ArticleKoolNerd

Young Entreprenuer Talks Educational Clothing Line and Kickstarter Success

ArticleKoolNerdRecognizing the influence that great mentors and teachers had on his life, Orane Barrett, a former engineer at Intel, turned his passion for learning and helping the community into a business.

Launching the apparel brand Kool Nerd Clothing (KNC) in 2013, KNC is more than just a clothing line that helps individuals celebrate their intelligence. With proceeds from the sell of its items going towards its partnership to help get inner-city kids involved in STEAM, with the ‘A’ standing for arts, Barrett is determined to use KNC as a movement that exposes children to learning opportunities beyond what they see in their neighborhood.

BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Barrett to get insights on what prompted him to start KNC, how he’s using his clothing line as a platform to impact the youth and how his Kickstarter campaign will take KNC to newer heights.

BlackEnterprise.com: Can you briefly describe how Kool Nerd got started?

Orane Barrett: From the beginning it was a team of people looking at where the market was in terms of how people were embracing intelligence. We started to discuss how right now there’s no particular brand for that individual that wants to say they’re intelligent or they’re a nerd and I wanted to basically promote that. In addition, it also grew from basically creating a number of products that would just say “Kool Nerd” and make a statement. We said, “Okay, how do we use this to compliment and motivate and inspire?”

Now you used to work as an investment manager, correct?

Yes, I‘ve been in investment banking and previous to that I was an engineer at Intel.

How was it making a transition from those fields to starting Kool Nerd clothing? What skills did you take from your old job to start your own business?

The skill sets I’ve gained working at Intel were the stronger ones in the sense of really being an engineer and managing a production line management and a team of people. Then working in finance allowed me to really focus on the finances and operations. [It also] put me deep into developing a business plan, which makes you look at the venture from different angles, such as the pros and cons, and the competition. So, all of those skill sets along with my graduate education from MIT [Sloan School of Management] played a part in helping us to hone the message and marketing strategy.

How long has Kool Nerd Clothing been in business?

We started the concept in 2012. Then, in 2013 we did a proof of concept and launched with one graphic t-shirt. We ran that for about 3-4 months and got a good amount of sales during that period of time through either word of mouth or individuals just coming to the site. The site was originally an e-commerce site and I pulled the string on it and said “Ok, we need to pull the team together and really start to flush out the idea of what it is that we’re really trying to do here. What is it that we aim to do with this venture because we didn’t want to be another ‘t-shirt company.’ How could we really motivate and inspire and do the things that we all stand for?” So I would say the last 6 months was really spent flushing out the venture.

ArticleKoolNerd2

 

The mission of Kool Nerd goes beyond just a clothing line. Can you talk about your Kool Nerd passion summer camp?

Our goal is to launch [the summer camp] in 2015. So of course there is the apparel venture side but there’s also the movement in which we are really aiming to create with the apparel. With the Kool Nerd movement we have a 4.0 program where $4 from every apparel sale will go to our STEAM- based program, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Of course we hope to go nationwide, but it’s a New York based program that we’re in talks with right now that works with a school in Mt. Vernon.

You have the support of a few pro-athletes. How did that type of support come about at such an early stage?

A friend of mine was working with the [Seattle Seahawks] community program and was meeting with 25 of the players. She had one of my shirts on and they started to ask questions. She explained what it was about and Greg Scruggs, the defensive lineman on the team, reached out to me and was like “Dude I love what this is about. I’m a cool nerd and I would love to know how I can help you.”  So then I flew out to Seattle and met with a number of them and a few got behind it in the sense of our video campaign that we [launched].

What we’re hoping to do is galvanize public figures who are cool nerds doing great things. We’re also featuring young entrepreneurs behind our brand. Part of the brand is to use individuals we call modern day heroes or cool nerd inspirators, to tell their story of how they found their passion.

Now, 10% of your revenue goes towards STEAM educational programs. Why do you think it’s important to make sure that this next generation is well versed in those fields of study?

These programs that expose children to the beauty of science, the beauty of math, the beauty of technology and things like that will expand them and prepare them for things they never considered. We’re now part of the big brothers program and my little brother didn’t know about these things. That’s why it’s important to me because I had the experience of seeing this child want to be a rapper or a basketball player or a fireman. I always told people the fireman part threw me off until I realized down the street from him was a fire station, so he basically wanted to go after things that he was exposed to.

 

Why did you decide to launch a Kickstarter campaign to support your business?

Kickstarter is a crowd funding platform that allows young companies to get financial support for a project. The added benefit is that for successful campaigns, Kickstarter will promote those campaigns to their 6-million user base, which is amazing marketing for a young company.


How does it feel to have reached your goal within the first week and do you have an ideal deadline for when you want to reach your stretch goals?

I am ecstatic that we reached our Kickstarter goal in such a short time. However, with 2-weeks left to our campaign, we really need the support of a broader audience to reach our stretched goal of $45,000. Reaching our stretched goal of $45,000 will provide Kool Nerd Clothing the capital to develop a full line of products with a broader product offering for the 2015 season.

Click here to find out more on how you can support Kool Nerd Clothing’s Kickstarter campaign.

entrepreneur-hybrid-214x300.jpg

Selling Your Most Valuable Product: You

entrepreneur-hybrid-214x300.jpgRegardless of the profession, everyone must sell himself or herself in some capacity. Think elevator pitch. For entrepreneurs, the ability to sell themselves is the single most important skill, reports WiseBread.com, a community of bloggers helping people live large on a small budget.

In fact, selling yourself no matter what product or service you are offering is what selling is all about. And at no point do entrepreneurs stop selling. Whether it is an investor meeting, small business loan request, or customer acquisition, business owners need to know how to pitch their most valuable product—that is themselves. Also, one of the best ways to find out how to sell a product is to first learn how to sell you.

So, what does it look like to “sell” you like a product? According to WiseBread, here’s how you can influence people to buy into you:

1. Identify Your Value Proposition

Your “value proposition” is a fancy way of describing your selling point. What makes you uniquely valuable? What specifically do you have to offer? What makes you irreplaceable? If you think you don’t have a value proposition, you’re wrong! No one else on Earth has the exact same combination of experiences and talents as you. You might need to spend some time investing in yourself (acquiring education, skills, and experience), but you have something to offer. Identify it and then offer it.

