Guiding Brand Growth With An Executive Level Customer Advisory Board with Betsy Westhafer

Betsy Westhafer2021-02-22T16:39:22+00:00August 17th, 2018|Brand It, Podcasts|

In order to have sustained and continued innovation, have brand development, and growing your brand to be bigger, you’ve got to be aligned with what your customers think and what they want, and you've got to provide that continued service. If you can't have that conversation with them and you don't have a system for having that conversation, then you're really not on a path for the right type of big brand growth that you're looking for. Betsy Westhafer, entrepreneur and bestselling author of ProphetAbility, developed a system called Executive Level Customer Advisory Boards that help entrepreneurs get out in front of their customers by listening to them so that when their customers get there, they're already there and they're ready. It is also an opportunity to network with their peers and to interact with the leadership team of their key suppliers or partners. Watch the Episode Here: Listen to [...]

Brand Funding And Licensing Timing Issues with David Lieberstein

david lieberstein2021-02-22T16:40:08+00:00August 16th, 2018|Brand It, Licensing, Office Hours, Podcasts|

As inventors, when we have great ideas, we like to find the perfect manufacturer to license our product and sit back and make tons of money. Dream product guru David Lieberstein is an expert in brand licensing and got to experience the pros, the cons, and the pitfalls of all that's entailed in doing so. David had his own companies for a number of years in the houseware and gift industry. The last company he had for 25 years was called Wine Things Unlimited where he worked with the artists for designs but also did a lot of licensing for the designs to put on their three-dimensional sculptures. Five years ago, he became a consultant to work with inventors to help them launch their own companies and take the next steps to find the right manufacturer to license their products. David talks about what to focus in on and what [...]

Amazon Wants to Buy Your Product Directly – Is That a Good Thing?

Brenda Crimi2021-02-22T17:18:36+00:00July 23rd, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

If you are already an Amazon seller, or maybe an entrepreneur looking for opportunities to grow your brand who is considering to sell your products on the world's leading e-Commerce platform, you might have heard of the terms "seller central," and "vendor central." Being on the seller central side in Amazon means you own the product and have complete control of the sales process of your products, from listing to marketing and promotions-- while being on the vendor central side means Amazon has bought your product. While it seems like a very handsome prospect, being a vendor central brand means there will be some restrictions with regard to your products' sales cycle process flow. Brenda Crimi discusses the pros and cons of being a seller central brand versus being a vendor central brand on Amazon, so you can make an informed decision on how to manage your sales on the [...]

Is Product Patent Protection Worth It?

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T17:40:32+00:00July 12th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Two of our legal experts on Office Hours, Attorneys Jason Webb and Rich Goldstein, have both emphasized the need to do a thorough assessment of one's overall business strategy before considering filing for a patent because it can both be a daunting and costly process. With over 38 patents (pushing 40) under our belt as product designers, Tom and I have pretty much mastered how to make a business case for patenting products under development in our business. We have learned that patents should be filed only when you are truly sure of selling or commercializing your idea or product, especially if you are a small business owner, product innovator or inventor up against bigger brands with deeper pockets. Grow your business by learning how to maximize intellectual property, and knowing how to make the crucial business decision of whether you should patent your invention. Watch the Episode Here: Listen [...]

Amazon First Steps

Jenna Lieber and Jeff Lieber2021-02-22T18:01:45+00:00July 9th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Certified Amazon experts Jeff and Jenna of Turnkey Product Management teaches you how to market on Amazon faster with the definitive building blocks of a high-converting online store on the world's biggest e-commerce platform. They apply these basic principles in their own Amazon production management company, where they help clients from a range of different industries with widely diverse product categories sell over $1,000,000 in total a month. Jeff and Jen give you the lowdown on why selling on Amazon is worth the time and effort, and reveal concrete fundamental solutions on how you can extend your reach by maximizing the e-commerce platform's many useful features to prime potential clients with spending power to buy from your very own Amazon store. Watch the Episode Here: Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/06/2018/a4d574efbb34cc88ac1fbd8368ac460b.mp3" title="Amazon First Steps" image="https://productlaunchhazzards.com/wp-content/uploads/Banner-for-Speaking-Empire-Webinar.png" ] --- I’m Jenna Lieber from TurnKey. I'm Jeff Lieber from TurnKey Product Management. [...]

How to Create a Me Only Product with a Killer Unique Selling Proposition

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:04:23+00:00June 22nd, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

We often talk about how having a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for any brand is vital for product launch success. In the product design world, we also call a unique or original product as "Me Only Product." When we say "Me Only," it means that it is something that only you are manufacturing, that you are the only one selling it in the market, that you are the only game in town. It is easy to throw unique features, and all sorts of bells and whistles onto a product at the marketing stage and say that it's the only one in the market-- but being in the real "me only territory" means that you cater to your target market's needs, that they are able to make an emotional connection with your brand or product-- and doing it right entails a great deal of product development planning, which will definitely cost [...]

Meet Branding and Video Marketing Expert Rick Cesari

Rick Cesari2021-02-22T18:05:38+00:00June 21st, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

After graduating with a degree in biology, our branding and video marketing expert Rick Cesari, founder of Direct Branding got involved into real estate marketing, and discovered that he had a knack for it-- from then on, he continued treading the marketing path and branching out to other industries, approaching things with a direct response mentality. His passion for marketing and branding lead him to set up his own company back in 1989, where he became part of the team that made juicing popular to consumers, and in bringing other health products into mass retail. Since then he has contributed his expertise to help develop and market billion dollar brand names like the Sonicare, George Foreman Grill, Oxiclean, and many other consumer products, including, more recently, the GoPro. Get monthly access to Rick's in-depth industry know-how so you can create and implement a solid business strategy that highlights your brand's [...]

What Comes First, Brand or Product?

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:10:33+00:00June 19th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

So you have a product that you think will sell on Amazon, or through Walmart's or Target's shelves. Maybe you are still playing around with the idea, or you might be in the early stages of product design and development and you want to take a step back by asking which comes first before launching your product: is it branding, or perfecting your product? Many innovators, inventors, and non-business savvy people get completely shocked when we say that branding must come first. The truth is that many of the things involved in product development and the design process are expensive and time consuming. Discover why knowing your brand the first step in determining the best product design as well as in identifying the perfect retail price, and in knowing how to channel your marketing efforts in the most effective way possible. Watch the Episode Here: Listen to the podcast here: [...]

Meet Design for Manufacturing Expert Dennis Shaver

Dennis Shaver2021-02-22T18:10:29+00:00June 18th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Our resident design for manufacturing (DFM) expert Dennis Shaver from Product on Demand serves you "inventreneurs" his invaluable industry knowledge and insight to help you get from mind to market to profit faster. Born and raised in a dairy farm in Michigan, Dennis has the unique experience and skill set honed by years of working side by side with his brothers and parents for the farm's upkeep-- during those formative years, he learned how to be resourceful when it came to repairing and inventing things as he dealt with both livestock and machinery. This has become a solid foundation for Dennis as he took on more advanced jobs throughout his flourishing career in manufacturing and production. He is eager to share with you how to increase efficiency and reach your business bottom line with solid planning, as well as proper communication across all units involved in manufacturing your product. --- [...]

Pricing By Design: Formulas for How to Profitably Price Your Products

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:12:30+00:00June 18th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Many of you probably think that product pricing is purely science, because it involves a lot of math, data, and pieces of information consolidated and analyzed to get optimal results. We are seasoned product designers and entrepreneurs here, yet pricing products is an ongoing struggle because it does not wholly rely on scientific data and mathematical formulas-- identifying the perfect product price also relies heavily on human psychology, on ever-changing cultural, sociological, economic and political climates, and ultimately rides on how much you understand your target market's behavior and what drives them. It requires making a thought-out plan with clear revenue goals based on your specific business model, on your product, and on proper timing, among other things to create a realistic profitable pricing strategy that will up your revenue. You can always schedule a call with us, or with one of our experts like Tim Bush so we can [...]

Avoid These Top 7 Market Research Mistakes

Laura Hazzard2021-02-22T18:12:28+00:00June 17th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Our resident consumer market research expert Laura Hazzard warns product launchers about the top 7 consumer market research mistakes that can cause a lot of damage and possibly torpedo your overall business and marketing strategy. She packed in a lot of meaty information in a span of seven minutes, solidifying her excellent points on quantitative and qualitative market research fails and how to avoid them. Laura says that good market and product research sets the path forward to great product development, usability, distribution, advertising and marketing, building your brand, and ultimately selling more products for bigger profit. You can get a deeper dive into her market research expertise and use it to grow your business through our membership podcast, where she will happily answer all your market research concerns. Watch the Episode Here: Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/09/2018/ef8e3a2460d11204015308bab2ed881b.mp3" title="Avoid These Top 7 Market Research Mistakes" image="https://productlaunchhazzards.com/wp-content/uploads/Banner-for-Speaking-Empire-Webinar.png" ] --- [...]

Know the Difference Between Styling, Branding, and Design

Tracy Hazzard and Tom Hazzard2021-02-22T18:13:38+00:00June 16th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Styling is just one small component of design. Think of celebrity stylists who dress celebrities for red carpet events-- they shop for their clients, putting together accessories, clothes, and other components to make a whole look. Product styling is not so different, in that it merely deals with combining colors and materials that work well together. There is no design or invention involved, as it does not deal entirely with features that are focused on the users' primary needs, unlike in product designing. At its core, styling is about achieving a certain look to convey brand image-- that is why it is problematic if you only have a stylist designing a product that you are making. The best product designers understand the limits of manufacturing, as well as how to get the most out of design techniques to get the perfect balance between form and function, as well as aesthetic. [...]

Meet Joseph Tarnowski, Expert in Connecting Brands to Retail Buyers

Joseph Tarnowski2021-02-22T18:14:51+00:00June 15th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Office Hours Expert Joseph Tarnowski has multiple industry experience when it comes to watching companies do what goes right and what goes wrong in terms of retail and marketing. With a degree in Trade Media Journalism, he has had extensive experience working in the food industry, general merchandise, health & beauty, and pharmaceutical industry. He is with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM), a company that helps connect retail buyers to prospective retail suppliers such as you product launchers. We have known Joe through ECRM, where we used their time-saving and cost-efficient service as buyers in the contract furniture industry. Know the basics of getting a great match between buyers and suppliers in retail by touching base with Joe, who will share his no-nonsense know-how on connecting brands to retail buyers. --- Watch the Episode Here:  Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/09/2018/56efce90ff5f90d865b324c419ca5529.mp3" title="Meet Joseph Tarnowski, Expert in Connecting Brands [...]

