Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Protect Yourself From Brand Thieves!!

Brand Thieves and Squatters

I LOVE business. I find having a business idea, developing a plan, giving “birth” to it, watching it grow and generate revenue is so exciting. What can be worse than building it all and  having someone snatch not only your business idea, but also your business or product name?!! YIKES!!

I help so many people develop amazing businesses and the last thing they think about is protecting their name. I get it. Often I meet people that have been in business for awhile and STILL aren’t concerned about it. They get real concerned about it- to the point of tears and a bunch of bad words- once someone else starts using the same (or a very similar name). The anger and fear is at even higher levels when they learn that someone else may have even gone as far as obtaining a federal trademark registration for the name.

It is a sick feeling. The thought of “your baby” being snatched from you, all the money you spent on branding and possibly merchandise flushed down the toilet. They got the trademark registration and now own the name, right? WRONG! It is still yours, but just like a great relationship, you may have to fight for it.

Don’t feel intimated because you think someone “one upped” you. Here’s the deal:

If you were the first person to use the name in commerce before the weasel trademarked the name, you can have their trademark canceled. Great news, right?!

So, what does “use in commerce” mean? Briefly it means a) when the name is placed on the goods, labels, tags, etc ; b) the goods are sold or transported in commerce; c) on services, when the name is displayed in the sale or advertising of services.

One may feel intimated upon receipt of a demand to stop using the name because it has been registered by another person. However, knowing your rights and having the proof of when you began using it in commerce, can help in your fight for your name.

Although it may not be hard to prove, it is a headache to present everything and seek cancelation of the other person’s trademark so that you can then seek registration. A headache that can be avoided. My advice is to just handle this before it can ever become an issue. Seek trademark registration early on in your venture. In today’s social media age, when someone sees a name that they like, unfortunately they “take” it. They will bully the real owner, ignore all requests to stop and even offer to sell it back to the real owner.

Treat your business like a REAL business. Handle your intellectual property/ brand ownership before someone mishandles you!

Need help? Click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation.

4 Traits That Are Vital To Your Success

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So many are on the quest to find success in their business and ultimately in life. They study the big brands, they go to every seminar and know more about branding than they know about their proclaimed area of personal expertise. However, they aren’t reaching the level of success they’d like. The problem may not lie in their branding or in their marketing. The problem may lie in the individual. I have determined that it is not so much about the things that you do, but it is about who you are. Your habits may be preventing you from reaching the level of success you desire.

There are so many traits that I know are vital for success in any industry. Here are 4 traits essential for lasting success:

VISION: A vision is your goals and your aspirations. It defines the optimal desired future state. The problem is that many people in business do not have a vision. Without a vision you have no idea of where you are going. If you do not know where you are going you definitely don’t have a clue of how to get there. Without a vision you will find yourself on a mission to achieve something, but you won’t even know what that “something” really is. Lack of vision causes lack of direction. Lack of direction causes confusion and frustration. Confusion and frustration typically causes a person to give up. Giving up does not yield success. Get a vision and make it clear!

ACTION:So you have a vision..GOOD FOR YOU! You know what you want to do and have clearly defined how you are going to accomplish it. The question that many entrepreneurs face is to actually get started. Having a great vision, strategy , a phenomenal team in place, etc is all great. However if the plan just sits and collects dust and there isn’t any action coupled with the plan it all becomes a waste of time. Wasting time does not yield success! Couple your vision with action!

COURAGE: All great entrepreneurs have courage.. Most people will tolerate just about anything—a bad marriage, a job they hate, a horrible boss only because it makes them feel secure. Not enough people are comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. True entrepreneurs are not like that. It takes courage to forego the comfort of a steady paycheck from a 9-5. It takes courage to take the risk of failure. It takes true courage to work to make your dreams a reality. It takes courage to step into the unknown and pursue something despite the possibility of obstacles. Courage is standing up and not crawling into a hole when things get rough. Crawling in a hole and hiding does not yield success. Act in the face of fear!

CONFIDENCE Confidence is a key ingredient to success. Truly confident people keep their heads high, give straight answers and use a firm tone of voice. Truly successful people don’t just act confident; they are confident. They know that they are good at what they do, they know that their product/ service can make a difference. That confidence and the delivery of good work/products leads the entrepreneur to success. Get out of that muddy puddle of doubt and acquire the kind of confidence that comes from being a master at what you do. Self- doubt and insecurities will not lead to success. Believe in yourself and what you offer.

Why You Should Be Making More Money Than Entrepreneurs of the Past!

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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

Enjoy!

Business Blessings,

Lens

2 Steps to Your Family & Friends Increasing Your Business & Bank Account

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We all have friends (well if you have a personality…smile) and we all have family that we call on for help/ support. In addition the same people call on us for help/support. When I am in a bind and need a babysitter, I pick up the phone and call someone. When a friend/ family member’s car breaks down, they pick up the phone and call and ask me to pick them up. That is the way it’s supposed to be, right?  We all know that we need help at some point in our lives. In my case it is more like I know I need help at some point in my WEEK or DAY! ha!

