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Tips for Using the Media to Grow Your Brand

Written by Dawn Mucci

breaking news banner for media promotion of small businesses

You created a great concept and now you are ready to let the world know about your brand. The trouble is, you only have so many marketing dollars in your company coffers to get the word out. If you are a new or emerging brand with minimal capital this can be a huge challenge. I’ve been there myself and I know the struggle is real. If you find yourself in this situation or simply want to learn how to save some money in this department, consider using the media to grow your brand. I did this successfully albeit out of sheer necessity and I did it by spending time crafting my story and sharing it passionately, forming relationships with key contacts in the industry at all levels. There are many forms of media for you to leverage and I will touch on the top ones in this article.

In all honesty, I was not really using the media. I was helping the media engage their audience with relevant and timely content they needed and wanted to grow their perspective interest. This can be accomplished through traditional media such as TV, radio, and print or via platforms like social media, YouTube, events, podcasts, article writing etc. When I say to ‘use the media’, what I mean is to use what you have to offer in the way of a story, expertise or educational content. When you realize it is not about what the media can offer you but what you can offer them, it becomes less intimidating and much easier to approach people to create those mutually beneficial relationships.

I asked a couple of my franchise industry friends who have done an excellent job in this regard to provide me with their insights; they were more than happy to share these tips:

Make it easy and be timely with your content

Fellow Mompreneur member Ruthie Burd of The Lunch Lady is a media darling, appearing on countless TV shows and in articles teaching families the importance of healthy eating and showing them creative lunch options. She had the following suggestions:

“Be prepared not only with a compelling story but to also have pictures and props, which will eliminate the need to send a photographer or do extra production work. People have too much coming at them already. Anything you can do to reduce their time stress and make it easy for them is appreciated. Be timely with your content as well; for example, we make school lunches a subject of interest in September when the new school year begins. Tell everyone your story, you never know who is listening or who knows who. Finally, hire an agency or someone professional to help you be prepared with ideas to pitch for their advice and feedback. You want to create synergistic partnerships with anyone representing your brand to ensure your voice is authentic in the public space.” Continue reading Tips for Using the Media to Grow Your Brand

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Brainstorming Sessions that Work

brainstorming ideas - sessions that work for mompreneurs and women entrepreneurs

What do you do when you have to solve a problem or you need a killer new idea for your business?  Many business owners spend thousands of dollars on consultants when the perfect solution is right in front of them tucked away in one of their employee’s brain.  How can you access your employees’ great ideas?  Why not try a brainstorming session?  Here are some techniques that will help you hold a brainstorming session that is actually effective:

Don’t allow criticism.

The fear of criticism stifles creativity and makes people unwilling to suggest unconventional ideas, which is the whole point of the exercise.  Focus on quantity instead of quality.  Make it a team goal to come up with 75 new ideas.

Invite the right people.

Ideally, you would want to have between four and eight people at your brainstorming meeting.  When the group gets too big, people start to get intimidated.  Include a mix of people from different levels and departments.  You want to invite people who are willing to think big.

Make it a comfortable experience.

The space that you are working in matters.  Try to find a different room than the one that you use for your regular meetings.  Make sure that the chairs are comfortable and that people have room to walk around.  Select a time for the meeting when your employees won’t be too distracted by other tasks, and don’t forget to provide food and coffee.

Have an official facilitator.

You need someone to keep everyone on track and make sure that there is no judgment or criticism of ideas.  It is best if the facilitator is someone other than the manager so that the team members don’t become intimidated.

Plan next steps.

Clearly communicate what the next steps will be.  After investing their time and energy into this meeting, it will annoy your employees if all their ideas lead to nothing.

When handled properly, brainstorming meetings can be an effective team building experience.  It can get people talking in the lunch room, which is where the best ideas will come from anyway.  Your real goal as a business owner is to create a culture of brainstorming at your company.  If your employees are always thinking and are motivated to develop and share their ideas, it will take your business to some amazing (and interesting) places.