Secrets To Working With Your Spouse

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:18:31+00:00June 12th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

People think it's kind of odd that we're a husband and wife design team, but our dynamic works perfectly for us. We started working together back in college. Our complimentary set of skills overlap at the right touch points, especially when it comes to our overall mutual user-focused design principles. Unlike in corporate settings where people have qualms in speaking out for fear of untoward judgment, we are both capable of having an open, honest debate when it comes to our job as product designers. Most importantly, we have a high level of trust and respect for each other. It is not without its challenges though-- there are lots of other husband and wife teams running a business together and we're not much different, we just happen to be designers doing it. It's because we work together 24/7 that we are good at what we do-- we never stop designing [...]

Do It Right: Early Stage Funding for Your Business

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:26:29+00:00June 8th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

We first raised money for an invention way back in 1997 and had around 13 angel investors-- way more than what we recommend now that we have learned through our years of professional experience as product designers and entrepreneurs. The two of us are cautious about raising capital via crowd funding because there is truly a lot of pressure in giving small pieces of your company to investors, and often times it does not necessarily go into the best interests of the business. From the perspective of inventors trying to build a company from the ground up, it is absolutely necessary for you to have complete legal compliance when it comes to documentation of your intellectual property, getting a great product or business plan presentation together, and to use systems in place that can help you track your progress. We will be talking about equity crowd funding, warnings about Kickstarter [...]

Why We Love Being Product Designers

Tracy Hazzard and Tom Hazzard2021-02-22T18:35:47+00:00May 31st, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

We have been product designers for more than two decades and have won awards for our designs through out the years-- but the ultimate accolade for us would have to be the longevity of our products in the market. Over 80 of the products that we have designed for mass retail have been bought and used over and over again by consumers for the past 20 years and counting. We believe that our success in this regard lies in the genuine joy we find in the process of product design, and most importantly, in how it betters the lives of consumers. Reading positive feedback from online customer reviews, especially when users recommend our products to other consumers, gives us immense satisfaction as designers. Watch the Episode Here: Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/09/2018/02fead4cbc84abf451a381553639cb95.mp3" title="Figure Out Your Product Brand First" image="https://productlaunchhazzards.com/wp-content/uploads/Banner-for-Speaking-Empire-Webinar.png" ] --- You're going to see on our Membership [...]

What To Do When Mass Retailers Like Amazon Become Your Competitors

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:40:14+00:00May 29th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

If you are a thriving vendor with products on Walmart, Staples, other mass retailers' shelves, or you are selling online through Amazon, Alibaba, or any other big e-Commerce platform, be warned: the days of vendor loyalty are long gone, which is why it is essential for you to secure your products and customer base before launching your products. As experienced product designers, innovators and entrepreneurs, we have learned from first hand experience as well as vicariously how big companies can take advantage of entrepreneurs who offer private-label products or services. Take Amazon for example-- if you have an unpatented original product that you get from another manufacturer and the e-Commerce giant sees that your product is selling like hotcakes through their platform, it could go two ways-- they can either source any number of variations of your products' Stock Keeping Units (SKU's) from your manufacturer and persuade them to make [...]

How to Invent Must-Have Products

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:42:45+00:00May 25th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Tracy and Tom are a husband and wife team of Industrial Designers. They are lucky to be working together not just because they enjoy each other's company-- they have a complimentary set of skills, and unlike in corporate settings where people have qualms in voicing out their opinions we are both capable of having an open, honest debate when designing products that involve gender-related perspectives because of our shared vision. They have coined a term called "gender blending," which refers to meeting the needs of both male and female consumers when it comes to designing products. Launching many successful products for themselves and their clients through out the years was made possible by combining their strengths, which includes their unique ability to factor in the needs of both genders in their product designs. Watch the Episode Here: Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/09/2018/b6c1426b6fcd1d1358276b62f820fd0a.mp3" title="How to Invent Must-Have Products" image="https://productlaunchhazzards.com/wp-content/uploads/Banner-for-Speaking-Empire-Webinar.png" [...]

The 80/20 Color Rule for Choosing the Right Colors for Your Products

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:44:19+00:00May 23rd, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Picking the right colors for specific consumer goods is exciting, and can also be a very agonizing process for some product inventors, innovators, designers, and marketers, especially to newbies. Even experienced branding professionals get challenged sometimes, and rightly so, for there is so much is riding on choosing the right color for your product. Many factors can affect our opinions on product color selection, most especially our personal preferences. If you happen to pick the wrong color for your product, it will not be marketable, and problems with inventory among other things will arise. Get the skinny color selection for product design and the ultimate 80/20 color rule from one of the leading experts in the product design industry who also specializes in picking colors that sell in mass market retail. Watch the Episode Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXq322gx_kU Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/09/2018/213920d5654e793e754ddd3d944efba6.mp3" title="The 80/20 Color Rule for Choosing [...]

Meet Market Research Expert Laura Hazzard

Laura Hazzard2021-02-22T18:46:40+00:00May 22nd, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Inventors, Office Hours, Podcasts, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

When you’re selling something, some questions that come up in your mind are, are people going to buy what you’re selling? Are they going to respond to it? What features do they value? A great way to answer that is market research. Market research expert, Laura Hazzard, has worked with big brands like Target, Starbucks, Disney, Fox, and Sony. She’s done everything from plus size women's apparel to cat food and everything in between. Laura shares that it’s so critically important to ask questions because then you have a better understanding of why people purchase the things they do. She says that big brands and small companies should both dive deep into market research. They should have a process that they run to see if people will buy their products so they can cut down on costs by avoiding mistakes and optimize their sales. Watch the Episode Here: https://youtu.be/3rOvPnJSedE [...]

How to Design What Women (and Men) Want

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:46:37+00:00May 21st, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

We are a team of Industrial Designers. We are lucky to be working together not just because we enjoy each other's company-- we have a complimentary set of skills, and unlike in corporate settings where people have qualms in voicing out their opinions we are both capable of having an open, honest debate when designing products that involve gender-related perspectives because of our shared vision. We have coined a term called "GENDERBLENDING" product design, which refers to meeting the needs of both male and female consumers when it comes to designing products. Launching many successful products for ourselves and our clients through out the years was made possible by combining our strengths, which includes our unique ability to factor in the needs of both genders in our product designs. Watch the Episode Here: Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/09/2018/046ec60da9a6e4cde02503ee600f73e0.mp3" title="How to Design What Women (and Men) Want" image="https://productlaunchhazzards.com/wp-content/uploads/Banner-for-Speaking-Empire-Webinar.png" ] [...]

Meet Retail Sales Expert Timothy Bush

Timothy Bush2021-02-22T18:49:23+00:00May 18th, 2018|Brand It, Inventors, Licensing, Office Hours, Podcasts, Private Label, Retail & Big Box|

The number one question that On The Shelf Retail Expert, Timothy Bush gets is,"How long does it take?" As entrepreneurs get inundated with a ton of planning and preparation, they can get flustered with the influx of work involved with product launching. For those that work in the real trenches of retail, trying to launch a new brand, whether it be retail goods or a huge celebrity takes time. Success does not happen overnight. Tim understands that measurable success requires intensive planning as well as proper guidance from industry pros who know the ins and outs of branding and retail. Timothy helps people overcome roadblocks so they can get ahead of the competition. Watch the Episode Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUbu7574ThQ Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/09/2018/3898afdbc9db92eca191087fac6a7b7e.mp3" title="Meet Retail Sales Expert Timothy Bush" image="https://productlaunchhazzards.com/wp-content/uploads/Banner-for-Speaking-Empire-Webinar.png" ] --- Tim, I'm so glad to have you on this show and get everyone on Product [...]

Product Promotion: Reserving Capital to Promote It

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:49:27+00:00May 17th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

It is not enough to put your product out there on Amazon, HSN, Walmart, or any other retail store. Those who spend at least 10% of their capital on brand promotion are guaranteed to sell more and increase their brand's overall acquirable value. The key is to get your message out through a platform and resonate with your audience. Your goal as an entrepreneur should not just be focused on make a single sale per client, but to transform them into fans of your brand who will constantly hanker for more of what you have to offer. Let them know the story behind your brand, and how your products or services can benefit them when consistently churning out high-quality useful content like blogs, videocasts, or podcasts. Get started on building a brand promotional strategy and a public relations plan that converts your target audience into paying customers. Listen to the [...]

Product Production Planning: Critical Factors to Produce It

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:51:08+00:00May 16th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Finally, you are done with the product development stages and are ready to produce your product for selling. As an entrepreneur, you know that it is absolutely critical to get your product right before launching it to avoid killing your brand with bad customer reviews and high returns. What are the things you need to consider for cost-effective and efficient materials sourcing, finding the right factory for manufacturing, and in making all other major decisions in the production process? If you are clueless as to how or where to start on product production planning, here is a general framework you can work with: building a relationship with your manufacturers, having strong documentation, and consistent follow-up. It can be a daunting process because there is no set flow chart for going about things since it is all really product-specific-- but with decades of combined multi-industry experience, Product Launch Hazzards will guide [...]

Invention Protection: Protect It with Patents and Trademarks

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:51:01+00:00May 15th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Having intellectual property is good for valuation of your business. It is definitely an asset worth investing in especially if your goal is to become an acquirable brand. But first, you have to make sure that your trademarks, patents, and copyright are relevant to your long term business plan, or else they will be useless. We will talk about some examples of what we have done and how we operate as product inventors so you can have a sense of the value of protecting your intellectual property, and hopefully learn from our practical experience how you can save significant time and preserve capital in the process. If you feel that you need to disclose information to a licensing partner, a manufacturer, or a distributor, we have useful resources, as well as intellectual property attorneys we have recommended to our own clients whom you can get in touch with for invention [...]

