How to Pitch Investors and Get Funded: 5 Things You Need to Know

Tracy Hazzard2020-04-10T19:00:39+00:00April 10th, 2020|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Expert Scott Kelly shares common mistakes plus how to prepare your pitch to win.   Founder and CEO of Black Dog Venture Partners, Scott Kelly, is a 25 year fundraising, marketing, sales, training and publicity veteran. Kelly has raised millions of dollars in capital for disruptive companies, garnered national media coverage for hundreds of regional and national brands and generated millions of dollars in revenues for the companies he has represented. I recently heard Kelly speak at a City Summit event, and he hammered home some great points that every startup seeking capital should know. How Not to Suck When Kelly speaks to hopeful entrepreneurs, he gets real, and talks directly to their needs so they can learn how to: Create a pitch that closes investors fast Find and secure their first round of funding Use publicity and social media to attract investors And overall, how not to suck at pitching, and everything in between [...]

Controlling Your Digital Content Is the Business Requirement Everyone Missed

Tracy Hazzard2019-11-20T01:34:49+00:00November 20th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

In the age of AR, VR, and 3-D, we still have so much to learn, so businesses need to take ownership or fall behind. Before everything went online, content was still a buzzword. Before WordPress made it easy to build a website, in the early Web days, content was still being created and pushed out. Marketing has been around for as long as someone has tried to sell something, and people have always paid a lot of money to keep this system in play. When content went digital and online and when social media grew into the behemoth we see today, digital content went into every format, every ".xyz" file type available. Every marketing firm in America told clients, influencers, startups, and corporations to get on every platform and push their content in every direction. This strategy matched the level of organization and universal structure these platforms held. Tech startups today are foreseeing this [...]

Think Your Business Is Ready to Expand into Amazon EU? Read This First.

Tracy Hazzard2019-11-15T08:34:17+00:00November 15th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Grow your product sales into European markets without risking and losing it all.   The volatility in markets, here and around the world, have actually encouraged businesses to take action and work to protect their economy and revenue streams. This initiation of backup plans is even encouraging the move, for some businesses, into the European ecommerce market. There's tremendous selling opportunity on Amazon in Europe, but that opportunity is plagued with difficult problems for US sellers who are expanding. Whether we're talking about the complexity of EU tax law, the unknowns of Brexit, the evolution of Amazon marketplaces, the different fulfillment programs to choose from, five different languages and two different currencies to support- and these challenges are constantly changing- sellers are often blindsided. For Amazon Selling Strategist Karen Codd, these challenges are just another day in the marketplace, and her expertise on both the challenges and solutions couldn't be more timely. Codd pointed out that sometimes, [...]

Could This Startup Give Party City A Run for Their Money?

Tracy Hazzard2019-11-15T07:47:29+00:00November 15th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Meet the party supply brand focused on marketing, ecommerce, and customer acquisition.   Back in 2005, I launched a brick and mortar store called Pure Girls, which seems like a lifetime ago looking at where my businesses have changed, grown, and even closed. Pure Girls was a party shop geared towards pre-teen and tween girls, where they could host themed parties, get pampered with their friends and family, and do it all in an environment boasting girl power. When the recession hit, I moved on from this business, taking with me a lot of lessons learned pertaining to event based businesses and how that needs to align with products for success. #MoreGoodTimes This is the mission for a new company in the party supply space, and while it sounds simple enough, given my past experience, I wanted to dig into the nitty gritty details of Coterie with co-founders Sara Raffa and Linden Ellis. When Coterie first [...]

Why Aren’t Female Founders Getting Funded? Industry Experts Weigh In

Tracy Hazzard2019-11-13T04:17:49+00:00November 13th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

A serious look at the venture capital world as it pertains to women, and what needs to change. Only two percent of venture capital funds went to female founders in 2018. To make that number even more shocking is the fact that companies led by women perform sixty-three percent better than all-male teams. We could continue piling on even more, and point out that in the current venture capital cycles, there is no current trend line that puts women above ten percent representation, ever. How should we feel about the fact that approximately ninety-seven percent of the current overall investor base is male, very network and rolodex driven, and nearly impossible for women to tap into?  To meet those numbers head on, it's important to talk about wealth and the direct correlation to women. Right now in the United States, women hold eighty-six percent of the buying power across all consumer product categories. Women [...]

Why Soybeans Are the Next Major Innovation In the Roofing Industry

Tracy Hazzard2019-11-07T03:54:31+00:00November 7th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The roofing industry is seeing major disruption, and sustainable products are becoming major player.   Like many entrepreneurs, Mike and Todd Feazel started out in an industry with a successful business, in this case, Feazel roofing, founded over 25-years ago. Throughout the years, they've watched the industry change, innovation become increasingly accessible, and consumer demands grow. When they decided to sell their business and change it up a little bit, they had their eye on something bigger. In so many industries, innovation seems like it has to be a unicorn- magical, new and full of complexity. But what the Feazel's and entrepreneurs like them have learned along the way is that sometimes innovating through the most simple, most available means is where you get the results you are really looking for. When it came to roofing, sustainability, and the Feazel's, that happened to be soybeans- something plentiful in the U.S.- but not necessarily what everyone [...]

Forget Shoppers Cards. Rewards Programs Are About to Get a Digital-Age Upgrade

Tracy Hazzard2019-10-18T02:20:38+00:00October 18th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Rewards programs are changing to include artificial intelligence, 5G, and even blockchain technology. Loyalty programs have come a long way since the 18th century, where it's believed that retailers were incentivizing shoppers even then, with copper tokens that were redeemable for future purchases. From stamps to coupons, airline miles and shopper cards, we've been witness to the shifting timeline of attempted customer acquisition through incentivized programs. The biggest lesson we've learned throughout this process: this incentivization approach works. And so we continue on, attempting to build entire processes around a shoppers experience, with the simple hope that they will come back. Way back when, rewards programs were much simpler, but now there are so many more touch points with potential consumers, the programs must be designed to incentivize more than one action. For example, every single time I get a Hello Fresh delivery, along with my food are coupons for my friends to try free [...]

Play Your Way to Success: 3 Things You Can Do to Scale Up Successfully

Tracy Hazzard2019-10-16T02:06:38+00:00October 16th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Meet the entrepreneurs bringing design, sales, and engagement into the modern world and having fun, too. Do you still play? This question is actually at the center of a business model that has not only rapidly scaled and expanded, but is also proving that innovation and imagination are here to stay. From their design approach, to their community engagement - there was plenty to talk about with Ryan Ringholz, Founder/Chief Designer and Jonathan Spier, CEO of PLAE. As this team puts it, "Play is fundamental, a hard-wired universal concept. We come into the world knowing how to eat, breathe, sleep... and play. These human essentials cut across cultures, politics, ethnicities and gender." Reinventing the Processes For the team at PLAE, the innovative reinvention of design, delivery, and sales is the core of their B2C business model, an online only approach, that relies on heavy engagement of their buying community. The question of "do you still play?" [...]

What Do Product Design and Star Wars Have in Common?

Tracy Hazzard2019-10-02T01:54:23+00:00October 2nd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The world's leading entertainment visualization studio talks futuristic design, process, and optimization. Even in a job as cool as special effects rendering for Avengers and a multitude of other Hollywood box office hits, there are still challenges and pivots necessary to survival. The constant conversation happening around our rapidly changing business and technology ecosystem has everything to do with adoption, and that is for one very simple reason: We aren't changing as rapidly as the technology is advancing. We aren't adopting at the pace necessary to keep up. Well, some of us are...and in that category of early adopters and technological innovators is Chris Edwards, co-founder and CEO of The Third Floor. Fifteen Years in the Making The Third Floor is a pre-visualization, post-visualization, and virtual reality company based in Los Angeles which was founded by a group of artists who worked together on Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith at Lucasfilm. The company was named after the location [...]

Football Friday Nights: The Product Evolution of the Helmet

Tracy Hazzard2019-09-28T01:23:21+00:00September 28th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why new innovations and technologies are changing the game, literally. "Repetitive head trauma chokes the brain." When the words of Dr. Bennet Omalu flowed from the 2015 Will Smith hit Concussion, all of a sudden there was a new conversation. Of course it wasn't entirely new, the NFL, trauma experts, Neurologists, helmet manufacturers, and the likes had been discussing these topics for a long time. But the public eye of scrutiny opened up a new door for innovation; one football fanatic, former racecar driver, and entrepreneur Nicholas Esayian took notice of. Of course there's plenty to be said about the NFL, but for me- this is a product story through and through because we can clearly see the pivotal moments when change to a stagnant industry became welcome. This never happens without challenge, so we'll answer the questions around successful market disruption and the challenges along the way. First, A Little Bit of Background [...]

Media and Advertising Are Changing. Here Are Your Biggest Challenges

Tracy Hazzard2019-09-25T01:11:14+00:00September 25th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Identifying the challenges that are changing the way we see, market, and advertise our brands and businesses. So many of our innovations rely on advertising, a $700 billion industry, to gain fans, followers, and consumers. After four years of writing this column on innovation and more than 25 years of personal experience designing retail product innovation and selling $2 billion worth of consumer goods, I know: If you build it, they don't necessarily come. In business over the past decade, we've grown into storytellers, social good peddlers, influencers, and brand geniuses, but one thing still remains true: Advertising is required. It certainly isn't the same game, as digital media has shifted advertising tremendously, and the challenges that go along with this shift definitely need some clarity. Being the product person that I am, I think it's also important to note how much our product sales depend on this industry shift. And to clearly understand the [...]

Investing in Future Innovations: Why We Need More Women Now

Tracy Hazzard2019-09-23T09:52:23+00:00September 23rd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Developing, investing, and building sustainable growth in future innovations.     I had the opportunity to speak at the Exponent Women conference this year on a panel called Exponent Explore: The Pulse on Blockchain, Cannabis, and ESG. It is rare that I attend a conference with the quantity and caliber of women I experienced at this conference, and the level of experience on my panel alone was nothing short of inspiring. One of the most important pieces of this conference and this panel that needs more focus is the space for women in outlying or future investable technology and industries. Why? When? How? Before we jump into the gender-based part of this conversation, it's important that we recognize how investing in future innovations is absolutely essential to our social development and economic progress. But why? When? How? Why is it so important to invest in future innovations? When is the right time? [...]

The Digital Transformation of Retail and How to Stay Alive Online

Tracy Hazzard2019-09-19T09:39:47+00:00September 19th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Retail's digital transformation left plenty behind, don't let that be you. With physical stores going away, a lot of brands are left attempting to navigate their own online transition. These growing pains and this fundamental shift in how retail does business, and will do business in the future, is bigger than most realize. Yet with this sense of impending doom, to the old ways of brick and mortar, adoption of new ways has been slow.  Let's Talk Process First In the "old days", large wholesalers like Nordstrom and Macy's had buyers. Those buyers would find designers, designs, brands, trends, and bring those into the store often by purchasing large bulk orders from that designer or brand. The buyer would say, "I will take this, this, and this", the designer would get a purchase order, and then take that to manufacturing, where they would have the order shipped to the store. Now, if [...]

