The Risky Business Of A Cocktail Trend Setter

Tracy Hazzard2017-07-08T19:21:22+00:00July 8th, 2017|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Pickle Juice, Justin Timberlake, and Amanda Frietag could save you from a common start-up fail: Trend-Setting. We talk a lot about innovation because, it's so important, and that momentum really is acutally what keeps your business alive. A relatable theme to innovation is trendsetting, and to take that one step further: trend starting. A trend starter is at the front of the line, stepping over it, before others recognize that there's a line at all. This unknown territory is risky because not only are these trend starters tasked with all of the startup elements necessary for success, they've now got to create pathways and educate the market; both incredibly expensive. Early entrance is difficult, expensive, time-consuming, and when the inevitable competition comes along, you're going broke, and they've only just begun. That Doesn't Mean You Should Give Up There are ways trend starters can make the market work for them, so if this [...]

Need Launch Money? Here’s How to Seed Your Disruptive Idea

Tracy Hazzard2017-07-05T19:19:35+00:00July 5th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Everything you need to know about getting seed money and what qualifies your startup. Money might not actually make the world go 'round, but it certainly does help startups looking to break into their market with support from investors. Last year we didn't even talk much about seed money, but this type of funding is making a serious comeback, and I love that. I talked to funding expert and Investment Director at JEL Capital, Noah Stone, about why they are seeding again and what it takes to qualify. Why Is Seed Money Making A Comeback? Noah pointed out that, at JEL Capital, they are seeding companies again because this type of investment offers higher returns, with a lower cash outlay. JEL Capital, a private equity company based out of DC, considers themselves the go-to company for seed funding, which is not a title they take lightly. So I wanted to find out, from [...]

It’s Not Delivery… It’s 3D Printed Pizza

Tracy Hazzard2017-06-30T19:16:37+00:00June 30th, 2017|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

The food revolution is real; it's here, and it's taking a slice out of traditional pizza. Individualized, completely customizeable food has been on the rise ever since Chipotle brought us the realization that we could have exactly what we wanted, every time. A lot of food joints have followed their lead and the designed food choices are almost endless, with places like Noodles & Co., BiBiBop, and Piada showing up everywhere. Meet The Most Awesome One-Uppers, Ever. If plain old topping options aren't enough for you, say hello to the team at BeeHex. They design and build commercial 3D food printers and fresh-food producing robots. Yea, you read that right. Their food printers can print you the pizza of your dreams (and matched to your diet), and quickly. So it's no surprise that they just wrapped up their seed round and brought in $1,000,000 to keep their food revolution alive. It's not just [...]

Your Message Comes First, Everything Else Follows

Tracy Hazzard2017-06-23T19:12:47+00:00June 23rd, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Expert advice on message-first branding to rise above the noise of a billion websites. Want to become the "go to" creative brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights? Then you need to go way beyond logos, graphics and sites like Marisa Murgatroyd, founder of Live Your Message. She helps entrepreneurs create a business brand that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their "inner superhero", so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives. But First, You Need A Tribe The problem most entrepreneurs run into, when trying to locate said tribe has everything to do with inaccurate, inconsistent, or inauthentic messaging. Your tribe is emotional. They want to be spoken to in a way that resonates deep, to wonder how you knew exactly what they were thinking and feeling. They want to trust [...]

Advice for Nonprofits Seeking Seed Funding

Tracy Hazzard2017-06-22T19:06:03+00:00June 22nd, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

How to get your nonprofit off the ground and funded, and the most common pitfalls to avoid. After receiving my exclusive invitation for the kickoff party and beneficiary announcements for the 2018 City Gala, I realized that I wrote about Red Carpet celebrity tips from John Travolta and lessons from the Women's Empowerment panel, but I hadn't yet written about the most important thing. The amazing amount of effort and creativity the City Gala team uses to help seed deserving non-profits. When best-selling author and City Summit moderator Greg Reid presented spot-on questions to people who have found ultimate success in so many ways, the result is opportunity after opportunity for learning from the best. Opportunities for non-profits, social good and for-profits as well. His goal was to highlight proof that "bringing together the highest level of entertainment and business leaders in the common agenda of social consciousness, achievement, and a dedication to giving forward to [...]

How Great Design Can Keep People Honest

Tracy Hazzard2017-06-19T19:03:19+00:00June 19th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

How a dating app focused on STD transparency plans to gain trust and early adopters. If I were to ask you, right in this moment, to imagine a time you were lied to or deceived, I would be willing to bet money that you have just easily recalled several occasions vividly. The feeling of being deceived cuts deep and oftentimes, we hold onto these emotions, we remember this pain, out of fear and avoidance, so in the future we don't ever have to feel this way again. Of course that isn't how it works, but collectively, most of us do this anyway as a means of protection. We can't let those feelings go out of fear that if we forget them, they may catch us off guard again. Why Are We Talking About Deception? We are talking about deception because we live in a society where lying is commonplace and we don't [...]

Follow These Tips If You Want Investors to Say Yes

Tracy Hazzard2017-06-19T18:57:45+00:00June 19th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Everything you need to know to get that yes from potential investors and get fully funded. I recently completed a 4-part series on the nitty-gritty details of actually (really) getting funded. You can check that out here, and the more I wrote, the more I realized the breadth and depth of this topic and how much wasn't being talked about. In Part Three I talked specifically about how to speak the language of investors, not inventors, and how important learning that investment language truly is to getting funded. But There's More To This Than Just The Language Throughout that series, I talked about getting your pitch right, and being coachable, but it's actually even more than that. Entrepreneurs have their work cut out for them if they wish to intrigue investors and get that 'yes' they are looking for, and I don't think a lot of entrepreneurs go into potential funding situations aware of this. So [...]

Comic Books Have Never Been This Cool Before

Tracy Hazzard2017-06-16T18:53:51+00:00June 16th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

A new business model that's killer plus virtual reality will, undoubtedly, spell success. Remember when you were a child, flipping through comic book pages, imagining the characters coming to life, bringing you along as you helped them defeat the ever-immoral antagonist? This childhood dream is now becoming reality, virtual reality. You CAN bring the story to life, build into the world, and even exist within it. Welcome To VR Comics, Whole New Worlds At Your Fingertips This amazing VR technology is opening up new worlds that are being fully explored and expanded on all sides by companies like The Spiraloid Workshop Company. They are creating cross-media universes that start as VR Comics with real-time production tools, that are being built as a virtual studio backlot. They then share all of that with content partners and their community of fans and creators with the goal of creative genius lending to expansion. The company's founders [...]

R&B To ROI: Meet The Man Helping Celebrities Go Viral

Tracy Hazzard2017-05-27T18:51:12+00:00May 27th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

How this hip-hop star is turning followers into funds for famous clients. The internet, ahh, the internet. An exceptional platform offering opportunities for connecting with and reaching millions of people the moment you tap that 'Enter' key. 20-years ago, this would have seem more far fetched than a flying car... or at the risk of dating myself, a digital dancing baby. Today, this is our reality and the phrase 'going viral' can mainly be attributed to the things that take over the internet with the veracity of a wildfire on a dry, windy day. You'll know you've made it when you've finally gone viral. Right? Is Going Viral 'IT' And Is There A Secret Recipe? That's what I set out to ask Spectacular Blue Smith - CEO/Founder of Adwizar. His social media management company goes beyond "ghost-posting" to turn a social following into a "productive mass following" - one that generates income. [...]

Building Fans By Connecting Brands to Brains

Tracy Hazzard2017-05-21T18:48:53+00:00May 21st, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Neuro-Branding: influence perception to attract the tribe you want. The human brain is a fascinating and full subject matter. The reason we love to learn about the brain is because we all desire to know more about who we are and why we do the things we do. By dissecting others, we are in turn dissecting ourselves, learning what makes the clock tick and our world spin. It's All In Your Head Do you control perception? That is the question Erin Saxton and Chad LeFevre of NeuroBeare answering with the end goal of connecting brains to brands in the most meaningful way possible. According to Erin and Chad, the average person is exposed to 4,000+ brand messages each day. All of that noise makes it incredibly difficult for companies to be heard. That is especially true when companies choose to emulate their competition rather than do their due diligence and get their [...]

Get A COO or CMO If You Want To Launch Big

Tracy Hazzard2017-05-20T18:45:37+00:00May 20th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

If you want to get your product to market, get a COO or CMO as soon as possible. I talk quite a bit about how the business world is constantly shifting, so before we dive into why you need a COO or a CMO, let's loosely define what each title means. COO: oversees an organization's ongoing operations and procedures. CMO: oversees an organization's marketing and advertising initiatives. While they are not totally interchangeable, one way we could sum up both job descriptions is by saying: Both the CMO and COO oversee the details and make sure things get done right. When it comes to launching a new product and trying to get it to market, there are a lot of details, and it's easy for those details to fall through the cracks. Which is why you need backup with serious skills. Automation Is On The Rise, Along With Entrepreneurs & Inventors Charlene Consolacion, co-founder [...]

Avoid Start-Up Flops By Beta-Testing The Right Way

Tracy Hazzard2017-05-06T18:43:12+00:00May 6th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

How to beta test with the right user and why you can't afford to do it wrong or only internally. Welcome to beta testing, the moment you get to (finally) find out if your potential user is going to fall in love with your creation. While it sounds so old school, the right type of beta testing can be an invaluable tool for so many reasons. At the end of the day you've got to have a positive user experience (with the right users) because the expectations are high and the competition is stiff. Where Should You Start? In order for you to run proper rounds of beta testing, you have to have one very important thing: an ultimate consumer profile based on accurate market research. Who is is your buyer? What do they want from you? How old are they? How much money do they make? Where do they vacation? [...]

5 Steps to Keeping Your Product a Bestseller

Tracy Hazzard2017-05-04T18:40:11+00:00May 4th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Why bestsellers come from a willingness to redesign again & again and stay innovative. There are 27-million entrepreneurs starting or running a new business in the United States, according to a recent study by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. From those 27-million trailblazers, GEM also projects that there are 39% with an innovation intensity. In other words, 39% of the products coming to market, are considered new and innovative. There Has To Be A Process With all of this creation and innovation, we really need to understand how companies can create products that are innovative yet accepted in a crowded, established market... or how the process of continually redesigning to maintain a bestseller actually works. It might not be rocket science, but it's pretty close. There are a lot of details to consider, and they matter. For that reason, I've broken down the necessary steps of the process for designing or redesigning a product to stay a [...]