Product Prototypes: When is the Right Time to Prototype It

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:52:05+00:00May 14th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Prototyping involves design, engineering, early quoting, sampling, iterations, and a host of other factors that need to get done with the right team for optimal results. You need to make a product prototype or do product sampling after proving, planning, and pricing your model so you can have something tangible to show your investors, to make sure it has the right functions, look or feel, and that you can really sell it in mass market retail. As seasoned product designers, we know that there are a lot of unknowns and alternative ways to make an original product that are not included in the traditional manufacturing process. This is why you have to get the right manufacturers whom you trust, at the right rate and the right time. If you are not hitting your target market, have no core capabilities required in your product category, or doing the product design and [...]

The Key to Product Launch Success is to Plan It

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:52:28+00:00May 11th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Tom and I say this a lot: "Hope is not a plan." There are a lot of concerns to address and factors to consider before selling your product. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that money and time spent from product research, market study, product development, licensing, prototyping, manufacturing and marketing is worth every penny. In the long run, all mistakes committed in the process of launching and marketing your product will add up and can greatly impact your success, that is why developing a solid game plan is of utmost importance for all stages of your product launch journey. We can help you there through our resident experts, who have a wealth of product development, manufacturing, intellectual property, marketing and advertising knowledge to share with you. Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/09/2018/16fdb147999d5432d561c75316f8ceba.mp3" title="The Key to Product Launch Success is to Plan It" image="https://productlaunchhazzards.com/wp-content/uploads/Banner-for-Speaking-Empire-Webinar.png" [...]

Get Your Product Pricing Right for Maximum Profit

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:53:56+00:00May 10th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

How should you decide what to price your product in the market? After creating, developing and marketing over 250 successful products in the last two decades, we have discovered that product pricing relies on completing a correct order of steps for optimal results, something that you can not afford to mess up if you are a serious business owner. There are so many hard facts to account for when preparing an effective cost and profitability analysis that goes well beyond the assigned cost of goods quoted by a manufacturer-- details like taxes & duties, logistics, packaging, carrying costs, and many more must be considered and factored in to make sure that you increase and preserve as much profit margin as you can once you launch your product. We will help you figure out the best way to go about pricing your product for maximum profit. Listen to the podcast here: [...]

Market Proof: Prove Your Product to Market Fit

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:54:53+00:00May 9th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

How could you be sure that your product or idea will sell? You cannot always rely on friends and family to tell you the truth, because they might not be realistic with their assessments: either be too encouraging without considering the follies in your idea, or too scared for you to fail and lose money and resources that they could discourage you. There are many obstacles in the way to making it happen, including the facts to consider before diving all in and manufacturing your product. From our collective study of research done by Harvard Business Review, Inc., Forbes, and Entrepreneur, over 68% of product launch failures are caused by having the wrong product for the wrong market-- your product might be good, but it is not matched to your market. If you are an inventor, product designer, or small business owner considering to sell a product or service, it [...]

Figure Out Your Product Brand First

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:55:51+00:00May 8th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

What is product branding, and why does it need to be the first thing you figure out before launching your business? Branding is not necessarily about who you are, it is about how people perceive you. As much as you would like to be in full control of your brand identity, it will all really depend on how your audience sees your brand. That is why it is vital to consistently check market perception, so you can constantly align your brand messaging and reach your targets. Big brands like Procter and Gamble, Coca Cola, and others recognize the importance of knowing their core brand identity, so that they can adjust their marketing plans accordingly and be most efficient when acting on them. Do not fully equate branding with logos, colors, and design-- they are just visual expressions of your brand. Taking the time to truly have a deeper understanding of [...]

The 7-P Process to Launching Your Product

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T18:57:24+00:00May 7th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Product developers, inventors, marketers, entrepreneurs, and curious listeners, lend us your ears: the success of your product does not rest on how passionate you are or how great you think your product is. There is a fundamental process that you must follow, which involves having the right things, in the right order, and the right resources before going deeper into the rabbit hole. Here at Product Launch Hazzards we give you the right resources through our membership Expert Office Hours podcast, where our seasoned industry experts answer your questions by sharing their insider know-how-- and on this episode we will put these resources into context by tackling the fundamental 7-P process of product launching. We have done this over 250 times throughout our careers as product innovators and entrepreneurs, and we will impart the lessons we have learned from studying and researching other people's as well as other companies' product [...]

5 Skills AR Can Grow in Future Entrepreneurs

Tracy Hazzard2018-05-07T03:00:14+00:00May 7th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Non-negotiable leadership skills and emerging technologies our future innovators need to change (or survive) the future. Last year, The World Economic Forum released their list of the ten skills you need to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution. The idea is to aim our focus forward, by way of skills, so we can be ready and capable to take on the future. Naturally, I wanted to look at technology and lay out how we can use the new technology coming our way, to advance these skills more efficiently. Adding AR to Our Curriculum The one thing schools should be equipping their students with, is advanced technology, and specifically AR. We all talk about this technology for adults, and how we can use it to make our lives better, but what about students? Didn't someone famous once say, "the children are our future?" Why reserve the good stuff for you and I, when we could [...]

Asset Building Product Design – Tracy Hazzard Live at The Prosper Show

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-23T13:40:51+00:00May 4th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, On The Shelf, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

In the consumer retail market where 7 out of 10 consumer product launches fail and less than 2% of inventors ever make any money, the odds are stacked against you. But with some Product Launch Hazzard protection tips and Success By Design tactics, you can reduce risk and defy the odds as you go from Product Idea to Big Brand to Sold. Tracy Hazzard, Product Launch Expert in the Product Launch Hazzards membership community, dives deep into a proven formula that helps optimize processes and maximize your resources so you can out-source, out-design, and out-profit your competitors. It has been applied to virtually all types of consumer product categories, and mastering its fundamentals is the first step to retail sales success. These solutions were firmed up from years of practical experience in working with big and small brands. Watch the Episode Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNpr2ILKOy0&feature=youtu.be Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/09/2018/d1a30b56083cdb4fa1513ff7769cbbba.mp3" title="Asset Building Product Design" [...]

Should You Do It: Prototyping, Selling, and Everything in Between

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-23T13:42:03+00:00May 3rd, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

We have seen a lot of startups fail and close shop after only a few years because of one fatal mistake: not having enough information before taking a deeper dive into launching their product or business. Falling in love with your idea or product can run you out of business early in the game. There is nothing bad about being passionate about what you do, but it must always be coupled with the proper mindset to avoid losing precious time and money. When entrepreneurs make an emotional decision, they sometimes choose not to see the pitfalls of their plan, glossing over any kind of objective criteria to properly evaluate the feasibility of their business venture. Guest Experts on the Product Launch Hazzards membership Expert Office Hours podcast guides business owners like you so you will know how to sift through all necessary information for review before proceeding to the next [...]

Want Product Launch Success? Meet Your Product Launch Protection Experts Tom Hazzard & Tracy Hazzard

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-23T14:12:02+00:00May 1st, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Office Hours, Packaging, Podcasts, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

7 out of 10 consumer product launches fail and only 2% of all inventions make any money. Launching products is full of pitfalls and failure points. The odds of product launch success are not in your favor. Insiders and big brands not only know but can outspend and survive when they make mistakes. Find out how product launch experts like Tracy Hazzard and Tom Hazzard with 26 years as consumer product designers for big and small brands – on-line and in-store, flip the odds, build in protective measures and resources, and guide you on what you ‘don’t know that you don’t know’ so you can avoid rookie errors, save valuable market time, spend less money, and successfully launch into a big acquirable brand. Watch the Episode Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYPqCE9Qado Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/09/2018/65485d657be68683d04e063b01261589.mp3" title="Want Product Launch Success? Meet Your Product Launch Protection Experts Tom Hazzard & Tracy [...]

5 Changes That Can Save Retail from Disruption

Tracy Hazzard2018-04-09T04:41:55+00:00April 9th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Insider View: Everything you want to know about when you'll see 3d printed products take over the shelves at your local Walmart, Target, or Costco. I recently did a presentation at a 3d print conference on disrupting mass market retail, what was going wrong, and why retail wasn't tipping as fast as everyone thought it would. This presentation was definitely more "insider information" but it continues the disruption conversation around 3d print and what it's really going to take to hit that tipping point. My experience with product design and launch allows me an inside plus outside perspective that is often overlooked when it comes to retail. When people ask me why we can't just go buy everything on-demand 3d printed today, I tell them one (or all) of these 5 things: Most products fail before automation like this is ever an option. Only two percent of inventions ever make money, fourteen out of fifteen shopping channel [...]

Ashton Kutcher Headlined the Third Annual City Summit and Did Not Disappoint

Tracy Hazzard2018-03-21T10:27:36+00:00March 21st, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

 Inspiring and innovative actor turned philanthropist and investor, Ashton Kutcher talked charity, startups, entrepreneurship, and what gets him out of bed each day. I knew going into this year's City Gala event, put on by Ryan Long, CEO and Founder of City Summit & City Gala, and Dale Godboldo, Actor/ Fiscal Sponsor of City Gala/ Founder of Project NOW, one of the beneficiaries, that I would be inspired. I also knew, because Ashton Kutcher headlined, that there would be plenty of wonderfully insightful tidbits to share with you. For those of you who aren't aware, City Summit is a socially conscious business acceleration experience to educate, network, and inspire entrepreneurs and they roll out the red carpet to make this happen. This year was no different, so with that, let's talk Ashton Kutcher and his view on competition, investment, skipping garbage and Artificial Intelligence. Competing With Giants "It's really hard to compete because the giants are good. They're [...]

Without These 3 Things Brands and Influencers Have Declining Trust

Tracy Hazzard2018-03-20T11:00:11+00:00March 20th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

 What you need to know about micro influence, from both sides of the aisle, and why we need more than numbers and authenticity to get results and get past the growing skepticism. Attention marketing has emerged as more important than a great product. There's so much noise out there, engagement and attention are the new metrics in which brands identify success or failure.The trend of micro-influencers has morphed into the new norm for our new marketing landscape. Social shopping and influencer marketing platform, Dealspotr conducted their Millennial Fashion Shopping Study, an annual survey to better understand the shifting dynamics between Millennial consumers, lifestyle influencers and retailers and the findings have indicators that influencer marketing is in sharp decline. Even with social media influencers garnering position as the primary factor driving fashion shopping decisions among female Millennials, 52 percent of Millennials said that they trust social media influencers less these days. It is going to take a lot more than metrics to get past [...]

