Attention Entrepreneurs: What’s the Best Part of a New Business?


Martha Spelman Entrepreneurs Lightbulb Idea


by Martha Spelman, Branding & Marketing Expert


Is it the fame? The fortune? The sense of accomplishment? Possibly…


But most likely, entrepreneurs would answer, “The Idea.”


What’s the worst part of a new business? Slogging through all of the stuff to make that idea happen.


The “stuff” frequently isn’t fun and unlike the idea, it brings little glory. But it’s the “stuff” that ultimately turns an idea into a reality.


So if you don’t like:


  • Market Research
  • Financial Forecasting
  • Asking for Money
  • Rejection
  • Working long hours
  • Living on a shoestring
  • Maxing out your credit cards
  • Asking for favors
  • Risk
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Adversity


and of course, there’s probably some stress in the mix…


…then you might not be cut out to be an entrepreneur. On the other hand, if you relish a challenge (or hundreds of them), entrepreneurship could be perfect for you.


>>>More on this topic: Mind Your Own Business: 17 Tips for Entrepreneurs<<<


If you like the thrill of victory and look at defeat as a learning opportunity, you should start your own business, build your own product, turn your idea into reality.


Start it, work it, own it.


It’s the only way you’ll see your IDEA become your BUSINESS.


Let’s talk about your company’s marketing. Get a FREE! 1/2 Hour Marketing Evaluation: Email Martha or call 310.266.6992


Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based small business branding, marketing and strategy expert. Using traditional and online marketing methods to start, grow and promote businesses, she works with entrepreneurs, Professional Services and B2B companies. Let’s chat!

Market Research

Market Research: Who Needs It?

Martha Spelman What Do You Think Thought Bubble Market Research

by Martha Spelman

Many new businesses, or businesses trying something new, think they’ve got the best idea since sliced bread.

Not only do they think it’s a great idea — something people just can’t live without — but their friends and family agree.

And, of course, they’re going to make a boatload of money off their new idea. It’s can’t miss, surefire, without a doubt, fool-proof, in the bag. Until it’s not.

Had these entrepreneurs only done some market research.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Would you buy a car without a test drive? Marry without dating? Put your entire savings in Ponzi scheme?

It’s the same thing if you’re a startup selling a new product or service. There are plenty of market research tools you can use so that you can conduct adequate, impartial market research. Impartial as in not your friends and family – they’ll like whatever you come up with. There are people who do online surveys for money, so you could think about incorporating this into your market research plan.

Undertaking market research will determine if there truly is a market for your idea.

  • Can you identify the ideal customer/audience for your idea?
  • Can you offer your idea at a price customers can afford and at which you will profit?
  • Does your ideal customer like your product or service?
  • Will they buy and use your idea?
  • Will you be able to afford the promotion of your product to that audience?

The amount of market research you do will, of course, depend on the research budget you have. You can conduct the research yourself or use a professional market research company to do it for you. Using an external source often limits bias and gathers data more efficiently. Whatever route you choose to take, market research will give you the necessary information you need, whether it’s what you were hoping for or not. You may be able to present your idea to 20 people or to 200 – even more with the help of an outside vendor. Placing your idea on a crowdfunding site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo can give you plenty of feedback for a nominal investment.

If you’re looking for informative, reliable online research, Luth Research have a complete solution for online research services. You may want to consider using a market research panel for your own business.

Before you spend a ton of time and money developing a prototype, renting a hip office and staffing up, do your market research.

Every person who’s part of your research will offer you valuable information. This feedback will give you the opportunity to pivot and make necessary changes, scrap your idea or continue full speed ahead.

Would you like help conducting market research for your new idea? Contact Martha. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding, marketing, content marketing and social media expert. Using traditional and online marketing strategies to start, grow and promote businesses, she works with startups, entrepreneurs and small- to medium-size companies. Martha is the author of the content marketing ebook: The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.

Entrepreneur Startup

35 Signs You Might NOT Be an Entrepreneur

Not an Entrepreneur Checklist

by Martha Spelman

“That’s a great idea!” is a line we’ve all said. Sometimes to ourselves, sometimes to others and the best? Someone’s said it to us.

Many of us dream of being entrepreneurs. Taking that great idea and turning it into a business. Designing, building, and delivering. Reaping the adulation – and dollars – that come with success. This success comes with hard work and a savvy attitude. Embracing the business software offered by Vantiq would certainly make your life easier! But we may also tend to overlook the toll extracted by starting a truly successful business. Toiling for hours, days, weeks, months even years before seeing results. Taking big risks with money, time and sometimes, relationships. Think you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur? Many are but here are some signs you might want to stick to the day job. If these don’t put you off, contact astrsk to see how they can help you and your business to take off.

Signs you might not be able to hack the Entrepreneurial Life:

1. You have a day job — and like it that way. The thought of a night job, even working in your garage, just makes you tired.

2. You say you want your own business — but what you really want are your own hours.

3. Your favorite pastime is idea-generation — in fact you come up with new ones all the time. But when it comes to “executing”…not so much.

4. You don’t subscribe to the Edison adage: “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” — because you really prefer not to sweat.

5. Friends would probably label you risk-averse — take a chance? “Um, no thank you. I’ll keep my money in the mattress,” you say.

