisa Pisano


    Lisa Pisano is the President of Groupe a la Mode, LLC, a boutique Public Relations and Social Marketing firm based in Bergen County. Reach her at lisa@groupealamode.com

  • 10/23/2017 7:14 PM | Elizabeth Barnhard

    Oscar Wilde said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness, but as a business owner, the copying of your products and services by others can hurt your sales and may hurt your reputation.  How do you protect the knowledge, ideas, innovations and brands that give you and your companies a competitive advantage?  If they are protected intellectual property, you will have legal rights to stop the copiers of your products and services.  The main types of intellectual property include patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and trade dress.  We previously focused on trademarks in the post Business Assets You Do Not Want to Ignore, and we focused on patents in the post Necessity is the Mother of Invention.  Now we will focus on copyrights.

    What is a copyright?  In its broadest sense, a copyright protects creative expressions with our U.S. Constitution giving authors the exclusive right to their works for a limited time in Article 1, Section 8.  More specifically, copyrights give their owners the right to prevent the copying by others of original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression, including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. 

    What can be copyrighted?  The work must be original and must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression.  Only a “minimum level of creativity” is required.  Examples of works that can be copyrighted include poems, manuscripts, paintings, photographs, sculptures, musical scores, movies, dance, jewelry designs, architectural works, computer software, source codes, apps, video games, company websites, and product manuals 

    Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although the way these things are expressed may be protected.  For example, a manufacturing method cannot be protected by copyright, but an instruction manual describing how to perform the manufacturing method could be protected by copyright.  However, if there was a discovery that improved the manufacturing method in a new way, then the improved manufacturing method could be protected by a patent, which would provide an additional type of intellectual property protection.

    The owner of the copyright can be an individual author, co-authors if it is a joint work, an employer if the work is a work made for hire, or the assignee where the owner has assigned the rights in the copyright to the assignee.

    How long does a copyright last?  A very long time.  For a work authored by an individual, the term of the copyright is for the life of the individual plus 70 years.  For a work authored by joint authors, the term of the copyright is for the life of the last surviving author plus 70 years.  For a work for hire, the term of the copyright is 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.  Contrast that with patents, which have a term of 20 years from the date of filing.  When the copyright expires, the work enters the public domain and is available for anyone to use.

     

    The long copyright term means that valuable copyrights can provide revenue to a copyright owner’s heirs.  Over the years copyright heirs have gone to court to sue infringers of their inherited copyrights.  For example, in 2014, Marvin Gaye’s heirs sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, rapper T.I and their record company claiming that the song “Blurred Lines” infringed Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up”.  A jury found Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams liable for copyright infringement and awarded millions of dollars in damages and 50% of future royalties to Marvin Gaye’s heirs.  The trial court judgment has been appealed.

    Do I have to register for a copyright?  No, a copyright is secured automatically upon creation when it is fixed for the first time in a copy or recording, such as a phonorecord (vinyl is back!).  Publication of your work is not required to register for copyright.  For example, you have written a book, but your manuscript is not published.  You can apply for a copyright registration for your unpublished manuscript.  You do not have to re-register when the work is published, although you can register the published edition, if desired.

    Why bother registering your work for a copyright?  There are several good reasons for doing so in the United States in order to maximize the copyright protection for your work.

     

    A certificate of registration can prove ownership because it creates a public record of key facts relating to the authorship and ownership of the claimed work.  Registration, which can be made at any time within the life of the copyright, establishes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and the facts stated in the certificate when it is made before or within five years of publication. 

    You must have a copyright registration for a work made in the U.S. before you can sue an infringer for copying your work in U.S. courts.  When you obtain a copyright registration prior to infringement or within three months after publication of your work, then you, the copyright owner, are eligible for the court to award statutory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, which can potentially amount to a significant award.

     

    Your copyright registration also permits you to establish a record with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)3 for protection against the importation of infringing copies of your copyrighted work.

    Is a copyright notice required on my work?  You are no longer required in the U.S. to put a copyright notice on your work, but doing so informs the public of your copyright and can also defeat the innocent infringement defense.  A copyright notice consists of three elements:

     

    (1) Symbol ©, the word “Copyright,” or the abbreviation “Copr.”

