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  • 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

    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?

  • 02/20/2017 10:42 AM | Lisa Pisano

    The top 3 goals for exhibitors at trade shows are brand awareness, lead generation, and relationship building. 81% of Trade Show attendees have buying authority. (*Trade Show News Network)


    If you are participating in a trade show you should really begin planning at least 3 months ahead of time. If you are in a service business – keep in mind that the exhibitors are potential clients too.


    Every time I participated in a trade show, I walked away with a client – another exhibitor!


    5 Trade Show Business Building Tips:

    Unfortunately, no one is going to stand in front of your booth display for 30 minutes reading the 2 paragraphs and 6 bullets of copy.


    1. Your display is your billboard

    •  Keep the words to a minimum – 5 words or maybe 6 – no more! People should get the message as they are walking by and stop in their tracks.
    • Visibility has to be clear. Logo at the top is always a good idea – so it can be seen from a distance.
    • Keep the images generic – and minimal. The idea is to draw people in and start a conversation. Keeping the images generic also keeps the backdrop timeless – so your product packaging may change but the booth doesn’t have to!
    • Decide what will fit best depending on the size of your booth. Do you have a small booth that will only fit a table? Place a pop up on the table so that it is higher than the backdrop! Get a custom tablecloth with your logo. They are easy to do and affordable. And please iron it :) thank you


    2. Stand in front of the table

    • Walk up to people! Standing in front makes you much more approachable! 
    • Rest when you get a chance with a nearby chair.


    3. Have a clear call to action.

    • Print and clearly communicate your goals throughout your booth & materials. Do you want customers to purchase your product? Sign up for further information?


    4. Swag

    • People love freebies. It’s like trick-or-treating for adults.
    • Plan in advance and find something that relates to your brand and your purpose.
    • Be clever, creative and memorable! A simple postcard may be great – with an offer to go to your website for a freebie that is tied to the trade show. This will help you keep track of visitors and capture their email address.


    5. Follow – up

    • Email all the people you met within a few days of the trade show – whether you think they are prospects or not. They may know someone who needs your product or service.
    • A simple, personal thank you for stopping by” is also good.
    • Add them to your networking database.
    • Even if you don’t get a single client at the show – you may find one in your follow up.


    Remember—A Trade Show is an opportunity to meet many prospects at once as well as learning what others are offering in the industry. Being prepared with a crisp, concise and interesting message will make all the difference. To learn more click TwoByTwo Design’s Trade Show Programs

  • 02/09/2017 4:45 PM | Anonymous member

    search results page


    In January, you might have heard that Google was implementing a mandatory requirement for all websites that appear in its Chrome search engine to have an SSL certificate applied.

     

    The protocol uses an SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer), which encrypts information sent between your website and its server. Even if you have a sharefile, dropbox, portal, etc., on your site, SSL is an additional layer of protection for any forms that may be completed (e.g., contact us), emails that may be sent, and more.

     

    What do SSL Certificates do?

    • Protect your website and user information;
    • Prevent “eavesdropping” and “phishing” via wifi connections;
    • Add SEO “credits” to sites that are professionally maintained;
    • Ensure encryption is applied to any site that takes payment transactions; and
    • ets the foundation for future eCommerce for sites not yet selling online.

    What will this do to my site URL?

    Once the SSL certificate is installed, your site’s domain will use https:// versus http://.

     

    Do I have to change all the previous links I’ve shared with clients, in email, and on social media? No. Most hosting companies will use a 301 redirect to redirect traffic from the http:// domain to the https:// domain. This should happen instantaneously so the visitor doesn’t notice. However, begin using the https:// domain once the SSL Certificate is installed and your hosting company has alerted you to the change.

     

    What will happen if I don’t do this?

    Your website will continue to work. However, if searchers come across your site on Chrome, they will see a notification that the site is not secure. Also, your site will be downgraded in search. Finally, a notice will be sent to you and/or your site admin, about the insecure issue, along with a notification on the searcher’s results page, something like this:

     

    Notice to the site admin: The new warning is the first stage of a long-term plan to mark all pages served over the non-encrypted HTTP protocol as “Not Secure”.

     

    Search result notice:



    In addition to implementing an SSL Certificate, if you have the option to use a site lock on your hosting server, consider asking your provider to implement that as well. Costs for both these options will vary from provider to provider.

     

    For more information, please visit the Google Security blog about this change.


  • 01/23/2017 7:47 PM | Lisa Pisano

    Have you seen one of these lately?



    Chances are you probably have one – just like it - close by. I bet you empty it regularly.  I am sure you look through its contents as you walk away from it, every day. Then you separate out what is important, what is interesting and what is obviously destined straight for the recycling container. And every once in a while – it prompts you to do something.


    Yep! You guessed it. It’s a mailbox.  And we are talking DIRECT MAIL!


    According to a recent Epsilon Research Study, direct mail remains the No. 1 choice of consumers for receiving information. The same study found that social media and blogs are considered the least trust worthy channels by consumers. These findings highlight a challenge that small businesses face today: how to effectively balance marketing strategies both online and offline.


    With 50% of consumers reporting that they pay more attention to postal mail than e-mail, both forms of marketing are essential for reaching your audience. The misconception that direct mail is “outdated” has been shattered, but simply employing direct mail is not enough to guarantee results.


    Some of you may not know that I worked in one of the largest direct mail design agencies when I first graduated from college. I designed those “balance transfer” offers from large banks and credit card companies you are so quick to shred. I earned a great starting salary and felt very glamorous in my office in the John Hancock building in Chicago --- sadly I only lasted 6 months. Yes – it was awful. Here’s what I learned.