2. Fall in Love With Yourself

The best sales people truly believe in their product. They know it inside and out and can’t stop talking about it. Once you’ve identified your unique selling point, it’s time to fall in love with yourself. It’s time to get excited about who you are and what you have to offer.

3. Don’s Sell Yourself Short

If you don’t believe in yourself, there’s a better than average chance no one else will, either. Don’t limit this idea to the positive thinking routine. You need to exude confidence (not cockiness). By doing so the people around you will get a sense that you have what it takes. Confidence and passion are infectious.

extra-staff-holidays.jpg

Entrepreneurs Love Being the Boss But Face Financial Challenges

extra-staff-holidays.jpgSmall business owners obviously like their choice of career, with 84% indicating that if they had it to do over again, they would still opt to start their own business, according to a recent Wells Fargo/Gallup poll. These attitudes have changed little over the past 11 years, which suggests that the difficulties many small businesses experienced during the Great Recession did not cause owners to regret their decision to start a business, according to the report.

When asked to name the most rewarding thing about starting and running their own business, over four in 10 respondents talked about being their own boss and being the decision-maker. Other responses mentioned by more than 10% of respondents include having a sense of job satisfaction, having family time and schedule flexibility, and interacting with customers.

At the same time, small business owners recognize that it’s a tough job. When asked about their biggest challenges, the majority of responses focus on the nuts and bolts of keeping a business running, such as generating revenue and a customer base, securing cash flow, obtaining credit and funds, and marketing and getting the word out about their business. Other responses that smaller percentages of owners mention include frustration with government regulations, employee issues, and dealing with uncertainty.

Small business owners’ sense of freedom appears to outweigh the challenges of finding and keeping customers and maintaining enough cash flow to keep the business afloat.

Five Biggest Challenges Small Businesses Face Starting Out

  1. Securing accounts/Generating revenue/Customer Base
  2. Cash Flow
  3. Credit Financing/Availability of Funds
  4. Bureaucracy/Licensing Requirements/Government Regulations
  5. Advertising/Marketing/Getting The Word Out
  6. Unknown Factors/Learning Curve

So, how can small business owners increase revenue? First off, what are the company’s various streams of revenue and how can you improve each variable and increase the throughput of deals? If you don’t have more than one then that could be the first problem you should address.

Of course, you can increase the price of your product or service. But that is going to be tricky if you haven’t improved the quality of your product or service. What are things that you can do to optimize your website or enhance your sales pitch to get more business, for instance?

Increasing the number of leads is a way to boost revenue. Make sure that you are using a variety of marketing tactics—trade shows, advertising, SEO, social media and digital marketing, and old fashioned word-of-mouth—to generate leads.

You might even consider working with consultants to assist you. In any case, you need a plan that breaks down revenue generation into specific, quantifiable action items.

For more tips see: How To Boost Your Cash Flow

zuckerberg_2432876b.jpg

Entrepreneurial Myth or Real Talk- Is Entrepreneurship Best When Young?

Entrepreneurship is a young man’s hustle. This is a notion that’s been held by many for years. We’ve all heard the stories about the 20-something year-old tech geniuses who built multi-million dollar corporations from their garages before they turned thirty.

zuckerberg_2432876b.jpg

Sergey Brin and Larry Page were each about 25 when they launched Google. Steve Jobs had just turned 21 and Steve Wozniak was 26 when they created Apple. Bill Gates and Paul Allen were shy of 23 when they created Microsoft. Mark Zuckerberg was 20 when he gave us Facebook. Sam Walton was just 26 when Wal-Mart first appeared on the scene, and Sean Parker was in his 20s when he first launched Napster.

Forbes annually publishes a list of “Youngest Billionaires on the Forbes 400.” Google searches for young billionaires yield a virtual treasure trove of articles like, “30 under 30″ or Youngest Billionaires, 31-40.”

It’s undeniable, there is a plethora of young, financial trailblazers who’ll never again have to worry about slaving away inside a cubicle, getting ordered around an office, getting fired or polishing up a résumé.

Striking out while young has its advantages. Most of the young have nothing to lose, haven’t learned to respect failure, are loaded with energy and enthusiasm and don’t have to worry about mortgages, car payments or children to feed.

According to a recent Forbes article, “Without having been in the workplace, the young entrepreneur has a fresh perspective untainted from the way-it-is-supposed-to-be mindset that is so prevalent in most boardrooms. Consequently, their solutions are new, innovative, and groundbreaking.”

But a closer look at the data suggests creative thinkers and innovators can be found from all backgrounds and all ages.

Entrepreneurial Myth or Real Talk- Is Entrepreneurship Best When Young?A survey conducted last year by the Kaufmann Foundation showed “nominal shifts in age composition of the sample between 2012 and 2013, with slightly fewer entrepreneurs aged 18-29 and 50-59, and slightly more aged 30-39 and 60-plus.”

In fact, entrepreneurs aged between 50-59 started 20% of all new businesses. About 15% were started by people aged 60 and above.

In his book The Illusions of Entrepreneurship, Scott Shane, professor of economics and entrepreneurial studies at Cape Western Reserve University says, “Most studies show that people aged between 25-34 are either less likely or no more likely than people between the ages of 35 and 44 to start a business.”

After extensive research, Shane agrees that the highest rate of self-employment and business ownership is usually among those between the ages of 45 and 64.

There is only one Tech industry and just one silicon valley. It’s expected to have young innovative minds at the helm.

What about business owners that deal in construction, agriculture, medicine, dentistry, jewelry, architecture, psychology, sailing, and all the other industries in the country that haven’t gone completely digital? Someone has to create and run these too and chances are it’s not a 20-something sitting in the driver’s seat.

The advantages of established professional networks and experience also cannot be underestimated. Potential entrepreneurs need some sort of support structure during the early stages and periods of uncertainty when launching a business.

Things like credit scores and personal savings must also be taken into account, areas where the majority of our youth are sorely lacking. Having finances in order can be a deal clincher when trying to secure bank loans to fund a startup.

There is also the military factor. Returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan, usually in their 30s or early 40s constitute a large pool of entrepreneurs and business owners. Consider this quote from an Iraqi War veteran to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Mark Rockefeller writes, “Veterans are natural business owners. Surveys show that military service is one of the strongest predictors of business ownership. Military veterans make up only 6% of the population but nearly 15% of business owners.”

They also provide jobs for more than eight million Americans.