     

    (2) The year of first publication of the work

    (3) The name of the owner of copyright in the work

     

    Example: Leason Ellis LLP © 2017

     

    Remember, placing a copyright notice on a work is not a substitute for copyright registration.

     

    Protecting the knowledge, ideas, innovations and brands that give you and your companies a competitive advantage will add value to your business.  By working with an intellectual property attorney to obtain and protect your valuable intellectual property, you will have the options to generate revenue by selling these rights, licensing them to others, or using them as collateral to obtain financing.  You are creating business assets that you do not want to ignore.

     

    Want to know more?  I am here to answer your questions and help you recognize and protect your company’s valuable intellectual property assets.

    Elizabeth Barnhard

    Leason Ellis LLP

    barnhard@leasonellis.com

    (914) 821-3074

    www.leasonellis.com

     

  • 09/20/2017 11:56 AM | Lisa Pisano (Administrator)

    One of the things I love most about BCPWN is the varied and rich backgrounds and working styles of our members. I can count on at least two hands my fellow members who operate their businesses from their home offices.  I think many would agree that there are pluses and minuses to when your commute is as quick as a walk up your living room staircase.


    I’ve been running a virtual public relations and social media agency for about 6 years now.  At first, it was a major change for me from the day to day of working in a corporate environment. The biggest challenge was – and if I’m being completely transparent, continues to be – setting BOUNDARIES.


    Over the years, I’ve benefited from the advice from many of the coaches here in BCPWN, and presentations from organizational experts on the importance of setting boundaries, and how to do that in a work from home scenario. Here are a few tips that have worked for me:

    • 1.     Communicate:  I make sure to share my posted office hours with those close to me. This is important for those times when I may have a very important conference call and when a pop-by visit or phone call from a friend is just off-limits. By simply being clear about my availability and when I CAN return a call, accept a visit or meet up for lunch has made a world of difference.
    • 2.     Put on your blinders: On my way up the stairs to my home office, there are times I’m distracted by the pile of laundry in my bedroom that needs to be folded, or  the reminder that my son needs shin guards for soccer when I pass his room, or that the baby’s drawers full of outgrown clothes need to be reorganized and sorted.  And then I put on my blinders, head directly to my office and shut the door, make a list on paper of these above to-dos and set it aside for several hours later.
    • 3.     Take a Brain Break: I read somewhere recently that you shouldn’t do the same activity for more than 20-30 minutes without taking a break. This can easily be applied to those working outside the home as well, and am proud to report that I abide by this rule on a daily basis. I find it especially effective after sitting on a long conference call.  Get up, get a fresh glass of water, grab a snack, take a quick walk, or just stretch – spend about 10 minutes just doing something ELSE. It will improve your concentration and productivity.
    • 4.     Find a Creative Spot: Every now and then I need to get OUT of my home office to keep my creative juices flowing.  I’ll head to an area café or a local bookstore, plug in and get to work. I don’t mind the background chatter or hustle and bustle around me and enjoy emerging from my little home office cave for a few hours.
    • 5.     Power Down: I’m working hard at enforcing this rule, but during key hours of my workday, I do completely power down to focus on family, dinner, my home, etc. I find that I’m much happier, balanced and productive when I can keep the boundary in place where work doesn’t spill over into family/me time.  This is a work in progress (for many of us, right?)

    I’m curious to hear from those within BCPWN who work from home – what tips do you have for an effective work experience?  Please comment below.


    Lisa Pisano

    Groupe a la Mode LLC

    lisa@groupealamode.com

  • 08/15/2017 10:28 PM | Elizabeth Barnhard

    Have you ever said there has got to be a better solution?  If you said yes, then you are describing a need for something that can force you to find a new way of getting or achieving that solution.  This may result in your creating a new invention.  An old proverb, necessity is the mother of invention, sums it up.  Can you protect an invention to add value to your business?  Yes.  Your invention can be protected with a patent.  Fans of the show Shark Tank know that a frequently asked question is “Do you have patent protection for your product?”