 


Written by Karen Bivand

Featured image via shutterstock.com

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5 Tips for Building Your Email List

By Stacey Hartman

If you’re looking to really start growing your business, email marketing is an awesome way to expand your customer base. One major stumbling point for some, though, is building your subscriber list. Fret not, we have several sure-fire steps to get your email list booming. Let’s take a look!

1. Get an email marketing service.

tips from GoDaddy for mompreneur on how to build your email list

This step might seem a bit obvious, but it is an important one. Email marketing services give you access to powerful list-management systems, opt-out functionality that will help you comply with government anti-spam laws, and the ability to quickly create professional-looking marketing emails. GoDaddy has an amazing email marketing product that meets all of these needs and is easy to use for email marketing beginners.

If you’re starting out small, you might think, “Why do I need to get a email marketing service right away?” You can handle a small list of subscribers yourself, right? Not so fast. The other angle to consider is that most regular email services won’t allow you to use their email system for email marketing.

If you send out more emails than they consider to be “normal” email use, you can be blocked from sending emails. What’s more, you’d need to manually update your email list for opt-out requests, or you risk facing penalties. Start off on the right foot and go with an email marketing service. It’ll save you headaches down the road.

2. Sign-up forms.

You’ve likely seen plenty of sign-up forms for email lists on other sites. To be effective, though, you’ll need to consider where to place your forms on your website, beyond just a pop-up. There are a few options for form placement to consider: Continue reading 5 Tips for Building Your Email List

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How Custom Apparel Can Help Motivate and Inspire Your Employees

Regardless of your industry, it’s no secret that custom branded apparel is an integral part of your company’s branding strategy. Wearing your company logo helps to promote your company’s identity and establish a professional image. But along with the many benefits to your company’s marketing efforts, printing or embroidering your logo on custom apparel can have a residual positive impact on your employees’ attitudes and work ethic; even your own!

Custom Apparel Improves Morale

One of the biggest advantages to outfitting employees in custom apparel is the boost it can give to employee attitudes and work ethic. When your employees feel like valued members of a team, they are more likely to be loyal to your company, show pride in their work and even be more productive.

mompreneur partner Entripy Custom Clothing staff

Custom Apparel Improves Performance

Employees are often more motivated to get work done when they feel part of something larger than themselves. When sporting your company logo, employees are more likely to feel accountable for your company’s success and are more motivated to get work done. Plus, employees wearing branded apparel tend to act more professionally, knowing that their actions when out in public will reflect on the company. Continue reading How Custom Apparel Can Help Motivate and Inspire Your Employees

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How to Stop Overextending Yourself

tips to stop overextending, for women entrepreneursDo you often feel like you have bitten off more than you can chew? Do you find yourself rushing from project to project with barely enough time in between to eat or shower? If you are like many entrepreneurs, you may have a tendency to over-commit yourself.  People overextend themselves for various reasons; perhaps you just get caught up in the moment and agree to something before you check your schedule, or maybe you find it difficult to say no to people.

Whatever your motivation, it leaves you feeling frustrated and frazzled, and it could potentially damage your reputation if you’re not able to honour all of the commitments that you’ve made. Here are some tips to help you take control and stop over-committing:

  • Acknowledge that it’s a problem: While it’s normal to be busy, if your hectic pace causes you to be stressed out most of the time, then it is something that you need to address. Being constantly on the run is bad for your health, puts a strain on your relationships with your friends and family, and can cause you to lose focus of your goals. You can work on your business for twenty hours a day and still find that success slips through your fingers. Being busy is productive; frantically scrambling around is not. If you think that you may currently be overextended, then it is time to step back and re-evaluate.
  • Listen to your body: Your body is great at telling you when you’re going too fast, provided that you take the time to listen. How do you feel? Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you tired all of the time? Do you suffer from headaches? Are you having digestive problems? Do you have acne or eczema or any other skin conditions that flare up when you’re stressed? If your body is displaying symptoms of stress then it means that your activities are physically straining you. Don’t take these symptoms lightly; while you may only be able to detect a headache and a rash, that same stress could be causing much more serious damage to your body.

Continue reading How to Stop Overextending Yourself

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Dreaming Bigger Than the Fear

Written by Darlene Gudrie Butts

dream bigger than your fears

Do you have this huge desire to do something big?

