Successful Product Marketing For Sharks with Seth Greene

Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T17:13:15+00:00July 27th, 2018|Free Articles, Podcasts, Promote It|

The only two things that matter in your business is if you're selling product, you need the right people to see your product, and then you need them to actually buy it. Hopefully, if it's consumable, they’ll buy more than once. Marketing magician Seth Greene of the Sharkpreneur podcast says they encompass successful product marketing in the traffic and conversion departments. Whether traffic and conversion is taking place online via a marketing funnel that takes people through a series of steps designed to get them to punch in their credit card, or whether it's taking them to a physical bricks and mortar outlet to punch in a credit card, however they end up consuming that purchase, that runs the gamut of what they do in terms of taking a company and driving their sales as high as they want them to go. Watch The Episode Here: Listen to the podcast [...]

The Product Pricing Guide for First-Time Product Launchers

Tracy Hazzard2018-07-13T05:44:02+00:00July 13th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

How to price your products like a forecasting expert and sell even more, in 5 easy steps. Welcome to the obscure, murky, and sometimes scary world of product pricing. If you are reading this, it's probably because I finally got a title catchy enough to draw you in... or like plenty of other entrepreneurs, you are unsure of how to price your product (most likely). Elementary, My Dear Watson. As in elementary math and science, which is what most of you probably assume product pricing consists of. But this is not entirely true, and gray areas in business create the obscurity mentioned above. Identifying the perfect product price ultimately rides on how much you understand your target market's behavior. Pricing isn't just about how much the market will bear. Sometimes it's based on emotion and perception, like paying more for an iPhone because of the time and energy that's put into it. Step One: You Need A Clear Revenue Goal [...]

Top 7 Consumer Market Research Mistakes to Avoid

Tracy Hazzard2018-07-13T05:20:05+00:00July 13th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Skip these rookie mistakes, ask the right questions with the right consumers and market research like the pros. I was hanging out after a conference not too long ago, chatting up new brand builders when something crazy happened. Three of the four entrepreneurs I was talking to hadn't conducted any market research, and the fourth was proud to announce their hours spent Google searching potential competitors. The need for knowledge, like this, shows up in the most unlikely places sometimes, one of those is my sister-in-law, Laura Hazzard, a market research pro who works with very big brands like Target and Starbucks, and advises smaller ones for me as well. She and I have talked extensively about the biggest mistakes we've seen in research, especially with people just like yourself who are ready to launch their product(s). Whether it's your first product, or tenth, we want to make sure you are avoiding rookie mistakes this late in your process. Without [...]

Product Pricing Strategies to Sell and Sell and Sell

Tracy Hazzard2018-07-12T05:20:31+00:00July 12th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

How to price your products like a forecasting expert and sell even more, in 5 easy steps. Welcome to the obscure, murky, and sometimes scary world of product pricing. If you are reading this, it's probably because I finally got a title catchy enough to draw you in... or like plenty of other entrepreneurs, you are unsure of how to price your product (most likely). Elementary, My Dear Watson. As in elementary math and science, which is what most of you probably assume product pricing consists of. But this is not entirely true, and gray areas in business create the obscurity mentioned above. Identifying the perfect product price ultimately rides on how much you understand your target market's behavior. Pricing isn't just about how much the market will bear. Sometimes it's based on emotion and perception, like paying more for an iPhone because of the time and energy that's put into it. Step One: You Need A Clear Revenue Goal [...]

Failure to Launch: Why the Right Order Matters Most

Tracy Hazzard2018-07-11T05:07:58+00:00July 11th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

This expert process has successfully launched over 250 consumer products and shows how the right things, in the right order make for a successful product launch. The product launches that work are the ones that do the right things, in the right order, at the right time. Entrepreneurs with a process in place launch with a stronger foundation, which only lends to their chances of success. There is a right order to do things and if we're not doing them in the right order, it means that we don't have the right information, so we have a higher opportunity for failure. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with how passionate you are or how great your product is. More often failure happens simply because you don't have a critical piece of information that should have come first. Right Order: Seven Product Launch Steps to Success Prove It. This is critical because I'm sure [...]