Young millionaire success stories are all over Google, but we rarely ever hear about the ones who struck out and there are millions of failed entrepreneurs and failed business ideas littered across the country.

While young, savvy, budding entrepreneurs can afford to swing for the fences and bring a different creative mindset to the table, without a slam-dunk winning business idea, most angels, venture capitalists, banks and credit unions are more likely to bet on the middle-aged, wiser, more patient and experienced figure standing across from them making the pitch.

In February 2014, during her opening statement at the Special Committee on Aging and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Senator Susan Collins summed it up this way, “The role played by America’s small businesses in creating jobs and opportunities is well-known, but the role played by America’s seniors may come as a surprise: Individuals between the ages of 55-64 make up the largest percentage of new business owners in the US. This has been true for decades, even at the height of the dot com boom.”

twitter.png

Twitter Now Supports GIFs

twitter.pngTwitter now officially supports animated GIFs in addition to pictures, videos, and texts.

The announcement came June 18 from Twitter. “Starting today, you can share and view animated GIFs on http://Twitter.com on Android and iPhone.

It quickly became a trending topic with thousands of tweets and GIFs hitting the Web.

A short text and animated GIFs can go a long way in helping small businesses market their brands. They’re a fun and innovative way for brands to connect with their audiences in the era of social media platforms.

Take a look at how companies including Netflix, Wendy’s, and Nickleodeon wasted no time in jumping in on the action using the new GIFs ability to market their products and brands.

While GIFs have been supported on the service, it required users to go through a third-party platform. With the update, you can bypass that completely and upload GIFs directly from all of your devices.

Brianhonigman.com offers ways to effectively market your small business using GIFs. Some of them include:

1. Help incorporate your brand offerings effectively: Look to create GIFs that sync with your campaigns, as well as your consistent product or service offerings.

2. Work with influencers to help create content and increase reach: Reach out to influencers that are actively creating their own GIFs and appear to have a loyal following. You can collaborate with them to create content for your brand that’s in line with their style and they’ll feel comfortable reblogging to their own audiences.

3. Repurposing your best content: Turning content from past events or commercials into GIFs can give the content a second life for another interested audience.

4. Creating educational content about your brand: Your GIFs should be both fun and educational to ensure there is an added incentive for your audiences to share them with their networks.

5. Curating the content of others: One way of encouraging users to create GIFs about your brand is to hold a contest.

You can also check out examples of how other companies are using the new GIFs functions at Entrepreneur.com.

Twitter Now Supports GIFs

twitter.pngTwitter now officially supports animated GIFs in addition to pictures, videos, and texts.

The announcement came June 18 from Twitter. “Starting today, you can share and view animated GIFs on http://Twitter.com on Android and iPhone.

It quickly became a trending topic with thousands of tweets and GIFs hitting the Web.

A short text and animated GIFs can go a long way in helping small businesses market their brands. They’re a fun and innovative way for brands to connect with their audiences in the era of social media platforms.

Take a look at how companies including Netflix, Wendy’s, and Nickleodeon wasted no time in jumping in on the action using the new GIFs ability to market their products and brands.

While GIFs have been supported on the service, it required users to go through a third-party platform. With the update, you can bypass that completely and upload GIFs directly from all of your devices.

Brianhonigman.com offers ways to effectively market your small business using GIFs. Some of them include:

1. Help incorporate your brand offerings effectively: Look to create GIFs that sync with your campaigns, as well as your consistent product or service offerings.

2. Work with influencers to help create content and increase reach: Reach out to influencers that are actively creating their own GIFs and appear to have a loyal following. You can collaborate with them to create content for your brand that’s in line with their style and they’ll feel comfortable reblogging to their own audiences.

3. Repurposing your best content: Turning content from past events or commercials into GIFs can give the content a second life for another interested audience.

4. Creating educational content about your brand: Your GIFs should be both fun and educational to ensure there is an added incentive for your audiences to share them with their networks.

5. Curating the content of others: One way of encouraging users to create GIFs about your brand is to hold a contest.

You can also check out examples of how other companies are using the new GIFs functions at Entrepreneur.com.

Twitter Now Supports GIFs

twitter.pngTwitter now officially supports animated GIFs in addition to pictures, videos, and texts.

The announcement came June 18 from Twitter. “Starting today, you can share and view animated GIFs on http://Twitter.com on Android and iPhone.

It quickly became a trending topic with thousands of tweets and GIFs hitting the Web.

A short text and animated GIFs can go a long way in helping small businesses market their brands. They’re a fun and innovative way for brands to connect with their audiences in the era of social media platforms.

Take a look at how companies including Netflix, Wendy’s, and Nickleodeon wasted no time in jumping in on the action using the new GIFs ability to market their products and brands.

While GIFs have been supported on the service, it required users to go through a third-party platform. With the update, you can bypass that completely and upload GIFs directly from all of your devices.

Brianhonigman.com offers ways to effectively market your small business using GIFs. Some of them include:

1. Help incorporate your brand offerings effectively: Look to create GIFs that sync with your campaigns, as well as your consistent product or service offerings.

2. Work with influencers to help create content and increase reach: Reach out to influencers that are actively creating their own GIFs and appear to have a loyal following. You can collaborate with them to create content for your brand that’s in line with their style and they’ll feel comfortable reblogging to their own audiences.

3. Repurposing your best content: Turning content from past events or commercials into GIFs can give the content a second life for another interested audience.

4. Creating educational content about your brand: Your GIFs should be both fun and educational to ensure there is an added incentive for your audiences to share them with their networks.

5. Curating the content of others: One way of encouraging users to create GIFs about your brand is to hold a contest.

You can also check out examples of how other companies are using the new GIFs functions at Entrepreneur.com.

PayPal1.jpg

PayPal Launches PassPort Website to Help Small Businesses

PayPal Launches PassPort Website to Help Small BusinessesThe popular online business resource PayPal has  launched its PassPort website in an effort to help small businesses expand their global market sales. Designed to help educate and encourage small businesses to sell their products and services in more international markets, the new PassPort website provides guidance on seasonal sale peaks specific to different countries, as well as information on cultural customs and trends, taxes, and currency exchange and fees.

