Say what you will about Ursula but the woman knew the power of word of mouth marketing. She had costumers lined up because someone always knew someone who knew someone who had told them about her services. Marketing your business is essential. You cannot reach the masses if you don’t market. This week I found an interesting way for small businesses to get their merchandise and services out there. Have you ever considered doing a showcase? A showcase allows you to set up a booth and market your business one on one with potential costumers. Showcasing in conjunction with a larger business guarantees that the traffic will be there as their costumers flow in and out throughout the day. This is great for people who have products they have developed or special services they provide. If you’re interested in doing a showcase contact some big name businesses and ask if they offer the opportunity for people to showcase. During my research, I found that Sam’s Club offers this type of opportunity. The video below is based on the showcasing they do and what you should consider if you’d like to participate. The key to getting your product out there is marketing, marketing and more marketing. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth marketing. Someone may know someone who knows someone who knows the right person that they just happened to have recommended your product to. Ursula landed the kings daughter as a client which wasn’t too bad for business.
Rumpelstiltskin was a man who knew the importance of a name. He had many talents. He could spin straw into gold and one day he offered to help a poor millers daughter being held in captivity. However, he had a few strings attached. She could use his services just not his name. As long as he controlled the use of his name he retained his power. You should always protect your identity in your personal and business life. In business, you do so by having a trademark. You can get a trademark for around $300. Trademarks protect names, symbols, words and logos that distinguish your business from other businesses. You’ll have to first do your research to make sure that the name isn’t already taken. I’m in the process of applying for a trademark. Once I finish the application process, I will blog about the wait time and response I receive. There are several sites on-line that offer you trademarks but in my opinion it is safer to go to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As for Rumpelstiltskin, his empire crumbled with one word from the millers daughter, “Rumpelstiltskin!” I guess he should have had a trademark.
Once upon a time there was a boy named Jack. Jack ran a small business with his mother selling milk from their cow. However, they weren’t reaping enough profits. They could barely make enough to meet their daily needs. After a while, the business collapsed because their cash cow dried up. Jack and his mother decided to cut their losses and sell their business. On the way to the market, Jack met a man who offered him “the answer to all his problems” in exchange for his cow. Jack thought it over and decided that magical beans were the way to go. These beans are what I like to call “myths”. This is information we hear through the grapevine that has no real backing. I have heard several times that when you start a small business you can apply for a grant from the Small Business Administration/SBA or other funding organizations to cover the cost. I did some research over the past few days and discovered that this information is simply incorrect. The SBA does not offer “free money” for people looking to start a new business. The grants that are available are for specific groups, activities or organizations. On the other hand, they do offer guidance on how to start a business. They offer information on writing a business plan and training on how to start a business. However, there is a tiny ray of hope for those hoping to receive a grant. If you are dead set on a grant you can look into what your state offers. You can check with the local economic development agency. I’ve posted a link below that contains the websites for the local economic development agency in each state. I’ve also posted a link that lists the different federal grants that are offered in the event you wanted to check for yourself. To go back to Jack, I can tell you that after several phone calls and online searches I’ve learned that you should be leery of sites offering you access to federal grants for you to start your small business. Some of these sites even ask you for money in exchange for a list of grants you can use. Don’t let them scam you. In the end, Jack made it up the beanstalk only to find a Giant that chased him back to where he started and he frantically tried to cut his ties with his investment (magic beans) by chopping the tree down.