    What is a patent?  A patent protects a new and useful invention by giving the owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling or offering to sell the patented invention for a limited period of time.  The quid pro quo for this patent right is that the inventor discloses information necessary to educate the public about the invention, which information is published in the patent.  Disclosure of the invention enables the public to learn from the inventor’s technology, thereby facilitating further innovation.  The promotion of the progress of science and the useful arts was considered so important when the U.S. was founded that the U.S. Constitution gives inventors the exclusive right to their discoveries for a limited time in Article 1, Section 8.


    What can be patented?  Any new and useful process/method, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement of these categories of inventions, or as the U.S. Supreme Court stated in 1980, “Anything under the sun . . . made by man”.  There are three types of patents to protect inventions: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.


    Utility patents cover function or technical features and give the owner patent protection for 20 years from the date of filing a patent application.  Thomas Edison was a prolific inventor from New Jersey, nicknamed “the Wizard of Menlo Park,” who obtained 1,084 U.S. utility patent patents and 9 artistic design patents.  His many inventions included the phonograph, the kinetoscope, the Dictaphone, the electric lamp, the incandescent light bulb, the autographic printer, and a carbon microphone for the telephone.  However, necessity is the mother of invention, which is why one of my favorite utility patents is the first practical dishwasher patented in 1886 by Josephine P. Cochran (U.S. Patent No. 355,139).


    Utility patents do not just protect high tech inventions.  The original Barbie doll was patented in 1961 (U.S. Patent No. 3,009,284).  Do you love s’mores?  A high school girl did and she and her father obtained a utility patent for a machine and method for making s’mores (U.S. Patent No. 8,156,859).


    Design patents protect tangible, static articles, but can also cover animated articles, computer icons, web page features and web page layouts for 15 years from the date of grant of the design patent.  The purpose of a design patent is to protect the ornamental appearance of products and to protect portions visible to users.  Some examples include Apple’s design patent protecting the shape of the iPhone (U.S. D594087); Rolex’s design patent protecting the ornamental features of a diving watch (U.S. D404322); a design for a shank of a drill bit (U.S. D257511); an icon for a portion of a computer display screen (U.S. D649156); and, for golf lovers, a golf-ball shaped ashtray (U.S. D665125).


    Plant patents protect plants that are stable and asexually reproduced for 20 years from the date of filing the patent application.  Plant patents can also protect cultivated sports, mutants, hybrid, and newly found seedlings in a cultivated area, but not tube propagated plants.  The first plant patent was issued in 1931 to Henry Bosenberg for his climbing, ever-blooming rose (U.S. PP1).


    You can view copies of these patents at http://www.uspto.gov or http://patents.google.com.


    Is there a catch?  You can exclude others from making, using, selling or importing your patented invention, but your patent rights do not automatically enable you to make, use, sell or import your own invention.  Confusing?  This situation tends to arise where you have overlapping patent rights, especially in areas where there are improvements being made to existing products.  For example, the smartphone wars between Apple and Samsung have included Apple suing Samsung for infringing its iPhone design and utility patents and Samsung suing Apple for infringement of its mobile technologies patents.  The stakes are high for these two competitor companies who have been involved in more than 50 patent infringement lawsuits around the world, claiming billions of dollars of damages. 


    How do patents add value to your business?  Patents help you create a competitive edge with new and improved technological innovations that you created to address an unmet need, and these patents may dissuade potential competitors from attempting to enter your market until after your patents expire.  From a PR perspective, being named as an inventor on a patent is a significant achievement and you can market your product as being a patented product.  When your business owns the patents for the inventions you have created, these patent rights can be sold or licensed to others to use to generate revenue, or they can be used as collateral to obtain financing.  You can stop competitors from the unauthorized use or sale of your patented innovations. 


    Want to know more?  I am here to answer your questions and help you recognize and protect your company’s valuable inventions. 