Knowing When and How (As Women) to Jump Into Investable Technology

Tracy Hazzard2019-09-18T09:27:13+00:00September 18th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The Exponent Women Conference covered a broad range of innovation investment topics, here's what you missed.   As I venture more into the world of blockchain, and investable technologies, I find myself participating in fascinating and energizing conferences. The most recent panel I was thrilled to be a part of, Exponent Explore: The Pulse on Blockchain, Cannabis, and ESG, was put on by an original organization called Exponent Women. The mission of this organization is clear: to raise women to a new power, to provide access to an existing ecosystem, to deliver meaningful interactions and actionable content, and to unite one of the largest collectives of women dealmakers on the east coast. The topics of each speaker were incredibly diverse, but tied together by a common "pulse"- they are new, they are exciting, they are mystified, and they are lacking women. The Value of Getting Into Disruptive Technologies Investable Innovation...How do we know if [...]

Disrupting the Consumer Experience: CPG Trends We Can Learn From

Tracy Hazzard2019-09-17T09:15:04+00:00September 17th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Exponent Women talking consumer product trends: reckless direct-to-consumer models coupled with disruption.   Consumer packaged goods (CPG) is an industry term for merchandise that consumers use up and replace on a frequent basis. Examples of consumer packaged goods include food, beverages, cosmetics, self-care items, clothing, shoes and cleaning products. The market surrounding CPG's is incredibly competitive with very high market saturation and very low switching cost to the consumer, should they decide to move on to another brand or product. According to a report from Information Resources Inc., online sales of consumer packaged goods (CPGs) rose over thrity-five percent in 2018. With the overnight success of small, customer-centric digital and social brands, the margins seem to be spreading out in this two trillion dollar industry. Unilever Buys Dollar Shave Club for One Billion Dollars Direct-to-Consumer CPG brands took advantage of the low barriers to entry, and this is where we've seen a [...]

Accelerate Your Sales With a Marketing Agency Versed in Everything Amazon

Tracy Hazzard2019-09-03T07:37:53+00:00September 3rd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

What you need to know about Amazon marketing, capable agencies, and a few no-no's when hiring. Chris Fryburger, founder of nReach and Amazon consultant, spent six months researching and interviewing branding, digital, and full-service agencies. The goal? To figure out where the Amazon experts were hiding, and to understand why. As it turns out, they aren't hiding, there just aren't that many of them. So before you click that Facebook Ad for the "Amazon expert that can take you to six figures next month," you might want to vet their references and develop some criteria for hiring. A New World Order Amazon is the new world of opportunity, and brands will need marketing guidance from  Amazon-savvy agencies. Everything is changing daily in this new world, and this unsteady terrain makes it difficult for anyone to really stay in expert territory. Within this new world order, Amazon is making the rules, and they are subject to change [...]

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Designing Your Product Packaging

Tracy Hazzard2019-08-29T07:25:32+00:00August 29th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Design tips for packaging that brands, sells, and saves your product.   In a national study in 2018, 72 percent of consumers said a product's packaging influences whether they buy. Packaging is the first interaction between a potential buyer and the product, even before the buyer interacts with the actual product itself. From my side of the aisle, in product design, it isn't unusual to see entrepreneurs who have been so consumed with all of the product details, they've barely considered their packaging--an element way too important to leave as an afterthought. Especially when we also know that every year, 95 percent of all new products fail because of poor packaging. Given that packaging is such an integral part of the entire product, from building good branding, to selling and protecting your product while it gets noticed "on the shelf," I wanted to go beyond the obvious (and even elementary) package-design advice. Apurva Batra, CEO [...]

The Multi-Billion Dollar Value of A Good Night’s Sleep

Tracy Hazzard2019-08-27T07:13:03+00:00August 27th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why entrepreneurs should dive into efficient markets, and what we can learn from waterbeds.   In 1968, at San Francisco State University, a student by the name of Charlie Hall was working on his thesis. Hall found himself filling a chair with Jell-O  and another with liquid cornstarch, all stepping stones to the water bed we know today. The goal was to focus on furniture  that formed to the contours of the users body, without creating pressure points. The water filled the gaps and curves as users moved, which in theory, would provide equal support to the entire body. Hall patented his design in 1971 and by the late 1980's, the waterbed industry was sitting around $2 billion. The Value of A Good Night's Sleep The global mattress market is a $27 billion industry, expected to almost double by 2024 according to Zion Market Research. Additionally, the sleep-health industry- bedding, sound control, temperature control, consultants, [...]

Stealing the American Dream, One Invention At A Time

Tracy Hazzard2019-08-23T10:35:48+00:00August 23rd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

A new tell-all book, As Stolen on TV, is speaking up to protect inventors rights.   For inventors and entrepreneurs, their businesses and their products are their babies. The pride and excitement of sharing this baby with the world can blind even the most business savvy creators, a process Paula Brillson Phillips knows all too well. Phillips is the author of the recently released tell-all As Stolen on TV and an Attorney at Digital Law Group. Phillips has built her career advising start-up companies and mentoring hundreds of individual inventors worldwide to navigate the complex process of getting a business or product off the ground. Protecting Inventors Rights Philllips also works directly with executives to help them make effective decisions to protect their intellectual property, meet their business goals, and leverage the value of what they have already created. Just as I've experienced with my clients, Phillips points out that a lot of inventors just don't have the [...]

Innovate with Abandon: How the Right IT Team Can Maximize Your Vision

Tracy Hazzard2019-08-23T10:12:41+00:00August 23rd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The stress of tech support has finally met its match, are you ready to adopt?   Businesses today, big and small, require some level of computing technology. Networking, hardware, software, internet accessibility, and every other minor category in between can become a job by itself. This is the epitome of the entrepreneurs struggle. Everyone advises the new startup to work their strengths, hire the rest... and IT has reached this level of necessity. For an entrepreneur to focus on creating and innovating, they cannot be bogged down with endless needs and costs--let's not forget about the stress --of in-house IT services. It's no wonder that outsourcing to IT service providers is a big business. Globally, the market size of outsourced IT services was $85.6 billion in 2018, according to Statista. The Fear Around Outsourcing Rest assured that tapping an IT service provider to help run your tech show doesn't always mean your company will have [...]

Why Impact Should Be an Essential Part of Your Business Growth Strategy Plan

Tracy Hazzard2019-08-22T10:03:12+00:00August 22nd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why transparency, environmental good, and social impact cannot be overlooked.   The impact business has on communities, consumers, suppliers, governments, and the environment hasn't always been at the center of planning for big business. Safe, sustainable solutions have often arrived after the damage has been done, as a way to remain relevant and in business, and everything else has been driven monetarily. Until now. With the rise in entrepreneurship and startups, the best unintended effect we never imagined has everything to do with impact for social, economical, and environmental good. Going Beyond Growth A business growth strategy, short and long term projections, and financial quotas are at the center of business planning but along the way, businesses have popped up to show us there is a way to incorporate world-changing metrics without sacrificing success. Tom Shoe's is a great case study in this realm of going beyond growth and putting impact at the center of [...]

How This Podcaster Is Crushing It and Taking Innovation to the Next Level

Tracy Hazzard2019-08-20T09:50:30+00:00August 20th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Changing the perspective around innovation is our next big level-up.   I featured Chris Denson's podcast Innovation Crush in a 'best of' list early on in my column - and it seemed about time to circle back, because innovation, as a concept, is in a funny place right now. This phase could easily be likened to the awkward, sometimes undefined, sometimes overly defined, scary and exciting teenage years. If innovation were personified, she would be an eager fourteen-year old, struggling to show the world who she really was. When Denson first launched his podcast, back in 2014, it was born out of frustration. He was just leaving a large company, he knew what he wanted to do next and it had everything to do with innovation. Except, innovation itself was so ubiquitous, each place he stopped had no real idea what he was offering. Everyone was trying to put innovation into these [...]

Removing Barriers While Building Barriers: An Entrepreneur Saving Our Seas

Tracy Hazzard2019-08-16T04:23:09+00:00August 16th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

How one really smart product is making it easy for consumers to help Mother Nature.   David Wolff, of Ocean Habitats Inc. is making entrepreneurship and product launching look easy. There are so many elements to a successful launch, and I want to use their most recent launch as a guideline to show how, when you solve a problem and remove big barriers, the marketplace is much more accepting. Say Hello to the Mini Reef The team at Ocean Habitats has developed an artificial habitat system, called a "Mini Reef" that establishes an ecosystem of aquatic life under boat docks. Their mini reef mimics mother nature and the environment that is normally found in the prop root system of mangrove trees. The initial phase of this launch was as a nonprofit push to help restore some of the natural environment that was wiped out in the 50's and 60's from large scale coastal development. In conjunction [...]

Global Source: A Modern Guide for Overseas Product Sourcing in Asia

Tracy Hazzard2019-08-06T04:15:11+00:00August 6th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

How entrepreneurs can avoid losses in overseas sourcing, from Market Source Asia. In the product design world, Asian sourcing is an ongoing conversation. Volatile and sometimes unpredictable markets, coupled with the ebb and flow of retail markets creates a space that can serve up incredible opportunities, and big time failures. Based out of Hong Kong, Rhod Needham, owner of Market Source Asia, is working to smooth out the sourcing wrinkles and show businesses how to amplify the opportunity while minimizing the risk. Needham and I met at the Global Sources Summit where we talked about retail, sourcing and product development, for so long we missed a speaker's presentation, and the highlights of that conversation are here for you. A Shifting Industry Market Source Asia, whose mission is to "help the world keep up with it's ever evolving imagination" launched after more than twenty years in the sourcing and product development space in response to [...]

Reducing Disposable Consumerism Is the Key to Better Design and Lowering Landfill

Tracy Hazzard2019-07-31T04:05:27+00:00July 31st, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

This global outdoor design brand is betting on sustainability and being at the front of the recommerce movement.   Drummond Lawson, an Environmental Chemist at Arc'teryx, has spent the last 5-years at the global design company in Canada, helping them work toward one big goal: recommerce. While Arc'teryx has been in the technical, high-performance apparel, outerwear and equipment market for more than 30-years, this most recent pivot is akin to the times we live in, where consumerism is shocking and longevity of products is fleeting. Skipping the Landfill The term recommerce, coined by Arc'teryx, identifies the brand's commitment to sustainable design. The launch of their recommerce program, called Rock Solid Used Gear, is meeting global waste head on, with goals to: Keep their high quality products in service as long as possible. Lighten their own environmental footprint. There were generations before us who set the consumerism tone, and it isn't all bad, [...]

