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Entrepreneur Packbands

New Year, New Gig: Packbands

Packbands Bundle Package

As 2018 launches, so does Packbands, a new company and new product that my son, Pete Evenson, and I have co-founded (and co-created).

 

Those who know me, follow me, have worked with me or read my content are probably aware that I’ve always liked having a few irons in the fire. Being an entrepreneur for years (having started, marketed and sold several companies), and branding and marketing many small businesses, there’s always a curiosity about what’s next.

 

Packbands is what’s next. Packbands are stretchy, adjustable straps used to manage cables and cords, contain rolled clothing for travel, attach items to a backpack, purse or stroller, secure fitness and outdoor equipment…we think the list (at least at this point), is endless. And we hope, through our sales and marketing efforts, Packbands will become indispensable for many!

Tangled extension cord side by side with cord managed with Packband

 

The process of coming up with an idea and then actually executing (the hard part), has been going on for about a year. It has been challenging, instructive and overall, extremely satisfying. From a personal standpoint, the fact that Packbands is a family business is the best part. If you’d like to read more about the concept to development to manufacturing process, please read the post: Packbands: From Idea to Reality. 

 

Our first shipment of Packbands (one packaged bundle includes three bands: 9″, 12″ and 15″) has just arrived. You can find out more about the product by visiting our website. Want to see how Packbands work? Please visit our Instagram and Facebook pages.

 

Think you’d like to try out Packbands? Sign up on our website and receive a discount offer via email.

 

Pete and I are excited about this new venture – we’d love to hear your feedback, ideas or questions. Have any connections you think we should speak with? Please be in touch!

Categories
Marketing Coach

Marketing Coach Shout Out!

Martha Spelman Marketing Coach Thank You Note

 

It’s extremely rewarding to work with small business owners who are focused on growing their companies. They understand the around-the-clock hard work and dedication that goes in to starting, operating and marketing a successful entity. They know what it is to wear many hats while remaining mindful of the bottom line. Though they might want to just “do their work,” that’s not always an option.

 

When owners ask for my advice as a business and marketing coach but are still willing to DIY much of what’s needed, it’s rewarding for me when they follow directions, follow through and succeed.

 

Whether it’s advice on brand messaging, how to create a new WordPress website, starting a business blog and content marketing program, which social media channels are the right way to reach your audience or how to implement a stellar email marketing program, a coach — someone to recommend and advise — is nice to have on your team.

 

I recently received this enthusiastic handwritten note from a marketing coach client saying “Thanks,” for my help…which makes my coaching even more gratifying. In response, I say “Thank You!”

 

Martha Spelman

 

 

Ready to win at business? A coach could help you reach that goal!  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. 

 

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Small Business

Small Business: How Less is More

Martha Spelman Yes We're Open Sign in Small Business Window

by Martha Spelman

  • The 28 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales (Source: SBA?)
  • Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s. (Source: SBA)
  • A Small Business Owner earns an average salary of $71,584 per year (Source: Payscale)

As with any job, there will be drawbacks to owning a small business. Yet having one’s own business remains one of the top American Dreams – here’s why:

While owning a small business is not for the faint of heart – small business owners must be willing to take risks of all sizes. But the reward? “Everything here is mine…to take credit for!” Succeeding at small business ownership gives the proprietor a tremendous sense of accomplishment. If they are smart about how they spend and save money by using services like USave then they will find it easier to make a good profit from their success.

The inherent lack of hierarchy and red tape associated with a small business means far less bureaucracy-related issues than those of an office job – the owner is right there…easy to connect and interact with. “Flat” organizations are generally more flexible, cost-efficient and innovative. They can choose to grow by looking into business consulting firms Indianapolis or they might choose to keep their business deliberately small so they can handle everything themselves.

Owners and staff at a small business learn to be the chief cooks and bottle-washers, allowing them to acquire a variety of skills and have cross-platform experience. They’ll learn finance, hiring, sales and marketing, project management, manufacturing, operations and more. Of course, self-sufficiency reaps rewards of its own but an owner must be willing to recognize his or her limitations and bring on staff or consultants that can “fill in the blanks”. For example, if you really want to promote your business online through a great website but don’t have the time or knowledge to set one up from scratch, you can contact digital agencies like cefar to create one for you, so you can focus on other aspects of your business knowing that the website has been taken care of.

What defines a Small Business? Check out the SBA’s Frequently Asked Questions

A small business is often started by “bootstrapping” and with an imperative of keeping costs — and financial obligations — to a minimum. Slow, deliberate growth can keep outside investors out and more money in the kitty.

A small business is agile, able to change or “pivot” depending on customer wants and needs or when it’s been determined what’s working or what’s not. Feedback can be almost immediate. This flexibility allows room to conceptualize and develop new products or services. And the realization of these new and different offerings is not bogged down in red tape. A small business frequently has a “get to market faster” advantage.