    Elizabeth Barnhard

    Leason Ellis LLP

    barnhard@leasonellis.com

    (914) 821-3074

    www.leasonellis.com


  • 08/01/2017 11:28 AM | Anonymous member

    Laura Ashland is a catering business entrepreneur that the IRS and her family don’t know about.  She provides consultation and a special ingredient to her clients for them to prepare a last supper for someone they want dead.

    Three novellas tell the tale of Laura’s catering business.

    The third in the LAST SUPPERS series has recently been published.  All are available on Amazon.

    LAST SUPPERS, Part 3, LAURA, PENELOPE and GUS—A Dash of Poison

    Briefly: Laura Ashland’s catering business was successful. Her special ingredient was in demand.  She discouraged clients from repeating serving their deadly meals to people they didn’t want to live longer.  No repeats were her rule.  Unfortunately that rule required frequent replenishment of clients.  Laura was ready to seize opportunities when they appeared.  Without special advertising Penelope and Gus contacted her at the same time.  They wanted to kill each other.  One meal, two deaths would enhance Laura’s business plan.  Why not? 

    LAST SUPPERS, Part 2 LAURA and EMMA LOU—A Taste for Murder

    Briefly:  Laura Ashland fed A.W. Legworth his last supper. The meal was deadly for him.  There was no investigation. Laura was safe.  Her catering business was born.  Her clients wanted their spouse or lover dead.  Laura provided the recipes and special ingredient for their last supper.  She was successful until Emma Lou returned.

    The first novella in the series is LAST SUPPERS, LAURA’S TALE--A Killer Recipe

    Briefly:  Laura Ashland had always seemed proper.  She followed the course of action to gain a husband outlined in the book.  Then, she met Tom.  They married.  After a while, life changed.  Laura made plans that weren’t included in the book she read by A.W. Legworth.  In this novella you could say her plan became her recipe for life and for a menu option. Her plan proved deadly.

    These novellas are available on Amazon.  Type Joan Lefford in the search field for the Kindle Store on Amazon and view the books.  Or, click on this link.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=joan+lefford

    Joan Lefford

    joanle8@optimum.net

     

  • 07/12/2017 5:23 PM | Elizabeth Barnhard

    You have been working hard to grow your business and build a positive reputation.  Whether you are selling products like BCPWN members Luxx Chocolat or Maya Crafts or services like the Business Doctor of North Jersey or WannaBee Chef, by focusing on your customers’ needs and the benefits they get from your products and services, you are building up the business assets of goodwill and brand recognition for your products and services.  Of course, you say, but how do these intangible assets, goodwill and brand recognition, add value to my business?


    These intangible business assets fall within the realm of intellectual property or “IP”, where knowledge, ideas, innovations and brands give individuals and your companies a competitive advantage. The main types of intellectual property include patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and trade dress. 


    How does intellectual property add value to your business?  When your business owns the intellectual property it has created, these IP rights can be sold, licensed to others to use, or can be used as collateral to obtain financing.  You can stop others from using your IP rights without your permission.  That’s nice, you respond, but how does this relate to adding value to my business?  Let’s answer that question in part today by focusing on trademarks and brands.  We will discuss other types of IP in future posts.


    What is a trademark?  A trademark is an identifier of a brand and its source.  It can be a word, name, symbol or device, or a combination of these items. Think of the Nike Swoosh, a distinctive symbol that is a trademark for the Nike brand. Your rights in your trademark are based on use of your trademark in connection with your goods or services.  Registering a trademark in the U.S. and in other countries where your goods and services are sold provides additional rights and benefits.


    Are you limited to one trademark for your business?  No, you can have more than one trademark associated with your business.  BCPWN member Luxx Chocolat has 5 active trademark registrations: “Luxx Chocolat”, “The Luxx Life”, “Hot Choxx”, “Chocovin Chocolate & Wine Tastings” and “Oh-Inspiring”. 