How to Create a Picture Worth a Thousand Likes

Tracy Hazzard2018-06-28T03:00:30+00:00June 28th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

For design visualization, Adobe has the next step you've been waiting for, to set your business, designs, and photos apart from the rest. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what does that translate to in dollars? How much is a good, top quality, well-designed picture actually worth? In terms of product perception, branding, and design, a picture is worth whatever your business is worth. Because this is what's riding on each image you put out, or hire someone to put out, on your brand or product. It seems now, through social platforms, not only are businesses selling products, and influencers selling themselves... but everyone else is selling their life, not for money, for interest, for interaction, for attention, and for double taps. A friend put on an Instagram course for cohesive branding and design, and half the people who showed up just wanted to learn how to make their personal Instagram [...]

Here’s Why You Need Others to Grow an Innovative Big Business

Tracy Hazzard2018-06-27T03:00:05+00:00June 27th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why getting out of your box and collaborating is the most sensical path to innovation and growth for becoming a much bigger business. The thing we are learning about business, as we continue accelerating forward is, we can try to do it alone, but we won't be as successful or innovative. We know collaboration brings us a competitive edge, the advantage of diverse perspectives, and the ability to exact change across a lot of mediums at one time. This is the future of big business, additive manufacturing, and everything in between. Inspiration, first Close to 30-years ago now, Chris Casteel, of Anew Life, was about to experience a life altering accident. His motorcycle was forced into a curb by distracted drivers, and luckily he survived. Unfortunately, Casteel had to give up his left leg as a result of the damage he suffered from the accident. But he didn't let that slow him down. He [...]

The Best Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Geek Dads

Tracy Hazzard2018-06-26T03:00:56+00:00June 26th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Go beyond the ordinary and give a little bit of tech love to your geek dad this Father's Day with these innovative twists on the typical gift. It sounds really conceited to say that I am known for being an original gift-giver and have Father's Day covered with cool and very personal gifts. But it's not because I am especially gifted at it. It's because I am skilled in eyeing original product ideas and continually researching. So I thought that in today's article, I would share with you the way I get gift and new product ideas and my list of techy twists on gift ideas for Dad. Here's my process guide for turning shopping into a science with valuable product market research that will make your new products more competitive and sell through faster: Gather all year round: We gather data and images year round in store and online so that we can track what's trending in the product [...]

10 Ways to Avoid an Epic Business Failure

Tracy Hazzard2018-06-14T03:00:16+00:00June 14th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Minimize risk to help your product launch go right, instead of right into failure. Throughout my product development career, I've designed, sourced and launched hundreds of consumer products generating more than $2 Billion at e-commerce and mass-market retailers. I've also realized that there are massive patterns and similarities in product launches that fail and product launches that succeed. Using these patterns, I've put together my top ten list of product launch hazards. These are the pitfalls and the errors that run brands into the ground, so work smarter, and avoid these traps at all costs. The Top Ten Hazards of Product Launching Too Many Niches. Plenty of entrepreneurs let their excitement get the best of them, and they want to be everywhere, selling to everyone, all the time. Brand confusion is something new brands, especially small businesses, cannot afford. If you end up with too many different customer focuses, too many target markets, spread too thin- it will [...]

Full Disclosure: You Probably Don’t Need a NDA

Tracy Hazzard2018-06-07T03:00:07+00:00June 7th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

What's necessary to keeping up the flow of business, while protecting what's yours, your ideas, and ultimately, your success with or without a non-disclosure agreement. Non-Disclosure Agreements seem like a mandate in the world of start-up entrepreneurs and inventors. Everyone is working so hard to be legitimate and protective of their business babies. I'm sure plenty of people have advised you also, "If you've got something new and you're going to talk to anybody, have them sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), so they can't disclose it to others." For me, I really try to keep legal out of any kind of negotiations or reviews when we're in early stage talks with a company, whether they're going to be a client or a licensing partner, or whether we want to sell them our designs. So, let's talk about why, or why not, NDA's are necessary. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I just have a lot of business experience in [...]