Every Company Needs a Kid on Board

Tracy Hazzard2017-04-23T18:38:19+00:00April 23rd, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Your next advisor should be 4 feet tall and full of imagination. Meeting Makenna Riley on the red carpet at the City Gala event blew me away. I knew I had to share her perspective with you on why you need a kid advisor to propel you and your business into new and creative growth. Makenna is the daughter of inventor and award-winning TV host, Forbes Riley, so it's no surprise that she is blazing trails fast and early. Being a kid allows Makenna a fresh perspective and makes her privy to kid information you and I just don't have. Of course we gain as we grow into adulthood, but there are things we give up as well. So I want to talk about that first. Logic Faces Off With Imagination Adulthood brings us into a world of freedom. To gain that freedom, we accept tremendous responsibility; to our work, to our families, to our communities, and the world around us. When [...]

How to Make Millions Selling One Simple Thing

Tracy Hazzard2017-04-15T18:35:45+00:00April 15th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

Coffee is not all beans and brew. The secret to sales success came right from demand for a single cup. Entrepreneurs are a special breed. The risk is tremendous, but the reward is whatever you can imagine... that is, if you can make it. A lot of businesses don't, and I think one of those reasons is that there is a lot of gray area. That's why I love this column. It's a way for me to share actual business lessons that I've lived through, to connect with entrepreneurs who are in it to win it. There are so many things you just don't know, until you know it because you've learned the hard way. But we don't all have to learn the hard way, and that's why sharing is where it's at. Sticking with our recent articles on Amazon private label selling and market traction, I thought I would talk with an [...]

Power Tool Secrets of Million-Dollar Amazon Sellers

Tracy Hazzard2017-04-15T18:32:04+00:00April 15th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

The cognitive systems brand-building private-label sellers use to accelerate growth and save time. In the world of online sales, the seller has their work cut-out for them. If you can get it right, the sky truly is the limit. But that begs the question; how exactly do you get it right? Especially when there are so many ways for sellers to get it wrong. You know I went where the answers are, just in time for the premier private-label seller conference and trade show, the Prosper Show, and on this particular topic, the answers sit with two very advanced companies providing seller tools for the modern, somewhat complicated, multi-channel market. Both Skubana and Channel Ape can do more with the data, the listings, the channels already there, and putting them to work for you through platforms designed to integrate and optimize everything, because anyone who sells anything through more than one channel understands the exponential struggle. Let's Talk [...]

Listen Up, Ladies: Here’s How You Can Get Funded Too

Tracy Hazzard2017-04-09T18:29:37+00:00April 9th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

The last in a 4-part series on the nitty-gritty details of actually getting funded. We've covered so much ground in this series, on everything from equity crowdfunding to raising capital, to speaking the language of investors, and now I want to talk very specifically about how women can get funded. While it would be nice to assume it is the same across the board, you don't have to look very far to realize... it isn't. Women founders and CEO's face hurdles that men, in their same positions, simply don't face. If that's difficult to read, let me serve it up in numbers instead. According to PitchBook, in 2016 companies with only female founders accounted for only 3% of funds raised. Seems a bit (a lot) low to me. For that reason, I went to women who are either in the process right now, women who gave up the process and are just bootstrapping their way [...]

How to Speak Investor Not Inventor and Get Funded

Tracy Hazzard2017-04-06T18:26:50+00:00April 6th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

Part three of a 4-part series on the nitty-gritty details of actually (really) getting crowdfunded. Whew! We made it through part one, the serious details of getting funded; part two the options for capital raising you should consider, and what each one could mean for your business. But you aren't quite done yet, as if the work of an entrepreneur is ever done anyway. Now we can move on to the topic of learning the language. While this may not be as detail intensive, it is every bit as important as the first half of this series. Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk Financial and business literacy is incredibly important... more important than how well you can show off the features of your invention. Yes, really. I know your invention, your baby, is the center of everything you are doing and it is the sole purpose for this path. But this path goes nowhere if [...]

Your Options for Raising Capital & Knowing Which to Choose

Tracy Hazzard2017-04-03T18:24:31+00:00April 3rd, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

Part two of a 4-part series on the nitty-gritty details of actually (really) getting crowdfunded. In part one of this series, we talked about a fairly new type of up-and-coming crowdfunding where a business owner offers an investor equity in exchange for funding - Equity Crowdfunding. The most popular type of crowdfunding we usually hear about is very different than equity crowdfunding. So let's dig right in and break those down first: Rewards-based Crowdfunding: Individuals donate/invest money in exchange for perks, products, tickets, or other gifts (not money). Examples: Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Equity-based Crowdfunding: Investors receive equity ownership in the company they invest in. Examples: Dreamfunded or Sprowtt. While crowdfunding, both types, can be great potential options for a business seeking capital, these aren't the only options available. In 2012, the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act was signed into law, in simple terms, to help more companies attract more investors than ever before. Written into this JOBS Act are a few [...]

What Is Equity Crowdfunding & Is It Right For You?

Tracy Hazzard2017-04-01T18:22:29+00:00April 1st, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

Part one of a 4-part series on the nitty-gritty details of actually (really) getting crowdfunded. It's no secret that getting funded can be a long and difficult process. Access to capital relies on so many specific details, and at the end of the day, the more you know, the easier it is to find money. Join me as I take you through a four week 4-part series on 1) actually (really) getting funded, 2) the different types of capital available, how to know which option is the best one for you, 3) the language you need to have to speak investor, not inventor, and 4) how to overcome the particular challenges women and minorities face. Let's Kick-Off Part One With Equity Crowdfunding In May of last year, the SEC Equity Crowdfunding rules went into effect with 8 platforms initially filing for registration to become Equity Crowdfunding portals. Dreamfunded is one of those firms and I tapped into [...]

Celebrity Tips for Creative Entrepreneurs

Tracy Hazzard2017-03-23T18:20:21+00:00March 23rd, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

From the post-Grammy red carpet, how to make it big by following John Travolta's footsteps. At the City Gala this year, not only did I have the amazing opportunity of speaking about empowerment as part of an entrepreneurs panel, I also hit the red carpet to interview the celebrity crowd. Along with Alan Taylor of Inc Radio (Alan spoke on Leadership!) we interviewed the A-listers on the red carpet to find out what tips they had for you, the creative entrepreneur. For those of you not yet in the know, City Gala and City Summit are a part of Producer, Ryan Long's mission to "advance community through humanitarian events." The City Gala event educates entrepreneurs and simultaneously seeds start-up non-profits like the International Arts & Philanthropy, Breed Life and Passion 4 Kids. Pretty amazing, right? From Summer Nights to Taking Flight As a pilot, John Travolta knows a thing or two about checking lists to stay alive. Maybe in your everyday life it [...]

The Real Secret to Constant Innovation Momentum for Your Business

Tracy Hazzard2017-03-22T18:18:17+00:00March 22nd, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Building an innovation team can save your business, but only if you invest out and in-house as well. There is no putting your head down while swimming in the constant changing tides of business innovation. That moment you put your head down to zero in on growing what you've already built, is the moment you get left behind. As you tread water and look around, you'll realize everything has changed... without you, and you are sitting in a position of either being or drowning and becoming obsolete. To avoid being left behind by innovation, you have two options. The first option is to build an in-house innovation team and the second option is to bring in outside help when you are in need of direction. I am going to break down the options and explain why you actually need both. First, Let's Talk About Internal Innovation Teams It's not a new [...]

If Your Brand Isn’t Changing, You’re Doing It Wrong

Tracy Hazzard2017-03-15T18:15:47+00:00March 15th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

How your small business can/should disrupt, innovate, and succeed through constant transformation. Business definition of transformation in an organizational context as "a process of profound and radical change that orients an organization in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness." In this uber-competitive and fast paced business world we have created, the expectations are higher than ever for innovative companies that move with the needs of the consumer. Your business is no different, and must stay with the trend of transformation... or die. To prove this point, and a few others, I talked with Richard Hartell, Global President of Publicis Media Business Transformation, a practice responsible for research you need to know about. Why Constant Brand Transformation Is the New Normal Based on the definition of transformation I shared above, it only makes sense that you would want your business constantly shifting towards higher levels of effectiveness. But it [...]

How to Tell If a Business Idea Is Truly Different From the Rest

Tracy Hazzard2017-03-13T01:27:19+00:00March 13th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

If you really want to know, you need market proof. Here's how to get it without investing a small fortune. When you commit your career to a field for as long as I have, you learn a few nitty-gritty tricks when it comes to getting off the ground without a money tree. I've been working for 25-years in product design and development and one very valuable tidbit I've learned is this: there are a lot of ways to get market proof and if you want to get serious, you have to have it. First, Let's Talk About Amazon The most significant route that we use with our clients is Amazon. There's nothing better than a quick hit on Amazon to know whether or not somebody wants to buy what you are selling. We do this in a really unusual way that I think a lot of people underestimate. Sometimes, you have something [...]

LA Innovation: Bigger, Better, & Cleaner Than Ever

Tracy Hazzard2017-03-11T01:27:47+00:00March 11th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

How one incubator is securing the future for California's clean ideals and disruptive technology too. When I say California and clean tech, you probably say Silicon Valley. Most others would probably say the same because, historically, LA has lagged behind the valley and others in becoming an Industry of Innovation. That is, until now. The LA CleanTech Incubator(LACI), is a cooperation between industry and city to get rid of the lag and catapult Los Angeles to the forefront of clean and disruptive tech. Why Does LA Matter? With California as the 6th largest economy in the world and LA as the 2nd largest city in California, these kinds of long term local investment ventures mean that no matter what direction a new national agenda goes, LA has set roots in Green Energy jobs, investments, and growth. It's a life insurance policy for the future industries of these massive economies, and much needed [...]