    What is the purpose of a trademark?  A trademark promotes competition by protecting the trademark owner’s goodwill in his business and by allowing consumers to distinguish the goods of different companies. Look at the trademarks of the different car companies and how these trademarks help distinguish the car companies from each other and to you, the consumer. To protect consumers from confusion, a trademark that is the same or similar to another cannot be registered for the same products or services.  Using “Luxx Chocolat” as our example, you can find plenty of trademarks that include the word “Luxx”, and plenty of trademarks that include the word “Chocolat” for different products and services, but you will not find a second company with a trademark registration for Luxx Chocolat for specialty chocolates because it would cause consumer confusion about who is making and selling these specialty candies.


    Why register and protect your trademark?  You are spending money on advertising and other marketing to build awareness of your branded products and services.  You want your customers and future customers to look for your brand name because they will want the expected quality and benefits from using your products and services.  So long as you are using your brand-identifying trademark in commerce, your trademark rights may be extended indefinitely. Over time, your investment in your brand and development of goodwill will add substantial value to your business that you can monetize if you decide to sell your business, to generate additional revenue through licensing, or to secure financing to fuel more growth for your business.  How much value can you add?


    Let’s look at Coca-Cola®, an iconic trademark.  The Coca-Cola trademark was created in 1886 and has been in continuous use for over 103 years by The Coca-Cola Company.  In 2017, Forbes reported that the brand value of Coca-Cola® is now 56.4 billion dollars.  (See https://www.forbes.com/powerful-brands/list/.)


    In 1976, three guys in a garage founded a new company to create and sell personal computers.  You might have heard of it.  That startup company, Apple, Inc., owns Apple®, the world’s most valuable brand with a value of 170 billion dollars.  (See https://www.forbes.com/powerful-brands/list/.)  It did not happen overnight.  It took 40 years of making and selling products and advertising those products with the Apple trademarks to have consumers know that when they see that now famous Apple logo and other Apple trademarks, they are getting products that will have a certain quality from a company they trust.


    Want to know more?  I am here to answer your questions and help you recognize and protect your company’s valuable IP assets. 


    Elizabeth Barnhard

    Leason Ellis LLP

    barnhard@leasonellis.com

    (914) 821-3074

    www.leasonellis.com



  • 05/31/2017 7:06 AM | Anonymous member

    How hard are your images working for you?

    By: Jean Terman


    Have you seen the photo of the smooth rocks resting on a bed of sand or the one with the waterfall flowing gently into a pool of clear water surrounded by greenery? I bet you have. Now can you remember which website or which business used that image? Was it a reiki practitioner, a yoga instructor, jewelry designer or that organic living store you love? I saw an almost identical image on each of these websites and even on their business cards. I understand why they love the images and I even understand why they chose them for their marketing but it sure didn’t do anything to make them memorable or set them apart. It didn’t tell their story.


    Now, think about the services and products that have caught your attention: the ones you remember. Betcha’ know who Captain Obvious is and what service he wants you to use. How about those thirsty polar bears, what image just popped into your mind? Can’t forget the talking lizard with the British? accent, can we? Your brain is storing so many services and products linked to compelling images that if you started listing them now you would still be coming up with additional ones hours later. That is the power of unique and compelling marketing combining product, service and image.


    I know, those bears took some serious money to create but most of us aren’t going global right now. We can start smaller, unique doesn’t have to be big and flashy, just uniquely you.


    We live in a visual age. People don’t want to stop and read text; they want images that convey the message.  You want to provide them with information that is easy to digest, something that sparks their imagination and gets them to stop scrolling long enough to get interested in what you have to say. Your marketing needs to communicate your value to the customer. Powerful imagery helps communicate your brand story to the viewer.  Still not convinced? Check out these recent statistics:

    • Articles with relevant images average 94% more total views than articles without images.
    • A press release with photos gets nearly 15% more online views than a text-only press release.
    • 60% of consumers who use online search say they prefer to contact a business whose listing includes an image.
    • Nearly 70% of e-commerce website shoppers say the product image is very important when making their purchase decision. (Source: MDG Advertising)

    Why are images so powerful?

    It is how our brain processes information that gives us a clue:

    • Research at 3M Corporation concluded that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
    • Additional studies found that the human brain deciphers image elements simultaneously, while language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process.
    • The world is moving too fast and a page full of text is daunting to a viewer that just wants to know if your site is worth their precious time.