This 80/20 Color Rule Helps You Design for Success

Tracy Hazzard2018-06-06T03:00:52+00:00June 6th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why color matters, and how you can use it leverage your way to marketplace success. I love color. In design, this is one of my favorite areas and things to focus on, because it's fun, and it's creative, and color really allows you to separate yourself or your product from everyone else. However, just like any other business differentiator, if not done with strategy, color quickly becomes your downfall. As one of the foremost experts on picking colors that actually sell in mass market retail, I am going to share with you the important lessons I've learned over the past 26-years. Let's Start With A Story About Color At 24-years old, one of my first groundbreaking projects was to create a product line of colors, materials, and finishes for Herman Miller, for the redesign of the entire textile line.  This was a five hundred plus color line, in the footsteps of a fabulous and iconic designer who [...]

Building the Right Prototype to Sell Your Idea

Tracy Hazzard2018-06-05T03:00:48+00:00June 5th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

When it comes to product launches, the land of prototypes and models is daunting, unless you read this first. In the land of product launches, there is a young entrepreneur named Tom. Tom wants to create a working model of his product (aka functional prototype) but he doesn't know where to begin. As much as Google offers us by way of vast knowledge, albeit at times useless, this is different. There are articles about how much you need a prototype, and there are articles about how much you don't need a prototype. And Tom is willing and wants to do whatever it takes to have a successful product launch. This combination of potentially bankrupting advice and the eagerness to succeed is what drops many entrepreneurs out of the game before the first whistle blows. So I put together, from my 25-years of experience, everything you need to know about prototyping and modeling. Understanding Prototype Options [...]

Can We 3-D Print the Future Without Females?

Tracy Hazzard2018-05-29T03:00:03+00:00May 29th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why additive manufacturing needs the female touch more than ever. There is so much buzz around what manufacturing will grow into over the next decade, and I am enthralled by the conversations. It is so exciting to see applications come to fruition to save an industry ripe with pitfalls, and primed for rapid transition and growth. Manufacturing hasn't totally lost its luster, but for people like me, on the inside, I know what it can be. So I am attempting to move the needle forward, faster, now more than ever before. The Possibilities Are So Endless In the near future, we will not talk about 3d printing or additive manufacturing as a part of the process, because it will be a part of most processes. Just like injection molding, this will just be. Because of the endless potential, when it comes to application, we are beginning to see ownership from industry and makers, all the way down to [...]

Tesla Washed Their Cars With This Waterless Car Wash and Helped Build a New Brand

Tracy Hazzard2018-05-25T03:00:30+00:00May 25th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

Yet still, it took this brand years to prove their model. Here's what you can learn from their success and timeline.   The failure rate of startups after five years is fifty percent. For many new concepts, at this point in their game, they are still attempting to educate their market and gain proof of concept. The process for new ideas and concepts is longer and more exhaustive than most entrepreneurs and innovators realize, and mainly because, people aren't in such a hurry to buy. Whether it be buying a new item, or buying into the next big idea, everyone has slowed down. Consumerism is changing and marketing is too. Which means, going in, there are steps you have to take, if you want to gain market traction before you fail. In the product game, the competition is fierce and the failure rate, even fiercer. But there is a lot we can learn from the innovators [...]

Kickstarter to Shark Tank in 5 Months: Plus Other Shark Success Stories

Tracy Hazzard2018-05-10T03:00:51+00:00May 10th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

What you can learn about success inventing and launching products from the people who "swim" with the Sharks. Since 2009, the television phenomenon that is Shark Tank has had innovators and dreamers clamoring for a chance to "be seen", to share their brilliant ideas, and to leave the studio with a brighter future than which they arrived. The show is gritty, sometimes unfortunate, and always entertaining. The popularity is no surprise to me, given the rise in entrepreneurship and people starting their own part-time or full-time businesses over the past decade. And there is definitely a Shark Tank effect, where being associated with the show or one of the Sharks, provides businesses with massive sales boosts and opportunities of a lifetime. Everyone Doesn't Win Sometimes when watching the show, I cringe, when I know a good business has been passed up. But I also secretly love the gritty aspect of the show. In a [...]