This 3D Application is Disrupting the Multimillion Dollar Interior Design Market

Tracy Hazzard2018-03-13T10:44:53+00:00March 13th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

 Modsy lets you 3D model any and every room in your house, and then visualize new furniture before you buy it, this intersection of design and 3D is the latest market disruption worth millions. For over 25 years, I have worked with design-leading furniture brands like Martha Stewart Living and Herman Miller. I've had products in all major e-commerce and mass-market retailers; office superstores; electronics boutiques; and wholesale clubs. I'm not bragging (well maybe a little). I'm telling you this because I've been in the design world a long time and that is almost the same amount of time I have been waiting patiently for the applicable intersection of Tech + 3D + Design. I know the applications are seemingly endless, but getting others to play into that evolution has been slower than I expected. My work with product design and launch sent me into the world of 3D printing, where I fell in [...]

Brand Your Product Like Yeti So No One Talks Price

Tracy Hazzard2018-03-06T09:41:28+00:00March 6th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

How to take a real-life approach to branding to create less friction and more traction, from a guy who gives business advice to Verizon and Martha Stewart. The thing about branding and business is that a lot of companies out there have more friction than they do traction. Friction is a force slowing you down or even stopping you, while traction is a force pulling you forward. The other thing about branding and business is the simple truth that entrepreneurs, innovators, and designers seldom learn how to counteract the friction, allowing the traction to be a byproduct. I work hard to simplify the inner workings of the business economy we live in, but sometimes, those inner workings are complex, and do require thought, planning, and a solid experienced strategy. I came across a book titled Friction, whose author has clients like Driscoll's, Starbucks, Fanduel, NFL, and Verizon, just to name a few. This author, Jeff Rosenblum of Questus, [...]

The Inside Scoop on African American Women in Tech and Business

Tracy Hazzard2018-02-28T11:38:05+00:00February 28th, 2018|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

 What it takes to create clear pathways toward a successful career in STEAM for women of color from a woman who is helping to pave the way for future generations. How do we cultivate more women CEOs, especially women of color? How do we show them the path to becoming a woman in STEAM? I have been making strides in male-dominated territory for most of my career, and my daughters are better off because of it. They've watched me take my seat at the table. When it comes to STEAM fields, keeping young girls interested is rare, and at higher levels of expertise, this becomes incredibly obvious. When it comes to women of color, this is even more true. We could have an entire conversation about poverty, education, and who is affected the most, but rather than hit the same talking points, I want to focus on solutions. Seek The Anomalies Jessie Woolley-Wilson is [...]

This Holiday Kills Launches; Use These Expert Tips If You Want to Survive

Tracy Hazzard2018-02-26T11:14:25+00:00February 26th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Produce It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

 Everything you need to know about how Chinese New Year affects business and product launch timing, well after the holiday; and the crucial do's and don'ts to avoid spiraling. Chinese New Year, falling sometime between January 22nd and February 19th each year, can be a rocky time for designers, developers, and product launchers. Every time this holiday rolls around, I see two things happen: Businesses, unaware of the timing, hit the ground running after our New Year, only to fail hard and fast because they were not aware of how the Chinese New Year interrupts and affects business flow. An increase in calls as the panic sets in among the designers, kickstarters, and developers, once they realize their timeline didn't account for the month long shutdown of their manufacturer and supply chain. Global Experts in manufacturing, Genimex, pushed out a blog post to let the market know what happens during Chinese New Year and I [...]

7 Out Of 10 Products Fail: Here’s How to Flip the Odds

Tracy Hazzard2018-02-19T10:55:11+00:00February 19th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Breaking down the top reasons product inventors lose big. Plus how to overcome those obstacles, harness your innovative power and win market share despite the odds. From design to prototyping, patenting, manufacturing, packaging, fulfillment, and sales and marketing, there are so many tasks for inventors to tackle. On top of that, there are so many ways to fail. When you are coming into new territory, statistically, the chances of things going wrong are higher than the chances of things going right. Add to that the seemingly endless bad advice, poor processes, consultants ready and willing to take your money, sketchy manufacturers, sales programs promising six figures, and you may as well dedicate at least half of your time discerning. This discernment, between right and wrong, should and should not, is the part of the process nobody truthfully talks about, and it's also where product launchers lose big. Creators & Inventors Deserve the Truth After watching [...]

5 Things This Serial Entrepreneur Does Again and Again That Makes Millions

Tracy Hazzard2018-02-15T12:06:09+00:00February 15th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Jesse Itzler, of Zico coconut water, the Atlanta Hawks, and 100 Mile Man, on what it takes to launch more than one venture, and the success principles he swears by. Jesse Itzler is a man of many hats. He's the co-owner of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, partner in ZICO Coconut Water, founder of Marquis Jet, has a 'Living With' book series that is amazing, is the 100 Mile Man, and recently launched 29zero29 because he wasn't doing enough. He's also married to Spanx founder Sara Blakely, which immediately brings the term powerhouse couple to the forefront of my mind. Before I spoke to Jesse, I spent a bit of time researching all of his endeavors, and it was an impressive list. That is why he is the focus of this article on what it takes to be a successful (and happy) serial entrepreneur. Starting Life With An Inventor Dad & A Kickass (or: Very Wise) Mom Jesse's childhood [...]

Identifying Product Gaps and Nixing Brand Launch Pain Points

Tracy Hazzard2018-02-13T11:56:40+00:00February 13th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

 How focusing on serving women, creating cost effective, minimalist design, and cutting out the pink tax for good makes for an effective brand launch strategy. Filling those opportunity market gaps with well-thought out products is key to quick traction for any brand or business launch. Finding a gap that taps into a pain point like changing the shave game; think Dollar Shave Club for women, is strategic and fast growth too. Shaving is celebrated for men, and is framed as a chore for women. There are numerous companies that have been created to give men a better, more affordable shave experience, and women are an afterthought. Big mistake when women do well over eighty percent of all the buying in the personal care market. Why Don't We Mind The Market Gender Gap? Given market dynamics, it doesn't even make sense that the shave market doesn't cater to women as much as men. Emerging shave/body brand Billie recognized this [...]

Stressed About Turning Your Idea Into a Product? Read This

Tracy Hazzard2018-02-09T11:32:19+00:00February 9th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Meet entrepreneur Jason Simmons of DeadSoxy, as we talk startup sense, cold calls, product-centricity, oh, and the ups and downs of building a sock brand. The toughest part of being an inventor or an entrepreneur is all of the unknowns. There are no guarantees and there is a lot of room for failure. One of my goals, in writing this column, is to talk about the nitty-gritty details, to help entrepreneurs avoid some of the pitfalls, and to be honest about what it takes. This year, I am launching Q&A sessions with start-up entrepreneurs and growth brands, so you can hear, right from the source, what they did right and what they did wrong, and how it all contributed to where they are in their entrepreneurship journey. First in the Q&A hotseat is Jason Simmons, founder and CEO of DeadSoxy, a sock brand that came out of personal frustration that the more bold flashy socks didn't [...]

Modern Day Slavery: How to Protect Your Brand & Fight for What’s Right

Tracy Hazzard2018-02-08T11:26:20+00:00February 8th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Sourcing|

With labor slavery on the rise, these are the essentials you need to know to protect your brand and do what's right. While researching Ashton Kutcher for his appearance at the City Summit, I became acutely aware of the exploitation of children, women and laborers. Then, Human Trafficking Awareness Month came and went without much talk on why the labor and supply chain aspect epidemic is affecting businesses at any stage of growth, size or location, and is often coupled with sex and child exploitation. If you are not taking steps to protect your business and your brand from getting caught unaware, you are playing a high-stakes game of risk. Before we get started, let's cover some basic facts: Human Trafficking, as defined by the United Nations, is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by force, abduction, fraud, or coercion for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation. According to the International Labour Organization, Human [...]

How Your Business Card Can Outshine Everyone Else’s, Every Time

Tracy Hazzard2018-02-02T11:19:11+00:00February 2nd, 2018|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It|

Augmented Reality brings everyday objects to life, and the conversion rates cannot be ignored. When someone hands you a business card, what do you do with it? Do you jot a quick unintelligible note about where you met that person? Do you have a side pocket you put all the cards in together? What would you do with that card if you could point your phone at it, anytime, and the card would come to life? Or tell you a story? How many people would you show? How many times would you pull that card out to engage? The answer, is a lot. And if there were on-screen options after you watched that video or heard that story, your chances of pushing those buttons is massive too, especially in that moment where your imagination and interest are fully engaged in such a fun way. Augmented Reality Comes to Life We've been hearing about [...]

How To Price A High-End Brand And Get Your Ask

Tracy Hazzard2018-01-23T11:12:49+00:00January 23rd, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

This high-ticket sales expert gives away all of his pricing knowledge to help creatives and entrepreneurs know their worth, and then go out and get it. A lot of the "how to" of pricing high-end consulting or services is a mental game that takes place before you ever meet your first client. So many struggling creatives sell themselves short and eventually out of business because they 1) don't know how to price their services, or 2) don't know their value, or 3) are afraid to ask for what they're worth. High ticket sales expert, Oliver Talamayan, also a producer for City Summit and City Gala (featuring Ashton Kutcher!), had so much good advice on this topic. And luckily I was able to catch up with him before he caught a flight out to interview Daymond John. Let's start with the platform for the sale. Becoming Rejection Proof It is easier than you think to become rejection [...]

Meet the Group That Might Be Able to Help the NFL Reinvent Itself

Tracy Hazzard2018-01-19T10:03:15+00:00January 19th, 2018|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Licensing, Promote It, Prototype It|

 Why this diverse group of entrepreneurs and philanthropists are best suited to match the NFL pivot from scandal recovery to rebuilding fan trust and value. With compounding scandals plaguing the NFL and controversy over the handling (or mishandling) coming from fans, players, politicians, and even between the 32 teams and their franchise owners, the league is in desperate need of a rebrand. And the decision over who will be the next owner or owners of the Carolina Panthers could be pivotal in how the NFL repositions itself. The original owner of the Carolina Panthers, Jerry Richardson is selling his rights to the team after it became public that the Panthers organization made multiple confidential settlements for incidents of sexual misconduct and a racial slur by Richardson. It's not just Richardson though. The last five years have been the perfect storm of scandals contributing to indicators of slowing growth in the NFL brand. The newly [...]