    What does all this mean to you? 

    Simple, you only get one chance at a first impression and your images are going to be the first thing they see on your site or in your marketing collateral. You can use stock photos if you are strategic and clever about their placement, but you’ll catch the viewers’ attention faster with images of you and your products/services. It is you they came to see after all.


    How to grab and keep your viewers’ attention

    Great photographs are a sure fire way to show your business at its best. Beautiful images of your space, your products, your people, and you help portray your message and generate trust. I know it is easy to snap photos with whatever device is handy but a poorly lit, poorly executed image is too easy for people to look past. Once they have, there goes your first impression and your audience. They will have moved on to something that catches their eye and left you behind.


    So now that we know how important those first few images are, how do we get the right ones? Creating images that complement your branding gives you a unified look across all your marketing pieces. Taking time to think through your marketing message and how you want to convey it to the viewer allows you to create a seamless approach.

    Build your photo wish list:

    • Use what is already out there to spur your imagination. Looking at what similar, and even not so similar, businesses have done will help get your creative juices flowing.  Make a list of the things that caught your attention. If you liked them, it is a good bet others will too.
    • Use those inspirations to start building your story ideas. Don’t recreate what you’ve seen, weave your own personality into the narrative and tie it to the text that it will be illustrating. e.g., if your specialty is helping young families find their first homes, what about a photo of you with a young family and a small child having cookies at their new kitchen table or having the child drawing a SOLD sign? Make it something that compliments your spirit and what your client will experience with you.
    • Don’t stop at the first idea, brainstorm different scenarios telling unique stories that illustrate your business.
    • Is there a certain mood you want to convey? An injury attorney and a child daycare center would need images that help the viewer feel something different. (I hope)
    • Make a list of any content that should be in the photos: products, lifestyle types, service offerings, mandatory branding, etc.
    • Work within your branding color scheme. Everything doesn’t have to be your orange and purple logo colors but a splash here and there ties the image to your brand.
    • Find a photographer that understands how to create branded images and make sure they are clear on your vision. If you trust the photographer, let them in on the process. Having someone walk you through the story boards and help you ‘see’ the finished product before you ever pick up a camera will ensure that your time and your budget is managed wisely.

    Make sure the photographs tell your story in a meaningful way

    Good marketing photography is so much more than filler. It tells your brand story and helps the viewer get to know you before they ever meet you. Maybe you make Zen rock gardens and that photo is a perfect illustration of your products… if not, ditch the rocks and dig up images that are all about you. That is the best way to have picture perfect marketing materials. (I had to, I just had to.)


    Ironic Twist Alert:

    This blog engine does not let you upload images! Want to see what a difference images make? Head over to http://www.jeantermanphotography.com/photo-blog.


  • 04/21/2017 7:30 AM | Anonymous member

    You know the phrase: Do as I say not as I do.


    When they asked me to write a few posts with helpful hints that would, hopefully, appeal to the BCPWN reader, my head was spinning with ideas for great photo tips and media library hints. They’ll be in the next posts, I promise. This time around I thought I’d share a recent experience and a few (we all know them but we never do them) tips that would have made my life easier and, hopefully, will inspire you. Feel free to giggle. I can laugh about it now too, almost.


    March was an exciting month. I was asked to be the featured contributor for the Ridgewood Arts and Recreation Artist Showcase. It came together quickly and we had 36 large prints hanging on the walls by the end of the first week. Then they suggested an artist’s reception. I love parties! Yes! Great idea and I was sure that I could pull it all together … myself. I watch the DYI channel and the FOOD network. I’m creative, love to cook, have a healthy understanding of social media, I could handle this. I am a solopreneur, hear me roar!


    I actually said to myself, ‘It is only 2 hours. If it was 3 I might need to rethink this.’ Yep, there is a HUGE difference there.