A successful small business doesn’t need hundreds or thousands of customers…just the good ones.

There is a potential for greater profitability – fewer mouths to feed and an ability to streamline operations.

A small business may be undertaken on a part-time basis…the time commitment and location can be set up to accommodate family or other work obligations. Without major investment, one is able to judge the viability of a full-time commitment.

Small businesses can enjoy tax breaks including writing off the portion of a home that’s devoted to running the business, marketing costs, office equipment, furniture and fixtures, auto expenses and startup costs like incorporation or fees paid to professional advisers such as an accountant or attorney. Here’s guidance from the SBA about small business allowable expenses.

While many new businesses finance their start using personal savings and credit cards, small businesses may have access to advantageous financing through organizations like the SBA, using different crowdfunding platforms, angel investment, state non-profits, grants and other lending programs and institutions.

Customer service benefits immensely from the zero degrees of separation between the customer and the business owner. Issues are resolved quickly; company products or services can be improved.

A small business with a “niche” market makes it the “must have” or “must buy from” option. A niche business, properly promoted, can really stand out from an otherwise crowded field. Having a focused offering of products or services leads to an easier brand to build and market.

Owning a small business can give the owner job security (versus being at the mercy of an employer) and be a successful retirement plan: one has the option of selling the business or passing it on to family or key employees.

Find out more about National Small Business Week:

SBA National Small Business Week

No one ever said owning and operating a small business was easy. As a small business owner who has started and run several companies, including the sale of one, I can attest to the plusses and minuses. But the positives, for me, and the small businesses I advise, far outweigh any negatives. When it’s my company, I make the decisions and reap the rewards (like answering emails from a cruise ship off the Italian coast, seeing my kids’ basketball games or taking off for a mid-day hike). Beats answering to a less-than-pleasant boss any day.

Are you a small business owner? What do you like or dislike about it? Please comment!

Are you ready to start (or re-start) your business? 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.

Categories
Small Business Survey

Small Business Survey: Here’s What 2016 Looks Like

Small Business Survey 2016

by Martha Spelman

Business owners are always trying to see into the future. What’s the economy going to do? How can I grow my business? What new technology should I know about…and use? How do I keep customers satisfied and employees happy? What moves should my business make to remain relevant, profitable and visible? When I began my business, I knew there would be a lot for me to look into, which is why I was recommended by a friend of mine to look into getting public liability insurance from tradesmansaver. Following this, I had to make sure I got all the financial and more important aspects of running a business out of the way. For anyone who owns a business, it can be very stressful, but once everything is set up, it will definitely be worth it. You’ll find that in the world we live in today, the use of technology has become even more apparent to businesses than it has before. With the many tools we have within our reach, there is nothing that you cannot use in whatever industry you work within to make your business run a little easier. Within any business, you’ll always need to find a solution to any problem, even sometimes before it even occurs. Marketing tools come in handy when wanting to grow a business. For example, if you are looking to attract new customers within a law firm, one way you could do this is by looking into something like Attorney Marketing. This way, you’ll receive better leads and more reliable growth. There is nothing that can’t be done through the use of technology.

To get some perspective on this, I surveyed 16 small business owners and others that work with or consult to small- and mid-size companies. I wanted to get their take on what the future of business looks like to them, their customers and what each plans to do about it. While there are some recurrent themes (focus, sales, revenue and the concept of resource planning); as a whole, there’s real food for thought on where small business is heading. The input reveals why these people own and understand the challenges of running a small business and the plans they are pursuing.

I asked each interviewee to “fill in the blank” for two statements:

1) For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of _____________________.

2) In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to ___________________________.

For each response, I’ve included the respondent’s name, title and web address, where applicable. Once you’ve perused their answers, I’d love to hear yours. Please add them in the comments section below the blog on the website.

Paul Pruneau, Creative Director, Teamworks Communications, Brand Strategy, Integrated Media teamworkscom.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of focusing on what delivers increased revenue results.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to get more consistent, recurring revenue from existing customers.

Jeff Korhan, Marketing Speaker & Trainer; Small Business Marketing Coach jeffkorhan.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year when businesses get serious about building an integrated, omnichannel marketing strategy. Blog readership is down and it’s getting increasingly challenging to use social media to drive traffic to them. This is true regardless of the social media ad spend.

The solution will be stealing the audience from the larger social media networks and communities. This could include posting on LinkedIn Publisher or Facebook Notes, publishing on communities like Medium, and taking advantage of guest blogging and syndication.

Additionally, the use of podcasting and live-streaming will grow to serve the segment of audiences that prefer to consume content in that way.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be consistently delivering content, down to the minute, to keep my audience engaged. They may not always show up, but I have to be there when they do to grow my audience, or risk losing them forever.

Clark Vautier, Strategy Consultant, clarkvautier.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of adaptation and refinement, as social media and online marketing tools and techniques continue to evolve, in order to stay competitive.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to simplify and focus!