“PayPal knows small businesses hear all the time that they should sell globally, but no one has given them the tools to seize the opportunity,” a PayPal spokesperson tells BlackEnterprise.com. “We interviewed our customers about their biggest global selling challenges, and the result was our creation of PayPal PassPort. We designed PassPort as a free tool to educate and empower small businesses to explore new international sales opportunities, learn about sales peaks and holidays beyond their borders, understand gift giving traditions country by country, and tap into new or additional commerce cycles and sales trends.”

According to the Small Business Administration, minorities own 15.1% of all U.S. businesses, and 99% of these firms are small businesses. PayPal PassPort will allow minority entrepreneurs to gain a global business perspective that will help them to grow their business to newer heights and help them to compete on a platform that’s bigger than just the U.S. market.

“Just imagine if only a fraction of them decided to grow their business this year by selling internationally – that is a huge opportunity,” adds PayPal spokesperson in regards to a minority owner going global with their products. “PayPal PassPort can provide them the tools and information they need to expand their sales internationally. And although PassPort was designed for small business owners, we understand that every business has unique needs. PassPort therefore also provides real-life case studies and best practices, so businesses can learn firsthand how their peers have succeeded selling globally.”

To learn more about how your business can benefit from PayPal’s latest website go to Paypal.com/passport.

PayPal Launches PassPort Website to Help Small Businesses

PayPal Launches PassPort Website to Help Small BusinessesThe popular online business resource PayPal has  launched its PassPort website in an effort to help small businesses expand their global market sales. Designed to help educate and encourage small businesses to sell their products and services in more international markets, the new PassPort website provides guidance on seasonal sale peaks specific to different countries, as well as information on cultural customs and trends, taxes, and currency exchange and fees.

“PayPal knows small businesses hear all the time that they should sell globally, but no one has given them the tools to seize the opportunity,” a PayPal spokesperson tells BlackEnterprise.com. “We interviewed our customers about their biggest global selling challenges, and the result was our creation of PayPal PassPort. We designed PassPort as a free tool to educate and empower small businesses to explore new international sales opportunities, learn about sales peaks and holidays beyond their borders, understand gift giving traditions country by country, and tap into new or additional commerce cycles and sales trends.”

According to the Small Business Administration, minorities own 15.1% of all U.S. businesses, and 99% of these firms are small businesses. PayPal PassPort will allow minority entrepreneurs to gain a global business perspective that will help them to grow their business to newer heights and help them to compete on a platform that’s bigger than just the U.S. market.

“Just imagine if only a fraction of them decided to grow their business this year by selling internationally – that is a huge opportunity,” adds PayPal spokesperson in regards to a minority owner going global with their products. “PayPal PassPort can provide them the tools and information they need to expand their sales internationally. And although PassPort was designed for small business owners, we understand that every business has unique needs. PassPort therefore also provides real-life case studies and best practices, so businesses can learn firsthand how their peers have succeeded selling globally.”

To learn more about how your business can benefit from PayPal’s latest website go to Paypal.com/passport.

black-enterprise-chase-reed-opens-nyc-sneaker-pawn-shop-300x200.jpg

Teen Entrepreneur Chase Reed Opens Sneaker Pawn Shop

black-enterprise-chase-reed-opens-nyc-sneaker-pawn-shop-300x200.jpgEveryone knows what a pawn shop is. The concept is pretty common around the world. But, for 16-year-old Chase Reed, he has put his own spin on it and applied the idea to high-end and dead-stock sneakers in the form of his first venture, Sneaker Pawn.

With the help of his father, Troy, the brilliance behind Sneaker Pawn came when Chase asked to borrow another $50 from his father to spend on a new release. His pops would hold onto the new kicks as collateral while his son would pay off the monies owned.

Shortly after the idea hit, Chase began to sell off his entire collection, which rounded out at about 200 pairs of shoes to raise the $30,000 he needed to get Sneaker Pawn off the ground. The shop, which is located at Lenox Avenue and West 120th Street in Harlem, is not too far from another small business champion — Harlem Haberdashery.

How Sneaker Pawn works is a customer brings in a pair of prospect shoes and offers a certain amount of money for them. The customer is then loaned the money, to which upon time to repay it, the pawner returns the original amount plus some extra for storing the sneakers at the shop. The kicker comes when if someone else makes another offer on the shoes and ends up selling for more than their original price point. The pawner is therein by entitled to 80 percent of the overall profit while the rest goes back to Sneaker Pawn.

“Young kids don’t have jewelry. They don’t have cars,” said Troy Reed, who built his reputation in making and selling documentaries about Harlem drug lords like Alpo and Rich Porter. “But what they do have is the thousands of dollars worth of sneakers in their house.” The 10th-grade business wunderkind didn’t just fall into this plan of action, he’s a born-and-bred hustler. After finishing his homework, Chase usually stays up late custom-painting sneakers. He’ll typically earn anywhere between $150 to $250 for each custom paint job.

In between Sneaker Pawn and The Frederick Douglass Academy, this brilliant student still finds time to marvel over new sneaker designs online and waits in line for hours to add to his collection. Fortunately, now, Chase and his father, Troy, are also getting love (and kicks) from fellow Hypebeasts who want some quick cash.

SOURCE: New York Post

social_media-300x200.jpg

5 Easy Ways To Inspire New Business Ideas

social_media-300x200.jpg

Businesses use social media to increase visibility and awareness, raise their profile, promote a product or service and engage with their customers. At the same time, customers use social media to express themselves and their opinions about brands and their products and services, and relationships and issues they are currently experiencing in their day-to-day lives. If we pay attention and listen to those issues and opinions, social media can pave the way by inspiring us to find a solution—or the next great business idea.

Here are five social media tactics that aspiring entrepreneurs should employ:

Trending Topics

Trending topics appear on both Facebook and Twitter. These topics represent hashtags and events that are trending on a global scale. Alternatively, these topics can be filtered to show specific events in your local community. Trending topics have come to represent the intersection of news and social media. They are the manifestation of social media chatter, buzz, and general conversation. This is also where complaints surface. Think of trending topics as your own personal focus group for any problem. Whether on a global scale, or in your community, if you listen and pay attention to trending topics, you may just be able to glean enough important information to get you started on a solution—your next great business idea.

Popular Pages

Pinterest and Instagram literally provide us with snapshots of what people are interested in and excited about. These pages also house images of things that appear ‘too good to be true.’ Exploring popular pages and topics of interest will provide valuable insight and research to inspire great ideas for reaching potential consumers. Entrepreneurs can then reflect on what they think consumers would buy. What can I create to help better their lives? What would they be interested in?

