Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Doing your own PR this holiday season? Advice and tips to help you.

Written By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

Are you a start-up business? Short on cash? Have you decided to run your own PR this holiday season?

Just this week I was chatting with a friend and was informed that their company paid 5K for 3 months of PR services. The company simply sent out some press releases and landed the business a few blog reviews. Nothing more. You’ve probably heard similar stories and perhaps you’ve made up your mind: “These people just can’t be trusted with my money and my passion. No one can promote my business as well as me.”
There are some terrific PR firms and single entities out there, working hard for their clients. That said, there are also lots of firms doing very little to spread their clients around the Internet, through mom blogs and across the twitter/facebook shores.

Here are some tips for running your own PR this holiday season:

Don’t overdo the sales pitches
If you are on facebook or twitter, be sure you engage with your followers/readers. Don’t simply tweet or post about your sales, discounts, new specials and new products. That will quickly turn people away. Sales and social media are a dance, of sorts. Weave your pitches in between the other moves.
Let your followers/readers know you care about them
This is ‘key’ to small business sales. The typical consumer wants to know that the business cares about their needs, wants, likes, dislikes, family values and more. By ignoring this, you’ll likely cut sales short.
Be open to feedback
Are people telling you that your site is hard to navigate? That they get lost in the pages or confused by too many options? That your prices are just too high? That your shipping is too steep? Listen to this feedback! These are your potential customers and they are giving you valuable insights.
People first – sales second
Never put a sale over a person. People matter more than money. Most moms can smell a sales-pusher from a mile away. “No thanks. I don’t want to buy from you because I can tell that you care more about the end result than about me.” This is a sure turn-off for most mom shoppers.
Another sale will come – no worries
Worried that you missed a sale? Don’t fret. Everything in due time. Everything has it’s season. Perhaps you missed a sale today but there’s always tomorrow. Tomorrow might even bring along a bigger sale and a more loyal customer. You never know. Keep your chin up and don’t let negativity take over.
Support others
We all know what Mama used to say: “What goes around comes around.” If you spread love, it generally comes back your way. Spread selfishness – same deal. So – spread generosity and love. Buy from a mom business. Support another small business. Don’t expect that person to return the favor (although they may). Do it because you want to support them and because you understand it’s helping another family – another child – another business owner – and our economy. That has to make you feel great! Chances are, if you continue in a pattern of supporting others, the support will return. Some way, some how. It just will.
Offer your advice to others
Do business owners come to you, asking for advice? Offer it. Don’t keep your information and expertise stored up like a secret agent. Offer tips and help as you can – to stop other business owners from falling into ditches. This is not to say that you shouldn’t be paid for consulting time, if your business is consult-related. I’m simply saying: “Be a giver. Share when you can. Help others. Give-and-take. Givers Gain.” You don’t have to stick all of your eggs into the carton and pass them over, free of charge. You can still be kind and helpful in increments, nonetheless.
Undercharge but over deliver
The small business owners mantra: sell for less but offer more. Include a hand written card with orders. Send a kind email after the shipment goes out. Include a free gift with your shipment. This need not be over-kill but even something small will be met with gratitude, not quickly forgotten.
Remember details
Did someone tweet you, mentioning a sick grandmother? Or a contest they were in? Or a new product they were excited to show you? Remember these things and when appropriate, bring it up: “Hey! How is your grandmother doing now?” or “Hi there. Did you win that contest?” or “How’s the new product launch coming along?” People appreciate when you remember the details. Details and small acts of kindness are often what people care about more than anything else. “Love me in the little things” – and all that jazz ;-)

Places to post your information
Post your giveaways here for free:
Post a press release here for free:
Need moms to review your products? Contact them on your own!
Need someone to review your App this season? Contact a blogger here:

I wish you well this holiday season and beyond!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Momtrepreneur Exchange - A Great Resource For Women Entrepreneurs

I met Jill Salzman, Owner and Founder of The Momtrepreneur Exchange, online and just had share what she is providing for women entrepreneurs across the nation.  I just love the concept of what she has Jill rocks!  I think this is a wonderful resource for the Womentorz network to take advantage of as well.  Here's some more information about the group in Jill's words:

The Momtrepreneur Exchange
is a real, live and local monthly meeting where mom entrepreneurs can exchange, connect and learn from one another.  Incredible women living right in your backyard meet up to swap start-up stories, interact with renowned business experts, and build personal and professional connections within the ever-growing network of mom-owned businesses.
How did it get started? Honestly, it was by accident.

I had 3 businesses, 2 kids and 1 desire to have a cup of coffee with fellow entrepreneurs who also happened to be mothers. So I set up a get-together through I hoped that maybe four or five women would join me. Fast forward to now: we’re 245 746 1,335 momtrepreneurs and counting.
Soon enough, one member approached me about opening up the group to a new geographic region…and since then, we’ve grown beyond the boundaries of my hometown, into cities like Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Boulder, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Charleston, Seattle, Costa Mesa, Saint Paul, Houston, Milwaukee, Brisbane and New York City.

Why are we growing so fast? Because we rock.