The 5 (Painfully) Simple Skills Needed to Be a 6-Figure E-Commerce Seller

Tracy Hazzard2019-07-27T03:55:22+00:00July 27th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Make sure you have or get what it takes to succeed in your e-commerce side hustle every day, not just Prime Day.   Have you ever thought about starting an e-commerce business or side hustle? Most people have, even if just as a "pie-in-the-sky" idea. But a lot of people don't want to take the steps that it would require. Why? Because they're afraid of the risk. In many ways, starting a business or side job is easier than it's ever been. For one reason: the internet has opened up the world. There are jobs that never existed before that now drive huge salaries, markets that never could have been opened that are now within your grasp, and opportunities that now don't require thousands of dollars of startup capital. You can build an e-commerce business, it's easy--here are a few ways to make it happen: 1. Utilize Product Photography If you're a photographer already, you [...]

What Can Gaming Do for Brand Advertisers and Creators?

Tracy Hazzard2019-07-22T07:28:15+00:00July 22nd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Meet the female entrepreneur set on real (and fair) monetization of the gaming ecosystem.   Nithinan Boonyawattanapisut is the CEO and co-founder of HotNow and co-founder of Axion Games, one of the leading AAA independent video-game studio's in China. As a woman whose found tremendous, long-term success in a video-game career--she's the exception to the rule--she's also happy to share the why, how, and what to attribute to her success thus far. Nithinan falls into the category of serial entrepreneur, opting for on-the-edge innovation and market-gap problem solving. With gaming innovation, Nithinan is working hard to improve profitability for both brand advertisers and creators, monetizing a market that is long overdue for monetization. Did I mention that she also oversaw record-breaking games such as Gears of War, one of the most successful Xbox games, Infinity Blade, the fastest-selling iOS app in history at launch, and Rising Fire, selected as Tencent's headline shooting game for 2018? All [...]

Let’s Build A World Where Child Labor and Manufacturing Are Not Synonomous

Tracy Hazzard2019-07-19T07:13:02+00:00July 19th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

AI, collaboration with law enforcement, and supply chain visibility detection is shining a light on the reporting of potential human trafficking and forced labor. Last year, we wrote about forced child labor, human trafficking, how the supply chain  creates an ecosystem for these to thrive, and what we need to start doing to interrupt these crimes against humanity. Since that supply chain human trafficking article went live, so much has changed, and I wanted to share those updates with you, because the more lights we shine into the darkness, the less we can't see. There's A Lot of Darkness According to the International Labour Organization, Human Trafficking is a one hundred fifty billion dollar industry with forty million victims today who might be making your clothes, cleaning your hotel room, or building a sports arena as modern day slaves. This is happening all around us. California, has three of the top five US cities cited for human [...]

A Look at Globalization, E-Commerce, and Your Identity on the Blockchain

Tracy Hazzard2019-07-16T06:46:50+00:00July 16th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The future of blockchain is shifting heavily into identity politics, and it's import   When we talk about blockchain technology, for a lot of people, bitcoin is the first thought in their mind. That's because bitcoin presented us with the first use-case application, where the value of the blockchain technology was evident. For many who became intrigued with blockchain and jumped into the choppy waters, they've followed the financial end of this market for a long time. The same was true for Katherine Noall, CEO of Sphere Identity, until she saw a huge gap - maybe the largest of them all - and decided to pivot. Let's Talk Identity Sphere Identity aims to provide privacy, security and freedom for individuals and businesses across the globe, a seemingly impossible feat, until now. Without the streamlined technology blockchain is now offering, we've seen globalization is so many arenas, but not the ones where we stand [...]

Is AI The Solution To Boost The Creator Economy Value?

Tracy Hazzard2019-07-10T06:28:58+00:00July 10th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Looking past a robot takeover and into use-case applications for bringing creators and consumers higher value.   When we talk about AI and artists, the air usually sucks out of the room. Will we focus our conversation on replacement? Or will we discuss the dangers? Better yet, will we at least talk about how the two are non-comparable? The answer is no... because even though the fear is swirling around artificial intelligence, the truth backing up that fear is much more exciting. To learn more about this, I talked to Daniel Harris, CEO of Full Circus, which is a creator marketplace focused on utilizing human-assisted machine learning and predictive analytics to value and pay video creators for their content on demand. Full Circus says it wants to boost the creator economy and give more to the creators by adding AI. The company is also an example of how humans and machines can work together--an alternative to the popular story line about [...]

From ‘Shark Tank’ to Table: A Meal Subscription That Gets Kids to Bite

Tracy Hazzard2019-07-05T06:19:26+00:00July 5th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The success of Yumble is a case study for putting your business and marketing model even before product.   Kids gotta eat too, and that sounds so much easier than it is. Between sports, jobs, household chores, and picky eaters- getting the little ones to eat nutritious meals they like is not an easy feat. Or, if you're lucky like me, your toddler ate everything in the world until they reached a point where they ate nothing but chicken nuggets, just to assert that little bit of control they had. Plenty of parents are also keto-ing or dieting this time of year, and it just isn't realistic to make multiple meals at every meal time to make sure everyone is getting what they need. For these reasons, and the unique product development side of things, I decided to sit down with Joanna Parker, Yumble Founder for the inside scoop. Stress-Free and Fun Yumble is [...]

How This Entrepreneur Lost It All and Won It Back

Tracy Hazzard2019-07-03T06:05:45+00:00July 3rd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Real-life lessons from an entrepreneur who knows how to scale businesses and profit like clockwork.   By the age of 35, Mike Michalowicz had founded and sold two multimillion-dollar companies. Confident that he had the formula to success, he became an angel investor ... and went on to lose his entire fortune. These gritty stories, of success, short-term failures, bootstrap climbs back to the top, and more success are part of the fun in writing this column. The stories are sometimes unbelievable, sometimes remarkable--and in this case both. Scaling Business If you want an accurately depicted, self-told timeline of Michalowicz's failures, launches, and biggest lessons in business, look no further than the books he has written. The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, deemed an entrepreneur's cult classic by Businessweek, is a tale of the cleanup. Michalowicz's next book, The Pumpkin Plan, is all about the grow-up, leading into Surge, a book about the expert takeover. In 2017, Michalowicz published Profit First, in which he describes the mindset [...]

The Story of Being on the Edge of Innovation From an International Entrepreneur and Nomad

Tracy Hazzard2019-06-29T05:34:38+00:00June 29th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

3 things you need to know about risk, market fit, bootstrapping, and staying on the edge of innovation.   Any entrepreneur who can start out selling blenders door-to-door and turn that into a second-year $10 million business has my ear. That's exactly what Mario Nawfal did, and that isn't his only success story. If emulation is in any way possible, this overview of Nawfal serves as an insider's bootstrapping success guide--a way to gauge, measure, and potentially duplicate Nawful's success thus far--and I think he's only getting started. Door-to-Door Launch Froothie Australia was born with $300 in the bank, unconventional marketing techniques, and a desire to grow something with a market product fit first model. That was in 2012, and by 2013 Froothie was valued at more than $10 million, making it one of the fastest-growing global brands focusing on health and wellness, which brings me to a very important point. When entrepreneurs edge [...]

From Boring to Bespoke: This Global Ecommerce Brand Is Changing Everything

Tracy Hazzard2019-06-28T02:33:45+00:00June 28th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Customization is making a comeback from this unlikely logistics source and giving Amazon some competition. When we talk about bespoke or custom tailored brands, we are generally talking about fashion, luxury travel, or other extremely dialed in experiences. Sit down, mark your calendar, and take a deep breath- because what we're going to talk about next is something we've never really talked about before... and that is bespoke ecommerce interfacing, logistics, warehousing, and customer service on a global scale. Lessons in Business 101 Belgian Post Group, also known as bpost, is Belgium's leading postal operator, and the masterminds behind the bespoke story of Radial. Applying deep foresight to an aligned vision of where logistics and business were headed, bpost took action, bulking up their offerings and operations, to stay relevant and offer more of what their clients needed. Amazon's Biggest Competitor Radial, formerly known as eBay Enterprise, was acquired for $820 million in 2017, a move [...]

Use This Recipe to Emulate the Success of The George Foreman Grill

Tracy Hazzard2019-06-19T02:00:14+00:00June 19th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

One of the world's leading sports marketers talks success, profit, and bad assumptions that can tank your product. The Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, as it became known, went to market in 1994, and with George Foreman leading the charge, went on to sell over one hundred million grills worldwide. The iconic infomercials we associate with the grill set the platform, and eventually created a revenue stream for Foreman that is estimated to be over two hundred million dollars, much more than he ever earned in boxing. According to Dave Meltzer, the CEO of Sports 1 Marketing - one of the world's leading sports & entertainment marketing agencies- the formula that made this particular sports product launch so successful is a sweet spot many miss. A Strong Track Record Meltzer co-founded Sports 1 Marketing with Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon, but  prior to S1M, he was CEO of the world's first [...]

Why Tapping Into Your Intuition Is the Best Way to Elevate Your Business

Tracy Hazzard2019-06-14T01:46:25+00:00June 14th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Intuition is the foundation of creativity and innovation, the pillars of success.     When this column was born, innovation was one of the most buzzy topics trending in business. We could sense an upheaval, a technological revolution, a manufacturing overhaul, headed our way, and everyone was (still is) scrambling to figure out how to come out on top. Much like our natural economy, our business economy will reorganize, purge, and renovate for survival, and while plenty is lost in the process, we advance our possibilities in ways we never imagined. As we surge into this technologically advanced economy, it's a good time to make the case for simplicity, intuition, and creativity. Innovation is born of intuition. The thing most entrepreneurs and innovators don't realize is that innovation is the result of intuition, which is defined as the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Aligned with this process is [...]

Saving Lives, Houses, and Money One Wildfire At A Time

Tracy Hazzard2019-06-07T01:10:26+00:00June 7th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why problem solving with product design is saving lives and building a thriving business.     When I was a college student off in Rhode Island, my parents bought a house and lived in Rochester, New York. Coming from California, and warmer weather, my dad often had fires burning in both of the double fireplaces in their home, that backed up to one another. Of course these were all cleared and up to code for the time, but that didn't stop a fire from breaking out. There was the tiniest of cracks on the wall of the fireplace, and an ember easily traveled up through that crack, starting a fire in the walls. It wasn't until smoke started billowing out of the pocket lights that my dad realized something was wrong and got everyone out of the house. We lost most of the first floor, and it forever changed the [...]