    My To Do list:

    • Create event promotional material
    • Distribute event promotional material
    • Determine party theme
    • Obtain and coordinate party décor
    • Block out the 3 calendar days before the event for prep time – Yes, I honestly thought that was a good use of my time.
    • Determine party food
    • Buy and prepare party food – Yes, I said prepare because, remember, it was just 2 hours so I could handle it.  
    • Get new outfit – Well, I had to look good!
    • Day of event: Get manicure and massage, get dressed, make 15 year old son load car and unload car at the event, set up and have a great time

    See any problems with this? 


    I might have noticed a few if I actually saw it written out like this but I had my memory joggers on various sticky notes scattered around my work area. Note to self: when you write things on pretty, pink, tiny slips of paper anything seems possible. STOP DOING THAT!


    Want to know what really happened? OK, here is the actual list.

    • Create event promotional material
      • Obsess over event promotional material. Rework event promotional material at 4:00am: who needs sleep? Distribute promotional material through known channels.  Realize that a marketing person could have done this in 1/3 of the time, reached a lot more people and I would have had 100% of that time free. Kick myself and realize that Sabrina McEntee and Becky Livingston would smack me if they knew. OK, they wouldn’t actually smack me but Becky would think about it.
    • Determine party theme: it is me so it was lots of purple and comfort food - that was quick.
      • Go to party store and purchase enough purple paper products (say that three times fast) for 6 parties. Italians always prepare for the invasion. Obsess over food platters. Go back to party store and exchange platters and buy more purple stuff because there is never too much. (The massive box of unused purple products in my dining room tells a different story.)
    • Watch freak snow storm hit the week before event week.
    • Use the days you had set aside for party prep to reschedule clients
    • Freak out!
      • Try yoga and meditation to calm down. Stubbornly cling to the idea that you can get it all done! Realize you have two nights to make everything. Wish you liked wine.
    • Spend the first night making whoopee pies until the wee hours
    • Two days before event realize you have nothing to wear and race to the store between clients to grab something!
    • Spend the second night making cupcakes and cutting up cheese
    • Get the kindest call from Christine Figliuolo with encouragement, asking if I had any questions.
      • YES! How do I get this done? Get great ideas on where to get prepared food. Awesome! Go to get prepared food. It was just crudité, I was going to buy it prepared but seriously, how hard is it to cut vegetables? Wonder if I need therapy. Realize I could have hired Christine who would have gotten all of this done for me and saved me the cost of therapy. Kick myself again.
    • Spend morning of the event cutting vegetables and cursing
    • Cancel manicure and massage, both of which were sorely needed, and settle for quick shower and massive amounts of caffeine
    • Bribe less than excited 15 year old to load car
    • Bring new clothes, and something else just in case, on hangers to event because setting up was going to be messy
    • Get to event venue and see 4 amazing women waiting to save me! Susan, Michele, Jennifer and Stephanie, you all have wings and halos in my book.
    • Run to change clothes while they set up.
      • Realize I hate my ‘new’ outfit, put on the backup outfit and wish I’d talked to Martha Fickinger. I was wearing uncomfortable heels so when I kicked myself it really hurt.
    • Spend 2 hours with wonderful people who came to support me, praying I looked calm and collected.
    • At the end of the event, give away 80% of the food I made – the Italian thing, remember?
    • Go home and collapse

    Lesson learned: Solopreneur doesn’t mean you have to do everything solo!


    There are so many wonderful resources in this organization and I should have reached out to them. I survived the event but I didn’t have to make it a ninja challenge for myself. So, if you think you need to do it all yourself to ‘save’ time or money or whatever, please do as I say and not as I did. I know I will do it differently next time. (I hid the pink sticky notes.)


    Oh, and here is where I would share the wonderful photos from the event… BUT I DIDN’T HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER! You have no idea how big the bruise was from that kick!


    Signed, 


    Jean Terman - Recovering Ninja ;)


  • 03/26/2017 9:39 AM | Lisa Pisano (Administrator)

    When we are discussing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) we often lose sight of our top goal: To be found by prospects that will engage and become clients who we will have long lasting relationships.


    To accomplish this goal we need to have a multi-faceted approach that includes: Marketing, Strategy, Keyword Enriched and Optimized Content, Responsive Design, Backlinks and internal links.