6. “My job is okay — it pays the bills, I don’t have to work overtime and I’m home every night for dinner.” Sound familiar?

7. You’ve just told someone your latest idea and they hated it. Your response, “Yeah, you’re probably right.”

8. Sacrificing is something you want to give up.

9. You’d rather play a sport, party, go out, get together with friends, read, watch TV, take out the trash — hey, do almost anything — instead of working on your idea.

10. Write a business plan? Create a marketing strategy? Define the ideal customer for your new idea? Ugh, that just sounds soooo boring.

11. When the going gets tough, you get going…home.

12. You clearly see world domination in your future. In fact, every week it seems you have new worlds to conquer.

13. You own a pair — or two — of beer goggles. And wear them proudly.

14. Two things near and dear to you: a steady paycheck and an expense account.

15. In addition to talking about your new business, you’re writing a screenplay, training for a marathon, and planning on losing 30 pounds.

16. You like the title “Entrepreneur.” It’s the job description that turns you off.

17. You’re easily distracted. Focus is something a camera does.

18. Your idea of “friends and family financing” is how you pay the rent.

19. You think Kickstarter is how you get your motorcycle going.

20. “Sticktoitiveness.” You always forget what that means.

21. You know your limitations. They include Paris, London and Hawaii.

22. “Applying yourself,” in your lexicon, means changing jobs.

23. You’ve said: “Before I can start my new business, I need to take a few classes, listen to a lot of podcasts, learn how to program, score a GoPro, buy a new laptop, grow my hair out and get a cool workspace.”

24. You are worried about what to do with all the money you’re going to make.

25. “Business meeting” is code for “nap.”

26. You haven’t Googled these idioms: Rolling up your shirtsleeves. In the trenches. Elbow grease. Nose to the grindstone. Buckling down. Getting hands dirty. And why should you?

27. You’re fine with wearing many hats if they all make you look good.

28. Favorite sayings: “It’ll just happen.” “Research, shmresearch.” “If I build it, they will come.”

29. Favorite foods? Coffee, coffee, coffee. Wait! Maybe you do have what it takes.

30. You live with your parents because then you can pocket your salary.

31. You’d like to “ship” your product. You just can’t find a box.

32. Dreaming big is so much more exciting than starting small.

32. You talk a good game. But the rules seem fuzzy.

33. You still have available credit on your Visa.

34. You acknowledge that the “devil is in the details.” But you’re not particularly religious.

35. Dinner is steak, mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, crème brulee and a bottle of $200 cabernet.

If none (or at least most) of the signs don’t ring a bell, being called “Entrepreneur” might truly be in your future (or you’ve already arrived)! Good luck to you and keep up the good fight.

Do you have any Signs You Might Not Be An Entrepreneur to add? Please comment below!

Calling all Entrepreneurs: Contact Martha. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based business branding, marketing and strategy expert. She works with entrepreneurs to start and grow companies and is the author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.

Entrepreneur Marketing

Making a Stand: How Selling Lemonade is a Career Move

Lemonade Stand: A Career Move


Many of us were entrepreneurs at a young age. We babysat, mowed lawns, delivered papers, walked dogs, washed cars or ran a lemonade stand. Success as the result of work meant pocket money…and a feeling of confidence and satisfaction. Not to mention the respect of peers…and parents.


When you think about it, most of the concepts learned by running — and marketing— any of these “businesses” prepares one for the workforce and for many, to some day own their own business.


As a young entrepreneur, you identified and satisfied the wants and needs of your target customer.

Let’s take the lemonade stand as a good example of how an entrepreneurial business evolves:


  • You see a need: it’s hot and people are thirsty


  • You provide a product to meet that need: lemonade


  • You brand your lemonade: “ice cold,” “fresh squeezed,” “Mama’s Recipe”


  • Location, location, location: you set up your stand on a busy street corner with excellent visibility and no immediate competition


  • Your price point is acceptable to your clientele, covers your expenses and allows for a profit


  • There’s an opportunity for the upsell: a large lemonade is twice the price but much bigger (and more thirst-quenching!) than the regular


  • You offer ancillary products: chocolate chip cookies, brownies and potato chips


  • Marketing your product includes researching packaging businesses, “store” signage, posters on telephone polls, flyers distributed around the neighborhood, or even you hawking your wares to walkers, bicyclists and motorists. Hey — why not?


Tip: Passion is contagious. Convey enthusiasm for your product or service and customers will likely buy.


  • You keep costs down (maybe your mom and dad even provided the raw materials) by sourcing low-cost ingredients and serving disposables, making your own signage, distributing posters and flyers and building your own stand


  • Labor costs are reasonable — you’re a small business owner who does it all…and reaps the benefits


  • You add a benefit to buying your product: fundraising. Besides customers being thirsty, they probably like to help out kids in their endeavor. Pledge to donate a portion of your proceeds to a local or online charity and increase your product “likeability” and potentially, your sales.


As a bonus, hopefully you’ve found that running a lemonade stand is fun: you had a vision and realized it, met new people, pleased those people by offering a delicious, quality product and ended the day at a profit.


Good job!


Comments? Would love to hear from you:

Did you “run” a business as a youngster?

What lessons did you learn from that business that you apply to your work today?

If you knew then what you know now…how would that have made a difference?


Ready to set up shop? Contact Martha. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based small business branding and marketing expert. She is the author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.