This Insider Product Launch Strategy Builds Amazon Millionaires

Tracy Hazzard2018-05-08T03:00:41+00:00May 8th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Insider information from the top Amazon Seller conference on how you can develop products that are brand assets instead of collecting failures in this fast-paced retail marketplace.   The former head of Amazon Services, the group that recruits almost all new sellers to Amazon Marketplace, James Thomson, co-founded The Prosper Show, a conference to unveil insider secrets and build shared success knowledge. We both share intellectual space when it comes to helping e-commerce sellers avoid the time-wasters and launch profitable products that thrive. The 1400+ attendees look for real honesty and nitty-gritty advice and are tired of failing, tired of bad business and product advice, or both. Seven out of ten consumer products fail. Fourteen out of fifteen home shopping products fail. Hayneedle is gone. Toys R' Us is going. Big brands fail too... but they have a much longer runway than you do, and can afford more failure than you. So to help level the playing field, I'm sharing the secret formula million dollar sellers use [...]

5 Skills AR Can Grow in Future Entrepreneurs

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

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

The Lack of Women in Design and Retail Is Now At Crisis Level

Tracy Hazzard2018-05-03T03:05:54+00:00May 3rd, 2018|e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Retail & Big Box|

The Female Leadership Crisis report is out and it alludes to a problem we need to avoid if we want to begin closing the consumer retail product failure gap and bridge a massive gender bias gap. According to the Female Leadership Crisis report just put out by Accenture, Mercer, and NEW, "The female executive population is projected to decline by more than 50 percent over the next decade. If the status quo remains, women will comprise just 15 percent of executive ranks by 2027, compared to 35 percent today -- a trend in the wrong direction." As a woman in a leadership role, and mother with daughters, this is concerning, and for more reasons than you may realize. Why does this trend matter in product design? I am not bringing this point to the table only because I am a woman. I am bringing this point to the table because I live in [...]

Elon Musk Might Be Wrong: Mars Won’t Save Earth, the Moon Will

Tracy Hazzard2018-05-03T03:00:18+00:00May 3rd, 2018|Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Prototype It|

Seeking bold innovation frontiers, men and women (and not just billionaires) explore how to save Earth from the Moon. When the very first frontiersmen began exploring the new territories of the United States, it didn't take them long to realize the abundance and opportunity in front of them. Of course, with great opportunity comes great responsibility and danger. The sheer effort it took for someone like Daniel Boone just to stay alive is almost unbelievable. And even if we don't all agree on how this happened, we can agree that men like Daniel Boone changed the course of history for humans, forever. Fast forward to today. The new frontiersmen and women will be going into outer space, to risk everything, to explore these new lands, and forever change the future, and life as we know it. We are enamored each time Elon Musk does something nobody has been able to achieve yet, because space is fascinating, and [...]

3 Ways Freelancers Can Use the New Tax Laws to Save Big

Tracy Hazzard2018-04-27T04:48:39+00:00April 27th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Promote It, Prototype It|

The 2018 new tax laws have massive benefits, here's how you can take advantage of them and protect your business at the same time. There's been a lot of chatter lately about the new tax laws, who qualifies for what, and how small businesses, creative professionals and freelancers can benefit the most. When I started designing, I always wanted everything to be professional, so I worked to create a business, choosing to form a separate entity, an S-Corp, to be specific. This, over time, has worked to my advantage over other freelancers, so we will talk about what I've learned with Hazz Design, and also get some advice from Aaron Young, CEO of Laughlin USA, a company that has formed and protected over 100,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners over the last forty years. What About Solopreneurs, Freelancers, Ghostwriters, or Designers? When it comes to taxes and brackets and filings, where do solopreneurs fall? More than that, what are the [...]

5 Changes That Can Save Retail from Disruption

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

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

Why Metal 3D Printing is Breakthrough Tech for 2018

Tracy Hazzard2018-03-23T10:37:29+00:00March 23rd, 2018|Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Produce It, Protect It, Prototype It, Prove It, Sourcing|

Metal 3D printing is cheaper, safer and faster so let's see if it's finally ready to be the disruptive technology we need. The perception of 3D printing in the trough of disillusionment has slowed down it's progress. That was very apparent when I spoke at SXSW last week. Right now, our experiences, on a whole level, with 3D printing have more than likely been one of four things: 1.     A cheap, junky, cheesy, rose that Walmart sold to see if there's market traction on cheap, junky, cheesy 3D printed products. 2.     An online video of a fidget spinner being printed, followed by 25 comments about how so-and-so stole this design. 3.     A school or job fair with a desktop 3D printer gaining all of of the oohs and aahs in the room, and printing an elephant. 4.     A Kickstarter prototype, one off process, either for an acquaintance or yourself as you prepare to [...]