Creativity Plus Artificial Intelligence Is About to Change Fashion and Fabrics

Tracy Hazzard2019-06-05T07:42:51+00:00June 5th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The biggest intersection of artificial intelligence and creativity is in your clothing. What in the world do fashion and AI have in common? The short answer is- everything. The long answer is so much more intriguing. Mindful, vulnerable, and authentic might be words we think about when we think about art and fashion. But would you use those same words to describe AI? Probably not... or at least not yet, something Alex Maki-Jokela is working to change. Maki-Jokela is the founder of Spirit & Glitch, a ne hundred percent artist owned clothing and design company located in the heart of San Francisco. First, Let's Talk About That Name Spirit & Glitch is a company that experiments with AI often, and the result is clothing that is, not only made in the USA; but also well thought out, unique, and transcending the boundaries we often find with clothing brands in general. The pieces themselves cannot be easily duplicated, which brings [...]

3 Things This Food Brand Did Right That Can Help You Launch

Tracy Hazzard2019-05-29T07:23:02+00:00May 29th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

'Shark Tank,' Kickstarter, and everything in between--a success story you'll eat up. No matter what your favorite kind of cookie is, when you think about that cookie, your imagination gets to work, recreating smells and sounds, sights, and memories. Maybe it's grandma's house, or something special your mom made for you. Maybe it's a certain brand, or a certain type- chocolate chip anyone? The U.S. cookie market is expected to hit Twelve billion dollars by 2023, a number that would make grandma do a double take, so it's no surprise that the story I'm about to tell you combines cookies with product launch success. Life Without Cookies First-generation American entrepreneurs Kristoffer Quiaoit & Victor Macias, founders of Nui Foods, found themselves struggling with their own weight and fitness. At the time, ketogenic diets were showing up everywhere, and they decided to give it a try. When their results of the low sugar, low carb diet [...]

Pitch, Launch, Sell: All the Details for Success From Kevin Harrington

Tracy Hazzard2019-05-25T06:58:48+00:00May 25th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The original Shark spills expert tip after expert tip, info you can't afford to miss.   Kevin Harrington has made quite a name for himself, a legacy he was building before Shark Tank, and continued to build after Shark Tank. These days, Harrington often finds himself in the role of empowering and educating entrepreneurs; a task he takes seriously. From being an original shark, to founding As Seen On TV, to authoring books and making a name for himself as an investor, Harrington is a plethora of knowledge and expertise when it comes to pitching, launching, and selling (did we mention his mentor, Zig Ziglar?). Unfortunately, not everyone has access to Harrington and even if they did, where to start? Fortunately for everyone, Harrington is generous, and sat down with me to share as much as he could squeeze into our interview, and you are going to want to keep reading. Failing to Succeed [...]

Black Holes, Hollywood, and Astrophysics: May the Fourth Be With You

Tracy Hazzard2019-05-19T06:17:03+00:00May 19th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why this rockstar Astrophysicist is calling on women to forge their own paths in STEM.   Just recently, we were able to see, for the first time ever, a black hole. The image itself defied odds, borders, and surpassed expectations. Oh, and did I mention that the algorithm that made this all possible was written by a woman? 29-year old Katie Bouman, a computer scientist, led the development of a computer program that made possible the magnificent image that showed a halo of dust and gas existing five hundred million trillion kilometers from Earth. The conversations we have opened up, about the future being female, are beginning to bear fruit, and this extraordinary example shows us that the more we make space, the more women will step into those spaces. And when they do- we should expect magic. Meet the Rockstar Astrophysicist Dr. Erin MacDonald is forging a new path in her chosen field, and making enough [...]

Off the Shelf and Into the Cart: Expert Package Design Tips

Tracy Hazzard2019-05-14T07:49:20+00:00May 14th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

From an industry expert, the tips you need to know for successful product packaging design. Although plenty of my time is spent seeking out experts to help other entrepreneurs bring their products to market, this time, it's personal. I'm in the process of another launch, my own this time, and in the package design phase, which can be tricky, even for a product launch veteran like myself. Creating a package that photographs well, gives off the right feeling and experience when received and opened, and conveys the most important things to get the product off the shelf and into a cart- needs to be addressed with the same care we took to develop the product itself. And that's what I want to share with you. Beautiful packaging design is more than just complementary colors and easy-to-read fonts; something creative director and seasoned packaging designer John Godfrey knows all too well. His portfolio is stacked, his [...]

How to Achieve Cohesive, Unique, Moneymaking Branding

Tracy Hazzard2019-05-13T07:40:39+00:00May 13th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Modern advertising is breaking the branding mold, and here's why you should too. When Uber realized, in 2016, that customers didn't resonate with the logo, they decided to change it up. Their complete redesign leaned heavy into simplicity, with much more focus on customers perception of what they could offer over a non-resonating logo. Perhaps what Uber didn't realize then was the forward thinking approach to creative they strategized around would be the market trend just a few years later. I brought in Andre Filip of California based Global Creative Ad Agency ELA, to talk about this and more. Creativity Is Getting Bland Filip founded ELA ("Everything LA") in 2004 to capture the spirit, culture, vibe, and attitude of LA, where his creative energy and zest for advertising began. At ELA, their teams are encouraged to push boundaries and embrace chaos, and based on their client list- PepsiCo, Thermador, Starbucks, to name a few- [...]

The Future of Furniture Buying Is Here: Have You Experienced Modsy?

Tracy Hazzard2019-05-09T07:21:00+00:00May 9th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Modsy is thriving, adding their own line of furniture, and relying on 3d and AI to make it all happen flawlessly. When we first covered Modsy, they were knee-deep in solving the antiquated, but still very common, problems plaguing the furniture manufacturing models we rely upon today. Of course, in furniture, keeping a low to zero inventory plus local manufacturing model is the most cost effective, but what if manufacturing could be shifted to later in the process? What if we could rely on new technology to design, meet needs and wants, and reduce costs by meeting the demand right where it is? That's exactly what Modsy has been doing, and their portfolio of services and offerings seems to be expanding each time we catch up. Market Disruption on A Mass Scale 3D modeling is (finally) gaining traction, and the team at Modsy are captaining a ship in this forward-moving fleet. Their platform allows your to explore your [...]

How Do You Stand to Benefit from Blockchain and IoT Advances?

Tracy Hazzard2019-04-23T07:07:23+00:00April 23rd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Blockchain expert Markus Levin talks cryptography, distributed geospatial security, and the new IoT possibilities. Markus Levin mined his first Bitcoin in 2013 and has been captivated by blockchain technologies ever since. From then until now, we've been witness to so much change, plenty of growth, and our eyes have been opened to the massive possibilities ahead of us as we step into higher technology. These days, you can find Markus on Larry King Now, running the show over at XYO, and innovating the options we have to utilize blockchain, geospatial, and IoT technologies. Geospatial Versus Global Positioning (GPS) If devices are being used, the devices themselves are able to verify one another with geospatial location services, and with so many devices, we can create a map that will show whether or not your location is probable based on so many factors. GPS is incredible, as long as you aren't underground, within a [...]

Is AI Powered Creativity A Threat or Advantage?

Tracy Hazzard2019-04-18T06:41:57+00:00April 18th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

What the future could look like at the intersection of art, artificial intelligence, robotics, and the blockchain. We've watched the robotic revolution ramp up over the years, into manufacturing, hospitals, even vending machines, and while there are plenty of barriers, they are being reduced by the day it seems. As more and more platforms grow up, stabilize, and provide support for new robotic-based opportunities to bloom, it seems important to look at is what this means for art, design, and creativity in entrepreneurship; aka robots not only taking a menial job, but a creative one, earning money at it, and then spending it to create more. Robot Economics + Entrepreneurship Aleksandr Kapitonov is a "Robot economics"  academic society professor at Airalab. He is also an assistant professor of Control Systems and Computer Science at ITMO University, where he received his Ph.D. in industrial automation in 2014. With a heavy focus on navigation, computer vision, and [...]

Follow These 7-Figure Tips for Sourcing Products Outside of China

Tracy Hazzard2019-04-16T06:31:58+00:00April 16th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Expert advice and takeaways on alternative sourcing, what matters, and how it can work for you. Product sourcing horror stories aren't difficult to come by. In my experience, this is the piece of the design process where everything can easily fall apart, quickly, without warning (seemingly), and in a way that leaves entrepreneurs financially unstable. The number of times I've heard someone tell me they can just "get it made in China for a dollar" is too many. And while I've spent years meeting with and establishing relationships with counterparts in China, I've also learned that there are limitations, sustainability issues, and a flooded marketplace where you aren't the gold to be won- the manufacturers are. Something New As all market trends do, this one, international product sourcing, is now shifting and that's what we are going to talk about today. Enter Tim Jordan, ecommerce expert, and product sourcing experimenter. Part of his process of getting [...]

Authentic Consumer-First Content: Converting Likes Into Sales

Tracy Hazzard2019-04-04T06:19:21+00:00April 4th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Solving the problem of connecting brands, influencers, and high-value consumers. A recent panel discussion on content and commerce, at Digital Entertainment World 2019 jump started the conversation around content, commerce, connections, and everything in between. The names on the contributor list ranged from the CEO of Tribalist to the VP of product at ChefsFeed, and the highlights are here, just for you. Connecting the Unconnected In a world that is so connected, making connections isn't as easy a task as you might assume. For this reason, creatives, founders, and entrepreneurs around the world are putting their brains together to come up with solutions. In a seemingly over-connected world, how do we bring to fruition authentic connections between the creators and the seekers? While the answer requires effort, resources, and networking, it's actually quite simple. We connect the unconnected through experiences. The Problem With Social Media This heading could house an article all its own, but [...]

Blockchain 101: All of Your Questions Answered, With ‘Larry King Now’

Tracy Hazzard2019-04-03T06:07:52+00:00April 3rd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Breaking the conversation around blockchain, crypto, and solutions into basics that make sense for business. The New Trust Economy, the focus of my latest podcast, is the beginning of an internet restructuring journey so broad and so endless we can just scratch the surface of imagining the possibilities. This new trust economy is one where simplicity reigns supreme, which is why I continue pushing the blockchain conversation. It only seems complex if you haven't joined the conversation. In my attempt to simplify this new infrastructure, I found myself Skyping with Larry King, along with Eric Tippetts of Nasgo, Larry Sanger co-founder of Wikipedia and Everipedia, and Markus Levin co-founder of XYO . But First, Let's Talk Authority Much like blockchain, the reason I believe that people shy away from podcasting is a lack of information. Any "new" medium for being recognized and establishing yourself in your field of expertise carries so many first-mover benefits, and it would be unfair to leave this out prior [...]