Trading the Cold Call for the Power Call

Tracy Hazzard2017-03-10T01:28:05+00:00March 10th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

How making two power calls a day can grow your firm just like this leading app developer did. The lines of communication have never been more open. There are more ways, than ever before, for us to talk to one another. We know this to be true, so why, in business, does it seem harder than ever to get through to people? It could be that, perhaps, we are doing it wrong. It used to be that cold calling was the way into people's homes, offices, and eventual hearts checkbooks. What I am learning in my own business, and have confirmed with Rahul Varshneya, owner of Arkenea, the leading App Product Development firm helping non-tech founders build better apps, mobile, and e-commerce websites, is that the process for communicating may have changed, but the power of an actual free phone call is worth the time. You Have to Engage Your Potential [...]

Why Licensing of Products and Patents Is So Hard

Tracy Hazzard2017-02-24T01:26:39+00:00February 24th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Private Label, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

An honest look at what inventors can really expect when attempting to licensing a product idea. I cannot tell you how many designers and inventors I have talked to over the years have an unrealistic view of the potential licensing process. They think, "I have a great idea. Why wouldn't X Company want to buy my idea, make it and pay me royalty?" But, over the past decade, our marketplace has changed and the licensing process and market cycles have changed with it. For example, prior to the recession, the life cycle of a product was generally 3-5 years. After the recession companies began to feel pressure to switch products every 6-12 months. Now, with the growth of the internet and other tools, the development cycle is also shorter and drastically different. These things matter when it comes to the level of difficulty attached to obtaining a licensing agreement and [...]

5 Ways to Command Attention for Your App

Tracy Hazzard2017-02-20T01:27:31+00:00February 20th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

In this age of app overload, you need advice from experts on what you can do to get noticed. According to Statista, as of January 2017, 2.2 million mobile apps were available to download for various iOS devices. Smartphones opened a new world for apps with the average smartphone user getting lost in their favorite apps for around 40-hours per month. That's not even the most surprising part. Even more than the amount of apps available is who owns those apps that gain the most notoriety. If you're developing an app, keep in mind that you will be competing with tech and social giants currently dominating the space like Facebook or Google. And here's another interesting tidbit for you: while the amount of time users spend with their apps continues to increase, the actual number of apps they are using has stayed the same for the past 3 years. What Does [...]

The Brain Science Behind Designing the Right Customer Experience

Tracy Hazzard2017-02-19T01:28:23+00:00February 19th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Psychological control, developing trust, and the neuroscience behind what makes the sale. Hopefully last year has taught you a lot about how to do business, or in the case of the Mylan EpiPen, a lot about how not to do business. So I want to talk about that, as well as how we can all do better in 2017 by understanding what it means to transfer dominance to our clients and also how to earn their trust. First Let's Talk About the Epipen Disaster When customers, who were truly in need of a real solution, gained the EpiPen, they felt in control. They were thrilled, willing to pay the asking price, and were experiencing a rush of positive emotions associated with that gain. To make a somewhat long story short, when Mylan raised the price of the EpiPen, they went from a company quelling fear to a company instilling fear. [...]

Brand Is Out And Social Community Building Is In

Tracy Hazzard2017-02-17T01:26:57+00:00February 17th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

If 2016 was the year of the brand, 2017 will be the year of community as we seek more/better ways to authentically connect with our clients. I feel like the word I heard most in 2016 was brand. Everything was brand-centric and every brand was focused on branding their brand just right. I even got in on the branding fun, covering it on more than one occasion. The reason everyone was so focused on designing their brand was, and still is, because we've realized that in order for people to buy, they have to first connect. The brand is the story that garners that initial connection which is necessary for the buy. Once this realization hit the market in such a clear-cut way, everyone took notice and followed suit. That is, until a man by the name of Arthur Tubman introduced quite an opposite approach. What Is The Process Of Building A Community? Arthur's job in [...]

These 2 Startup Killers Are Both Rooted in Lack of Diversity

Tracy Hazzard2017-02-12T01:27:47+00:00February 12th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

In both people and product, a lack of diversity spells disaster for your funding and success. I feel like we've reached a point with the word diversity, where we kind of skip over it. We've heard the word so many times we may not even be attaching meaning to it, when there is plenty of meaning begging to be addressed. In fact, there are two major ways diversity, or a lack thereof, can kill your start-up and its funding dead in its tracks. Let's Get Rid of the Buzzword Affect We can do this by loosely defining what diversity means in business. When I use the word, it isn't only to point out gender, race, or sexual orientation. Diversity can refer to perspective, background, life experiences, generation, and so on. The reason it is so important to consider this is because this isn't some hippie-love-and-peace idea, this is our [...]

The One Hire Holding Back Your Consumer Success

Tracy Hazzard2017-02-10T17:35:21+00:00February 10th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

CES lesson: Cool tech is not enough. Get a consumer-centric designer in your business today. You can't get more tech-excited than attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas each year. But this year, one thing is glaringly clear - cool tech is not enough.Businesses and products are getting lost in their own technology and what is being shown here at CES looks and tastes like flavors of the same technology or marketing spin. Innovative or not, unless you move your business and products quickly to a consumer-centric model and retro-think your way back to the technology of features, you are wasting valuable money and time on your way to sales success. If a consumer doesn't value your features, why are you including it? If they haven't yet chosen to become your consumer, why are you stalking them? Stop Stalking and Start Conversing During a talk at Pixels, part [...]

Ringing in 2017 with a Proposal Means Shopping for the Right Ring

Tracy Hazzard2017-01-28T05:38:38+00:00January 28th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It|

Four engagement ring trends you must know if you are going to 'put a ring on it' in 2017. If you haven't checked your Facebook feed in the last hour, you might have missed the most recent engagement announcement. Two of my millennial-aged cousins got engaged in the past month. Proposals are in the air from November through February with nearly 6 million online searches for engagement rings taking place in the first two weeks of December alone. But seasonal spikes are not all that unusual according to brick-and-mortar luxury jeweler, Bernie Robbins, luxury on-line jewelry curator, Nikki Lawrence Co-Founder of Gleem & Co., and Ring Cam CEO, Sam Tzou. All are experiencing a seasonal swing - a 200-300% jump in sales during the holiday months. What is unusual is that there is a significant increase in engagement ring sales this year over last, of up to 25% outperforming most of the [...]

How to Fund Your New Product Launch in 2017

Tracy Hazzard2017-01-16T05:40:07+00:00January 16th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Need seed money for market proof? Here's where you can find it. Product based businesses often operate, even long-term, in a stop and go fashion, which makes lines of credit or access to cash very important, whether you're in your 1st year or your 10th year. This is a tough lesson some businesses learn too late in the game, and it ends up hurting them in major ways. I will never forget hearing from the founder of UGG Boots, Brian Smith, about how this was the main reason he ended up selling off his business. The cash flow/lending portion of the business became exhausting and after more than a decade of dealing with it, he finally had enough. I'm sharing this with you to show that this isn't something that always gets easier with time. With a product-based business, it seems you cannot totally avoid this, but you can use this [...]

Why Pantone’s Color of 2017 Matters to Your Business

Tracy Hazzard2017-01-09T05:37:39+00:00January 9th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Color trends can make or break your business, but it's more than just picking a color. As we prepare to move into a New Year there will be plenty of preparation done by businesses looking to scale and level up in 2017. With these preparations, there should be room left to look at office design, color palette choices, and what your 'look' will feel like in 2017. Architecture, design, planning and consulting firm​, Gensler's Senior Associate, Nestor Santa-Cruz discussed his 2017 color trends thought and I was thrilled to get his experienced insight. Going Date-Less In 2017 One of my favorite pieces of information from the conversation between Nestor and myself was the term 'date-less' and what that means when applied to design. This is core to what I practice everyday in time-less product design. Date-less is the idea that space or product design needs to have a long lasting [...]

STEAM & Girls Don’t Usually Go Together, Until Now

Tracy Hazzard2017-01-08T05:35:26+00:00January 8th, 2017|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How one company is closing the gender gap and creating a way to engage women in STEAM and 3D printing. 88612875 - beautiful latina girl working as photographer for image production In the world of 3D modeling and 3D printing, women aren't just a minority... they're difficult to find at all. In the design world, it is easy to recognize this on a daily basis, and given the work and resulting products, it is even easier to see the true effect gender discrepancies are having on this field. Suz Somersall, female founder of is working to close the gender gap once and for all. For Suz, it all started, a little bit at a time, during her time at RISD learning metal-smithing, industrial design, and 3D modeling. "3D modeling tools were really exciting for me because I figured out, pretty early on, that I could basically create anything I wanted to with these tools." [...]

Secret to Conversion: Learning the Language of Success

Tracy Hazzard2017-01-06T17:35:13+00:00January 6th, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Expand your foundation team and change your business narrative to produce massive results now. 61180748 - business, architecture, building, construction and people concept - close up of architect hand with blueprint and architectural tools writing to notebook At this point in business, we've all heard of at least one business coach, or possibly even worked with one, who had a million ideas about what you need to do right now to be successful. And I can almost guarantee that not any single one of them is packing the same punch as Bill Stierle, and they definitely are not taking the same approach. Bill is a consultant who works with companies that have hit a plateau. They want to get to 'the next level' but they have no idea what the next step is. Even more importantly, they probably have no idea what that next level is either. The Reverse-Engineered Sales [...]

James Bond’s Gadget Designer Raises $58 Million on Future Vision of AR Glasses

Tracy Hazzard2017-01-01T05:37:00+00:00January 1st, 2017|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It|

Can Osterhout Design Group really design cool mobile augmented reality and virtual reality smartglasses that actually sell? 66417843 - everything is so real! group of young business people working and communicating together while one of them wearing vr headset in creative office Augmented reality is projected to be a $150 billion industry by 2020 and investors are spending like this is an actual reality not a projected one. Osterhout Design Group (ODG)about raised $58 million in Series A from Vanfund Urban Investment & Development, Shenzhen O-Film Tech, and other investors, including strategic partner 21st Century Fox. There has been a lot of rapid movement this year with media companies investing in VR, AR and 360° video being seen in software, content development and hardware. Notably, Facebook and Oculus Rift VR; Huffington Post and RYOT; HBO and Otoy; Microsoft and Hololens; along with Conde Nast, Vice Media, Discovery Communications and USA [...]