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are a great source for discovering trends, new products and services.  Businesses and startups look to these platforms for funding opportunities from venture capitalists, angel investors and the general public. By determining which businesses received funding and what the general public is interested in, individuals are able to gain insight into what consumers are looking for, what interests them and what they are willing to pay for.  What’s a better source of innovation than a platform that relies on the public to determine the success of an idea?

TV Shows and the Second Screen

Now that we’re fully immersed in the digital age, the rise of the second screen is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, television shows like Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den are taking the second screen into account when writing scripts and taping. When shows such as Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den air, entrepreneurs should tune in to Twitter or Facebook and read the feedback. Are these new business pitches going to succeed? Would people actually use the product being pitched? If not, what would make it more appealing? Can I improve any of these business ideas? Learning what works and what doesn’t work can help spark the next great idea. And, you have the opportunity to listen to and view and investor’s feedback right then and there!

Trending Pages

We’ve already discussed trending topics, so think of this section as referencing a whole page of trending topics. StumbleUpon and Flipboard have a plethora of trending topics from all industries that have been categorized into trending pages for you—all you need to do is look. Scour these pages for topics that are popular and then read the comments – what are people saying? If there is an issue, is this something you have the answer to?

All in all there is no shortage of inspiration for new business ideas floating around on the interweb. Social media is a medium where people willingly flock to share their ideas, comment on others and voice their opinions—negative or positive. If you just take a few hours a week to scour, pinpoint and consider solving problems or making a process easier somehow, you may just be well on your way to creating the next great product or service.

Gabie Boko is the executive vice president of marketing at Sage North America. She has built an 18-year career in marketing, sales, and channel development with leading technology innovators. For a large part of her career she helped growth companies preparing for acquisition or public offering.

google1a.png

“Google My Business” Launches For Small Biz Owners

google1a.png

Google has launched a new marketing tool they believe will help small businesses connect easier with their customers.

The “Google My Business” service launched Wednesday and offers Google’s various tools — Search, Maps, Google +, Insights, Hangouts — in one platform. It helps small business owners stay on top of reviews from across the Web, share news and events and respond to Google reviews. You can also understand how people find and interact with your business using custom insights and integration with AdWords Express. It also allows users to upload photos of their business and provide a virtual tour that showcases what makes their business unique.

Google says “The idea is to let small businesses manage their online presence in a single, consolidated way.”

Firms can customize their own dashboards with photos and videos about their businesses. They can also communicate with their customers in a more targeted way by responding to reviews and connecting through Google Hangouts and Google+.

The service is free and rolls out to Google’s 2.2 million advertisers, the majority of whom are small businesses. Google is also expected to launch a My Business app for Android and IOS devices.

According to thenextweb.com, the Android app will be launching Thursday; but you can grab it now from google play.

According to Google, just over half of U.S. small businesses with less than 200 employees have a website.

Google reportedly used this insight and feedback from its small business users to develop My Business.

kickstarter-300x52.png

Six Crowdfunding Sites Crucial For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Now that crowdfunding has gone mainstream it could become the source of funding to define the decade. Crowdfunding could further blow the playing field wide open if equity crowdfunding gets the green light from the SEC.

At the moment, only accredited investors are allowed to invest in young companies. The Securities and Exchange Commission is working to establish rules that would allow anybody to invest in startups via online platforms.

If Equity Crowdfunding does become reality, it will open up another gateway for young or fledgling companies to raise capital and funding by allowing non-accredited investors—people who make less than $200,000 and are worth than less $1 million—to make investments in these startups.

In fact, a wave of small business and startup financing is expected to sweep the nation. The Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership at the UC Berkeley College of Engineering, recently concluded its study on the evolving crowdfunding market. Sources there say, “We have presented a set of data, assumptions, and estimations that may prove useful. From the lenses of Angels, VCs and Small Business lending we believe a market as large as $3.98B per year could rapidly evolve.”

It’s important though to remember that raising money this way is no picnic. If you haven’t raised about 30% of your money in the first two to three days, the odds are pretty good you won’t be successful.

But with a potential cash pool of nearly $4 billion up for grabs, choosing the right site is critical for success. And with about 1000 sites to pick from it’s about to get a lot more brutal out there.

Here are six Crowdfunding sites you’re better off knowing if you want to fund your new business.

 

Kickstarter kickstarter-300x52.png

The most popular of all the crowdfunding sites. It’s been around for some time and still hasn’t lost its luster. Fundraisers still take it seriously.

According to CNBC, “In the five years since its been around, crowdfunders raised more than $1.1 billion for 61,230 projects as of May 8—with 63 securing $1 million or more.”

The site lets entrepreneurs use rewards-based crowdfunding, where supporters of a project pledge money in exchange for a small gift. It opted out of letting crowdfunders sell equity to accredited investors, which an SEC decision enabled last fall.

 

Indiegogo Six Crowdfunding Sites Crucial For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Launched in 2008, and based in San Francisco and New York City, Indiegogo is now a major player in the realm of rewards-based crowdfunding.

The company does not disclose the total amount raised on the site, but a spokesperson says they distribute “millions of dollars a week in 224 countries.”

Indiegogo typically funds projects ranging from films to businesses. It’s also extremely popular with women entrepreneurs. The site reports that female crowdfunders have had particular success on the site, with 47% of its fully-funded campaigns run by women.

Fundraisers pay between 4% and 9% of the money they raise to the site depending on whether they hit their goal. Those who fall short keep the money but pay 9%.

 

Rockethub Six Crowdfunding Sites Crucial For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

This New York-based crowdfunding site has been around for a while, but after securing a deal with A&E TV last year, management is taking its business to a higher level.

More than 30,000 projects have raised money on the site.

Rockethub doesn’t disclose the amount raised, but the partnership with A&E has reportedly resulted in nearly $1 million in funding for entrepreneurs so far. It charges a 4% commission for projects that reach their fundraising goal, and 8% for those that don’t.

 

Crowdtilt Six Crowdfunding Sites Crucial For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

This two-year-old site has positioned itself as the “fastest and easiest way to pool funds with friends.”

It differs from Kickstarter and Indiegogo in that users can use the site to pool money for everyday events and projects, like collecting contributions from each person going to a group picnic.