    Here are 7 simple tips to help your website work for you!


    1. Strong URLs:

    If you can, include a strong keyword in your URL, you will come up higher in search. For example: www.XYZconsulting.com will rank higher than www.XYZLLC.com. Additionally, make sure that each internal page URL includes one of your key search terms already mentioned on that page. For example, if you specialize in logo design: www.XYZconsulting.com/logodesign instead of “www.XYZconsulting.com/1234”


    2. Keywords:

    Sprinkle them throughout the website. Select approx. 10 keywords and make sure your content includes them.


    3. Alt Tags & Image Names:

    Google cannot read images. So make good use of alt tag text as well as the image name itself.


    4. Social Media Interaction:

    Google LOVES socialization! Make sure your page has links to Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and keep those posts active


    5. Videos:

    Google LOVES YouTube! Make sure you embed any videos you have on your YouTube channel.


    6. Call to Action:

    Tell them what to do! “Call Now”, or “Buy Now”, or “Get a Free Quote Today!”


    7. Be sure to include a robots.txt file on your root directory.
    The robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled.

    Remember you can create something great, but clients won’t see it if it can’t be found! Learn more at TwoByTwo Design’s Web Site Programs.

  • 03/14/2017 10:59 AM | Anonymous member

    In a world where 47 percent of consumers would take their business elsewhere within a day of experiencing poor customer service, how is a company to keep customers for the long term?


    In the “old” days, it was referred to a retention marketing. Today, it’s called lifecycle marketing and it’s a process where you nurture relationships with clients as they move through their life cycles.

    Example

    An accounting firm retains a new client, Grace, in need of wealth management services. She is relatively young, in her mid-thirties, and single. She’s inherited a fairly large sum of money from her grandparents and wants to ensure she’s using it toward a nest egg and to make sound investments.


    As she ages, she buys a home, gets married, and has children.


    How is the accounting firm’s staff touching base with this client? Do they simply provide quarterly wealth management reports? Or, do they encourage her to look at other services the firm offers, possibly college savings plans, estate planning services, and retirement planning.


    The second option is called lifecycle marketing. You’ve taken the client’s needs, based on where she is in life, and helped her to use the money she inherited to grow and work for her rather than just accumulating interest.


    4-Step Lifecycle Marketing Strategy

    But as you gain new clients, what can you to do crack the code to client lifecycle marketing?

    1. Be patient and avoid cross selling too early. Once a new client comes on board, avoid trying to cross sell products immediately without a complete understanding of her needs, goals, and life. Rather, take time to absorb how she lives and create a plan to help her reach a goal. In some cases, the client may not know they need a goal. A good way to do this is to add them to a marketing channel, such as a monthly newsletter or suggest joining the firm’s social media channel(s), that informs them of tips, news, and guidance they can think about.
    2. Ensure staff understands lifecycle challenges and create marketing efforts to provide solutions. For example, after Grace purchased her home, inviting her to an event about home owner tax deductions is a good way to nurture her relationship and to begin maximizing your value. Other content that fits nicely in this area is personalized tips, case studies, and best practices you would share with her either in a personalized email, call, mail, or combination of efforts.
    3. Once the relationship starts to take hold, and only then, consider promoting additional services. In Grace’s case, she’s gotten married. Inviting her and her spouse for a one-on-one meeting to talk about financial planning and personal goals is a nice touch. It’s personalized and offers them insight into their specific situation while providing a gentle nudge toward additional services the firm offers. Offer them marketing materials they can digest on their own time and invite them to another event or webinar series to help them understand the importance of their next step. Listening and learning to client’s needs are key behaviors for staff in this phase. Promoting services too early or too late could damage a relationship.
    4. Keep track of data points, with customer relationship management tools, about each client as she moves through her lifecycle to help ensure you’re cross promoting at the right time. This can be time consuming for the business team, but in the long run you’ll be glad you were keeping track. It’s important to mind the gap here because if you don’t you could lose a client and not understand why.

    According to Invesp, “It costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one.” Keep that in mind as you create a lifecycle marketing strategy.


    What’s your next step?

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