3 Things You Can Do With A List That You Can’t Do With Social Media

Tracy Hazzard2019-04-01T07:36:51+00:00April 1st, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Lists are already selling products, matching up influencers, and converting in a big way. Where's your tribe? I have to tell you, if I were making a list of the most innovative things I could think up, I don't know that lists themselves would be included. The irony in this is that we are well aware of how well lists work, and that's why we find ourselves relying on them so much. And here's the innovative part: when lists are born in the online world, there is so much we can attach to each item, they almost become even more actionable online. The brain behind this revelation, a man on a mission to bring the underutilized medium of lists to the world wide web, is Jon Vlassopulos, the CEO of Tribalist . Sharing Content Is Getting Tricky The challenges we see with sharing content through social media platforms, which is often where our consumers are [...]

How to Be a Market Maker, Not a Disrupter

Tracy Hazzard2019-03-20T07:20:47+00:00March 20th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Statistically, you have less of a chance to be the next Steve Jobs than the next Jeff Bezos. Here's why. I recently gave a speech about innovation at the urging of the founder of City Summit, Ryan Long, about what constitutes market-making innovation, and what we should be investing in--not only with our money but with our time. We have oversaturated markets, we have Amazon with page after page after page of drop-shipped products and duplicates, we have more entrepreneurs now than ever before, and we have low barriers to entry. All of these shifts have encouraged this massive wave of spirited business lovers to try and find their place in this seemingly never-ending ecosystem. Warning! Highs Bring Lows But low barriers to entry doesn't equate to high rates of success. In fact, it's quite the opposite. There is a difference between entrepreneurs' causing disruption, that all too commonly used buzzword, and their being market making. Let's talk [...]

All in Your Head: Keeping Innovation Alive Within Yourself and Your Business

Tracy Hazzard2019-03-20T06:26:27+00:00March 20th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The hypercoaching formula required to foster innovation and accelerate growth for maximum impact. As a product expert with such a heavy background in design, the concept of innovation is something I follow, foster, and educate others on constantly. About a decade ago, the big thing was coaching. Everyone wanted to coach, was a coach, or both; all with the hopes of growing into the idea of the innovative person existing in their minds. With the rush came the fall, but coaching is not dead. The coat-tailers might have weeded themselves out, but there are change makers out there who know coaching can be effective in fostering the innovation required to excel tomorrow's leaders forward. Why Innovation? Our business ecosystem today is a place of rapid change, upheaval, constant metamorphosis, and reorganization. Ironically, or perhaps not so much, those are all synonyms for innovation, the process of introducing new processes, ideas, and methods. And when innovation is [...]

Colin Farrell’s Formula for Success: What Really Inspires Us to Invest in Ourselves

Tracy Hazzard2019-03-19T07:00:07+00:00March 19th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Use this formula to determine where you can make the biggest impact in business with your creative energy.   What inspires us to invest creative energy into projects? Turns out, there's a formula, something I chatted with Golden Globe Award winning actor Colin Farrell about, before wrapping up my time at City Gala and heading back home to write this. City Gala, often referred to as the Oscars event with a conscience, brings together entrepreneurs in the thousands, with Hollywood celebrities and business leaders to create a world-class business acceleration experience. This year's 4th annual event awarded Farrell their Inspiration Award for overcoming adversity in life, while simultaneously staying the path and contributing to the good of the world around them. For Farrell, this includes commitments to STAND UP!, an anti-bullying campaign he dedicates time to, or his time spent working with the Special Olympics. That Got Me Thinking About the Path Why do [...]

Why You Should Let Chatbots Do Your Marketing

Tracy Hazzard2019-03-06T11:00:54+00:00March 6th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Product launching with social messaging bots could change your sales impact right from the start. Ahead of the Super Bowl in 2017, Domino's Pizza took a step into the future by enlisting their first chatbot as a PR tool. Their decision to take advantage of their active Messenger users, with a focus on the experience over the ROI, was a smart and innovative move - and exactly what we are going to talk about today. Money Makes the Product Launch As much as I hate to be the one to tell you this, it costs to play today.  Product launching is not a fast return on investment, at least not in the way most launchers think, and there is going to be an investment first, no matter what. But there are things you can do to make the most of those dollars, especially when it comes to teaming up your marketing with the latest [...]

Think Your App Is Worth A Million Dollars? Read This First.

Tracy Hazzard2019-03-05T11:00:30+00:00March 5th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Monetizing your app, real-life launch timelines, and everything else you need to know developing so. When Justin Shane was launching his first business, Apple was just launching the first iPhone, Facebook was only a few years old, and the app store didn't even exist yet. Based on the technological advances we've made, that all seems a lifetime ago. Today, Shane and his cousin Garrett Lang spend their days at Softserv (aka software services) designing and developing engaging turnkey desktop, web, and mobile applications that push the boundaries of innovation. The Rules of Product Development Are Continuous I do a lot of product features, profiles, and breakdowns in this column, but what about desktop, web, and mobile app development? These are products as well, and products that we all rely heavily on, to keep our lives (and businesses) running smoothly. What I've found, in my years of aligning with, and sometimes really battling, tech and software, is that [...]

Using Data to Sell More Products: 3 Things to Know

Tracy Hazzard2019-03-02T08:00:03+00:00March 2nd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

An Amazon advertising optimization expert talks nitty-gritty details on sales, insider data, and products. With over three hundred million users, two millions sellers, and billions in sales every year... if there were a way you could be seen more on the Amazon platform, based on these numbers, it would be worthwhile. These numbers alone explain why everybody wants to be the one in the know, the one making sales and making a name for themselves... but the question of "how?" haunts plenty of sellers. How do you leverage the tools available to you, as a seller, to outrank, outsell, and outperform your competitors and your own past sales records? Ad Automation Isn't Easy First of all, in order to automate successfully, you have to be up on what is working on Amazon - which is constantly changing, and then using that to automate your ads process. According to Jason Magee at Teikametrics, "Amazon advertising is the most powerful [...]

How Heart Intelligence Can Change the Way You Think and Innovate

Tracy Hazzard2019-02-28T13:36:51+00:00February 28th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Does innovation come from the brain or the heart? Plenty of coaches, neuroscientists, and business experts have called the brain "the technology of our era". Yes we still travel to space. Yes, Tesla, with Musk at the helm, is still trying to figure out sustainable power sources. Yes, we have the world at our fingertips and then some. But the one technology we all want to hack, across multiple generations, is the brain. This is why we've witnessed such a massive jump in neuro-everything, and I believe this is only the beginning. Neverending Complexities For every synapse, process, and part of the brain we understand, there seems to be two we don't. And while we are closer than ever before to understanding the why, and the how, and the when... we're actually discovering something even more fascinating, and it has nothing to do with the brain specifically. In fact, if we want to [...]

Mission Possible: Make Innovation Open to Anyone, Anywhere

Tracy Hazzard2019-02-26T13:20:53+00:00February 26th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

How Plug and Play's model is changing the way incubators grow innovation and make an innovative impact. The U.S.-based International Business Innovation Association estimates that there are about 7,000 incubators worldwide, some with better track records  than others, but all seemingly working towards a common goal: spread innovation like wildfire. Early in the year, I spoke with David Mandelbrot, CEO of IndieGogo, about startup funding, support, and how our approach to innovation is shifting and have been on the search for accelerators that flip the odds. Opening the Innovation Gates Plug and Play is recognized as the most active venture capital firm in the United States. With over 270 global investments every year, their mission, "To make innovation open to anyone, anywhere," seems viable if they keep up with those kind of numbers. And with so many incubators around the world, I was curious... what makes Plug and Play unique? What exactly are they doing that is [...]

500% Growth? Why This Startup Is Following Warby Parkers Vision

Tracy Hazzard2019-02-22T18:40:18+00:00February 22nd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Luxury watches everyone can afford, the business model we all need to look at. With $2500 in seed money, within the confines of the Venture Initiation Program at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Warby Parker was born. Eyeglasses were too expensive, affordable quality eyewear wasn't really accessible, and the founders of Warby Parker set out to find a solution. That was in 2010, and today Warby Parker is not only a throwback story that warms my heart, they're a force to be reckoned with carrying a valuation of over 1 billion dollars. Let's talk about why they've been so successful, another startup modeling their approach to business, and what you can take from their 500% growth to apply to your own business. The Watch Market Is Very Copycat Right Now There are the uber luxury brands, there are drop shipped rebrands, there are knockoffs...something is definitely missing. The founder at Coleman Collection [...]

Applying the Pantone Color of the Year to Your Brand

Tracy Hazzard2019-02-21T18:36:07+00:00February 21st, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why you should care about Living Coral, and how to do color with purpose. Every year, since the year 2000, Pantone has named a color of the year, as a trendsetting concept for branding, marketing and forecasted consumer trends  for the year to come. In 2018, Pantone named a dramatically provocative and thoughtful shade of purple, otherwise known as  PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, as their color of the year. The color choice was meant to signify and communicate originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking  to point us towards the future, according to Pantone. With 2019 already a month in, Pantone has released their latest color of the year, and we need to talk about why this is important, and how to know if the color of the year is right for your business in any given year. Pantone for Pets PANTONE 16-1546, aka Living Coral is the chosen color of 2019, a color that more than [...]

How Blockchain Can Give Credit and Restore Value to Creatives

Tracy Hazzard2019-02-04T18:32:29+00:00February 4th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Now is the time to embrace blockchain technology, get on the Block-com super highway and create a better value proposition for entrepreneurs and creatives. The internet superhighway created ways that we could think bigger, create bigger, connect bigger... but now, there's so much chaos and noise, people are tired of it. Trying to figure out what's real and what isn't when the expert marketers out there can sell heat to fire, is a task plenty don't want to take on anymore. Now, we are moving into a more clean, more efficient, more authentic era. This fourth Industrial Revolution is the time for trust, transparency, and authentic connections. Dot-com to Block-com Blockchain is the transition from the dot-com era into a more authentic and transparent ecosystem. Tippetts refers to this new era we are entering as block-com, and that seems right-fit. It is due time creatives, designers, and entrepreneurs have value restored with a transparent [...]

3 Things You Need to Know About Celebrity Endorsements and Product Placement

Tracy Hazzard2019-01-29T18:25:39+00:00January 29th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

A brand advisor and celebrity designer shares the juicy details on getting your product into the right hands. When Brian Smith, founder of UGG Boots, was pitching to a major media outlet, it wasn't his presentation or campaign that actually sold the media outlet on the boots. In fact, the person they were supposed to pitch to wasn't even available and he was given two minutes to show what he had. As they flipped through his folder of promotional materials, the editor stopped on an image of Pamela Anderson wearing the boots. A week later, UGG boots were at the center of a feature about celebrities and the growing trend of sheepskin products. Welcome to the Real World How this accidental feature happened, which is really what made the UGG brand what it was before Smith sold it, is actually a fairly accurate representation of how inconsistent the world of movie or tv placement and celebrity endorsements [...]