Do These 3 Things If You Want To Win The High-Influence Branding Game

Tracy Hazzard2018-01-17T09:30:35+00:00January 17th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Brandon Steiner breaks down the winning strategies that sports, celebrity, and high-influencer use to get their brands to catch sparks so you can be the MVP in your marketplace. Sports celebrities and influencers are shifting from licensing brands to building their own brands. Players wanting to own their brand, as they struggle to breakout from the conglomerates that own them, but it isn't always easy sailing on the other side. That escape into individualism creates an entirely new set of opportunities or problems and this is something I wanted to discuss because we are seeing this shift more and more. It was fascinating and fun to talk with sports marketing legend, Brandon Steiner of Steiner Sports. Our conversation led us into the rules of the high-influence branding game; where we discussed customer service, brand authority, and even Brandon's mother. Tomorrow Is Ours to Win For Brandon, teaching winning strategies is how he best serves his clients. His focus on [...]

3 Superpowers That Will Help Female Entrepreneurs Find Extreme Success

Tracy Hazzard2018-01-11T09:23:19+00:00January 11th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Michelle Kennedy, on how she got a boost from Ashton Kutcher's venture fund, and how to be a successful female founder by tapping into these 3 super powers. In business, it seems most of the buzz is around inequality towards women. But, there are several benefits to being a female founder and I want to shine a light on those. Of course, in order to do this, I knew I needed to interview a kick-ass female founder who was seeing success and could help me benchmark what had gone right. That female founder is startup extraordinaire, hip mama, and spirited entrepreneur, Michelle Kennedy. Her app has been called 'Tinder for moms' and she was recently featured as Apple's App of the Day. Oh, did we mention she got backing from Ashton Kutcher's venture fund? So what did Michelle do that was so right to gain all of this attention and upward momentum? Let's talk about how she [...]

Billionaire Mentor Jay Abraham on How to Be the Ultimate Entrepreneur

Tracy Hazzard2018-01-10T09:07:18+00:00January 10th, 2018|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

With a client list of who's who and seemingly endless achievements, Jay Abraham gives us the lowdown on what it actually takes to make an impact in business and in life. As Founder and CEO of Abraham Group, Inc., Jay Abraham has spent his entire career solving problems and fixing businesses. He has significantly increased the bottom lines of over 10,000 clients in more than 400 industries, and over 7,200 sub-industries, worldwide. Jay has dealt with virtually every type of business. Bottom Line: He has studied, and solved, almost every type of business question, challenge, and opportunity. "Every business owner deserves the right to learn how to increase sales, multiply profits, and mine every hidden asset and overlooked opportunity in their world." After hearing Jay's brilliant non-nonsense mentorship at a City Summit event and diving deep into finding marketing gap opportunities in a Feed Your Brand podcast interview, I wanted to profile Jay for you [...]

Tools to Make You And 2018 Disruptive Enough To Thrive

Tracy Hazzard2018-01-09T08:56:49+00:00January 9th, 2018|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

With no shortage of resources, technology, or capital, disruption expert Jay Samit talks about self-limiting your ideas and why the most disruption will happen within rather than in specific markets. In 2017, 94% of the 5-trillion dollars China did in retail payments, was not handled by banks, or Visa, or Mastercard. We talk about retail as being "in the dark ages" in so many ways, but this disruption is one example of what's to come in the New Year. Jay Samit is a dynamic entrepreneur, widely recognized as one of the world's leading experts on disruption and innovation.  He launches billion dollar businesses, transforms entire industries, revamps government institutions, and for over three decades continues to be  at the forefront of global trends. I was thrilled to sit down with him and talk about market disruption in 2018, and it was not what I expected, but it's exactly what we all need to hear. [...]

What Disruption Actually Looks Like in a Mature Market

Tracy Hazzard2018-01-05T01:10:19+00:00January 5th, 2018|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

How one inventor is innovating faucet design to disrupt complacent markets, and what you can learn from him for ultimate success. We've all had to scoop water from our faucets, into our mouths (and all over the counter) to rinse our mouths after brushing. Or laid our heads sideways on the counter to attempt to get a quick sip of water before bed. Which begs the question, why hasn't someone designed something better? Complacent markets are complacent for a reason, and that is because change costs money. Especially when we are talking about mature product markets, because once the requirements change, patents are necessary, and ultimately, the "old school" barrier to entry in business returns. Unless you get resourceful, find some kickass support, and aren't afraid to get your hands dirty, something new isn't likely to happen from within. Going Broke Isn't An Option for Every Entrepreneur Endless funding, access to patent attorneys, and nonstop [...]

How VR Will Make 2018 the Year of Visionaries

Tracy Hazzard2018-01-04T00:53:10+00:00January 4th, 2018|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

 Where humans lack shared vision, VR has endless capabilities. This could be the key to bringing more ideas to life in 2018 if you have the vision to capitalize on the growth. Stepping through the front door of your dream home, you can feel the excitement all the way to your fingertips. To the left, the library you always wanted, with shelf-lined walls, and oversized leather chairs. As you turn your head to the right, your focus is drawn up and around, as you admire the winding cherry staircase. Straight ahead sits the kitchen you helped design; double ovens, a beautiful granite island, and a wall of windows bringing the outside in. This house is stunning. It takes your breath away. It also isn't real. Welcome to Old Industries Becoming New Again Real estate is a fun example of how companies like Outer Realm VR are making old markets seem very new with technology [...]

How to License Products and Serve Our Veterans, Too

Tracy Hazzard2018-01-03T00:43:36+00:00January 3rd, 2018|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

 Meet two veterans working to bring solutions to market for active duty military, while creating a platform for veteran innovation. Last year I spent some time interviewing veteran and bestselling author, Nick Ripplinger. His book, Front Line Leadership, laid out the importance for entrepreneurs to focus on strategy, structure, systems, quick deployment, inventiveness with meager resources, and a team that has your back, advice I wholeheartedly second. During that interview, I learned that Nick had received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (the third highest peace-time award) during active duty service in the US Army, but because he was medically discharged without a college degree, he could only find work supporting his family by stacking boxes in a warehouse. This time, when I circled back to see how Nick's journey into entrepreneurship was treating him, I was thrilled to learn about his progress. A Thriving Partnership Leaning into his own advice, Nick found himself a partner with [...]

4 Barriers Holding Retail Back From Tech Innovation

Tracy Hazzard2017-12-21T00:02:00+00:00December 21st, 2017|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

 A veteran retail expert helps me break down the major problems facing brick-and-mortar retail when it comes to accepting technology for innovation and future success. In the early 1900's, if you wanted to purchase something, you would go to your local merchant, tell them what you were looking for and wait. The merchant would go to the backroom, find what you were requesting, bring it out, and you would buy it. This was how "shopping" happened until someone came up with the genius idea of letting the customer into the backroom to get their own items. It was faster, more efficient, saved on labor, and just like that, modern retail was born. Not much has changed since then. I recently hosted Sterling Hawkins, a multi-generational retail expert, on my podcast to talk about this retail innovation gap, and to really highlight why this gap is growing rather than shrinking, and why it matters. [...]

Must-Have Timeless Secrets From Two Sales Closing Masters

Tracy Hazzard2017-12-20T23:54:44+00:00December 20th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Retail & Big Box|

Zig Ziglar's mastery-level sales and business techniques are being brought back to life by Kevin Harrington, and every entrepreneur needs this. Zig Ziglar, author of the "Sales Bible" was an inspiring, honest, and authentic sales mentor. Zig knew that in order for people to be in business, they had to be able to close the sale. And in order for them to be able to close the sale, they had to be trustworthy. In order for them to be trustworthy, he knew they needed to be authentic. And in order for them to be authentic, they had to believe in what they were doing. Zig knew the secrets of closing the sale had more to do with the customer than the sales person. He was ahead of his time when it came to tactics that brought the customer in, wallet in hand. Things like transparency, trust, authenticity, passion, have become a lost art so [...]

Lessons on Surviving Industry Decline and Disruption

Tracy Hazzard2017-12-13T23:48:02+00:00December 13th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Innovate, create, and differentiate: A third-generation promotional products owner on how to do things differently in an industry on the brink of total disruption and massive decline. Today's promotional products business has access to so many profit paths or ideas and at the very same time, sits on the edge of potential failure if there isn't product or technology innovation and differentiation to remain relevant and survive the disruption. However, I recently interviewed Michael Emoff of Shumsky - a promotional products company started in 1953. Michael became a third generation majority owner in 2006. When he joined the company 20+ years prior, he quickly developed a passion for creative product development and solutions for their clients. But Michael knew the system he was walking into was antiquated and would have to change if it wanted to stay alive. Your Business Is Always In Danger of Being Totally Average This is one of the reasons why Michael holds over 20 design [...]

Want Consistent Gigs? Listen To This Entrepreneurial Musician

Tracy Hazzard2017-12-08T13:17:22+00:00December 8th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It|

 Getting consistent work relies on a common sense business approach, passion, and gratitude to be successful in your element amid the stiff competition. When the Universe sends you a signal, in business and in life, it either hits you and you pivot, or you miss it and the door closes. For Aaron Zuniga, when the Universe presented an opportunity for him to play music full-time, he not only heard it, he went head first into the thing he did in all of his free time. If this sounds like the entrepreneurial spirit we talk about all the time, that's because it is. And music can be a brand. Let's discuss. Top Shelf Shake is a 3-piece reggae rock band from Chino, California with an explosive sound that combines Reggae, Rock, Ska and Punk into a distinctly different style that they call their own. With thought-provoking lyrics and catchy melodies, their songs are a fresh [...]

Are You Skilled Up For The X-Reality Design Future?

Tracy Hazzard2017-12-06T12:56:03+00:00December 6th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Accelerating industry success in 3D mediums - 3D, AI, AR & VR - requires the rework of education and incubation. The gap, when it comes to tech/design skills and design intuition pertaining to Variable 'X' Reality Technologies: 3D Printing, 360 Video, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality is large. Worse than that, very few people are teaching these topics thoroughly enough to make a dent. I see this everyday in my own business, and it's so great to see someone else recognize this gap. Not only is Taylor Freeman and Upload recognizing the gap, they have larger than life solutions to start filling that gap, to prepare others for the future of 3D mediums, VR, and the design elements that must go along with both. Did I Mention the Large Gap? When we first started in 3D design, it took us 9-months to come up with a design that I deemed 'Instagram-able.' It occurred to me that this path [...]