How to See Into Your Brand’s Future Now

Tracy Hazzard2016-12-30T05:35:02+00:00December 30th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Why taking a risk on future technology innovations can make your brand relevant to generations today. Beyond the cool experiences you see in disruptive technology like virtual reality, the truly unique brand proposition is that it is so immersive and non-interruptive. But inserting your brand into it in very inauthentic way could be detrimental to your brand promise itself. If you do it wrong, you're screwed. Today brands are passively interacting with their consumers and it's not enough to build loyal fans. In a Virtual Reality world, consumers will have the opportunity to make a stronger connection with that brand, self-selecting to interact with it and then personally identifying with the brand. Ask 'Why this technology?' More important than running out and buying into the latest future tech trend, is should you invest the time building new technology skills and expertise for your business or brand? Will it convert? Will it add value [...]

Main Street America Revitalized, One Small Town at a Time

Tracy Hazzard2016-12-26T05:34:58+00:00December 26th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Just in time for Small Business Saturday: how to support small businesses in a really big way. In honor of this year's Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to helping small businesses thrive during the busiest holiday shopping season of the year, I wanted to point out that grassroots efforts to boost local businesses and small towns are happening across America. Maybe even in a small town near you. If you run into the problem Todd Thompson did, shopping in your hometown local stores might be difficult, especially if they've gone out of business or vacated the area. Todd is from a small town called Pekin, Illinois, where the vacancies and lack of small businesses, like in many other small towns, became the norm. So much so, that when Todd would tell people where he was from, out of embarrassment, he eventually started leaving Pekin out of it, and [...]

Hot Holiday Gifts Without Fighting Black Friday Crowds

Tracy Hazzard2016-12-23T17:35:03+00:00December 23rd, 2016|Brand It, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It|

2016 is the year of the subscription box gift, so here are tips and hot ideas to pick the right gift for everyone on your list. 47783628 - female shopper visiting mall on black friday In 2010, Birchbox started it all when they launched a monthly subscription box with the hopes of filling some unmet needs in the beauty market. Fast-forward to now, where subscription boxes have become a way of life for thousands of subscribers, and the beauty industry was just the tip of the iceberg. Subscription boxes have created a fun, new way to distribute products that creates an experience for consumers from the moment their box arrives. The most popular models feature an array of sample-sized products curated specifically towards the lifestyle of the subscriber. Until now. Meet: Singles Swag. The subscription box service geared toward young single women that is full of full-sized products, and even books. [...]

Is Virtual Reality a Fad or the Future of Escapism?

Tracy Hazzard2016-12-21T17:37:23+00:00December 21st, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Why neuroscientists and other experts agree that mixed reality is evolving, not disruptive. 58576439 - hipster man in checked shirt wearing virtual reality goggles. studio shot on black background I consider myself a "tech skeptic" - one who really needs to see that technology fits or facilitates an inborn desire to do something and has the potential to convert for brands or developers. Without both, innovation is short-lived - a fad that stays in the early adopter world and never tips mainstream. So when I came back to my office after attending the FutureX Live event orchestrated by innovative brand-builder Moxie, beyond excited about the future of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality, my partner thought I drank too much of the Moxie Kool-Aid. But right now, I am fairly sure you could use a little escape from reality too and are able to see the potential like have. Inventors and [...]

Why Herman Miller Redesigned Its Bestselling Aeron Chair

Tracy Hazzard2016-12-10T17:35:22+00:00December 10th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

Should you redesign a bestselling classic? Herman Miller's iconic Aeron chair offers a helpful case study. We've all heard that old saying 'if it isn't broken, don't fix it.' But that's not what the maker of the bestselling office chair of all time said. Let's go back to 1994, the year a global design manufacturer by the name of Herman Miller presented the first generation Aeron Chair. The chairs designers Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf created an instant icon for office workers around the world. Yes, really, around the world. The first-gen chair saw over 7-million sold in 134 countries. And with such great success, you might be wondering what in the world would be cause for a redesign on such an iconic classic. Because I worked on the original version, I was very curious to know also, so I sat down with Tom Niergarth, VP of Platform Design at Herman Miller, to find out. [...]

Shifting Your Office Into a More Zen Space

Tracy Hazzard2016-12-07T05:35:30+00:00December 7th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How to get your business into the right place, the right time, the right direction, and right thinking. 39244964 - he is businessman that can relax in office, while his work is doing. handsome businessman sit on table in office in lotus position and try to relax. I love writing about office design because my creative side gets lost in the details of choosing every right pattern, placement, and object to make a space really work. When it comes to design, there is so much more to every last element than what meets the eye. Pamela Edwards and Michael White-Ryan have built their business, Language of Space, around these very ideas, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to share their ideas with you. Pamela and Michael built their business around the ancient art and design philosophies of Feng Shui. Feng Shui, you might say? Hello, Tracy, and welcome to [...]

Business Skills That Save Your Creativity & Your Bank Account

Tracy Hazzard2016-11-28T05:37:43+00:00November 28th, 2016|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

To sustain the creative process, you need balance, in artistry, and in business. The American dream is shifting. What was once a benefits package and early retirement has now become gigging and freedom. Creative types around the world rejoiced when the internet opened up a $715 billion dollar marketplace of freelance work ripe and ready for the picking. So freelance they did, business they did not. And here we are, several years in, with quite a few lessons under our artist aprons, of business savvy, balance, and what it really takes to survive as a non-starving artist. Why Balance Is So Important Think about it this way: on one side is your amazing artistic ability, your design skills, and your creative crux... and on the other, your business savvy. In order to use your artistic abilities to make an actual living, there's some basic business know how that most artists skip over. [...]

3 Reasons You Should Be Charging More

Tracy Hazzard2016-11-26T06:35:16+00:00November 26th, 2016|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How your rates decide the value clients place on your products and services. Have you ever noticed there are some businesses that are always "liquidating" or having their final "going out of business" sale? It's because over the past decade we have become obsessed with getting a good deal, being savvy shoppers, and getting more bang for our buck. This trend has put us in a perpetual cycle of Sale! Sale! Sale! Now, data and buyer trends allows us a great amount of insight into what motivates clients to buy and the amount of value they place on each purchase. In the world of business, being the best deal is not always the winning path. Your client directly relates the amount they pay for your services to the amount of value you can bring to the table. What Is Your Knowledge and Experience Worth? When you are talking about creative work, or [...]

How to Mature Your Business Skills and Your Business

Tracy Hazzard2016-11-21T06:36:20+00:00November 21st, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

3 simple keys to unlock your potential and mature into a thriving business that runs itself. Something we can all agree on, when looking at the world of business, is that most entrepreneurs never actually evolve out of start-up mode. A lot of the time, in a start-up (especially with a creative type at the helm) there is a false belief that every aspect of the business must rely on you, must be controlled by you, and must be run by you. Otherwise the business will not be able to function. This limiting belief will prevent your business from growing to its full potential, and is one of the main reasons why a lot of start-ups never leave that initial mode of continuously starting-up. Strategy Isn't Just A Business Buzz-Word In order to change this truth for your business, you have to put in place strategies that are proven, to build [...]

3 Branding Errors You Don’t Want to Make

Tracy Hazzard2016-11-20T18:35:50+00:00November 20th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How to avoid branding disaster; advice from a direct response expert on navigating an image-based world. The world of branding is changing. Just by way of technology and platforms alone, our pathways and possibilities to clients have increased dramatically, and with that has come more opportunity than ever before, to connect personally with potential or repeat clients. These pathways help companies to create a seemingly transparent branded image, with consistent and genuine messaging that hits home for these clients. Unless you're doing it wrong. Then, these pathways create plenty of opportunity for confused and inconsistent branding (which happens A LOT) and for companies to find themselves in a make-or-break situation because they aren't getting the right message through to the right people in the right way. There is so much noise on the internet when it comes to branding and marketing, but in order to start to sort out what [...]

The Productivity Strategy That Really Gives You Extra Time in Your Day

Tracy Hazzard2016-11-14T18:35:47+00:00November 14th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Wouldn't it be amazing to manage your time so well, you'll have some leftover? Change your mindset first. Life, along with all of its wonderful distractions can be overwhelming and will eventually lead a lot of people, at one point or another, down a path that is lacking clarity, purpose, and energy. Laymen's Terms: When you get off track, you don't manage your time well, and as a result, your life lacks cohesion, purpose, and balance. There is one driving factor that will decide whether or not you avoid this type of cyclical dead zone. What I am talking about is time. The very thing that is said to stop for no one yet also stand still. The grand illusion and absolute. When you take a look at how time can be described, it seems to me there is some confusion about time. But more importantly, some confusion about how we spend [...]

Checkmate: How Top Leaders Beat the Competition

Tracy Hazzard2016-11-10T18:38:46+00:00November 10th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How Chess can help your business make one smart move at a time instead of just looking for the big bold wins. A centuries old game is taking the business world by storm in a very new way, and I wanted to know more about the whole thing. So I tracked down the expert, bestselling author Jim Egerton, to learn more. Jim's book, Business On The Board: How the World's Greatest Game Can Build Better Leaders is teaching the front-runners necessary business and life skills through a game-based approach, applying the theories of chess to real-life. Top leaders like Paypal's, Daniel Schulman and billionaire Richard Branson are avid Chess players. We can not only learn winning lessons from the Grandmasters, but also from famous opponents too. Bill Gates even played an infamous game against Chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen. Spoiler alert: although Gates lost, every move has been analyzed to show telling insights into his weak [...]

Put the IQ Power of Scorpion in Your Start-Up

Tracy Hazzard2016-10-30T06:35:09+00:00October 30th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Wish you could put the real Scorpion team to work on your biggest challenge for only $150 an hour? Wish granted. Let's go back in time a little bit... There was a lot going on in 1988, especially with NASA. This is the year they decided to resume their space shuttle program, only two and a half years after the Challenger disaster took the lives of seven NASA employees. As NASA set out to, once again, change the course of history, their forward momentum didn't go unnoticed. Walter O'Brien was just 13-years old at the time, and he was fascinated with the space shuttle program. So he did what any intrigued 13-year old boy would do. He hacked into NASA's databases, stole a copy of the shuttle blueprint, printed it out, and hung it on his bedroom wall. Imagine his surprise when all those black cars showed up [...]