Building Trust and Transparency Into Future Innovation

Tracy Hazzard2019-01-24T18:22:18+00:00January 24th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Blockchain, the new trust economy, and advice from an innovation expert on how to make it sustainable. I recently wrote about (in many articles) about the amazing time I had in Vegas  at the CXC conference, and how astounded I was to see so many women taking the stage in such a tech arena, an area that has remained dominated by males. To see these innovative women breaking the "story" about new tech and possibilities for the future is so inspiring and I want to do my part to bring more of this to the mainstage. It seems to me that the arena of blockchain is surprisingly blind to race and gender, and attaches value specifically to what participants bring to the table, their perspective, and their ability to see into the future like others cannot. Why Does Any of It Matter? I often use a past conversation I had to explain the importance of diversity [...]

3 Reasons Mass Customization Businesses Fail

Tracy Hazzard2019-01-22T16:52:59+00:00January 22nd, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Down the difficult bespoke road, what can go wrong, from this invested entrepreneur. With global resources, easy shipping, and social platforms allowing us to reach the masses at a higher rate than ever before, custom becomes "it". You couldn't feel any more VIP than if you jumped on your phone on a Tuesday night and ordered a bag, a shirt, a pair of shoes, or a pair of pants; that were custom to your style, needs, wants, and exact fit. New Techniques and Technology Changing the Options Given the rise in new manufacturing techniques and technology, I am not surprised to see entrepreneurs hoping to bring the art of customization to the masses. Especially with a growing buying generation, who seems to place so much attention on intentional purchases, personalization, and living life on their own terms. With these changes mentioned above, what can we expect to see, what should we watch out for, and what are [...]

Indiegogo: Building Global Brands, Funding Female Founders and More

Tracy Hazzard2019-01-21T16:30:29+00:00January 21st, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

CEO David Mandelbrot talks founders, China, and what 2019 holds for tech product development. David Mandelbrot, CEO of Indiegogo, joined the funding company about five years ago. In his first few years, he became very involved in the operations of the company, eventually becoming CEO. This shift for Mandelbrot also brought about another shift, where the team at Indiegogo decided to focus heavily on product-based entrepreneurs. Of course I wanted to talk to him because you know products are my thing, and I wanted to bring you the inside details on what's new, what matters, and how it might benefit you as an entrepreneur. But First, Let's Talk About Funding Here in my neck of the woods, when a startup gets funded it's a badge of honor. Somehow this equates to worthiness, and even though those relationships, amounts, partnerships, products, and businesses don't have the best success rate, this is still considered the gold standard [...]

Staying the STEAM Course: How We Can Show Girls That They Can Do Anything

Tracy Hazzard2019-01-18T16:19:30+00:00January 18th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Full STEAM ahead: into the future of making space for girls in the career fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. According to a recent report by Microsoft, girls and young women remain less likely to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math; in short, STEM, or STEAM if you consider the lack of women in design. As a mom of daughters, this hits too close to home. As a woman deeply involved in a variety of STEAM businesses, projects, products, and startups, I feel a sense of duty, to bring awareness, not only to the issue of lack, but also to potential solutions. Why grow a voice if it can't be used to encourage change? Meet MakerGirl: The Program Teaming Mentorship with Access Mary Hadley from MakerGirl talked with me about their Girl STEM Education and mentorship program. MakerGirl is an organization that started in 2014 at the University [...]

Radical Innovation: How to Shift from Incremental to Lasting Change

Tracy Hazzard2019-01-09T02:17:52+00:00January 9th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Leadership and business call for radical innovation if you wish to survive. Volatile, rapidly changing, unpredictable... these are just a few of the word trends we've seen throughout this year, attempting to describe the current business economy. The fact that we are entering a new revolution in leadership and business structure is no secret. So the question, the gray area, the piece of the puzzle everyone is frantically searching for is where this revolution will take us. Why Is It So Important to Know? One of the most important functions of our brain is predicting. In fact, humans spend a large majority of their time predicting. We need to know what to expect from the scenarios, people, opportunities, and events in our lives, so we use all of our past experiences, and try to frame the future. Business and leadership are no different. This is why we've seen such a rise in the interest [...]

This Brilliant Holiday Gift Guide Shows Us How Advertising Should Be Done

Tracy Hazzard2019-01-07T02:14:24+00:00January 7th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Digital Trends packed massive impact into 3d miniature effects with this holiday product guide. Every year, my inbox fills up with holiday gift guides, predicted buying trends, and everyone's list of the "best of the best" stocking stuffers. I even follow suit at times, and create my own gift guides to help consumers navigate the ever-changing tech options... But this year, if there was an award for holiday gift guides, Digital Trends would be winning big, because their genius holiday campaign has everything and then some. Expertly Targeted Content The guide Digital Trends put out depicts products featured and told as stories in miniature scenes, thanks to a partnership with animation studio HouseSpecial. The stories and scenes offer gift ideas for the tech savvy, but in several different categories, like audiophile and foodie. Each scene holds tremendous attention to detail, and draws in the attention of the viewer for several different reasons. Not only are the scenes visually appealing, [...]

How Absolut is Making Art as Accessible as Vodka

Tracy Hazzard2019-01-07T02:09:32+00:00January 7th, 2019|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

A history lesson on vodka, how Absolut is making art as easy to access as music, and the woman making connecting the iconic brand to new artists. I'm always striving to bring creators front and center in this column. I want originators to have the platform that advertising has owned. I want creators, designers, and inventors to be the ones, not in the shadows, but in the showcase. And not only that, I want to highlight the founders who are bringing it, with new platforms that will help make this happen. Point in case: Absolut Art, and the source, CEO Nahema Mehta. But First: A History Lesson on Vodka Art is in Absolut's DNA. In 1986, Andy Warhol became enamored of the Swedish brand's apothecary-inspired bottle, declaring: "I love the design. I want to do something with it." Absolut asked the artist to design an image of the bottle; the resulting "Absolut Warhol" advertising campaign [...]

If Inclusion Isn’t On Your Shortlist, You’re Doing It Wrong

Tracy Hazzard2018-12-25T01:48:41+00:00December 25th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

How we can make gender and cultural inclusion and diversity more intentional, and why it matters. I know I gushed, over the course of several articles, about all the fabulous, intelligent, finger-on-the-pulse-of-the-future, women I interacted with at the Blockchain conference earlier this year, but can we revisit just once more? Because this time of year is introspective and nostalgic. The falling leaves cause us to think about the coming months, and naturally, we predict what those months will hold for us. I am not immune, and my predictions generally fall into the realm of business, technology, design, or all three. Which is why I am declaring 2019 the year of intentional inclusion. There's No Longer Space for Bias Here Danielle Barnes, the CEO of Women Talk Design took notice of the lack of inclusion when it comes to diverse speakers on the speaking circuit, and I want to share with you some of the profound [...]

How Swimming With Sharks Can Tank Your Business

Tracy Hazzard2018-12-20T06:57:59+00:00December 20th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why Shark Tank might be not be for you, and what you can learn from those bitten. The tension on the rug in "the tank"  is something every single show participant I've ever interviewed has mentioned. From it's early days, Shark Tank has intrigued so many, drawing in groups guessing whether or not so-and-so would get a deal, or whether or not their deal was the right one, and so on. I remember sitting in a lobby with Shark Tank on in the background, the couple watching enthusiastically shouting at the television, "Take the deal! Take the deal!" As Shark Tank has evolved, the sharks have changed, the show has changed, and the stories we hear from entrepreneurs who have run the Shark Tank gauntlet, have also changed. Entrepreneurs Can Be Easy Prey Looking at the success of Shark Tank, I can easily understand why the show was a seemingly overnight [...]

Resolving to Be More Focused and Organized? Start Here

Tracy Hazzard2018-12-18T06:50:40+00:00December 18th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

This new tool will organize, save, and protect your digital assets. Organization, for creative types, can be a lot. For me, design and organization always paired well together, but I know plenty of creators and entrepreneurs who really struggle with the organizational aspect of their business. Unfortunately, I cannot put everything in tidy boxes for you. However, when it comes to design files, videos, and such, let's talk what's new on the market to help. Time Is Money Spending disproportionate amounts of time attempting to find files, feeling overwhelmed by not being able to find files, taking entire days out to attempt to organize said files across several platforms, attempting to share files that are so large they actually buffer and fail... this is wasting your time, resources, and ultimately costing you money. And these aren't exaggerations. These are real problems designers, creators, and entrepreneurs face often. Often enough for a new service called FileShadow to come on [...]

Looking Past the Holidays: What Will Happen to Retail?

Tracy Hazzard2018-12-13T06:44:57+00:00December 13th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

10 ways retail and innovative technology can merge to stay relevant in the next year. Brick and mortar isn't dead yet. We are still showing a need for a physical presence, and for showing up where people shop. But some things need to change, and what better time to talk about change than right now, as we start planning for a new year? My goal with this article is to shift the perspective of where retail is headed, and what the possibilities are, if they can learn to merge innovation with what they've got right now. Of course this isn't as easy done as it is said, but who said innovation, relevancy, and sustainability were going to be easy? Stop Looking to the Past Plenty of retailers are in survival mode, and rather than seeking innovation, are looking into the past for what worked last week, or last month. As Sterling Hawkins, a multi-generational retail [...]

Can Innovative Technology Fill Your Jewelry Box?

Tracy Hazzard2018-12-12T06:40:35+00:00December 12th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

How one tech disruptor is changing the luxury items game with exciting innovations. Self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur and tech disruptor Pamela Norton put together a handful of innovative tech things most people know nothing about, to build a business prepped for the modern world of luxury coupled with crypto, nano, and securitization. Before I profile her unique launch, let’s take a quick walk down memory lane. Jump Back 10 (or 30) Years There’s a reason cryptocurrency and the blockchain is catching so much attention now. Point blank, that reason is trust… or a lack thereof. Curious and brave types have been dabbling in encryption and crypto potentials since the 1980’s. Bitcoin has actually been around since 2009, so it didn’t just pop on the scene, and today, there are over 1,600 cryptocurrencies out there.  And if entrepreneurs have learned anything from then until now it’s that funding is a huge hurdle, and partnering with funds you can [...]

Investing Time Or Money In Market-Making Or Disruptive Innovation

Tracy Hazzard2021-02-22T16:03:52+00:00December 12th, 2018|INC Articles, Office Hours, Podcasts|

  Tracy gives an insight into one of the talks she gave at a City Summit event in Salt Lake City. With innovation becoming the buzzword for this day and age, we can’t help but get too caught up in just investing in what seems catchy. It's time to actually think it over and start to think carefully about how you are going to invest in innovation, whether you are investing your time or investing your money. Tracy looks at the difference between disruptive and market-making innovation. She gets down to answer whether or not you're in a disruptive or market-making venture yourself. Watch the episode here: Listen to the podcast here: [smart_track_player url="https://www.podetize.com/statsapi/www.podetize.com/wp-content/uploads/fileuploads/11-5b145ef137b51b3d1af0633e9305c43d/12/2018/ef70afa38d8c5d8b5a2c120bc76e239c.mp3" title="Investing Time Or Money In Market-Making Or Disruptive Innovation" image="https://productlaunchhazzards.com/wp-content/uploads/product-design-hazzards.png" ] --- Rather than doing an episode where I'm talking straight with you, I'm going to give you an insight into one of the talks I [...]