The Difference Between Focus Groups and Customer Advisory Boards

Tracy Hazzard2017-12-01T04:07:57+00:00December 1st, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

An advisory council expert talks why feedback matters and getting the feedback that is most effective to accelerate your business growth. If you've spent any time here in my column, you know about my hate/hate relationship with focus groups. The timing is always wrong, the focus is always wrong, the demographic is always too close to the market in question, the results are always skewed, and the time is most always wasted. We are drowning in data, research analysis, and focus groups. Modern businesses need to shift from the old-school focus group, to the more effective customer advisory board. Knowing this, I went straight to the expert on customer advisory boards, Betsy Westhafer, who spends her time helping B2B organizations grow in alignment with their customers needs. The Brand Vacuum + Focus Groups: The Deadly Combination A lot of companies experience an self-affirming brand vacuum that prevents them from understanding which step is the right next [...]

The Actual Power in a ‘Thank You’ (and How You Can Make That Power Work for You)

Tracy Hazzard2017-11-28T03:52:01+00:00November 28th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

How you can capture a return on investment on giving thanks and appreciation approach for high ultimate returns, conversions, employee retention and greater business success. I love when business takes back pieces of its old school self, because it worked better or made more sense. That, right now, is where we are with giving a simple thank you. People everywhere feel under-appreciated in business, and mistreated as employees and consumers. It's high time giving the "thank you" made a big comeback and the main reason is because a thank you is actually worth money. What Happens When You Appreciate Someone? Think about this: when you go out of your way to appreciate someone, or to say thank you, how do they respond? Are they ever annoyed or bothered? Are they ever unhappy with the extra effort and time? No. This is a hallmark of being human; we need to feel appreciated, our existence and [...]

3 Top Influencers Explain Engaging Buyer Loyalty

Tracy Hazzard2017-11-22T03:41:30+00:00November 22nd, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

How online moguls influence your decisions, especially when it comes to purchases, and how you can use this influence evolution to move toward future success. Not only has the technological evolution over the past two decades changed the way we shop and sell, but it's also changed why we shop and why we sell. Our conversation about micro-influencers was the tip of the influence iceberg so, naturally, I wanted to get into the more nitty-gritty details about our evolution into influence. What Is An Influencer, aka Social Media Star, aka Online Mogul? COO/Founder, Elma Beganovich of Amra & Elma has one of the most beautifully curated visual brands and sets a high editorial standard for being an influencer. She has expanded her business to be one of New York City's top social media agency working with many different influencers and with that broader view, provided a great definition of an influencer. An influencer is someone who has a following, yes, but that's just a start. [...]

The 7 Essential Questions To Build Your Business On

Tracy Hazzard2017-11-17T01:36:10+00:00November 17th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

 Expert lessons on a 'New" Taylor Swift misstep & avoiding Brandslaughter by building an unshakeable foundation. "Look what you made me do... look what you made me do..." The song oozes victimhood and a lack of accountability. Unless you watch the video, and then you immediately understand the level of sarcasm is off the charts and the hidden messages constant. But what if you never watched the video? Your opinion of a woman who built her empire on the message of being strong in who you are and your feminine power suddenly seems a little lost. This premise posed by marketing and communications leader, Brandy Hughes at the recent SuperNova South event really got me thinking about brand missteps that over time might lead to brand erosion. Avoiding Brandslaughter This is the power of branding. And this is one of the ways companies and public figures commit brandslaughter. Inconsistencies across mediums or in messaging only [...]

Use This Formula If You Want Your Brand To Be An Asset Not A Liability

Tracy Hazzard2017-11-17T01:31:49+00:00November 17th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Logistics, Packaging, Private Label, Produce It, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Building an unshakeable brand foundation requires these measurement tools, for continued success, growth, and innovation. We discussed Taylor Swift's potentially big branding mistake, the importance of establishing a strong foundation, and in a companion article, the seven essential questions that show you how to build a strong brand foundation. Now, we're back, with even more tangible and nitty-gritty details so you can put measurement tools in place to maintain this foundation. We Want to Help You Avoid Brandslaughter In his book Preventing Brandslaughter, author David Corbin talks in-depth about how businesses fall short when they fail to preserve, support, and grow their brand asset value. Remember, your brand is an asset that is either appreciating or depreciating. "The brand, as a tangible expression of a top performing culture, comes to life when its elements - including the mission - are taken off the wall and put into daily action at all levels and through all individuals in the organization." ABI: The [...]

Designing A Strategy That Gets It Done

Tracy Hazzard2017-11-10T01:27:02+00:00November 10th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

 This expert in creative media strategy, talks processes, foresight, and how to design the future you want for your business. We have talked, at length, about the acceleration of business and design. It's clear that design consists of more now, than ever before. Placing the word 'design' before 'strategy' is where we are right now, and at this intersection, exists even more ways you can hyperfocus every single detail of your business. A design strategy is a business approach, merging the overall objective in business with creative solutions that are specific to the business and supportive of the what the business wants to accomplish. Do You Have A Design Strategy? Rachel Calderon is a Creative Media Strategist, and CMO at Foresight Strategies. She works to bring out the design of something by taking information given to her and then developing an image with that information. Her goal is to develop a deep understanding of exactly [...]

Get Out the Markers & Crayons To Write Your Business Plan

Tracy Hazzard2017-11-09T01:23:12+00:00November 9th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

 How to design a business or marketing plan that doesn't bore your audience to death and how adding creativity can save your business. Creative Business Strategist, Minette Riordan, has been helping creative entrepreneurs understand how to build profitable businesses from the bottom up, ever since the last time we spoke to her. I gotta tell you, it's not easy work, because this is an area of serious struggle for a lot of entrepreneurs. She has a great approach that takes away the anxiety and gray areas of planning and business goals. Have We All Been Doing Business Backwards? The theme coming through over the past few months is reverse engineered growth. Business planning is not exempt from this truth. In the current, most common planning process, entrepreneurs start with their talent and what they want to offer, and try to build something based on that. This is so difficult, I don't care who [...]

Ashton Kutcher Brings His Influence–and Innovation–to a New Venue: 2018 City Summit

Tracy Hazzard2017-11-08T01:17:09+00:00November 8th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

 Put this can't-miss entrepreneurial event on your 2018 calendar now to grow your business, hear from celebrities and innovators, like Ashton Kutcher, and do social good all at the same time. As an Innovation columnist and podcast host, I get invitations to some of the coolest entrepreneur events for start-ups, tech, and business growth. But when business acceleration is combined with social consciousness and you announce Ashton Kutcher is going to speak, I'm all in. Not because I'm a fan girl, but because I know better than to miss the rare chance to learn from a "buccaneering visionary" like Ashton Kutcher, who combines creativity and celebrity power to influence the growth of tech and innovation. Ashton Kutcher will headline a stellar (and jam-packed) line-up of speakers and entrepreneurs at the 3rd Annual City Summit on March 3rd, 2018 at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. City Summit is a world class, socially conscious business acceleration experience. The entire event takes [...]

This Type Of Bot Might Be The One That Takes Over Your Marketing

Tracy Hazzard2017-11-01T01:11:38+00:00November 1st, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It|

Can a well-designed, witty little chatbot really change how you market your business on Facebook? Remember the Microsoft Assistant, Clippy? As bothersome and aggressive as that thing was, I'm beginning to think Clippy was ahead of their time. Enter, chatbots. What Is A Chatbot? I turned to expert Peter Lisoskie, disruptor and founder of Chatbot Nation to discuss everything about this tech pivot. "A chatbot is automated software designed to simulate conversation with human users using some kind of chat interface (Facebook messenger, websites, WeChat, WhatsApp, etc.)." Messaging apps are now bigger than social media, an indicator that we are on the right track. Over the past couple of months, he's been using chatbots and Facebook Messenger in business, and the results are astounding. 85+% open rates (that's at least 4X email) 25-35% click through rates (that's better than 10X email) Even more exciting than those numbers is that Peter is finding customers are driving the conversations [...]

Use These 4 Rules To Position Innovative Products

Tracy Hazzard2017-10-23T01:06:21+00:00October 23rd, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

Lessons learned selling crickets on how to educate a market & position your product for mass consumption. We've talked, in the past, about the difficulty in educating a new market. This process can will be time and cost expensive.,, and when you're selling something like crickets, things are bound to get even more tricky. However, no matter what you're bringing to market, or how innovative you are, or how much educating needs to be done, there are rules you can follow that will help you survive. Selling Crickets Isn't Easy, How to Position Your Product Vincent Vitale, Digital Specialist in the areas of SEO and Content Creation, is leading the charge by getting people interested in Aketta, which is a complete and sustainable source of cricket protein and nutrition. Vincent knew, from the very beginning that he had his work cut out, because 1) people don't know the benefits of eating crickets, and 2) they probably [...]

How to Battle From Idea to Launch and Survive

Tracy Hazzard2017-10-19T01:00:21+00:00October 19th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Protect It, Prototype It|

Who would have thought that inventing is the easy part when you are taking a product to market? The most difficult thing about inventing a product is not inventing the product... it's everything that happens next, if anything happens at all. Sure, you need to have a top-notch, functional, problem-solving, flawless product to make it in our competitive marketplace. But, that is one tiny piece of the massive product puzzle. I could tell you the in's and out's of this in my sleep, because 1) I do product design, and 2) I do a lot of product launches, but I thought it might be more fun to share the insights and important lessons, you need to know, by sharing a real-life example with you. It All Began In A Helicopter Meet David Burnett, inventor of Tac-Clamp, he provided me both a cool story of designing with a need in mind, and also highlighted [...]