Finally: An Office Space That Works For You

Tracy Hazzard2016-10-27T18:35:42+00:00October 27th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Here are three alternatives to the cubicle: which one fits your business culture and work personality? We talk about innovation and office space design A LOT. With good reason too. The most recent studies on productivity, and maximizing your bottom line, are showing us that your office space plays a key role in both. The 1960's saw the absolute rise of the cubicle and office chairs, thanks to Herman Miller and companies began cramming as many people as they could into whatever space they could afford... and everyone learned a few very valuable lessons: Unmotivated employees are expensive. Distractions are also expensive. Getting your office design wrong... is very expensive. With all of this valuable information, and new office design options optimal for productivity, I thought I would spend some time sorting out the criteria for the top 3 alternative office designs to help you decide if any of these options are the right [...]

This Software Is Going to Change the Way You See Photographs

Tracy Hazzard2016-10-14T18:37:13+00:00October 14th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Meet Plotagraph: The animated photography tool that will turn your Instagram marketing upside down. Getting your photo noticed in a sea of social media photos, is much like finding the needle in the haystack. There's only so much you can do with the photo itself, to grab a viewers' attention, and most of it may have already been done. We live in a media driven world. There is never a shortage of videos, photographs, and looping clips to keep us entertained and occupied. The average consumer sees thousands of images a day, which makes for some pretty stiff competition, if you're sharing photos as a way to drive business. Then, there's always the option of video, and the perks of offering clips instead, except 80 percent of social media users are watching without audio, as they scroll right through and miss the message you worked so hard to [...]

3 Hidden Dangers of Cooperative Networking

Tracy Hazzard2016-10-08T18:35:19+00:00October 8th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Tips from a networking group insider that can keep you accelerating to business success. In the 90's we had lunch and learn networking, always trying to be productive. The 2000's brought tightening budgets but a growth in personal crisis groups in the advent of 9/11. But this decade, cooperative networking has emerged as the must-have growth necessity of every entrepreneur. But has it really changed much over the past three decades or is it just the same message rebranded? After a year and a half witnessing these groups at work from the inside as a speaker, mastermind leader and faculty member, as well as from the outside, I have seen a few dangerous patterns emerge. So, whether you are auditing a free local meet-up, joining a mastermind, or attending a full conference, you need to be cognizant of how these organizations work. Be aware of these hidden dangers in cooperative networking before [...]

How to Keep Innovating at the Speed of Disruptive Technology

Tracy Hazzard2016-10-06T18:36:42+00:00October 6th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Getting beyond the buzz of disruptive technology into reality requires an innovative business approach. 45650880 - abstract high speed technology concept image from the yuikamome automated guideway in tokyo japan The most popular buzzword in the world of business and technology right now is: innovation. The companies that are looking outward and upward, are trying to guess the future, and get ahead of the trends by using innovation, and disruptive technologies. Our business economy is racing forward at hyper-speed, and the fast pace often sees companies left behind, simply because they couldn't change fast enough. There is also a huge percentage of the business world who are not being left behind, but they are just barely staying ahead of the curve... and then, there are the elite few who are seeing the curve from a few miles back, and transforming to meet it head on. Those elite few are [...]

How to Overcome Fear and Do the Impossible

Tracy Hazzard2016-10-01T06:36:57+00:00October 1st, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

It's about learning to starve your fears to feed your vision. 49505729 - man climbs the steps of collapsing ladder Lately the innovative entrepreneurs I have been meeting and talking to at networking events are full of stories of roadblocks, challenges and excuses for why they are not living their dream and moving forward. I'm not alone hearing this. Author and The Unshackled Owner Mentor, Aaron Young has been hearing the same thing. In a recent Livestream video on "What's Holding You Back?" Aaron asked, "You have a dream or an idea of something you want to do...get your product out to market. So, the question is what's the problem, what's the struggle?" Innovators should have an advantage because vision and hard work can more easily come together to be the recipe for success. To try to get to the essence of the inventor-specific barriers and issues, I conducted a [...]

How Office Design Can Boost Profits

Tracy Hazzard2016-09-30T06:36:04+00:00September 30th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Design a super cool office increases productivity, employee satisfaction, and your bottom line. As an entrepreneur, there are so many aspects to the success of your company that you must consider if you want to compete with the top performers. At the end of the day, when all the emails are sent, the meetings are closed, the bids are in, and the lights are out, you probably aren't thinking about which color paint might look best in your new digs. But you should. The success of your company and the productivity of your employees are directly tied to the design of your workspace. So I sat down with Kenneth Baker, of Gensler, a design firm that really gets the connection, to find out the nitty-gritty details on what office design has to do with the bottom line. It All Starts With a Strategy Design as a standalone, is not the only contributor [...]

10 Best Podcasts for Designers and Innovators

Tracy Hazzard2016-09-29T06:35:48+00:00September 29th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

When great minds in design & innovation are willing to share their wisdom and knowledge, listen up! Podcasts are a great option for staying on top of what's trending (or not so much!), new design perspectives, and to get inside the crazy-interesting minds of admired innovators and designers. Podcasts allow you to make the most of idle time by listening while commuting, traveling, carpooling, or even cooking dinner. There are a lot of podcasts out there, and choosing the best one to commit your time to can be a daunting task. So, I put together a list of my top 10 can't-miss podcasts on innovation and design, plus one that is not specifically innovation-related but gets your mind turning. You can thank me later. New and notable innovation podcast picks: 1. Passive Income for Designers - Dustin Lee This is a powerful idea that designers need multiple income streams, especially one that does [...]

How to Craft a Compelling Pitch (That Isn’t Over the Top)

Tracy Hazzard2016-09-11T06:34:58+00:00September 11th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How to get your financial models, realistic goals, and believable projections right. It seems that the work of an entrepreneur is never done. You've got your idea (the next big thing since sliced bread, of course) and you've put in the hours. You've pulled all-nighters, you've traveled around the clock, and you've talked and talked and shared and talked some more. You've sent uncountable emails and now you are finally ready... to meet with your investors. This is where it really gets tricky because there is a lot of outdated advice out there, and there are a lot of entrepreneurs who fumble their way through pitches because they weren't sure what to prepare or what to expect. Ahh the pitch... it's nerve-wrecking, intimidating, and has the potential to make or break the future of your 'next best thing.' It's Good to Know the Experts Self-proclaimed financial geek, John Shumate, founder and CEO of Venture [...]

Guns: The Dark Side of 3-D Printing Arrives in Reno

Tracy Hazzard2016-09-10T18:37:12+00:00September 10th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Concerns over criminal use of 3-D printing spawns legislative action in California and hits home for the TSA. Up until now, it has been rare to find a 3D printed gun being used outside of fringe activists. But recently concerns over 3D printed guns has hit both the Reno, Nevada TSA and the California legislation. While this dark side of 3D printing has been a passing concern, it is hitting close to home and raising concern from law enforcement, legislation, and 3D print experts like author and intellectual property attorney, John Hornick, partner at Washington, DC based Finnegan IP law firm. "There are starting to be a lot of reasons law enforcement is taking a closer look at 3D printing," Hornick says. TSA 3D Printed Gun Find Surprising or not, the Transportation Safety Administration reported on their blog that they found 68 firearms in carry-on luggage this week - one of them was 3D printed. "While it [...]

3 Things Freelancers Need to Do Now to Get Gigs

Tracy Hazzard2016-09-04T18:36:14+00:00September 4th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Gig-economy freelancing realities: What the numbers show and how you can connect and compete. If anyone has ever tried to tell you freelancing is easy, it's because they've never freelanced. When technology took off, it dragged many creative types along for the wild ride holding on for dear life. When the prospect of leaving regular day jobs for the freedom and excitement of "gigging" became a real possibility, a lot of people jumped ship, leaving their conventional jobs behind. It was a glorious time of gigs as far as the eye could see. You want to write copy for a perfume company looking to expand its audience? That job is out there. You want to create blog posts anonymously for the design company you've been drooling over for the past year? Go for it! And then something happened. All at once it seemed like everyone realized the opportunity and the market became [...]

Grill the Expert: 10 Crucial Questions to Ask

Tracy Hazzard2016-08-30T06:35:19+00:00August 30th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How to accelerate your business with the right resource at the right time Whenever I talk about hiring experts, I always think of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich story about a man who was '3 Feet From Gold.' After an initial find of gold ore, the man covered it up, returned home, raised money, bought equipment and went back to dig. He found some more but then the gold stopped. He kept on digging but eventually gave up in frustration and sold everything to a junk man. The junk man consulted a mining expert and found out that gold runs in a vein. They simply turned three feet and dug up millions. Perseverance to not give up would not have been the point of this story if the miner had just reached out for an expert. Your mindset can be blocking your from seeing the need for an expert. Once you get [...]

Why Perseverance Isn’t Enough to Bring Your Invention to Market

Tracy Hazzard2016-08-29T17:17:51+00:00August 29th, 2016|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Three ways to shift your thinking and take the actions needed to profit from your ideas. Pushing past naysayers and those who don't see your vision absolutely requires a thick skin and perseverance for any inventor. However, giving up too soon is not likely to be the biggest problem blocking your success getting your innovation to market. You are. Here are three mindsets that might make you a successful inventor but be blocking you from seeing the actions or resources needed to take you to success: Perfectionism Of the hundreds of products and inventions I have reviewed or been asked to advise on over the last few years, an overwhelming percentage of them had patents that had already issued. The majority had been worked on for at least a year or more. Maybe to you that might be unsurprising, but less than 10% had ever tried to sell a [...]

Design Economy Tools That Empower Creative Freelancers

Tracy Hazzard2016-08-28T17:15:57+00:00August 28th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How a home crafting marketplace helps freelancers compete with the big agencies. We have watched trends in the workplace come and go with each generation, but for some of the trends, their staying power leaves such a mark it is sure to influence the tapestry of everything that will follow. The trend I am talking about, specifically, is freelancing. We are watching priorities change with each generation entering the workforce. Professionals are no longer forced into a cubicle box with a 9 to 5 schedule and a week of vacation. There are platforms popping up around the world for creative entrepreneurs, for professionals, for designers - to become freelancers almost overnight. Marketplace connector sites, like Spoonflower, allow home crafters to turn designs into commerce and allow professional designers to freelance more, shifting the design economy to be more accessible for freelancers at all levels. Freelancing Requires Low Barrier to Entry Technology I started my career in [...]