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

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

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

Without These 3 Things Brands and Influencers Have Declining Trust

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

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

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

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

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

Brand Your Product Like Yeti So No One Talks Price

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

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

The Inside Scoop on African American Women in Tech and Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tracy Hazzard2018-02-23T06:13:39+00:00February 23rd, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Identifying Product Gaps and Nixing Brand Launch Pain Points

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

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

Stressed About Turning Your Idea Into a Product? Read This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Superpowers That Will Help Female Entrepreneurs Find Extreme Success

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

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

Billionaire Mentor Jay Abraham on How to Be the Ultimate Entrepreneur

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

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

Tools to Make You And 2018 Disruptive Enough To Thrive

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

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

What Disruption Actually Looks Like in a Mature Market

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

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

How VR Will Make 2018 the Year of Visionaries

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

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

How to License Products and Serve Our Veterans, Too

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

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

4 Barriers Holding Retail Back From Tech Innovation

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

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

Must-Have Timeless Secrets From Two Sales Closing Masters

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

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

Lessons on Surviving Industry Decline and Disruption

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

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

Want Consistent Gigs? Listen To This Entrepreneurial Musician

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

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

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

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

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

The Difference Between Focus Groups and Customer Advisory Boards

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

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

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

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

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

3 Top Influencers Explain Engaging Buyer Loyalty

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

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

The 7 Essential Questions To Build Your Business On

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

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

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

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

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

Designing A Strategy That Gets It Done

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

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

Get Out the Markers & Crayons To Write Your Business Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Use These 4 Rules To Position Innovative Products

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

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

How to Battle From Idea to Launch and Survive

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

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

Funding A Nonprofit With Branded Products That Sell You

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

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

Convert Brand Authority Into Revenue With Micro-Influencers

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

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

Profitable Businesses Need Fit Entrepreneurs

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

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

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

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

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

This One Question Will Change the Way You Pivot

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

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

Creatively Rewire Your Brain To Sell Faster

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

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

Tap Into The Brand Marketing Power of An App

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

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

Finding Product Manufacturers That Deliver All the Goods

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

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

Flipping Your Side Hustle Into a Real Business

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

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

Bootstrapping Innovation: 6 Tactics That Work

Tracy Hazzard2017-09-18T05:53:07+00:00September 18th, 2017|Capital Funding, Free Articles, INC Articles, Inventors, Promote It, Prototype It|

How to get resourceful innovating without seeking funding and still win big. It isn't easy being a startup. It's even more difficult being a startup capable of innovating. It's damn near impossible to be a startup capable of innovating without the backing of funders dropping in cash. Or is it? Innovation Costs Money One of the main drivers of innovation in our classic business market is funding. To innovate costs money, and so obviously, that money and where that money goes drives who gets to innovate and even how much. As we shift into a modern business market, we've witnessed a lot of change and one of those changes is something I like to call resourceful innovation; that is to innovate by relying on resources rather or more so than external funding aka bootstrapping. According to start-up researcher Abdo Riani, most startups cannot afford to innovate because innovation is a long-term [...]

How To Get Your Product In Front of the Right Buyers

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

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

How One Woman Is Making Math Affordable

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

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

Why KISS Needs To Be Your New Design Mantra

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

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

3 Visual Branding Tips That Help You Rock LinkedIn

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

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

Prep Your Product Launch To Survive & Thrive

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

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

Reinventing High Touch Amid High Tech

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

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

Made In America Is More Than Guts & Glory

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

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

Designers Building Businesses Learn Digital Skills From These Resources

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

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

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

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

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

Why Design Is the Best Bottom-Line Strategy

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

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

Nitty-Gritty Secrets to Being an Amazon Millionaire

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

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

Learning to Deal With Stress Just Got Easier

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

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

Why Being Selfish Helps A Partnership Thrive

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

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

Secrets to Out-Innovating Your Competition

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

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

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

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

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

Launching Products Online Or On the Shelf

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

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

How To Win Influencers & Boost Your Launch

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

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

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 [...]

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