Funding A Nonprofit With Branded Products That Sell You

Tracy Hazzard2017-10-17T09:00:44+00:00October 17th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Promote It, Prototype It|

How one woman is changing the lives of children worldwide and funding her nonprofit with a water bottle. Sometimes I get to interview people who are making amazing advances for business and design around the world... and sometimes I get to interview someone who has found their purpose in changing the world. "When we lose a child, it's important to understand that this is not just that parent's child, this is a global child. A potential Einstein, or Oprah, whose purpose has been lost over something as trivial as a lack of clean water." That's the profoundly impactful philosophy that drives Heshie Segal, founder of Kids Better World, a nonprofit organization working to get clean water to every child in need, globally. Heshie has built this nonprofit around her heart and soul, truly, and this approach of being absolutely invested has inspired her to find nontraditional solutions. What Is A Nontraditional Solution? In this case, [...]

Convert Brand Authority Into Revenue With Micro-Influencers

Tracy Hazzard2017-10-16T08:21:43+00:00October 16th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Podcasting, livestreams, micro-influencers, and how you can make new media options build your brand. We are seeing a new movement in media and a lot of you have been working so hard to keep up or stay modern, that you forgot to put a plan in place. You know I am always about the plan, so let's talk about that. My business podcast, WTFFF?! 3D Printing, will hit the 500 episode mark next month and has been so successful building our brand that we have started two more. We have 100,000 loyal listeners, and it really drives qualified clients to us and converts into revenue. But I didn't get there overnight, so I wanted to break out some of the most nitty-gritty tidbits that I wish I had known when I started. I brought in Jennifer Spencer, founder of Authority Life, a digital branding agency, along for the ride, as we decipher the new terms, what works, and [...]

Profitable Businesses Need Fit Entrepreneurs

Tracy Hazzard2017-10-10T07:45:36+00:00October 10th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It|

Meet second generation inventor, Forbes Riley. She can kick your ass + mind + business into shape. For me, when it comes to product design, there is so much confusion around the right path. Even though I work to clarify this through this column, through my podcasts, and through the work I do, I don't feel this message has been covered deep enough or wide enough just yet. Which is why I was thrilled to both interview and observe Forbes Riley, the astoundingly successful inventor, unparalleled product pitch queen, and all-around fit entrepreneur. We talked about the important aspects that inventors and entrepreneurs need to get right if they expect to create sustainable success, so let's dig right in. Limiting Self-Beliefs The recurring theme that keeps many people from being successful is the language they use about and with themselves. That internal dialogue is constantly deciding, for us, what we believe we're capable [...]

If You’re A Starving Artist, You’re Doing It Wrong

Tracy Hazzard2017-10-05T07:19:13+00:00October 5th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How to go from starving artist to thriving artist with a sustainable business in a few simple steps. Name an artist you personally know, who is legitimately 'making it' by creating and profiting from their art, AND their process is creating a sustainable path to success for them. I'll wait... I have this dream of creating a paradigm shift for product designers and I've met my artistic match in Crystal Ploszay, owner and concrete magician at Badass Floorscapes. She is working on something so exciting, when she isn't creating concrete masterpieces, she is helping artists shift from starving to thriving, badass, sustainable magicians of their mastery. Let's Get Real About The Issues Technology has changed the way we value art because the non-artist can create so much with so many simple, user-friendly tools that are right at their fingertips. This idea of the starving artist is real because of this change in value. But there's [...]

This One Question Will Change the Way You Pivot

Tracy Hazzard2017-10-03T07:12:41+00:00October 3rd, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Ask yourself a better question and expand your capacity to pivot and grow, by redefining what pivot means to you. I love buzzwords, and even more than I love the buzzwords themselves, I love redefining the words for you. Because we get in these business ruts, where we hear things so often that we tune them out or they lose meaning to us, or even worse, we stop applying those words to our own growth. The word of the day today is pivot. Pivot, to me, does not mean what it means in the business buzzword market today. And Adam Markel, founder of the Pivot Incubator, agrees with me. So let's get to redefining. What Does It Mean To Pivot? To pivot is to utilize disruption and welcome change. To have the capacity to pivot is the opposite of stagnation. Pivoting does not necessarily represent sudden and crazy over-the-top change and direction shifts. [...]

Creatively Rewire Your Brain To Sell Faster

Tracy Hazzard2017-09-29T06:56:25+00:00September 29th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

The fastest way to erase the biggest barrier to your business bottom line growth and switch your brain to sell. There is no doubt that being able to sell is essential to every startup. Whether you are a creative entrepreneur or not, you have to be able to make the sale. The issue with this is... well there are several. So we are going to discuss those issues, and the solution you need, with an internationally known expert and bestselling author. Dr. Jerry V.Teplitz, expert and author on brain performance, understands the importance of the bottom line, and also how we tend to affect that bottom line in ways we don't always realize. His offerings connect the brain processes with the most common setbacks to help you: Rewire your brain Increase your bottom line Setting A Baseline For What Success Means The goal with rewiring your brain is that you become an effective and successful start-up [...]

Tap Into The Brand Marketing Power of An App

Tracy Hazzard2017-09-26T06:44:17+00:00September 26th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Everything you need to know about why I got an app for my podcast, and why you should too. At this point, in our modern business world, if you aren't using technology to propel your business forward, you're doing something wrong. Apps, for example, carry a huge amount of power if they're done right. And while we've recognized the fact that everyone is doing everything on their cell, we haven't quite laid out what it means to "do it right" when discussing apps, until now. Why Does Building Your Own App Seem Obscure? Part of the reason app advice has been somewhat obscure is because of the expertise required. Most business owners, who are at a place where they can afford to build an app (because it can also be incredibly expensive) aren't tech magnates and so even identifying features or what they want can be difficult. But now, rather than 7 months [...]

Finding Product Manufacturers That Deliver All the Goods

Tracy Hazzard2017-09-21T06:26:17+00:00September 21st, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Logistics, Private Label, Produce It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Here's what you need to know to find top-quality manufacturers without losing time and money. There's a lot more to manufacturing than just settling on a price for your product and placing an order. Sourcing can be a jungle, and if you go into the jungle blindly, you won't fare well. It is true that a lot of companies here in the United States, especially startups or young businesses, don't understand how to deal with manufacturers overseas. They are either lacking the experience, or unsure of what to expect. So let's talk about how to change this, and ultimately how you can protect your business. Sourcing Rules to Live By There are rules we live by when it comes to sourcing and choosing manufacturers. Just like our rules, you need rules. Rules also help you overcome anxieties and fears. You have to know what the parameters are and you have to be educated about [...]

Flipping Your Side Hustle Into a Real Business

Tracy Hazzard2017-09-19T06:09:26+00:00September 19th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

The mindset shift every creative needs to make, plus Instagram tips from a photography entrepreneur.  The last half-decade has brought us a shift in the definition of women's empowerment in business. I personally love this, because, for the first time ever, it is women who are driving the change. The old term with the new meaning; empowerment is being redefined by women, for women, and the waves of change this is creating in business are substantial. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45%, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses. Therefore, over the past nine years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate fully five times faster than the national average. State of Women Owned Businesses Report With this change in what it means to be an empowered woman, there is also a shift in how women, and also (especially) creative-types, approach [...]

How To Get Your Product In Front of the Right Buyers

Tracy Hazzard2017-09-08T05:44:54+00:00September 8th, 2017|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Retail consumer product brand matchmakers give expert tips to help you sell on the right shelves. We recently discussed the changes happening in retail, and what that means for entrepreneurs, in terms of being online vs on the shelf. To build on that, I wanted to also explore how to get your product on the shelf with retailers that are a match for you and what you're specifically selling. This is a huge topic, so I brought you to experts. Sellers Need A Way To Connect With Potential Buyers Greg Farrar CEO of ECRM has a two prong value proposition for both retailers and manufacturers, with the goal of closing the gap between buyers and sellers. By saving time and money by streamlining efficient processes, and by connecting buyers and sellers, Greg and his team have created a matchmaking service that contributes to the bottom line. For retailers, ECRM optimizes their product assortment, ensuring that [...]

How One Woman Is Making Math Affordable

Tracy Hazzard2017-08-30T05:25:55+00:00August 30th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It|

The rising cost of school supplies begs for a solution. Here's a math professor who's found one. When I first talked with Mallory Dyer, co-founder of GraphLock, Inc. she was bootstrapping and social crowdfunding while she learned the ropes of getting funded. Now, with GraphLock well on its way and making amazing progress, I circled back to highlight the importance of what she is doing. Problem Solving Abilities Are The Most Important Thing I've heard it said, several times now, that the next billionaire will be someone who touches a billion lives, not someone who makes a billion dollars. This is what I love about entrepreneurship. We, you and I, have the ability to solve problems, to touch lives, and to effectively change the world we live in through creation of an idea or a thought. This is exactly what Mallory did. Speaking Of Solving Problems Mallory realized a gap in the market, and introduced a solution. GraphLock [...]

Why KISS Needs To Be Your New Design Mantra

Tracy Hazzard2017-08-16T05:13:57+00:00August 16th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It|

How 'keep it simple stupid' helps avoid the feature creep that interferes with your core design and business value. Dinesh C, an award winning global marketer, is currently overseeing design and business development initiatives at CarVi, a company working to create an affordable technology to make the roads safer for all of us. If CarVi can create and design such a complex product, while keeping simplicity at the center of their focus, I know you can too. So I wanted to share their secrets, the nitty gritty details, of how they are doing it, and why it's working. Intelligence and Intuition for Your Vehicle CarVi has a few things working against them really because their product is being designed for every vehicle and they also want it to be affordable for every driver... oh and did I mention the advanced technology aspect? Their product is essentially intelligence and intuition for your vehicle. When [...]

3 Visual Branding Tips That Help You Rock LinkedIn

Tracy Hazzard2017-08-14T04:48:11+00:00August 14th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Here's what you need to know to transform your LinkedIn profile and rock the busiest digital trade show on Earth. We are inundated with social media do's and don'ts, but what about LinkedIn? The professional networking site isn't designed to operate like social media, and for that reason alone, most blanketed advice simply doesn't apply. Truth is, I think a lot of people aren't really sure what to do on LinkedIn, or what their profile should offer, or even how to master the networking platform for maximum benefit. And I see a lot of copycat profiles now, where a thought leader took one approach of amping up their profile, and every single one of their followers did the same. Enough with the guessing game. You know I went straight to the experts for the nitty gritty details of everything LinkedIn, TR Garland. "LinkedIn is not a social platform or technology so it requires a different [...]