Do you take a couple of steps and then stop, paralyzed by “what ifs”?

I can relate.

I have always been a big dreamer and if I am not a little scared I feel I am not living fully. But, this year I made the mistake of dreaming so big that the “what ifs” have been pummeling me in a heavy downpour.

I decided two months ago to go on this epic journey to travel across Canada to gather stories for Canada’s 150th birthday. The 150 best ones would be put in a book.

Not a bad idea.

What??? CANADA is HUGE! The gas alone will be insane.

Here comes the fear…

What if I run out of money?

What if no one submits a story?

What if the stories suck?

What if I can’t get people and businesses to sponsor books for grade fives and my big dream goes kaput?

Then, I turned it all around and sucker-punched fear to the floor.

What if I don’t run out of money?

What if I do run out of money and don’t cover every province in person? Can I still write the book? Hell yeah!

What if the site crashes because so many people are submitting stories and I make the national news because of it, which in turn causes another crash?

What if I meet the sweetest, most amazing people and get to tell the stories no one would hear if I didn’t share them?

What if I get to inspire a whole generation?

Dreaming bigger than fear is easy. It is all about perspective. If you concentrate on all the wonderful things that can happen versus the negative, they will happen. I promise.

Whenever I get overwhelmed, by this project I stop and picture an email sent by a ten-year-old telling me how she read a story in 150 Canadian Stories and now she is inspired to do something big for herself and her country.  Her life will be forever changed by one story. Then, I take the next logical step.

Take that fear!

Mic drop.


mompreneur Darlene Gudrie Butts of 150 Canadian Stories
Darlene Gudrie Butts
is an acclaimed author and speaker as well as a very proud Canadian and Elite+ Mompreneur member. She wanted to celebrate this country’s upcoming 150th birthday with her power skill, story-telling. Willing to leave her business, city and friends behind, Darlene is embarking on a three-month tour of this incredible country looking for ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Her big dream is to be able to get enough books sponsored to be able to gift them to every grade five student in Canada so that the next generation has the love and pride she has for this country! Find out more about Darlene’s journey at 150canadianstories.ca


 

 

featured image via shutterstock.com

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Save 15% as an Exhibitor at The National Women’s Show!

Become an Exhibitor at Canada’s Largest & Best Attended Event for Women – and SAVE 15% off your Booth Fees* as a Mompreneur member!

National Women's Show - mompreneur booths

Over 500 exhibitors found great success at the 2016 show as over 30,000 attendees shopped ‘til they dropped to find the best selection of products and services to hit the market. Featuring food and wine sampling, fashion shows, celebrity guests, complimentary makeovers, health, wellness & beauty secrets, cooking demos, home renovation and decor advice, travel ideas and MUCH, MUCH, MORE, the show entertains and engages thousands of women!


*15% discount applies to Mompreneur members who are registered and active at the Elite and Elite+ levels only!


This is Canada’s largest consumer show for women. Don’t miss exhibiting at the show if women are your target demographic!

Please fill out the following information to receive further details on applying as an exhibitor at our exclusive Mompreneur® Member rates!

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Thank you for your interest in being part of our Mompreneurs Pavilion at The National Women's Show! Once you press "Submit", your registration request will be reviewed, and you will receive details within 24-48 hours. For further information or questions, please email info@themompreneur.com

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Top Ten Legal Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask

Written by Andrea Henry

10 legal questions for business owners, provided by mompreneur Andrea Henry of Vox Law LLP

Can I protect my name and my brand?

Choosing a name and establishing a brand can be the most fun part of starting a business, but it can also be fraught with difficulty. For most entrepreneurs, part of choosing a name for their new business is doing a Google search and then searching the business name database to ensure no one else has registered that name. With your Master Business Licence in hand, you feel sure your business name is protected and no one else can use it but not so fast… have you checked to see whether the name has been trademarked?

I have had clients who started a sole proprietorship, registered a business name and happily used it for a few years before realising, only when they applied to register their trademark, that someone had beaten them to it. The problem is, the business name database and the registered trademark database are not the same things, and obtaining a business name registration does not mean that you have the exclusive right to use that name to distinguish your business in the eyes of consumers. The only way to make sure that only you can use your brand name, your logo or your tagline is to register it as a trademark.