Meet the Women Changing the Financial Game for the Underserved and the Next Generation

Tracy Hazzard2018-12-11T06:20:29+00:00December 11th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Blockchain for financial social good is the biggest thing happening in the world of money. Nearly six out of ten Americans cannot cover a surprise expense of $500 or $1000. One out of every four Americans have zero in savings, and these numbers are very representative of the financial economy driving blockchain, something that might pave the path that leads away from traditional banking institutions, at least with the current service offerings. The relationship we have with our money, perhaps due to a trickle down effect that is both institutional and generational, lacks transparency, something the women we are going to talk about in this article, are working to change... and they're doing it by harnessing the new and somewhat unknown blockchain technology. Application Is the Market Tipping Point While the platforms and processes to get, move, and store cryptocurrency is not streamlined or easy, this lack of ability to implement is the barrier wall holding the flood [...]

5 Gifts That Will Do Good Long After You Buy Them

Tracy Hazzard2018-12-10T15:02:56+00:00December 10th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Your ultimate holiday guide to finding meaningful gifts to make an impact long after your purchase. When the holiday season arrives, I find myself attempting to balance somewhere between a) I want to spoil the heck out of the people I love, and b) I am tired of contributing to the massive consumerism each holiday and want to do something more meaningful. I think, as consumers, we are changing into more meaningful buyers who want more out of our purchases. And not just from the product itself, but from the business as well, and everything that process touches along the way. So this year, my holiday gift guide for you is more intentional, focused on supporting small businesses who are innovating in bigger ways, specifically for people who also want to make an impact bigger than their purchase. Impact + Support To me, this is what the holidays are about, touching people's lives, making a [...]

This Minimalist Approach to Design Will Get Your Product Ready Faster

Tracy Hazzard2018-12-03T23:56:32+00:00December 3rd, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Use the process the experts use, to bring your idea to market effectively. When you have an idea that you believe belongs in the marketplace, what do you do with that knowledge? Do you tell your closest friends? Write it out? Draw a sketch? Do a quick Google search? More importantly, what should you do? What is the process of bringing an idea to market? And what is the process that makes the most sense for you? This is what I am going to cover today bo comparing notes with, engineer, author and design for manufacturing expert, Dennis Shaver. DFM= Design for Manufacturability Sure, there are a few routes you can take to bring your idea to fruition, and eventually market, but I am all about efficiency. I want to know what's the most effective, most efficient, most cost-conscious, most time-saving method... and DFM is all of those things. What does DFM mean for the inventor/creator? When you [...]

Here’s How to Update Your Sales Techniques for Disruptive Innovation

Tracy Hazzard2018-11-22T09:50:06+00:00November 22nd, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The tactics and strategies you need to reduce the risk for clients saying yes to innovation, and to get Google working for you. Communities, Facebook Groups, podcasts are the place where designers, innovators, and entrepreneurs go to figure out where their gaps are, and the most effective way to fill them. The reason this content, and also why I personally podcast, is so important is because disruption is happening around us all the time. This age of acceleration and exponential change we are experiencing is creating a ton of opportunity for innovators to come in and disrupt in so many areas. On the flipside, everything is new and there is so much change, the marketplace can seem messy and daunting. Packaging + Selling Disruption I chatted with with Business Growth Strategist, Mark S A Smith, from the Selling Disruption podcast because all of this change is creating a need for new tactics and strategies to effectively package and sell disruptive and [...]

How to Do Market Research and What to Avoid

Tracy Hazzard2018-11-14T09:39:07+00:00November 14th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Take these laser focused steps to know (for sure) if your product will sell. When you're selling a product or service, you need to be able to know people's feedback in order to improve. How? Through research, of course. But knowing where to start, or even how to start, or what matters, and what doesn't, can make the entire realm of market research overwhelming. A "simple" Google search for market research information will leave you drowning in terms like discriminant analysis, multiple regression, and multidimensional scaling. Rick West, of Field Agent, took some time out to break it all down for us, so get ready for some market research 101. The Who and What Get Overlooked The biggest risk factor for you, while product launching, is that you get your product fit wrong for the market. This misstep will lead to failure that you most likely will not comeback from. This happens for a [...]

The UN Is Using Blockchain to Feed Immigrants and End Hunger

Tracy Hazzard2018-11-09T13:29:13+00:00November 9th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Top three social use cases getting real with the blockchain, and how you can do some social good too. There are places around the world in severe crisis, a sad truth which has caused citizens to flee in search of a fair chance at life, or life in general. When we think about immigrants, we often discuss their plight, dangerous journeys, separation from comfort and loved ones... but we often don't discuss food, a basic human need. Regardless of your stance on immigration, we can all agree that, in order for a human life to be sustained, they must have food. And the innovators at the United Nation's World Food Programme are meeting this need with blockchain technology. A Goal to End Hunger with Technology At the Zaatari Jordanian camp for Syrian Refugees, the people often don't have identification, resources, access to banking, or assets to utilize. They've fled their home country, and many [...]

Why Even the Most Innovative Product Needs Advertising

Tracy Hazzard2018-11-09T13:19:45+00:00November 9th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Advertising methods have changed but it's still one of the biggest pieces of your success puzzle. The best and most innovative products don't win without great branding, advertising, and marketing. You cannot skip over these key elements if you are looking for long-term success. The problem is that plenty of new businesses have no idea where to begin when it comes to how to tighten down their brand, how to leverage influence, and how to use social advertising to achieve faster sell through and profitability. Social Advertising versus Television: Pennies on the Dollar Getting people to consume ads right now is cheaper and easier than it's ever been before. Facebook ads are about six times more effective than the old-school TV ads, and then you've captured their information and can retarget whoever the content touched. As Frank Kern, advertiser and branding expert, puts it, this is equivalent to getting a Super Bowl ad for next to [...]

3 Reasons Your Business Isn’t Scaling Up Fast

Tracy Hazzard2018-10-29T13:18:37+00:00October 29th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The founders of a female-friendly, needs-based subscription service talk scale and money. Between my clients, product design, the conference goers who seek me out after a presentation, introductory emails, high-level founders groups I'm associated with... the amount of businesses I hear about, see, or get pitched is astronomical. And from all of those businesses, over the past few decades, I can tell you the ones that will take off. I'm no fortune teller, I just know something about business that a lot of startups don't always know... and it's this: needs based businesses scale faster. Point Blank, Period. And, speaking of periods, the founders of Athena Club, a tampon subscription service that is taking off, sat down with me to talk about needs, scale, and money. Maria Markina & Allie Griswold felt the pain of periods for way too long. The pricing, the dreaded store trips, weren't just an annoyance, they were a big problem for a [...]

Why Women Should Get in the Blockchain AI Game

Tracy Hazzard2018-10-26T03:40:09+00:00October 26th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Rapper/actor Common points out why the tech revolution needs to be more cultural and gender inclusive. You know that feeling when you go to see an amazing speaker, and the energy just stays with you for days? That's me, multiplied. I cannot get over the energy and thought inspired by the blockchain event I attended in early August. There's a pivot happening, in industries where men reign supreme... women are taking the stage more than I've ever seen before. This CXC event was a surprisingly female packed conference - full of powerhouse speakers. And these women are breaking the "story" about a lack of women in tech and lack of women seeking funding. They have found a place where the value of your innovation is rewarded and who you are can be race and gender blind, which is downright amazing. Female Consumers Need Their Voices Heard The female half of the population must participate [...]

What the Future Might Look Like With Blockchain and A.I. at the Forefront

Tracy Hazzard2018-10-19T06:08:39+00:00October 19th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Common, Gary Vee, Molly Bloom, Michael Terpin, and a panel of experts share compelling futuristic ideas and views.   l mentioned in a previous article  how I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Wozniak of Apple at the CXC Las Vegas Event. Founded by Al Rosario, BlockVentures S.A. de C.V. presented the CXC Experiential Technology Conference, a celebration of innovation for those who love to ponder what's next. During my time at the event, I heard so many thought provoking views on the viability of Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and Crypto, and in this phase of growth, these views and conversations are one of the most important elements. Collectively, this is the time we must use to imagine the possibilities, and inspire the expansion of capacity for opportunities that will (and already do) change the world just like the internet. Get Rich Slow Schemes As Gary Vaynerchuk pointed out during his time on stage, plenty of [...]

What the Future Might Look Like With Blockchain and AI At the Forefront

Tracy Hazzard2018-10-18T12:52:42+00:00October 18th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Common, Gary Vee, Molly Bloom, Michael Terpin, and a panel of experts share compelling futuristic ideas and views. l mentioned in a previous article  how I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Wozniak of Apple at the CXC Las Vegas Event. Founded by Al Rosario, BlockVentures S.A. de C.V. presented the CXC Experiential Technology Conference, a celebration of innovation for those who love to ponder what's next. During my time at the event, I heard so many thought provoking views on the viability of Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and Crypto, and in this phase of growth, these views and conversations are one of the most important elements. Collectively, this is the time we must use to imagine the possibilities, and inspire the expansion of capacity for opportunities that will (and already do) change the world just like the internet. Get Rich Slow Schemes As Gary Vaynerchuk pointed out during his time on stage, plenty of people [...]

This App Will Sell Your Products, Just Ask GaryVee

Tracy Hazzard2018-10-12T14:33:00+00:00October 12th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Plotaverse is revolutionizing the way we see and share photographs and getting 2-8x more engagement. I wrote about Plotagraph a little over a year ago. At the time of that first article, they were just starting out and people were just starting to hear about their service. Fast-forward to today, and they have regular users like GaryVee, GoPro, Paris Hilton, and Land Rover. My interest in what Plotagraph was offering hasn't changed much because it is awesome to see the markets wake up to this powerful, unique product... and did I mention that it's only been about a year? If you missed that first article, or all the noise Plotograph has been making, here is a quick refresher: Plotagraph Pro is a cloud-based software that allows you to take a still photograph -- any still photograph -- and animate a section or sections of your photo simply and easily. They've expanded since we last talked into the Plotaverse suite of [...]

