We all know that times have changed. Cell phones, the internet and smart phones/devices have changed the world in which I grew up! I guess I am telling my age…lol. Just as those things changed the world as I knew it, it has also changed the way we do business and market business.
Back in the day if someone wanted the world to see what went on behind the scenes of their business or learn things about them, they’d have to hire an entire camera crew to follow them around. They would then have to buy tv time in order for the masses to see it. Nowadays all of that can be done with a handheld device and a push of a button! No longer are people flocking to the yellow pages or the newspaper to find the best person to solve their problems. They have information readily accessible on the web!
How does this benefit you? EASY. It helps people learn about you and what you do/sell quickly and with ease. Gone are the days where you are (or a member of your team) are calling people during their family dinner or inopportune moments (like when they have a house guest) to tell them all about yourself and what you have to offer. Now you can use a particular hashtag or post in a specific group and get all the eyes that are already looking for you directly on your brand! It is like magic. (throw glitter and add ohhs and ahhhhs now). The best part of all of this is not only that the changes have made things easier, but it has also made it super inexpensive often times it is FREE!
The internet, more specifically social media, gives entrepreneurs a platform to the tell everyone and their momma that is interested what they have going on! It allows entrepreneurs to connect with their audience and gain trust must faster than entrepreneurs of the past. That connection and trust allows entrepreneurs to also gain the sale faster. Thereby allowing today’s entrepreneurs to get the money FASTER and likely in larger quantities than the previous generation of entrepreneurs.
Today entrepreneurs cannot use “I don’t have the money, I don’t have a photographer/videographer, etc.” as an excuse anymore. Those days are long gone! If you are not using social media to market your business then it is likely you have been under a ROCK!!!!! If you are missing out on money due to your failure to use the FREE tools consider this a virtual kick in your shin! I am sending you virtual sad faces and tons of SMHs! If by chance you have been under a rock I have a few sites for you to set you on your journey to getting paid to post. Yes, your posts should eventually be generating checks, my friend.
10 Tips For Making Money With Social Media
Can You Actually Make Money Using Social Media
15 Easy Ways For Entrepreneurs To Make Money Using Social Media
Regardless of the industry you are in it takes capital to make it all work. The difficult part is WHERE to find the capital. Bootstrapping is one way to go to build capital to start or grow a business. Bootstrapping essentially is building a business out of very little or virtually nothing. Boot strappers rely usually on personal income and savings, sweat equity, lowest possible operating costs. I have one bootstrapping tip that can help your business without having to reach out to a bank! The resource is closer than you think!
Family and Friends: Raising capital from family and friends can be one of the best ways to raise capital and should be the first place you go. Often I hear people say “I don’t like asking people for things.” And my response is always “If you lack the courage to pitch those closest to you, then you’ve already lost.” If you cannot feel comfortable pitching to your friends and family how will you be comfortable pitching to a room full of strangers? Get used to it
Don’t create objections for people! You really NEVER know until you ask!
Often times entrepreneurs do not want to approach family and friends because. “I know that they don’t have any money.” “They don’t even understand what I’m doing.” “They don’t have time to listen to me.” and so on and so on. And while all of these things may very well be true, you still need to, MUST approach them. Your job is to raise capital for your business, not to create objections. Allow them to object or say that they don’t have any money. So that you can ask
a) Do you know someone who does? Your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends have a wealth of resources at their fingertips even if they don’t know it or know how to tap into those resources. It is your job as a fundraiser/entrepreneur to guide them, lead them and instruct them as to how to help you eventually be able to help everyone. Notice that I said “help everyone”. The fact is no one wants to work and get nothing in return. Assure them that as your success translates into dollars that they will get to enjoy the benefits of that success. They have coworkers, bosses, friends, pastors and others in their lives who very well may be the person who decides to bet on you!
b) How else may you assist?The one thing that everyone can offer is feedback and possibly their time and other resources. Which in turn becomes their investment. Identifying the skill set of those around you and finding roles for them within your business can save you both time and money. In addition when you pitch your business idea to them the feedback that they provide is invaluable. It is a great “dress rehearsal” for you to hone your skills to potentially pitch to someone that can write you a check.
Enjoy this time of sharing your business with your family and friends. The feedback, the questions and even the objections will only help you become a better fundraiser. As your business grows and begins to flourish remembering when you first approached them will be just another part of your story.
Let’s face it…we live in a “sue-happy” nation. Lawsuits for this, lawsuits for that. Some are warranted and others are not. Either way no one wants to get caught up in the paper trail and the headache associated with being served a petition. I have a few tips to share to help REDUCE (because of course there are no guarantees) the chances of being sued.
- Incorporate Your Business: If you are sued it would suck if your personal assets got all caught up in the headache! Incorporate your business in your state so that it can exist as an entity separate from you and your personal assets. There are several different types of entities that may provide you with protection. These include: Limited Liability Company, S-corp, C-corp, partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, etc. Each entity is taxed differently. Therefore you should check with a professional in your state to determine which would be the best fit.
- Trademark: You print marketing materials, create branded products, create an amazing website all under a business name that you did not know already existed. YIKES! If you do this you are infringing upon the other company’s trademark rights. In order to avoid this from happening be sure that the name you are using is available.. not just in your state but in all states! If it is a name that you do not want anyone to use in the same business category for which you are using it, you will want to trademark the name.
- Legal Agreements: Of course having legal agreements in place will not prevent someone from filing a lawsuit against you. However what it does is makes things crystal clear between each party so that there will not be any (or at least minimal) confusion later. Popular agreements include an employee agreement, vendor agreement, contract employe agreement and more.
This list is short. There are so many other factos that come into place when it relates to protecting your brand. However this list gives you an idea of some things you can implement if you have not already.
***Sharing this information does not create a professional relationship and it does not replace an attorney. Please seek legal advice for your specific needs.