Making Government Great Requires Innovation

Tracy Hazzard2016-08-27T18:35:33+00:00August 27th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How Uncle Sam is quickly becoming Aunt Alexa and what that means for you. Imagine using your Apple watch to explore boat launches and water trails at state parks - (this is happening in Maryland). Or using an innovative technology product like Amazon Echo to quiz you for an upcoming driving test - (currently available in Utah). Or having your cell phone remind you and help you renew your driver's license - (thousands are using this in Arkansas). No lines. No paperwork. No bureaucracy. Which sounds slightly unbelievable given that we are discussing the government, but what we are looking at is the future role our government will play in our daily lives. The company at the heart of this innovation is NIC. With a slogan that reads "making good government great" NIC describes their purpose as making government more accessible and more efficient for all. NIC has spent the last 20+ years working [...]

5 Secrets From A Body Language Expert To Perfect Your Pitch

Tracy Hazzard2016-08-26T18:37:15+00:00August 26th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

A body language expert explains how to perfect your product presentation. Communication is the human connection. You are in a constant state of communicating with those around you, basically every waking moment. It is an ebb and flow of information, thoughts, emotions, and reactions being passed back and forth as you move throughout your day. When it comes to business and selling your product, this is no different. As the inventor, the creator, the designer... you must take on the job of learning how to present your products in a way that grabs the curiosity of others and makes them want to know more. The Perfect Pitch What I'm talking about here is the almighty, important perfect pitch. Before a product ever actually becomes, well- a product, it goes through several phases of development and growth. Once you've reached the part of the process where you are ready to [...]

Secret Formula to Designing Products That Sell

Tracy Hazzard2016-08-26T06:35:55+00:00August 26th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

If necessity is the mother of invention, then you need to follow the formula to find the need gap. Do you ever wonder why some products, brands, or designs seem to blow up overnight, while others fall flat instantly? My experience in bringing products to market (A LOT of products) has taught me quite a bit about what it takes to design products that will succeed in our ever-changing, and fast-paced marketplace. There is a slight method to the madness when it comes to knowing which product to create, why, and how to make that product work for those who need it most. Where there is a need, there is a gap waiting to be filled, and this is how you should begin your process of designing something the masses will actually buy. Innovating In the Gap I'm not the only one who has figured out the 'secret formula'. Lee Richter, [...]

Three Keys to Branding Your Start-Up as an Innovation Leader

Tracy Hazzard2016-07-30T17:10:14+00:00July 30th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Building perception for innovation can be the difference between growth and funding of your ideas. Calling your business innovative is getting to be common practice for almost every start-up. Who doesn't want to be perceived as new and noteworthy? But being seen as innovative and actually being innovative are two radically different things. Actually being defined as innovative - introducing new ideas or original and creative thinking - may come easier to you and your start-up than increasing perception and brand promise of innovation. That requires a much more consistent level of branding work. In a world of social proof trumping actuality here are three proven effective ways to brand your start-up as an innovative from branding and marketing expert, Karen Leland, author of The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand. Consistency Being consistent with publishing content on the leading innovative trends in your industry or niche is important. Your [...]

5 Warning Signs You’re About to Fail

Tracy Hazzard2016-07-27T17:06:38+00:00July 27th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

When to stop your start-up or break-up with your business. In the business world, the norm is to start-up loud and then shut-down quietly. Except when it comes to Laura Beck, the founder of Her so-called Indie-No-Go, Kickstopper campaign is teaching us a few things about failing, the right and wrong way, and why sometimes, breaking up with your business is the only option. Just about every business blog, article, and website you see out there tells you the same thing: when it comes to business, you have to be willing to stick with your start-up, through the good, the bad, and the garage full of unsold t-shirts. Without arguing that perseverance isn't a key part of success, some businesses aren't meant to succeed, and knowing when to quit could save you an immense amount of time and money. It's So Hard to Say Goodbye After five years of barely [...]

How Startups Really Get Funded

Tracy Hazzard2016-07-22T17:04:00+00:00July 22nd, 2016|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Extended seed stages for funding are forcing founders to prove that the "dogs will eat the dog food." Welcome to the age of applied technology. This shift from developed technology is teaching us more than we ever could have imagined and even more than that, it is changing the way start-ups...well... start up. Andrew Goldner, Founder and Managing Director of GrowthX, a seed-stage MicroVC fund and leading market development accelerator, believes that this shift is key to getting to the bottom of what it takes to get successfully funded in this new marketplace. Technology Has Become Cheaper and Easier Realizing your talent, what you can bring to the table, and how you intend to do that is no longer enough to get funding. "The actual availability of talent is so much more plentiful than it has been historically, that to differentiate yourself, you are expected to have gotten much further with much less," [...]

Defying the Rules of Branding One Big Ass Fan at a Time

Tracy Hazzard2016-07-16T18:36:19+00:00July 16th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How listening to their tribe helped this company triple annual profits. The internet is flooded with advice from branding experts all over the world. Each tip and rule of branding is meant to drive you closer to your customer while maintaining a business that is geared toward maximum profitability. But what if the best way to get closer to your customer... was to simply listen to what they were saying? This is what the founder of Big Ass Fans (previously HVLS - High Volume Low Speed - Fan Company) did and they haven't looked back since. Learning to Listen "We would answer the phones with HVLS Fan Company, how can I help you? And on the other end the people would say. "Hey, aren't you the guys who make those big ass fans?" and after a little less than a year, we went ahead and changed the name." In a culture that favors business [...]

5 Design Personalities You Need to Level Your Team

Tracy Hazzard2016-07-15T18:36:20+00:00July 15th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Why you need a Pharrell Williams, Martha Stewart, Madonna, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs on your team. Every person you encounter throughout your day, every personality type, has blinders, shadow behaviors, gaps in their capabilities. Call it what you will, these exist in everyone. The design world is not exempt and I sat down with Paul Martens, founder of CORA and author of The Motivated Life, to discuss this and more. In 'The Motivated Life', Martens talks about a five-type system of design personalities with which designers can recognize their areas of expertise as well as their personality gaps. This thoughtful design theory shows us where our strengths are and also helps to point out weaknesses. 5 Core Types of Design Personalities Type One: Direction, designed to market oneself Type Two: Beauty, designed to please Type Three: Innovation, designed for popularity Type Four:  Entertainment, designed to entertain Type Five: Efficiency, designed for clarity If you are thinking [...]

Designing Your Path to Profitable Success by Focusing On Impact

Tracy Hazzard2016-07-03T18:44:58+00:00July 3rd, 2016|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How a simple shift of perspective can change the way you do things, and ultimately change your level of success. Finding, creating, and managing success isn't an easy feat by any set of standards. Life can be is full, busy, messy, and unpredictable- so flying by the seat of your pants to find success just doesn't make sense. There are too many factors, day-to-day, that will derail you if you aren't prepared for the next step in your journey. When I sat down to talk with Wendy Lipton-Dibner, global strategist and bestselling author of 'Focus On Impact', she had quite a bit to say about this... and even presented a 10-step road map! Sequence and Success Are BFF's - Sequence + Success According to Wendy, if we are destined to get anywhere fast, we should never 'go out of sequence' or we would most certainly end up lost, hitting roadblocks, or [...]

High Pressure Start-Ups Need Resourceful Front Line Leaders

Tracy Hazzard2016-06-27T18:35:34+00:00June 27th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How hiring veterans with bullet-tested leadership brings resourcefulness and real world experience to your company. As an innovative start-up charting new territory, you need strategy, structure, systems, quick deployment, inventiveness with meager resources, and a team that has your back. One day you are dressed up in full presentation mode and the next you are rolling up your sleeves and cleaning the office bathroom. Being in the midst of a start-up feels like a constant battle, but imagine if you had to do that with actual bullets flying. Imagine the powerful training you would have undergone and the skills, tactics, discipline and leadership characteristics you would have to guide you forward. Our discharged and retired military come home from deployment to a very different world. Veterans like Nick Ripplinger, author of the bestselling book, Front Line Leadership, received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (the third highest peace-time award) during active duty [...]

Growing an Iconic Brand Requires Perseverance

Tracy Hazzard2016-06-23T18:35:54+00:00June 23rd, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How the Uggs Founder survived and pivoted his brand from conception to birth and into maturity. Just as in life, business must always grow in phases. You cannot possibly run before you walk, or hit your teen years before the terrible two's, and you most definitely cannot give birth to an adult. The founder of UGGS, Brian Smith, learned this lesson and plenty more along the way as he turned his idea of bringing sheepskin boots to the U.S. into something that has become a household name, a fashion staple, and an icon for business success. Conception to Birth Is Only the First Phase How many times in the process of growing your business have you seriously considered throwing in the towel? For Brian Smith, as he grew UGGS, that answer was four.  Four times he almost walked away from it all because he didn't realize in those moments that he was [...]

How to Power-Boost Your Confidence in 2 Minutes

Tracy Hazzard2016-06-23T16:55:03+00:00June 23rd, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

This is how you draw strength and power from your mind-body connection to deliver the perfect pitch. There is a long history of researchers discussing the mind-body connection. Body posture "speaks" and is part of the non-verbal way people communicate with each other. In the workplace, this means that you are constantly communicating, whether you are talking or not. For example, eyes cast down or shoulders slumped are usually associated with lower confidence or even sadness. It is important to understand that our body language speaks to others but our body language also communicates with us internally. Amy Cuddy, a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School studied the question of how does our body language affect us? She gave a great TED talk on the topic. She coined the termed "power posing" to study how a certain body posture might actually help increase confidence. This pose consists of standing [...]