The company keeps 2.5% of transactions and charge a 2.5% processing fee for each contribution.

When the Don Sterling fiasco heated up after he made racist comments about blacks, fans started a campaign on the site to raise $600 million to buy the Los Angeles Clippers and turn the basketball team into a nonprofit.

 

AngelList Six Crowdfunding Sites Crucial For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

The place where “Startups meet investors. Where Startups meet talent.”

This site has a pretty solid reputation for equity fundraising. It also has tons of experience in venture capital and finance.

Last month, they reportedly raised more than $19 million for startups. With Equity Crowdfunding looking increasingly likely, AngelList has launched Accreditation Reports to accredit any investor, at no charge.

CNBC also reports the site raised $24 million in Series B funding last fall from backers such as Google Ventures.

 

RallyMe Six Crowdfunding Sites Crucial For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

If you’re an athlete with a dream or great idea that needs funding, this is where you want to be.

It’s been described as “The premier sports crowdfunding platform focused on helping athletes, teams and sports-based organizations raise money online.”

The U.S Ski and Snowboard Association announced a multi-year alliance with the online fundraising platform last year. The site was founded by serial entrepreneur Bill Kerig. You can also check out other crowdfunding sites by clicking here.

smartphones-image.png

Small Business Owners: Stop Sleeping On Mobile App Advertising

smartphones-image.pngIn the world of advertising, the decks are stacked against the little guy. But there is a window of opportunity to beat the David and Goliath mentality that a majority of small business owners are not capitalizing on. Mobile Advertising.

Mike Brooks, president and CEO of Nuclear Chowder Marketing tells BlackEnterprise.com, “Mobile advertising demands the advertiser be flexible, fragmented and fast. Where TV is a set it and forget it predictable advertising method for big brands like AT&T, mobile demands a much more labor-intensive approach”

It’s no secret that mobile should soon pass TV as screen of choice – you’ve got to put your money where your eyes are. People sleep with their phones, the time is now. Take a look at some of these numbers from business2community.com.

Seventy-two percent of smartphone owners use their devices while consuming other media. Ninety-three percent of smartphone owners use their phones at home. Eighty-one percent browse the internet. Sixty-eight percent use apps and 48% watch videos on their phones.

Here’s why mobile apps the best solution for small biz advertising:

Cost.

For big brands and big corps, it can cost hundreds of thousands to build an effective mobile app. That’s expensive even for big businesses and a pipe dream for small biz owners. But here’s why it’s great news for a small biz owner. It’s cheaper for you. Big corporations always have to spend more money to accomplish similar things.

Brooks cites Starbucks as an example,”You download their app and upload your credit card number. Inside Starbucks you open the app, hold up a bar-code they scan your phone and you pay for your coffee without having to reach for your wallet.”

He says, “It costs more money for Starbucks to create this app because they’ve got a sophisticated order system in their facility tied into their purchasing system. The level of expectation is higher than a regular mom and pop cafe. A small business can spend just a thousand dollars to create their app because they don’t need to crack into their payment system, they don’t need the same functionality as a Starbucks”.

Flexibility

Brooks says, “Big businesses tend to move slower with technology. On the internet, search engine optimization was a huge boon for small business that big business wasn’t taking advantage of at the time. So was Facebook for small businesses that jumped into it early. Small businesses always have opportunities that crop up throughout modern history with technology. Big corps just don’t have their type of flexibility.”

RELATED: A To Z: What You Must Have and Know To Get A Small Business Loan

smartphone_300x232.jpg

Top Seven Apps For Busy Moms & Dads To Help Run Their Small Business

smartphone_300x232.jpgRunning a small business today can be a herculean task for moms and moms-to-be trying to juggle raising their kids while running their business. Try as they might, today’s “Superwomen” still cannot be in two places at the same time. And with all the expenses that come with child care and other health related expenses, some moms simply can’t afford to hire extra hands.

You built your business up from scratch, maybe it’s time to let your smartphone and tablet do some of the heavy lifting.

Blackenterprise.com talked with a few techies to see if there were some apps out there that can help you run your small business and hopefully save you from going insane.

As always, these apps all depend on the kind of business you have — but we’ve tried to make them pretty generic.

IQTell

This is not just another task list, but a complete solution for your entire workflow. Both the mobile and web apps are optimized for GTD® (Get things done) but allow complete flexibility to customize for any productivity method. It banishes the need to hop between multiple apps and web pages. You can link and manage all your accounts – email, calendars and notes.

Evernote

A lot of people swear by this one. PCMAG reviews it as, “The program that saves all your thoughts, notes, recipes, photos—whatever you upload—in the cloud so that you can get to them from your computer, smartphone, tablet, or really anywhere you have an Internet connection and a browser with Evernote’s Web app.” Additionally, “It also has effortless solution to note-taking and -syncing. Some of the best search outside Google. Adjustable user interface. Simple and well-balanced design.”

Square Register

This one allows virtually anyone to accept credit card payments using their personal mobile device. That’s huge for businesses and individuals alike. You’re not really in the game if your small business doesn’t take credit cards. With Square you receive a credit card reader dongle free in the mail. Just plug the dongle into the headphone jack on your iPhone, and swipe a credit card to start processing payments on the go.

Dropbox

Dropbox has its critics, but it also means never leaving an important document or file behind. You have access to files and documents anywhere and any time. It takes just a few seconds to install the app. Your files also stay synced across all your devices.

Skype

The gold-standard of video chats. The videoconferencing platform is a gem for small business owners. It lets you make video calls using the front-facing camera on your handset. You can connect with users on nearly any device. If you’re away from the office, it can let you “virtually drop into a staff meeting.”

iXpenseIt

Your personal cash flow guru. This one lets you take control of your money. It simplifies daily expense tracking and monthly budgeting. You can also store photo receipts and customize your personal and business expenses with easy to understand reports. Includes a visual indicator to show at a quick glance how much money is left in the budget.

Mint

One of the most popular for personal finance tracking. Indispensable for busy moms. Syncs with most financial institutions. Organizes your business and personal spending into categories— like rent, gas, clothes, lattes—and shows you where your
money goes in easy-to-understand charts. Allows you to manage credit cards, bank accounts, investments, personal income, monthly budgets, and any other assets or expenditures in real time.

Bonus: Pocket Informant

Combines your Calendar, Tasks and Notes in one functional tool. Includes printing, AirDrop sharing, 64-bit support, event conflict checking, and natural language input for creating new tasks with Quick Entry.