    To implement direct mail successfully, here are 10 things that you should consider.

    1. Determine your budget.   Whether you have $500 or $50,000, a budget will determine what you can (and cannot) do. The USPS has recently introduced many innovative cost-saving solutions.

    2. Define your goals.  What are YOU looking to accomplish? Do you want to build your database? Do you want more customers to buy a certain product?

    3. Develop clear, concise content. If you are in the service industry, focus on a particular problem your customer may be facing and offer a solution.

    4. Use a clean list that is less then 6 months old.  A bad mailing list can kill a very clever, expensive campaign. The best list is one that you create yourself from existing clients and prospects.

    5. Consider an interesting dimensional mailing.  Anything that is an unusual shape, size, thickness draws attention. They score the highest open rate.

    6. Don’t be afraid of a design with color and varying text sizes.  An attractive design that draws attention to key points is VERY powerful.

    7. Include an offer they can’t resist. A strong offer, and a direct, clear call to action is key. Example: “Stop by our store for your free goodie bag”!

    8. Include an expiration date on your offer.  A sense of urgency prompts action.

    9. Social media icons may be included –  and can be tied to your offer for example: “Like us on Facebook to get a free sample”.

    10. Repetition will keep you in the forefront.   Be in front of your prospects minimally 4x a year.


    Remember—a Direct Mail campaign can consist of an e-mail, a postcard, a letter, a brochure, a product catalog, a gift… and may be a combination of all these.   


    To learn more click TwoByTwo Design’s Communication Packages.


    Aparna Mulchandani

    Two by Two

    201-684-1515

    www.twobytwodesign.com

  • 01/06/2017 11:16 AM | Anonymous member

    Everyone knows the great feeling of being right about a fact, an expectation or the best way to accomplish a task.  We learn from our achievements happily.  Learning from our mistakes can be just as valuable and therefore, joyful - on some level.  I learned this in a fun way over the holidays.  I gloomily predicted traffic and long delays on my family's Christmas road trip.  When we hit almost none, I realized that I am rarely so happy to be so wrong. 


    Shift this idea to thinking about your divorce.  If you are certain that every possible settlement leads to mutual financial ruin, wouldn't it be great to be wrong? If your answer is 

    a resounding "yes! I want to be wrong" then ask yourself these next questions:


    1.      Why is your money currently invested the way that it is?

    2.      On a monthly basis, what savings are you creating in retirement and non-retirement funds? 

    3.      How much equity is held in your home?

    4.      What are you doing to preserve or improve the net value of your home?

    5.      How are you going to pay for your children's education and is your co-parent agreeing with you now about that? 

    6.      Is your disability insurance benefit enough to cover your typical monthly expenses?

    7.      If you were to unexpectedly die, do you have enough life insurance to house, feed, educate and protect your children until adulthood?

    8.      Are you and your spouse maximizing your earning potential? 

    9.      What tax advice have you gotten to help you understand your options for dividing assets, arranging alimony and child support? 

    10.  Who is giving you advice about how to adapt your retirement plans based upon the upcoming change in your asset base and income available for savings?

    Give yourself one point for each question that you can answer without saying "I have no idea." 


    Then grade yourself:

    1-3 points:   You can do better than this but you need the right team of advisors to help you raise your score. 

    4-7 points:   Nice work so far.  Be sure to keep asking these questions and updating your answers until you get the deal done. Consult with new advisors to up your score as soon as possible.

    8-10 points:   Your financial savvy will help you during the economic transition of a divorce.  Now is a good time to follow up with your advisors and to update your personal financial knowledge. 


    Divorce creates new financial challenges.  The right lawyer works with a team of financial advisors to prove to you that if you are only expecting the worst possible outcome, you might soon be – happily – completely wrong. 


  • 12/17/2016 5:17 PM | Anonymous member

    By Donna Gould, Open Heart Creative


    What if one word had the power to help you connect more deeply with your customers? To see your products in a new light? Or to guide you on your path to something bigger and better?

     

    I’m not sure where I first came across the idea of choosing a word to guide my year. But as the calendar turns to January, I find that doing so has now replaced my old habit of making New Year’s resolutions.

     

    Think about how powerful words are:

    • They can make us look witty, sincere, generous, and trustworthy.
    • They make us sound foolish, cynical, shallow, and mean.
    • They can make us call in love and shudder with fear.
    • They can bore us to tears and keep us up half the night.

     If words can do all that, then a single word certainly has the power help us keep our intentions in sight as the year unfolds. My word grounds me in the story of my business and my life. And as I joyfully address the concerns of clients and offer support to friends and family, it gently reminds me to make my wishes and well being a priority.


    Ali Edwards, creator of One Little Word® says her words “have each become a part of my life in one way or another. They’ve helped me to breathe deeper, to see clearer, and to grow.”


    In addition to Ali’s year-long workshop, you can find other online “how to’s” for choosing and engaging with your word (check out Jamie Ridler and Susannah Conway’s websites.) But there is really no “right” way to go about it. Sometimes my word will simply come out of left field. Other years I struggle between two or three. Or four.


    Once you invite your word into your life, you’ll discover the magic it holds. It will serve as your “true north”, the constant you will keep returning to, long after you’ve forgotten the resolutions you made this month.

     

    Is there one word that will fuel your passion? Or nudge you to follow where it leads?

     

    What’s that magic word?

                                                                                                            
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