Prep Your Product Launch To Survive & Thrive

2017-07-07T19:51:26+00:00August 7th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Reinventing High Touch Amid High Tech

2017-07-07T19:54:02+00:00August 4th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Made In America Is More Than Guts & Glory

2017-07-07T19:46:50+00:00August 3rd, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Nitty-Gritty Secrets to Being an Amazon Millionaire

2017-08-02T19:04:39+00:00July 27th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Learning to Deal With Stress Just Got Easier

2017-07-24T18:43:02+00:00July 20th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

If You Want to Make 23% More Money, Then Get Consistent

2017-07-07T19:40:02+00:00July 20th, 2017|INC Articles|

From the experts, everything you need to know on branding consistently for higher visibility and more revenue. How much is brand consistency worth? This might not be a question you find yourself asking often. Even though we spend a tremendous amount of time discussing branding, plenty of companies go forth into that dark night...uhh... move forward with their branding plans, without ever measuring the growth benefits or possible setbacks. Luckily, for all of us, Lucidpress, in partnership withDemand Metric, surveyed over 200 organizations to better understand the impact and value of brand consistency. Citing the study which says, "Less than 10 percent report that their brand presentation is very consistent, but almost 90 percent agree that it is important to present their brands consistently in all the places people might encounter them," we can see how true it is that plenty of companies are not clear on branding. For a company like [...]

Secrets to Out-Innovating Your Competition

2017-07-07T19:33:26+00:00July 15th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

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

2017-07-07T19:28:46+00:00July 13th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

The Risky Business Of A Cocktail Trend Setter

2017-07-07T19:26:13+00:00July 8th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

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

2017-07-07T19:20:57+00:00July 5th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

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

2017-07-07T19:19:18+00:00June 30th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Your Message Comes First, Everything Else Follows

2017-07-07T19:16:12+00:00June 23rd, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Advice for Nonprofits Seeking Seed Funding

2017-07-07T19:12:08+00:00June 22nd, 2017|INC Articles|

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

How Great Design Can Keep People Honest

2017-07-07T19:05:44+00:00June 19th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Follow These Tips If You Want Investors to Say Yes

2017-07-07T19:01:05+00:00June 19th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Comic Books Have Never Been This Cool Before

2017-07-07T18:57:13+00:00June 16th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

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

2017-07-07T18:53:32+00:00May 27th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Building Fans By Connecting Brands to Brains

2017-07-07T18:50:28+00:00May 21st, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Get A COO or CMO If You Want To Launch Big

2017-07-07T18:48:30+00:00May 20th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

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

2017-07-07T18:45:01+00:00May 6th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

5 Steps to Keeping Your Product a Bestseller

2017-07-07T18:42:43+00:00May 4th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Every Company Needs a Kid on Board

2017-07-07T18:39:58+00:00April 23rd, 2017|INC Articles|

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

How to Make Millions Selling One Simple Thing

2017-07-07T18:37:52+00:00April 15th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

Power Tool Secrets of Million-Dollar Amazon Sellers

2017-07-07T18:35:31+00:00April 15th, 2017|INC Articles|

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

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

2017-07-07T18:31:40+00:00April 9th, 2017|INC Articles|

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