Barbara Dalmau, Marin Regional Manager, Bank of Marin bankofmarin.com

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to start early(and get everyone on my team to do likewise).

In Banking, we all have production goals. The days of “smile, be friendly and provide great service,” with the hopes that that alone will bring in business are gone. Just about every business now, no matter what the industry, needs to sell. So, looking at the 2015 results from my team I saw that those who jumped right on their production goals early in the year did the best. Did I encourage everyone to work on their goals early last year? Yes. But I also “allowed” a few to get their staffing needs sorted out first, to get some clean up from last year out of the way, to address some training issues . . . before holding them accountable for production. Soon, half of the year was gone and staffing, clean up and training were still pending, as were the goals. So this year, I know that the success of my team will depend on me and how well I help them to start on their most important priorities early.

Amir Ghorbani, Founder, Swoop App: Luxury transportation app launching 2017

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of growth through adaption of business technology. For example: companies will need to integrate different web-based accounting, finance and marketing functions to help organize their data and streamline processes. Some may turn to companies like Heap Analytics to handle a sizable part of this, whilst others will work in house.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to grow. My small business will need to learn to utilize the technology in the market such as WaveApps, and driver apps for our drivers to help expand and grow our customer database.

Laverne Caceres, Director, The Professional Voice Presentation Training, Shortlist Coaching professionalvoice.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of more face-to-face contact with clients, prospects and business friends. Even with all the social media tools, let’s not lose the art and value of being there in person. Since I do a lot of speaking, I will still look for new opportunities and new audiences!

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to enhance my dexterity with social media and become a stronger presence on-line. We are already revamping our website for a fresher, updated look!

Ann Banning-Wright, Founding Partner, Bright Operations brightoperations.com

2016 will be the year of focus — there is more opportunity — how do you choose the ones best for you and your firm and morph to your greatest potential instead of taking everything and not making your name because you had so much to do you didn’t show the value you know you could have.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to be clear on choosing the assignments that make the biggest difference to clients!! Exciting!!

Pamela Boboc, Lunada Vista Design lunadavistadesign.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of extending the business through the internet: eCommerce, on-line courses and programs.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to do less myself. I will build my team and delegate more.

David Cocke, President & Principal, Structural Focus Engineering Services structuralfocus.com and safeqinstitute.com

2016 will be the year of “making hay while the sun shines,” and preparing for what seems to an inevitable downturn.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to expand my business by diversifying our client list and type of projects, and building up our “passive income” business (SAFEq).

Patty Schmucker. Co-Founder, AmericanMadeBeauty.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of growth for companies who are organized and have a clear goal and plan to make those goals a reality.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to use digital tools to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction.

Jeremy M. Eskenazi, Managing Principal, Riviera Advisors, Inc., Specialized HR Consulting rivieraadvisors.com

2016 will be the year of delegating, outsourcing, and getting it done with less. (For 15 years owning a small business, I have struggled doing so much of the non-core work myself instead of paying someone or a company do this work so we can focus on what really matters: business development and execution).

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to be disciplined on the financials. (As a small business owner, being disciplined on the financials is often hard… not always focusing on looking at profitability of projects, not always focusing on reviewing financial performance and health on a monthly basis because of other responsibilities is not acceptable.)

Mike Gallagher, PE, Western Allied Corporation, Mechanical Services wasocal.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of managing growth.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to not get buried in the office.

Barbara A. Mather, Ph.D., President, Management Consultant matherconsulting.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of prioritizing my work to be secondary versus primary.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to seek more speaking opportunities, conduct relevant research, and publish.

Stacy Waite. Chief Success Officer, PositiveReturn.com Personalized business skills development

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of aligning the needs of the organization and the desires of individuals to achieve shared goals.

Ken Keller, Chief Facilitator, Strategic Advisory Boards and brainfoodforbusinessowners.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of GROWTH and EXPANSION.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to gain new clients in a new niche.

Will Sherwood, The Sherwood Group, Advertising, Marketing & Design thesherwoodgroup.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of getting back to basics, like making sales calls on potential new prospects.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to be productive in my business development, instead of being merely social.

And, of course, I’ve added my two cents:

Martha Spelman, Branding & Marketing Consultant , www.marthaspelman.com

For small- to medium-size businesses, 2016 will be the year of brand definition; homing in on the value proposition and what differentiates the brand from its competition. And then? Effectively spreading the word about that brand to a defined audience.

In 2016, my #1 business resolution will be to find new ways to help clients implement effective yet cost-efficient ways to promote their businesses.

Many thanks to those who contributed. Again, I would love to hear your 2016 inspirations and aspirations! Please comment below.

Want to talk about what your business can do in 2016? Click to Contact Martha. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding, marketing and social media expert. Using traditional and online marketing to start, grow and sell 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.