Tips to Make Your Overseas Business Trip Carefree

Tracy Hazzard2016-06-19T06:37:45+00:00June 19th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It, Sourcing|

The best secrets about what to pack and how to stay connected while traveling abroad. There are so many ways travel can go wrong. Just as with any travel abroad, a lot of things change once you exit your native country and being prepared for those changes is one of the easiest ways you can ensure a stress-free and successful trip. Here are seasoned traveler secrets to help you minimize unnecessary stress and make your journey into Asia, Africa, Australia or wherever your business takes you, triumphant. Let's Begin With Packing Perfectly Packing just the right items to prepare for the unknown is something you learn how to do well when you travel often. Generous Layers of Clothes - the flight is always way too hot or way too cold so having plenty of clothing options is a no-brainer. Hand Sanitizer Wipes - Carrying extra liquids, or any liquids, can definitely slow you down [...]

How Jamaica Became a Logistics Powerhouse

Tracy Hazzard2016-06-04T06:37:46+00:00June 4th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

The Panama Canal expansion is turning Jamaica into the go-to place for sophisticated logistics. When conjuring up images of Jamaica the mind sees tropical beaches, mega resorts and friendly people saying 'Ya-Man'. The island has developed a clear brand in tourism as a friendly convenient place to vacation and relax. Behind the scenes where most tourists never visit you will find a sophisticated infrastructure that has been growing since the island's independence in 1962. Ambition and vision have been the key action statement driving the goal of becoming the business powerhouse of the Caribbean and helped it achieve an Inc. ranking of #7 as one of the Most Entrepreneurial Countries in the World. Advantages such as a highly educated labor pool, world-class infrastructure in telecommunications and a government that is expected to cut red tape for start-ups might make Jamaica your ideal business powerhouse location. Why Jamaica Should Be Your Next Business [...]

How a Snail-Mail Business Gave Itself a Digital Makeover

Tracy Hazzard2016-05-28T06:37:47+00:00May 28th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Send Out Cards is weathering a huge corporate culture shift from a company that makes a physical product to a tech-based brand with a personal touch. It's no secret that our world has taken a tremendous turn towards all-digital-everything. So when Kody Bateman, founder of Send Out Cards, and author of Promptings: Your Inner Guide To Making A Difference, built a company by going physical in the midst of a digital world, it seemed market counter-intuitive. Yet, for a business based on the idea that people still like to receive cards in the mail, the company is thriving by embracing technology. According to Bateman, the concept for Send Out Cards was born out of a missed prompt in his own life he still wishes he acted upon. Understanding the importance of being able to connect with the significant people in our lives, Bateman wanted to offer a service that combined handwritten letters and [...]

Becoming an Innovation Tourism Hot Spot Through the Silicon Valley Model

Tracy Hazzard2016-05-27T06:37:48+00:00May 27th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

How to win business leaders and entrepreneurs and influence business tourism to your city. For decades, the Silicon Valley has been more than just a place on a map. The Silicon Valley is an international symbol of innovation. Other regions around the globe look to imitate the model that the Silicon Valley has established, in hopes of becoming the next big global hub and hot spot for innovation. The key to turning your town into the next Silicon Valley is in understanding why and how the model succeeds. Why the Silicon Valley Model Succeeds Silicon Valley is the birthplace of numerous powerful startups that are now known worldwide. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Twitter are obvious examples of major billion dollar companies started in the Silicon Valley region, and are powered by their motivation to impact our world. Becoming the "go-to" place for innovation means being equipped [...]

Creative Mind & Sleep: Does Innovation Thrive In The Night?

Tracy Hazzard2016-05-26T16:46:32+00:00May 26th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

What personality and genetics have to do with why creatives seem destined to get less sleep. It always seems to be the artists, the creators, the inventors, and the designers who suffer from insomnia. Imagine: Einstein in his messy haired glory working away in his lab on the general theory of relativity. Is it a coincidence that this genius stereotype is pervasive? Or is there something more to this 'up-all-night' stereotype? I am a night owl and my husband and business partner is a morning lark. He can fall asleep talking to me at 9pm. Two members of my family gave me a copy of Arianna Huffington's book for my birthday. Obviously I have an issue sleeping, but always thought genetics played a role in whether you are late to bed or early to rise. So it doesn't seem a far stretch to consider personality types as a driving factor in our [...]

How Swimming With Sharks Can Push Your Business to Profitability

Tracy Hazzard2016-05-22T16:42:19+00:00May 22nd, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Three reasons to get a shark investor to activate your business and two reasons to avoid becoming bait. Kevin Harrington, one of the Original Sharks, wants to be your 'Shark' too. He wants you to put into practice a secret shared by generations of Japanese fishermen for bringing fish back to shore as fresh as when caught in the deep sea. They put a shark in their fish hold. The small shark keeps the fish moving, energetic and fresh. Of course there might be a few sacrificed and eaten, but selling the freshest sushi or launching the hottest product is worth the loss. Many investor sharks have the philosophy that they bet on the jockey and not the horse. In this metaphor, you would bet on the fisherman and not the fish. According to Kevin, his philosophy is contrary, "In the early days of Shark Tank, I gave [...]

Ways 3-D Printing Can Save the Planet, Shift a Company, and Run a Marathon

Tracy Hazzard2016-05-22T16:38:27+00:00May 22nd, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Plus how going green by 3-D printing is a sustainable and profitable business model. In conjunction with the Boston Marathon and Patriot's Day, Massachusetts-based New Balance released 44 pairs of the world's first running shoes with 3D printed mid-soles for sale. For Owner and Chairman, Jim Davis, this was personal. He bought the company 44 years ago on Patriot's Day. New Balance joins many other companies, with one foot in the past and one foot in a very innovative and tech-based future. Interestingly enough, this shift from goods manufacturer to technology business is going to do more than make these companies competitive and sustainable in the market. In the near future, 3D printing might just help these companies save the planet too. Here's how. Zero Inventory Model Because 3D printing is manufacturing on-demand, the inventory implications alone are worth exploration by every type of business. 3D printing can yield immediate bottom-line savings [...]

How to Develop Extreme, Championship-Level Focus

Tracy Hazzard2016-05-07T16:35:36+00:00May 7th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Dave Austin has helped top athletes in the NFL, MLB, and Olympics achieve a laser-like focus in high-stakes situations. Here's how. Wouldn't it be great if you could close out the world and the time pressure and calmly focus on only the next critical shot in front of you just like Villanova Wildcats forward Kris Jenkins? With a strong belief system, commitment to goal-focused mental performance and practiced daily intentions, you can. That's according to Extreme Focusmental performance coach Dave Austin, who says you can "be a beast" in your business by adopting daily habits that train you to "become a champion in anything." The reported statistics on retention from business lessons and a good business seminar hovers around 12-13%. Austin says Extreme Focus coaching achieves a 92% retention rate. The key is its use of a visualization concept involving animal models. "Animals add a useable and translatable trigger that increases retention of the mindset to adopt, allowing you to put it into play quickly [...]

Increase Your Sales by Getting to ‘No’ Fast

Tracy Hazzard2016-05-01T16:31:31+00:00May 1st, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Increase your sales velocity with these innovative selling tips to qualify leads quickly. Wouldn't it be surprising if at your next meeting the salesperson said, "Is it okay if I tell you no?" In a collaborative approach to sales, Top 10 Sales Guru, Bob Urichuck, CEO of Velocity Selling trains sales leaders around the world how to attract, engage and empower buyers to buy from you. Whether you are a start-up building a new sales force or an entrepreneur selling your own service or product, this results-oriented approach is geared to give you the skills needed to grow your bottom-line. Too quickly salespeople jump straight to selling points and solutions which is why you feel "sold to and icky" as Bob puts it. Buyers are in control in today's modern sales presentations - armed with information researched on-line, numerous ways to duck calls and emails, and able to get a [...]

Top 5 Must-Attend Rapid Growth Entrepreneur Conferences This Spring

Tracy Hazzard2016-05-01T16:26:16+00:00May 1st, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Discover tech savvy action-oriented events that can move your business forward now. Spring is packed with business conferences and while I was attending one, I kept seeing many colleagues posting from another event spanning the same days. Feeling like missing out and torn between deciding which ones are better, you might have to decide your own priorities in choosing which conference will yield a better return on investment for your money and your time. The criteria used here to select Spring 2016 picks for the Top 5 Must-Attend Rapid Growth Conferences is simply that conferences must have the following characteristics. Be packed with action-oriented workshops and seminars that are not sales pitches from the floor disguised as a workshop. They must be full of free content that is useful to building a strong business that can accelerate your growth quickly. Be run by great people with strong desires [...]

How a Young Woman Designer Is Changing the Way the World Poops

Tracy Hazzard2016-04-30T16:22:12+00:00April 30th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Wish for Wash Founder Jasmine Burton shares her thoughts on innovation and social good. Believing that you have the power to make a difference might sound like the ideals of youth, but putting those ideals into action is what separates designers that just draw from innovators that build. Jasmine Burton, Founder of Wish for Wash a social impact organization that saves lives by bringing innovation to sanitation through culturally-specific research, design and education is an innovator and a doer. As a freshman at Georgia Tech, Jasmine was inspired to do something about the global sanitation crisis by a women's leadership conference by Susan Davis of Improve International. Nearly half of the world doesn't have access to a toilet; of those people, women and girls are disproportionately burdened and pubescent girls in the developing world frequently drop out of school as a result of the lack of toilets in their schools. Angered by this reality, [...]

Why Designers are Bullish on 3D Printing

Tracy Hazzard2016-04-30T16:18:04+00:00April 30th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Is the demise of Pinshape an indication that the 3D Printing bubble has burst or a reason to invest more? Just announced today, Pinshape, one of the most designer-friendly 3D Print communities, is closing their site with 75,000+ users on March 31, 2016. With a series of down-sizing and product line discontinuations throughout the 3D Printing industry, investors have cooled off considerably on the consumer sector of 3D Printing. Makerbot's 2015 revenues were down by 55% causing layoffs and the parent company, Stratasys took a large goodwill impairment charge for the acquisition. 3D Systems discontinued their consumer sub-$1000 printer, the Cube and closed their design community to focus on their core industrial business departing completely from the consumer marketplace. 3D Printing industry analysts are calling it a sign of a 3D Printing bubble burst, but as a 3D Print designer and co-host of the WTFFF?! 3D Printing podcast, I am hearing the exact opposite from the education, consumer [...]