In the meantime, don’t forget your stalwarts. Facebook Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus Apps.

small-business-RFA-site.jpg

5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail

small-business-RFA-site.jpg

For every founder that manages to bootstrap a startup, eight out of 10 will fail within the first 18 months, according to Bloomberg. A whopping 80% will crash and burn. About half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more, reports the Small Business Administration. The probability of survival increases with a firm’s age. Survival rates have changed little over time.

According to Infusionsoft, 83% of the 28 million small businesses in the United States are solo entrepreneurs who do less than $100,000 in annual revenue, while 6.1% generate between $100,000 and $300,000 in annual revenue, and another 6.8% make between $300,000 and $1,000,000 in annual revenue.

Here are 5 main reasons why businesses fail:

 

1. Not understanding what business they’re in. Think Blockbuster which thought it was in the entertainment distribution business, but it was really all about retail customer experience. Not acknowledging that fact made it easier for Netflix to swoop in and dominate the home video rental market. Failure to embrace new technologies and new developments is also the downfall of companies. In a fast changing world, leading businesses are those that make best use of advanced modern technologies in an appropriate way.

 

2. Running out cash. Having insufficient funds is a major downfall of many companies, which can be due to a number of reasons from not budgeting properly to failing to plan how long it takes to raise rounds of funding. Business is cyclical and bad things can happen over time such as the loss of an important customer or critical employee, the arrival of a new competitor, or the filing of a lawsuit. These things can all stress the finances of a company. If a company is strapped and doesn’t have a cash reserve, it’s not likely to recover.

 

3. Poor management team. Angel investors and venture capitalists often say that they invest in a company’s management team. Weak and inexperienced management is one of the major causes of business failure. Add to that equation in-fighting partners and unhappy employees. Good management requires focus, vision, planning, and standards.

 

4. Failure to solve a problem. While the saying goes “there’s nothing out there hasn’t already been invented,” your product or service should help solve a problem or offer a better solution than what’s already out there in the marketplace.Also, oftentimes someone will come up with a great business concept but not a complete product that consumers will actually buy and use. Other businesses fall apart when the initial business model fails.

 

5. Grow too quickly. Some business owners will confuse their company’s success with how quickly they can expand their business. This leading cause for bankruptcy can be avoided if business owners concentrate more on slow and steady growth. Once a solid customer base is established and steady profitability exists, then the business can seek to work on development and expansions plans.

WorkingFromHome.jpg

5 Home-Based Business Ideas

WorkingFromHome.jpgIt doesn’t matter if you’re hoping to kick-start a full-time business out of your home or you are simply looking to bring in some extra income with a side hustle. Starting a home-based business is a great way to do this. In fact, 52% of U.S. companies operate as home businesses, according the U.S. Small Business Administration.

What types of businesses can grow and thrive in the home environment? Here are just a few home based business ideas from the SBA that you can consider:

Become a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants (VAs) provide a wide variety of “virtual” services to other businesses including administrative, marketing and technical support from a home office. My local window cleaner, for example, uses a VA to answer his calls and manage his calendar while he’s busy on site. VAs are growing in popularity, too, as firms look to cut costs and outsource administrative functions. If you are organized and have an administrative background, this might be for you. Start with your own connections or take advantage of the services of a VA organization or association who can help you get started and connect you with clients.

 

Start a Creative Business

Whether it’s making gift baskets or offering interior design consultation services, if you have a creative streak and the room to store and create, then why not consider making money out of your talents? Get to know the market and do some planning to identify an untapped niche. SBA has several tools that can help including the Build your Business Plan tool and SizeUp a market and business analysis tool that lets you benchmark your business against competitors, map your customers, competitors and suppliers, and locate the best places to advertise.

 

Start a Home-Based Bakery or Food Business

Food production from a home is a heavily regulated but viable business for bakers and culinary lovers. Before you start a home-based food business you will need to understand the rules and regulations that govern the production of food for public consumption in an at-home environment. Check out your state’s requirements for commercial kitchen space and fees for business licenses and food handler’s certifications. If you do need a separate commercial kitchen, check with your church, local community centers, and restaurants about letting you to rent space hourly or daily.

Child Day Care

Home childcare businesses offer a potentially lucrative and long-lasting business opportunity. A home environment is often appealing to parents and once their kids are settled (and assuming you are doing a great job), then it’s likely you’ll have that business until they are old enough not to need care. Of course, this is another regulated business and you’ll need to ensure you comply with state and local regulations that govern issues such as the provision of meals, minimum space requirements per child, and the number of licensed care workers per child.

 

Start an Online Marketplace

If you have clutter that you want to get rid of and like the idea of selling products to an established worldwide network of consumers, consider starting a business on eBay, Etsy or Amazon. You can source products to sell from charity shops. If you want to get a bit more sophisticated, then consider buying wholesale or adopting a drop-shipping model. The goal is to find products that are in high-demand and not readily available from other sources. On your next shopping trip, check out which items retailers are promoting. Browse various e-commerce sites to see which products they’re featuring and have the most positive customer reviews.

black_man_public_speaking-300x300.jpg

Elevator Pitch Contest: Success Tips from a Winning Entrepreneur

black_man_public_speaking-300x300.jpg

Crafting and executing the right sales pitch can be a nerve-racking experience.

It takes a special kind of courage and determination to get up there in front of a team of judges who potentially hold the fate of your business or startup in their hands and make the speech of your business career. Walking up there and winging it simply won’t cut it.

Naturalicious founder, Gwen Jimmere faced a similar predicament last month at the 2014 Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch contest. She beat out nine other contestants in what has been called the “strongest class of Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch finalists in recent memory” to win the $10,000 grand prize and six one-on-one mentoring sessions with Alfred Edmond Jr., Senior Vice President/Chief Content Officer at Black Enterprise.

Here are her five tips for a winning pitch:

1. Be Confident: Attitude is everything; and it’s as much of what you say as how you say it. So it’s key for your tone and actions to match what you’re saying. If you’re not confident about your business, how can someone else be confident enough to invest their money in it?