Prep Your Product Launch To Survive & Thrive

Tracy Hazzard2017-08-07T19:49:42+00:00August 7th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

You cannot forget these critical components when preparing your new product strategy. Okay, so you're new product has hit the market. You've survived rounds of funding, startup setbacks, your team is solid, and now you're ready to implement your growth strategy. Wait, you are ready to implement your growth strategy right? Let's talk about this. There are two critical components of any new product strategy that you cannot survive without and these components should be worked out and a clear part of your strategy long before you get to market. This strategy is the groundwork for your success. It's not like you get to market and then BOOM! You're selling 20 million of each of your SKU's. You have to have a plan in place that allows you to engage your market and scale up as you go. This First Critical Component Is Engagement Planning and setting strategies for market engagement can make [...]

Reinventing High Touch Amid High Tech

Tracy Hazzard2017-08-04T19:47:45+00:00August 4th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It|

What a USA made custom suit company can teach you about business, failure, and essential human interaction. Imagine you are looking for the perfect fitting garment to wear to a wedding. So you head to your local department store and find the perfect pair of dress pants, without the help of anyone really, because the staff are all under 20, sales clerks, and could care less about your pants. In fact, the only way you might get their attention is if you weren't wearing any at all. Now you need to get your pants hemmed... but where? Are you going to stick around and let the sales clerk inaccurately measure you? They don't even know where your pants should fall, nor do they care. And machines don't really care either. Do they? Custom Fashion Is Here To Stay The new Alexa/Echo camera has recently been announced by Amazon and instead of making [...]

Made In America Is More Than Guts & Glory

Tracy Hazzard2017-08-03T19:45:24+00:00August 3rd, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Produce It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box, Sourcing|

Learn from this Made in America, multi-generational family business about sustainability, freedom, and survival. American Hat Makers, Head'n Home, have a business model I love, and values second to none. Their story is inspiring and energetic, and they've made a lot of right moves to place their business in a place of sustainability and I had to share all of this goodness with you. I had an opportunity to talk with Garth Watrous, a 2nd generation business owner, took an interest, at a very young age, in the business his father built, and the passion in his voice is proof that he isn't just a lucky inheritor. He plays an integral role and is deeply invested in Head N' Home, and if you've seen their hats, you'll know why. Multi-Generational Businesses Garth's dad, who started this business in the 70's with a few leather tools, and a passion to create, started it all from [...]

Designers Building Businesses Learn Digital Skills From These Resources

Tracy Hazzard2017-08-03T04:24:23+00:00August 3rd, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

From the 2017 Design In Tech Report, everything you need to know about where designers learn to go digital. Design celebrity, John Maeda; former RISD President, Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion at Automattic, has just released the 2017 Design In Tech report and I've already shared with you a bold outline of the clear role design plays in business, along with the relationship between design and money. Now, I want to talk about where designers are learning their digital business skills these days because: There might be options available out there you might not be aware of that could benefit you, and; I want you to succeed and I know your chances are higher by taking advantage of the resources available to you. I wasn't exaggerating when I told you this year's Design In Tech Report was packed full of great information. Some of the most interesting stats I read were the [...]

Good News for Designers: Companies Like Facebook and Google Are Hiring, But the Skill Set Required Is Changing

Tracy Hazzard2017-08-02T04:06:56+00:00August 2nd, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Designers remain in high demand as we look at job trends and how they will affect the startup landscape. Design celebrity, John Maeda; former RISD President, Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion at Automattic, has just released the 2017 Design In Tech report and I've already shared with you a bold outline of the clear role design plays in business. Beyond design, there must be someone initiating design; enter designers, and now that we see the importance of design in business, designers are in high demand. Does this mean more "real" job opportunities for designers? "According to LinkedIn, the highest echelon of the technology industry is vying for more design talent - Facebook, Google, and Amazon have collectively grown art and design headcount by 65% in the past year - with much headroom to hire more." - 2017 Design In Tech Report. 65% year over year growth is huge. Especially when you [...]

Why Design Is the Best Bottom-Line Strategy

Tracy Hazzard2017-08-01T07:12:59+00:00August 1st, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

2017 Design In Tech's report shows us markets are relying on design for a higher ROI; all of the details are here. Design celebrity, John Maeda; former RISD President, Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion at Automattic, recently released the 2017 Design In Tech report and here are some of the juiciest design details with you. As a student of design myself, I know in my bones that design isn't just one aspect of an app or a product. Design is an integral part of the product or the app. Design is every aspect of creative touch from the moment of conception to final completion, that is, if it's done right. What Is Design In Today's Market? What we are learning now, supporting numbers show, is that design is an all-encompassing process of offering something to the market that is complete in every way, and also inclusive. And this completion of an end product that [...]

Nitty-Gritty Secrets to Being an Amazon Millionaire

Tracy Hazzard2017-07-27T19:43:11+00:00July 27th, 2017|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Get the most out of private label selling on Amazon by understanding your options and the benefit to your brand. Private label selling seems to be expanding faster than the popularity of fidget spinners. So I wasn't surprised to hear from James Thomson, Co-Founder of PROSPER Show and the former head of Amazonservices.com, that this year the conference sold out of tickets. With 1400 attendees and 90% year over-year-growth, I had to dig into the nitty-gritty details of the show so I could share all of them with you. Get Rich Quick When I work with clients on product design, I make it a point early on to let each client know that going the route of private label selling on Amazon is not a 3-month plan with a billion dollar buyout exit. It's okay to dream about that six-figure income but you're going to have to put in a LOT of work before that ever [...]

Learning to Deal With Stress Just Got Easier

Tracy Hazzard2017-07-20T19:41:31+00:00July 20th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Stress is a fact of life, but how you deal with it is up to you, so I called in an expert to show you the way. I just wrapped up an amazing call with Dr. Laurel Geise, Founder and CEO of The Geise Group, on a mission to help companies implement Mindfulness at Work Programs. She and I really got down to the nitty gritty details about why mindfulness is making a comeback in a huge way and why this is the solution to dealing with stress. Stress Is A Big Problem Stress can form in layers, whether it's entrepreneurial or business related, personal, situational, or just transferred from others you spend time around, and it seems that we are dealing with more and more. It's important that you understand what your stress looks/sounds/feels like, and even more important that you know how to deal with it. Why? Because stress [...]

Why Being Selfish Helps A Partnership Thrive

Tracy Hazzard2017-07-19T04:52:38+00:00July 19th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Two minds are more powerful than one, if you can get down to the business of co-creation. No one knows better than I do that the only thing more difficult that launching a business is launching a business with a partner, especially a partner you love. After 25 years with my husband and at least half of them as business partners, I have learned that co-creating a business is very personal. So I decided to talk with Alain Torres, international bestselling author and relationship/partnership guru, helps high-performing entrepreneurs turn everything they touch into gold. From saving a client from losing 12 million dollars, to saving another's long-term relationship, to guiding another jet setter to discover true inner fulfillment, Alain has a process with a playful style so you can keep a clear mind as you put your best self forward in your relationships and in your businesses to help a partnership thrive by [...]

Secrets to Out-Innovating Your Competition

Tracy Hazzard2017-07-15T19:28:59+00:00July 15th, 2017|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Ways to leave the competition in the dust and head into rare me-only innovation territory. I always imagined, when I first started my own business, that I would be the 'cool' one, constantly innovating and doing new stuff. I realized a few things after actually owning my first business for a few years; 1) in order to do this there must be a system in placeand 2) it isn't easy. I was really onto something, even though I had no idea then what it really meant to be in a state of constant innovation. What I've learned from 20+years of innovating (for myself and for others) is that while it is so incredibly important to be the one out in front, the competition is very stiff. A recent study by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor projects that 39% of the products entering our marketplace are considered new and innovative. That number is huge, but don't panic [...]

Global E-Commerce Trends, From Start Up to Inc. 500

Tracy Hazzard2017-07-13T19:26:21+00:00July 13th, 2017|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

How you can survive and thrive in the changing e-commerce market. Jon Reily holds the coveted position of VP of Commerce Strategy for Razorfish, a digital marketing agency in business for over two decades now. They help businesses deal with the changing landscape of modern sales. Jon himself is a former Amazonian and has amazing insight into the global eCommerce trends spanning startup to Fortune 100, trends you need to know about if you want to survive the changing landscape. Following The Path of Consumers For me, understanding the consumer's path is illuminating. There are too many brands, stores, and companies trying too hard to combat shopper behavior, and manipulate it or reroute it, but that is an old school approach that is on it's way out. What we are seeing now is that the most successful companies are putting the customer first and building a mission of giving them what they want [...]

Launching Products Online Or On the Shelf

Tracy Hazzard2017-07-13T03:45:39+00:00July 13th, 2017|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Why omnichannel is a failing strategy & 5 things you need to know to be ready for the retail shelf. The newest buzzword I am protesting is omnichannel. I don't hate it, but I don't love how misleading it is either. So I sat down to interview Timothy Bush of TLB Consulting, a veteran Retail Consultant and the host of the On The Shelf Podcast. I wanted to talk to him about the future of retail, sales channels, and the differences between products that are on-the-shelf versus products that are online. Not Omnichannel: Choosing The Best Channel How consumers make purchases is changing, and that directly affects how the big box retailers buy products, and even why products make it on the shelf in the first place. With my heavy focus on products I knew I needed to talk to you about this and shine a light on what you need to know [...]

How To Win Influencers & Boost Your Launch

Tracy Hazzard2017-07-11T03:43:22+00:00July 11th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Expert endorsements can make your launch a stratospheric success, so here's how to get your product reviewed. I recently had a fun and interesting call with The Gear Guru, Patrick Netter. His book High Tech Fitness in 1984 really highlighted the little known tech revolution happening in health, fitness and wellness and his ability to be on the cutting edge of the next big thing has never left him. Patrick's expertise is so spot on, this was a perfect opportunity for me to share Q&A style, how to get the attention of an expert reviewer and how this process has changed over the years. When I asked Patrick about the first product he reviewed, that went to market ahead of it's time, he turned the tables and asked me the same question about products. Our answers were telling, and even at the risk of aging both of us, I'm sharing anyway: Tracy: Stylus pens for handheld [...]

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