Unlike many formal, stiff and expensive women’s-or-business-and-0r-entrepreneurial groups that I’ve attended, we’re real women making a difference and having fun doing it. We dress casually. We bring our noisemakers (babies, toddlers, kids) and discuss the ultimate balancing act. We talk about opportunities to help our business grow. We share tips, we listen to expert advice and we come back for more.  We create relationships, promote deeper connections and engage in ways distinct from the daily online blur.
Please join us.  Let’s continue to pay it forward and help moms get down to business.

Visit to get connected!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Learn how to Think like a Genius

By Taryn Voget

Here is the unspoken secret about inventing a product line and starting a business: the business decisions are easy, managing your own emotional state through the start-up process is what's hard. One moment I'm on top of the world and the next billionaire, the next moment I'm pretty sure no one will buy a thing I've made and I've wasted a lot of time and money on a flop. This mental cycle repeats itself several times in a day, a week and a month. Maybe you can relate?

When I decided to launch the Everyday Genius Institute, I made the conscious decision to create products that I wanted and needed.  I reasoned that if I needed a product, so would many others. So when I needed to learn how to write copy that explained and sold my products, I deconstructed the copywriting strategies of one of the best copywriters in the business. I learned his strategies and then created a product to teach those strategies to others. Thus was born "Think like a Genius Marketing Copywriter: Write copy that SELLS using the simply genius strategies of a top copywriter."

When I needed to set clear goals, see things from different perspectives, eliminate fears and get motivated, I created a product called "The Core Strategies of Genius: Unlock your inner genius using these 7 proven techniques." In all seriousness I use at least one of these techniques everyday to help me break through barriers, take my business to the next level and manage my own emotional state.

Launching the Everyday Genius Institute and creating the Think like a Genius product line has been the hardest and most rewarding thing I've done in my career.  My hope is that our products teach people how to be more effective in every area of their life. From one woman inventor and entrepreneur to another, check out these products and discover how they can help you take your invention, business and life to a whole new level. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve.

About Taryn Voget, Founder and CEO of the Everyday Genius Institute

Taryn Voget is an entrepreneur, business adviser and adventuresse. She began her career with Accenture and for 13 years thrived as a high-end management consultant, helping the best companies in the world define, streamline and improve their business processes. She has worked with companies such as Disney, Gap, Genentech and the US Postal Service. At age 29 she started her own successful management consulting firm and amassed a client roster of Fortune 100 and startup companies. Taryn has an uncanny knack for unpacking complex processes and streamlining them. Through her years working with dozens of business and thousands of people, she has developed the unwavering belief that genius is always in the simplicity.  Her inspiration for the Everyday Genius Institute was ignited by her desire to reveal strategies of genius and make them accessible to everyone. 

Taryn spends her free time traveling the world, mentoring young professionals and enjoying her 5 siblings and adorable niece and nephews. She donates her time on various projects for her alma mater, Georgetown University, where she received a degree in Finance and Management. When you meet Taryn, you’ll find that she is a lover of perfect moments and believes that everyone has a genius.

Copywriting Product ($99)
Wine Product ($49)
Core Strategies Product ($149)
A+ Student Product ($99)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Should I license my product or make it and sell it myself?

By Jim DeBetta

This is one of the most common questions I hear from inventors and entrepreneurs and the answer is simply NOT simple….

First of all, you must understand that no matter what, embarking on either path takes knowledge and time and you must be committed to seeing your project through. People often call me and tell me they want to license their idea and think it is easy and a quick way to making a lot of money. I tell them that getting a product licensed is almost always much more than what it appears. It is not just calling a few big companies like Proctor & Gamble and telling them about your idea and then they put a big fat licensing deal in front of you. In fact, these companies reject most everything they see. They have to. They have access to an endless supply of inventors and thinkers who approach them with ideas and the fact is they can only choose a few things that they can get behind and bring to market. They have budgets too and constraints internally and just cannot take on everything they like.

It is true that there are a handful of very savvy and talented people that can convince and negotiate with big companies to get a licensing deal done. However, these people know what to do and how to do it. They understand that in order to be considered for a licensing opportunity, they must have a compelling product that can be patented and at a price that is compelling to them and the consumer – among other important factors. These people know what the licensee wants and needs and prepares their presentation to suit the company’s needs. They also clearly understand that they may get a lot of “no” before they get a maybe or a yes. It is not an easy path to take but certainly can be rewarding if you can prove to a company that your product has all the right stuff! The key is to learn everything you can about what path you want to pursue so that you are fully informed about what to expect and how to move forward.

For those of us that like to develop products and manufacture them ourselves, this path is traditionally much tougher and more time consuming and requires much more of a financial commitment – but the rewards can be much greater. It is still a difficult but reachable dream but no matter what you wish to do please realize that good old fashion hard word and determination are some of the basic foundational components you will need to succeed.

So, which path do you take? Well, that depends on your risk tolerance and the amount of time you have to devote to your invention idea. If you have a career and don’t want to run a business, then licensing may be for you. If you have always dreamed of running your own business and feel like you have the wherewithal to take your idea, have it manufactured, and then offer it to retail stores then doing it yourself might be the way to go. Whichever path you take, be patient! It often takes many months and even years to achieve success in this highly competitive business….just follow the correct steps and seek knowledge every step of the way.

Jim DeBetta
Retail Product Placement Specialist