How the Blockchain Can Help Inventors Get the Credit

Tracy Hazzard2018-10-12T14:19:53+00:00October 12th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The inventive creators of the world might benefit the most from the new value and trust economy. In my line of work, I get to do some pretty cool stuff, interview amazing and inspiring people, and ignite conversations to spur design and entrepreneurial inspiration. There are days I think it really can't get any better than that... and then there are days I get to sit down with Steve Wozniak, who asks to be called Woz, and talk about innovation. Founded by Al Rosario, BlockVentures S.A. de C.V. presents the CXC Experiential Technology Conference, a celebration of innovation for those who love to ponder what's next. The 2018 CXC Las Vegas event was held at Mandalay Bay Convention Center during the Official Las Vegas Blockchain Week. I was thrilled to attend and will be sharing the amazing interactions, like my encounter with Woz, with you over the coming weeks. Does Everyone Know What Blockchain [...]

Why Did Bezos Do It? An Inside Look at Whole Foods and Amazon

Tracy Hazzard2018-10-12T14:07:39+00:00October 12th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

An in-depth look of the Whole Foods Acquisition on the one-year anniversary of this dynamic pairing.   A lot of people thought, when Amazon acquired Whole Foods, they had just witnessed Jeff Bezos' first big business misstep. Coming in at a cool $13.7 billion, this particular acquisition is one for the record books. Now, that they've just passed their one-year anniversary, I thought it would be interesting to look through the lenses of experts plus some amazing data, and see how the year really went, whether or not it's working, and what we can expect for year two. Is Amazon + Whole Foods a match made in heaven, or are they destined for divorce? To pull off this kind of review, the expert panel needs to be top notch (which they are) so the opinions expressed in this article were influenced by the following retail, data, and business heavyweights: Sterling Hawkins, Head of Venture & [...]

What’s Real and What’s Fake? The Questions You Need to Start Asking

Tracy Hazzard2018-10-11T08:22:03+00:00October 11th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

A new look at collective consciousness, your brain and reality that is turning traditional thinking upside down.   When you turn on your television, the show that streams out is not being created or made or produced by the television. Instead it is coming from a signal somewhere else. If the antenna is damaged, the show might be fuzzy because the machinery that is receiving the signal is damaged. This is a really general metaphor that Mark Gober, author of The End to Upside Down Thinking uses to represent the fact that consciousness is not localized to the brain. Why does it matter? Why is everyone so bent on grasping, identifying, and describing consciousness? This new book is another piece of the collective consciousness puzzle humans have been piecing together for ages. It matters because the way we view reality, interact with one another, live our lives- these things are all changed by our [...]

How Borrowing and Sharing Might Save Retail

Tracy Hazzard2018-09-26T17:45:32+00:00September 26th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

As our marketplaces shift to the access economy, retail could go along for the ride, and make billions. Human beings have been bartering since the dawn of their existence. Before currency was created, around 600BC, cattle, sheep, vegetables, and grains were popular items for trading. Fast-forward to today, it seems we are experiencing a reconnection with our bartering roots. Americans especially, have spent the past few decades priding themselves on ownership, often displaying their consumerism habits in the form of their larger-than-life vehicles, their homes, and any other material item that could accelerate their status in this sort of consumerist competition. Millennials, who lived in the big houses, and went to soccer practice in the big cars, aren't buying it; any of it. Ownership is fading out, as our societies are shifting towards this idea of not being tied down, something called the access economy. But that doesn't mean we aren't still consumers... we [...]

The Biggest Danger to Teachers Could Actually Be the Current Trade War

Tracy Hazzard2018-09-14T01:24:36+00:00September 14th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

How the current trade war will increase costs for teachers, makers, crafters, and Girl Scouts too.   You could drop into any school in America and find at least one teacher who has paid for the supplies in their classroom. Realistically, you might be more hard pressed to find a teacher who doesn't pay out-of-pocket for items in their classrooms. 2018 has seen protests from around the U.S. because schools don't seem to have what they need to create or sustain productive and functional learning environments. And while they are all talking about salaries and second jobs, the biggest bottom line impact to teachers might actually be something else: the current trade war. A Promo Email Brought This to My Attention Back from recent travel, I found myself sorting through way too many emails. I consider myself a master pre-sorter and organizer of my inboxes, but even I am not immune to the constant [...]

Use These Secrets to Sell More on Amazon, Faster

Tracy Hazzard2018-09-13T01:17:13+00:00September 13th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

A Q&A session with experts who share all the secrets, tricks, and strategies that work.   Turnkey Product Management experts, Jeff Lieber and Jenna Lieber, know a bit about boosting Amazon sales. With over ten million in annual revenue and 150,000+ items sold to date, I thought it  might be fun to pick their collective brain, and see if I could get them to share a few of their secrets on how Amazon sellers, just like you, can overcome the obstacles to scaling up quickly, to sell more, faster. With that, let's jump right into the Q&A session where we identify three easy ways you can boost your Amazon sales. Q: What do you think sets sellers apart on Amazon? We like to test a ton of different sales strategies. In our opinion, sales strategies are what set all the Amazon sellers apart from one another. Different strategies will work for some different categories that [...]

How Face to Face Sourcing Can Improve Your Product Quality

Tracy Hazzard2018-09-13T01:08:29+00:00September 13th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Moving off email and getting some face time with your supplier is re-emerging as the business growth necessity and biggest time and money-saver.   Let's go back in time, to the early 90's. Overalls with one strap hanging down were thefashion trend, everybody was quoting Terminator 2, "Hasta la vista baby," ... oh, and the first web page was written. From there, the whirlwind of technology (and fashion trends) we've witnessed has been exponential. Ebay was born, Microsoft blew up, video conferencing was born, Gameboys went full color, pets became digital, Google was born, and we realized we didn't have to see another human, if we didn't want to, and we didn't have to sacrifice productivity either. Why Emails Aren't Enough At the end of October, I'm heading to Hong Kong for the Global Sources Summit, the only eCommerce conference where you can meet hundreds of Chinese suppliers at the same venue. Yes, there will be speakers (if [...]

The Next Generation of Startup Founders Are Getting A Jumpstart

Tracy Hazzard2018-09-12T00:52:36+00:00September 12th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why this UCLA-partnered high school accelerator is giving money to teenagers and how you can benefit too.   Entrepreneurship is one of the foundational pieces of our business economy. We expect that everyday individuals will continue to attempt to bring their dreams to life and market, by way of entrepreneurship, startups, and small business. But do we expect this from teenagers? We've heard about the anomaly children who launch something that ends up going viral. But that could be changing, starting right now. Let's Get Down to Business Meet Founders Bootcamp, the world's very first high school accelerator. With their partners at UCLA, this accelerator brings students the opportunity to go through the founder process of developing their ideas and learning to pitch in an environment that is not only inspiring, but full of resources. Plenty of students have imagined that one day they might build their own business, and Founders Bootcamp is [...]

Saving Earth, One Couch At A Time

Tracy Hazzard2018-09-04T08:39:32+00:00September 4th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Why sustainable, eco-friendly furniture is just as important as clean eating.   The wellness wave of health consciousness is so far-reaching now, that it's hard to imagine only 100-years ago, the best available advice came from a Michigan Sanatorium Director. His approach to learning to stay well and allowing the body to heal itself, through exercise, diet, and fresh air, was almost sacrilegious at that time. When I first started in product design (not quite 100-years ago) with Herman Miller, I wanted to bring the eco-friendly, sustainable ideas in my mind to life. Today, this is quickly becoming a reality for the furniture market as the wellness wave finds a new way to change the things we buy, and especially why we buy them. What's It Made Of? Susan Inglis, of the Sustainable Furnishings Council talked to me about their initiatives on helping brands and retailers move to more sustainable choices, so that we can reduce the chemical loads in [...]

Baseball Bats Are Getting More Innovative, Thanks to This Inventor’s Curiosity

Tracy Hazzard2018-08-14T03:47:26+00:00August 14th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

How a baseball dad set out to change America's pastime, got the MLB on board, and overcame a lot of strikeouts to set a new baseball record.   For my family, baseball is not traditional, it is a tradition. My dad's love for the Yankees is known by all, and the time spent with him learning how to keep score and anticipating the thrill of a homerun, make up some of the best memories I have. Of course, the fact that I married a die-hard Red Sox fan is still a point of contention after twenty-six years. But the game itself is very traditional, change is not welcome, and preserving America's favorite pastime is something taken very seriously by those with any say-so.   Where Does Innovation Fit Into This Story? It doesn't. Which is what makes this story so important. I first wrote about Grady Phelan, founder and inventor at ProXR, around 2013 in one [...]

Should the Customer Get to Choose How They Experience Your Business?

Tracy Hazzard2018-08-07T03:00:49+00:00August 7th, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Three reasons an omnichannel approach may not be for you and your retail interface and what you can do instead. We are all aware that buyers have more options than ever before. The omnichannel business landscape we've built up over the past decade can be amazing, or overwhelming... and most of the time both. I've worked with enough startups and product designers to understand something very important: omnichannel design, for the most part, is not desirable except for having easy return policies and brand expectations. This is not the most popular bandwagon view on the omnichannel approach, so let me tell you why I believe this to be true. What Does Omnichannel Even Mean? Omnichannel is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience, whether they're shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in a brick-and-mortar store. Even more simplified, it means letting the customer choose how [...]

How Amazon Is Actually Helping US Small Businesses

Tracy Hazzard2018-08-02T03:00:51+00:00August 2nd, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

The internet giant gets a bad rap, but is Amazon actually helping small businesses in the US? Online markets in the U.S. are often major targets of blame for shifting failures in our business economy. Amazon is a perfect example of this. We love the two-day shipping, but don't hesitate to hit 'share' when we see yet another article about how Amazon kills small businesses everywhere. Somewhere between the failure rate afflicting small businesses and the expanding numbers of online sales is the real truth. First, The Numbers That Matter There is a common misconception that Amazon steal jobs but if we look at the numbers below, it's easy to see that our assumptions may be harsher than the reality of what is happening. Not only is Amazon creating a new sales channel for small businesses, their warehouses and offices hire in the hundreds of thousands annually.   Number of Amazon Employees: 566,000 Number of Small Businesses Currently Selling on Amazon: According [...]

The Truth Nobody Tells You About Startup Budgeting

Tracy Hazzard2018-08-01T03:00:28+00:00August 1st, 2018|Capital Funding, e-Commerce, Free Articles, INC Articles, Private Label, Prototype It, Prove It, Retail & Big Box|

Expert advice (for free) on the dos and don'ts of product launch budgeting before you break the bank. So many startups are so eager to throw money into anything they believe will speed up the launch process. More seasoned experts know that intellectual property, patents, trademarks, copyrights, content, and products should all be assets that hold value, rather than sinkholes. You need to have an investment plan for all of this. That means every single spending point along the way should be detailed in your investment plan and budget. The problem with this is that, unless you are spending thousands on an expert, which you probably cannot afford in the beginning, who knows how much you should budget for things like patents, marketing, prototyping, research, and design? This is what we are going to break down today.   Scrounging and Spending: Why? What? When? The first thing you need to be able to determine is whether or [...]

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