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Advice: My pitch was already pretty good, but it was made even better by the many people who I asked to critique me at the conference. It was made perfect after I got some great advice from Lauren M. Bias, who I met at the conference and happens to co-own a capital venture firm. She gets pitches all the time, so her guidance was spot on. (Coincidentally, I also learned that she received a sample of my Moisture Infusion Styling Creme at the Inaugural Ball, and uses it on her son’s hair everyday.) Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

3. Think Like a Shark: Try to anticipate every tough question the potential investor will have, and put it in your pitch before they have to ask it. This displays that you’re prepared and that you have a plan in place for your business. My strategy was to be upfront about everything they might ask, so that when it came time to ask questions, I wouldn’t be thrown off by something I hadn’t considered. If you’ve got limited time like we did in the Elevator Pitch Competition, narrow it down to the four most pressing questions that you’d want to know if you were investing your own money.

4. Have a Heart: The late, great Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” As entrepreneurs, we are always checking the bottom line, but at the end of the day, we’re all human. Don’t be shy about telling your story, especially if it’s the reason why your business exists. My business exists to empower women to love their God-given natural beauty; and I added that in my pitch. Why you do what you do is just as important as the nuts and bolts of how you’ve done it.

5. Be the Brand: Branding is an ongoing practice and you should exemplify what your brand stands for at all times, even during a pitch. From how you dress, to how you act, to what you say, you should always come across as an authentic representation of your business. A rule of thumb is that people do business with people they like and trust. If you appear to be fake or secretive during the pitch, there’s a very good chance you won’t be securing that investment.

small-businesses-social-media-success.jpg

You Need A Social Media Manager On Your Team

small-businesses-social-media-success.jpgThere are two job titles floating around the business world: social media manager and community manager. While they bear similarities, a community manager is the public face of brands, interacting with a community and generating buzz for their companies. A social media manager is a strategist and communicator, with the ability to measure and analyze effectiveness. Large companies will have both an SM and CM, while startups and small businesses are lucky to be able to fulfill even one of those positions.

Many small business owners have adopted a “do-it-myself” mentality when it comes to social media. This just leads to greater burn out. The reality is that you need someone on your team –be it a social media manager, a community manager, or a combination of the two–who represents your company on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc., and who is responsible for responding to comments/questions.

Below are just a few reasons why your business needs team member handling social media:

Act As Voice of the Brand. You want to have someone who is charged with managing your brand’s social media accounts in order to generate traffic and conversations. They’re the voice of the brand and act as the brand, not as their own persona. Also, this is the person who would work to create or add to the community, by generating leads and sales.

Create and Manage Accounts. This includes developing and posting content, such as Facebook updates, Twitter messages, and Instagram photos. Also, this is about following and interacting with other social media accounts, especially “influencers” and “thought leaders” in your field.

Share Video Content. If you have YouTube, a social media manager would post videos, respond to comments, and interact with other YouTube accounts, including commenting on their content and adding their videos to your company account’s playlists.

Increase SEO. In the social media training process, a strong manager will understand what it takes to boost SEO and improve your search rank. They will be able to create unique content and be able to navigate through search engines and other social media platforms that will help your company’s productivity.

Build Campaigns. This person also should be able todevelop campaigns and strategies from the ground up and to see through the company’s social media endeavors. He or she should have the proper social media training to monitor campaigns in order to see what is working or what is not working and strive to improve the company’s online presence.

Focus On Automation. You want someone on board withsocial media training who is well-versed in different management tools and strategies (apps and content automation tools) to maintain a strong online presence for your company.

Monitor Trends. You also want someone who can stay ahead of the game by focusing on social media trends and researching best practices. This person should be able to implement new techniques for boosting your company’s online reputation and progress.

Manage Company Reputation. In the social media world, this means monitoring location listings like Google+ Local as well as tracking and responding to mentions of your company’s name and relevant keywords and reviews on sites like Yelp and Foursquare that get pushed to Twitter. A social media manger would respond to reviews as needed.

website2.jpg

7 Ways To Get Traffic To Your Website

website2.jpgRegardless if you have a storefront or not, your website is going to be your primary means of drawing business to you. You can’t make sales without customers and getting more traffic to your website is vital to your business being successful. Here are seven proven ways from TopTenSocialMedia.com that work for businesses of all types, shapes and sizes.

1. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a blanket term used to describe the act of making your website seem active and appealing to the search engine spiders (an Internet bot that systematically browses the Web for the purpose of indexing for search engines like Google, Ask Jeeves, MSN, and Yahoo!). This may include social media, press releases, guest posting and some media outreach. As search engines become more advanced, SEO is becoming more about quality than quantity. However, the more content you have the more traffic you will have on your website.

2. Press Releases. The general public rarely reads them but members of the press do so daily. If you can catch the interest of a reporter or popular blogger, you may be able to land a link in their publication, which can drive traffic back to your website.

3. Guest Posting. Gone are the days when you could post low-quality articles on any old website and benefit. These days, it’s important to get visibility on a website that people actually want to frequent. Write articles or columns for posting on other websites. The benefit is twofold. You’ll walk away with a high-quality link, and you’ll get your company mentioned in front of a (hopefully) relevant audience.

4. Product Registrations. If you sell a product, consider suggesting online registration. Not only are you likely to get more email addresses this way, but you can also get more eyes on your website. The registration page is a good place to market a complementary product or service too. Just be sure that there’s some incentive for people to go through the trouble of registering. Maybe they’ll get a coupon. Decide what makes the most sense for your business and run with it.

5. Contests. This is a great way to gain brand exposure for one simple reason: people like free stuff and it is a sure way to get people to your website! These days, many contests are run through social sites like Facebook or Instagram, but that doesn’t mean you can’t link back to your own site. You may even require that people visit the site to register (or do something else) as part of their entry. Of course, this will depend on your local laws. Check with your state and country legislature if you have any questions or concerns.

6. Media Outreach. Sometimes, writing a stellar press release is enough to garner major media attention. And sometimes, even the best press releases get buried in a sea of online clutter. That’s why it helps to reach out to members of the media personally to share your story or offer your expertise. This can be a tricky one, though. Remember that reporters get hundreds of requests daily, so don’t take rejection personally.

7. Email Marketing. If you have a list of current customers’ email addresses, you should be using them. Keep your email marketing campaign relevant and useful to your customers. Make their happiness priority and your sales message secondary. It may seem counter intuitive, but it’s a good way to build trust. No one likes the brand that does nothing but sing its own praises and ask for sales. Email marketing will help get more traffic to your website.