This Is How You Create a Brand That Gets Noticed

Tracy Hazzard2016-04-10T16:13:50+00:00April 10th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Aiming just for 'catchy' isn't enough. Here's what goes into creating a brand that people remember. Crafting your brand messages and tag lines to be impactful and memorable is not just important for those entering a Shark Tank-style pitch. It is a marketing requirement to create sound bites with all audiences, on-line and off-line. Best selling author and master publicity strategist, Jill Lublin helps small business owners and entrepreneurs to refine both company and personal brand messaging because very likely you are the brand and the story too. Her technique is to have you first reflect a problem in the marketplace today. Jill Lublin coaches her clients to capture attention and be concise, very concise identifying that "the problem today is..." Then you can move on to why you are or have the solution in an "interesting and relatable way and, of course, giving it a little ooh and ahh." The core message should [...]

Secrets to Pitch Your Idea from Bootstrapped to Funded

Tracy Hazzard2016-04-08T03:03:59+00:00April 8th, 2016|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Licensing, Promote It, Protect It, Prototype It|

Crafting a successful investor pitch requires cracking the funding code with angels not sharks. The most critical secret to getting your pitch funded is one of the top reasons for start-up investment pitch failure - only 3% of start-up funding comes from venture capital. So you are probably in the wrong room - you want to pitch angels, not sharks. However, perfecting your pitch for the right investor with what business model will have traction and what needs to be in your pitch deck requires an inside track on how to crack a secret funding code. Most entrepreneurs, especially creative ones think that they can just wing it and figure it out on their own, but after listening to The Successful Pitch podcast hosted by Funding Strategist, John Livesay, it is clear that struggling to figure out this enigma alone is a big failure point. As John Livesay explains, you need [...]

5 Design Tips Inspired by the Creators of the World’s Most Iconic Office Chair

Tracy Hazzard2016-04-04T03:00:10+00:00April 4th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Advice from Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick on how to create a legacy of best-selling designs. Ten years after his death, the anniversary of Bill Stumpf's birth date is still being celebrated by those who knew him and his incredible international design reach. Two years into my career as a designer, which, gasp, makes that two decades ago, I was lucky enough to visit his studio and work on a project with him. The Aeron chair was in final production and we were working on custom colors and materials for a special installation project. His studio was fascinating and conducive to his iterative design process and philosophy. He openly shared his work, his process and his thoughts on how good designers are meant to be servant leaders. Those values were reflective of the Herman Miller core values, the company we both served at the time. Herman Miller Bill Stumpf in his [...]

3 Ways to Create Gender Harmony in Your Company & Products

Tracy Hazzard2016-03-29T02:47:11+00:00March 29th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Why a little battle for the sexes is good for innovative design and better selling products. Everything is personal nowadays, even business. Maybe a little too personal; especially when sex enters the workplace creating imbalance or counter-productivity. With women yielding the largest demographic for sales in any product or service category, can your company afford to avoid a battle of the sexes about what women and men want? Fear of being sexist removes healthy debate and collaborative conversations between men and women, negatively impacting product design. It goes against societal norms and professional self-preservation. According to relationship navigation specialist, Kimi Avary developer of the Beyond the Glass Ceiling Workplace Navigation System, "masculine and feminine modes of being are hard-wired, but it's when we get stuck in your own head that misunderstandings occur and productivity decreases." Here are 3 ways you can safely bring sex into your product development team and design [...]

5 Ways to Get Your Money’s Worth from Designers & 2 Don’ts That Cost

Tracy Hazzard2016-03-29T02:44:43+00:00March 29th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Hiring an in-house or freelance designer is a daunting task, but these essential 7 practices are the keys to actually getting your intended innovation and productive value from those designers. Clearly articulate your design criteria Failure in design is most often failure in communication. Miscommunication of company goals, brand promise and target market understanding. You are doing the hiring and you are ultimately responsible for the results. Through the development of your design criteria, you will not only be clear about the outcome you expect but also on the key skills required when hiring. Design is really a team sport Hiring a solo designer or freelancer is a dangerous practice. Designers need to feed their creative minds off each other. Design refinement and innovation happens with mind share. Additionally, you need a team who can work simultaneously on both advanced projects and responsive immediate demands. If your budget permits, hire [...]

What a South Carolina Libertarian Taught Me About Innovation

Tracy Hazzard2016-03-19T02:41:40+00:00March 19th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

  Exposure to an executive business training seminar called Freedom School leaves lasting lessons. Recruited fresh out of Rhode Island School of Design, I excitedly started my first real industry job working for textile giant Milliken & Co. in Abbeville, South Carolina. As if it wasn't shocking enough to go from New England to the exact spot where South Carolina seceded from the Union in 1860, the HR manager told me that I would have to spend nine weeks attending their Leadership Orientation Program in Spartanburg. My first introduction to executive business training was typical enough with a general overview of the company capabilities and factory visits. Evening classes in public speaking with a Dale Carnegie instructor was energizing. I still use many of those early techniques today to remember names and structure my talks. Surprisingly, my favorite part was the opportunity to learn statistical analysis, something I couldn't learn [...]

3 Ways to Train Your Brain for Bigger and Better Ideas

Tracy Hazzard2016-03-18T03:40:47+00:00March 18th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

For starters, you need to stop overthinking it. Organizations and entrepreneurs are looking for ways to encourage more innovative thinking. But, according to John Assaraf of The Secret and, thinking is the problem--the process of thinking actually "by definition cancels out the neural process of creativity," effectively killing innovation. Here he sheds light on the brain processing required for greater innovation as well as the secrets to encouraging and invoking innovation. "Creativity, imagination and innovation are a part of a neural process that occurs in some of the newest evolutionary structures of the brain," he says. "Creativity is a whole-brain phenomenon that takes a totally different level of complexity." Begin with the prefrontal cortex, which Assaraf calls the "Einstein Brain: the CEO; Executive Director; the GPS system--the part of the brain where you can think of all the possibilities and then activate the occipital part of the brain to imagine an outcome." This brain [...]

Millennial Valentine’s Day Proposals – Put a Ring On It and a Camera In It

Tracy Hazzard2016-03-05T03:29:55+00:00March 5th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Time to put a ring on it (and a camera in it) to share the moment you pop-the-question. Love is in the air and popping-the-question videos are on my social media feed all the time. I expect that more now that Valentine's Day is approaching. I am truly amazed by all the effort and expense being put into the proposals, including making sure that there is a photographer or videographer stalking or standing by to capture a personal moment. Ring Cam Ring Box CREDIT: Ring Cam This is fresh in my mind because my daughter, Alexandra recently got engaged to her filmmaker boyfriend, Jonatan. He called me before the proposal frustrated with figuring out how to balance the private moment and still capture it on camera to share with the rest of us and preserve forever. We both sifted through many very expensive options until he came to the conclusion [...]

Attracting Clients to Dominate Your Market with Podcasting

Tracy Hazzard2016-03-04T03:24:13+00:00March 4th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Forget passive income use a podcast to attract clients and dominate your market instead. Podcasting is continuing to trend as one of the hottest marketing opportunities for entrepreneurs and experts. Anyone who's anyone wants to be interviewed on a podcast - even the President. But unless a high-powered guest propels your podcast to millions of monthly plays, can podcasting really make you money? As co-host of a fast-growing niche podcast - WTFFF?! 3D Printing Tips & Tools - I have personal experience with the podcasting trend. Conceived in April 2015, our podcast has grown to 25,000 plays per month in nine months. We are in the midst of taking on our first set of sponsors. More important than a little residual advertising income, podcasting has positioned our design firm to be the market's top agency creating 3d print consumer products. Is this success just a fluke of right place, right topic and [...]

3 Questions That Will Make You a Guest Speaker Superhero

Tracy Hazzard2016-02-29T03:19:21+00:00February 29th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Here are some simple ways to bring clarity and focus to your pitch. Asking pointed questions is what I do all day long - I interview entrepreneurs and tech professionals for my podcast. I believe that asking the right questions has become my business superpower and a significant part of why people are able to binge-listen. I don't ask the same questions every week. I turn down potential guests who require prepared questions. But I do appreciate those rare guests who prepare a customized list of 3-5 questions I should ask. After talking with Tony Wilkins, host of the Small Business Forum Radio, I found that he trains speakers to be the ideal guests by "getting their brilliance out clearly and quickly" and by delving into the interviewer or audience needs through asking two power questions. In a media-driven business world where content and resources talk, speakers and interview subjects need to [...]

Stats and the facts to consider before you start a crowd-funding project

Tracy Hazzard2016-02-26T02:44:12+00:00February 26th, 2016|Brand It, Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It, Prove It|

Stats and the facts to consider before you start a crowd-funding project. Even with all the posted statistics on demographics, failure rate and high cost of marketing for running a Kickstarter campaign, inventors believe that they will be one of the elite to overfund. Here are the top reasons inventors give me when I ask them why they want to Kickstart and some things to consider before crowd-funding: It's extremely difficult to find traditional or venture funding for product-based start-ups except on Kickstarter. While not completely unfounded, the Quandl report on Angel/VC funding for consumer product ventures shows that the statistics are low - less than 5% for VCs and 16% for Angel investors. Consider this, Kickstarter is market proof that someone will buy your product. Failing to fund like the 63% unsuccessful projects reported in 2015 will make it even more difficult to get investors. Making a small run on Amazon [...]

5 Simple Pricing Strategies Every Creative Company Needs to Master

Tracy Hazzard2016-02-26T02:38:50+00:00February 26th, 2016|Brand It, Free Articles, INC Articles, Promote It, Prototype It|

Time management, job estimation or pricing make the difference between working hard to make ends meet or working smart to build a business into a successful business model. Dr. Minette Riordan, creative marketing expert expert and author of The Artful Marketer: A Fundamental Business Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs, recommends developing extreme focus and clarity on your time management and business profitability. She shares some of the same no fluff advice she gives her clients so that you can quickly boost both your productivity and profitability, while maintaining your creative integrity. 1. Take a Time Audit Finding ways to develop insight into "where to place your energy" considering Time Flow Out versus Cash Flow In can start with a simple time-tracking audit. Per Dr. Riordan's advice, write down exactly how your time is spent over the course of a week and review against your business goals. I spent over 60% of my time [...]

Go to Top