If the owner of the trademark you want has not used it for three or more years, you can request the Registrar of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office to, essentially, strike the registration from the list, but that requires a long and expensive court battle.

Avoid long and expensive court battles; search the trademark database before you start using a name and apply for trademark protection as soon as possible.

Am I too small or new to incorporate?

This is a conversation you need to have with your accountant AND your lawyer. At any stage of its life, there are many ways a business can benefit from becoming a corporation. Just a few of these are:

  • Limited Liability. This advantage is the one everyone knows about – if you carry on business as a sole proprietor or a general partnership, your assets are at risk if the business incurs any liability. That means that if a client sues your business, really, he’s suing you, and your house and car and bank account are all at risk. A corporation is a separate legal person with its own assets. That means if a client sues your corporation, he can get at the corporation’s assets, but not your personal assets.
  • Increased credibility. Seeming bigger and more established than you really are is crucial when you’re the newest one in the pool.
  • Ease of raising capital. How do you sell a part of your business if your business is you? While maybe some investors would take a kidney, issuing shares in a corporation is the easiest way to exchange a share of your business for that influx of cash you need to grow.
  • Tax reduction or deferral. A big reason why people incorporate is to reduce or defer the tax they pay and to provide flexibility in finances.

Continue reading Top Ten Legal Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask

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Company Profile: The Princess and The Whale

As featured in our Mompreneurs Marketplace at The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference


In December of 2016 I released my first book, The Princess and The Whale. I wrote it for my daughter when she was 7 years old, after she had experienced an episode of bullying that forever changed her. But I published it for me.

The story is an allegory for life, and has brought so many life lessons that I continue to learn from it, even now. While it was a story originally for a little girl, it’s become a story of my life. It likely mirrors the life of almost everyone at some time or another.

We’ve all been on an island, metaphorically, at some point. While many of us may crave change, change can be crazy uncomfortable. It could end us up in a place we did not intend or could foresee. Sometimes, a major life change, such as being bullied, the death of a loved one, or divorce, pulls us out of our complacency. It forces re-examination of our life. But first, it often drops us smack dab onto the island of FEAR… it leaves you feeling very lonely.

The Princess and The Whale book written by mompreneur Bobbi Wright

Continue reading Company Profile: The Princess and The Whale

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3 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website

By Ruth Ann Hogue

get your website noticed - small business tips from godaddy for mompreneurs

A website without traffic is like a knickknack on the shelf — pretty to look at, but otherwise nonfunctional except for collecting dust bunnies.

Now, imagine that same knickknack on a shelf with hundreds, thousands, even millions of other curiosities, each vying for attention. Which ones will get noticed, and which ones will be virtually invisible?

The simple answer is that it depends on who is looking, and what their purpose is in viewing the collection. A potential buyer who is focused on original Hummels will be able to spot them immediately, whereas someone else might be drawn to anything remotely shabby chic as inspiration for their next crafting project.

Much like in the world of collectibles, the traffic a website attracts will vary, based on a few simple factors. The good news is that there are some controllables, and despite the overwhelming competition for eyeballs, even small websites can boost performance by optimizing for search engines, using social media channels, and implementing a paid advertising strategy.

Be searchable

It all begins with Search Engine Optimization (SEO, which has always included having a good website, complete with an uncluttered, organized design and a sitemap to help search engines crawl and index your content. If the bots can’t find your content because spiders are blocked or pathways drop off suddenly in unexpected places, your-otherwise amazing site will likely fail to get the attention it deserves.

In 2017, effective SEO includes making your site user-friendly — especially for mobile. Because a high percentage of online buyers research their purchase using a smartphone, it makes sense to design eCommerce sites for mobile first, with desktop usability being secondary.

Other SEO tips include securing your site with a Secure Socket Layer Certificate (SSL). While the certificate itself provides a minimal boost, its presence can provide assurance to potential site visitors, making it less likely that they will avoid your site for security reasons. Continue reading 3 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website