We quickly ask our friends and family for things that will benefit us in our personal lives, but quite often we forget to include them on our list of those that can help us with our business. Although your friends nor family may be entrepreneurs or be top executives in a company that can benefit you, they are still able to help you take your business to the next level by doing two very simple things.

1. Telling their network about you: Yes, it is that simple. Just tell someone! If you are anything like me you have provided services/ products to people for as little as F-R-E-E! It is what we sometimes do for those that we care about. After giving away your time and resources asking for a “shot out” on social media or a request for them to hand out 25 business cards should be a simple repayment, right? I am willing to bet that this person asked you for your expertise or your product. If they did they likely will be eager to share your info in exchange. Sharing your info can yield you many more clients/sales and CASH than that one freebie cost you.

2. Check their contacts: I am wiling to bet real money (not monopoly money)  that there are people in your contact list in your cell phone or on your email list that can take you and your business to the next level. It may be someone you talk to everyday, but you just have not thought about how they (or someone they know) can help put real money (not monopoly money) in your bank account.

Create a list of your business goals and who you may need to satisfy those goals. Next think about who you know that has the ability or the contacts to get things in motion. For example: your cousin works at IBM. You have been wanting to do corporate training with a company like IBM. Instead of asking your cousin to bring baked beans to the next cookout why not ask her to send a quick email to the HR department?!

You likely have many of the resources that you need right at your fingertips, but you don’t recognize them. I challenge you this week to reflect and then ASK. Ask those in your circle to refer business to you. Ask your family/friends for that perfect intro that can turn your business into a crazy money making machine! Make use of those fabulous connects that are just sitting on. Remember that the key is to ASK. A closed mouth does not get fed.

3 Ways To Avoid Requests to Discount Your Services

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You are in business for yourself.  Every penny you get to pay a bill, to buy groceries or even pay for that well-deserved vacation comes as a result of your own efforts. You do not have the luxury of getting a paycheck from your boss every week. That is why when someone (especially a stranger) asks you to work for free or for a significantly discounted rate you may get upset or even feel a bit insulted.

Why would so may people ask you to provide a service or a product for less than you are clearly requesting? I will tell you why. It is because they do not value your worth! They do not value your worth for one of three reasons:

1. Your pricing is off. You may be selling yourself too CHEAP! Your pricing may not be in alignment with what you are really worth in the eyes of others. That inadvertently makes people feel as though they can nickel and dime you. If your pricing shows your audience that you don’t value yourself and what you offer why should they value you? Step back and look at the message your pricing gives others.

2. Your branding may not be on point. Your brand may give the impression that you want to be recognized as the cheapest in your industry as opposed to the BEST. Your pictures and graphics may not be of the best quality. Your descriptions and copy on your website and marketing materials may not be written in a manner that adequately reflects what results you really can provide. If you do not look the part don’t expect anyone to pay you what you are worth.

3. You are not targeting the right audience. If your marketing and other efforts are reaching a demographic that cannot afford what you are asking how on Earth can you expect them to pay you? Your branding is all on point, your price is definitely in line with what you are worth but the sales just won’t happen. Imagine this: a realtor walks into a homeless shelter trying to sell a million dollar home. They want it. They need it. However they can’t afford that! Essentially that is what you are doing when you are selling to the wrong person. You make them want to buy it soooooo bad, but they can’t. Therefore they get so desperate for it that they ask you to make it more affordable to them. C’mon…stop teasing people! Align your product or service with the RIGHT people.

Adjusting this can be the difference between a $1,000,000 company and a $10,000 company. Stop letting others cause you to question yourself by requesting free or discounted products/ services. You work hard and you have bills to pay just like everyone else in this world. Position yourself correctly so that the thought to request a discount won’t even cross anyone’s mind. At the end of the day you are running a business. The intent of the business is that share your gifts, passion and talent with the world, but also make money! The bills don’t stop. Don’t lose sight of the passion, but also don’t lose sight of what you need in order to continue operating so that you can continue sharing that passion!

Business Blessings!

Do as I Say Not as I Did

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I met or connected with many of those that follow me and my endeavors through an organization I started some time ago called Mompreneur, Inc. Mompreneur, Inc was designed to celebrate and educate the mompreneurs- the female entrepreneurs that are successfully running their business and being the matriarch of the home. As you may personally know that is NOT AN EASY TASK!

Mompreneur, Inc provided education opportunities for mompreneurs. This was mostly done through live events. I then started providing more private consulting and legal services to entrepreneurs which left me with less time to focus on Mompreneur, Inc. With so many women-owned businesses closing and women feeling frustration and losing hope it was important to me to find the resources and experts to help ensure success. My passion remained with the organization.

However in addition to the time constraints there where other struggles. My primary struggle was that I found it was incredibly difficult to impact a community of mompreneurs when they were spread all over the globe. So many women were requesting live events and for chapters to be organized in their city I found myself overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed with trying to manage my own start-ups, my children AND attempt to execute the organization. I honestly stepped back because I could not handle the demand. I was not expecting such a huge global response. I was thinking a small local organization meeting at a small table at Starbucks! SURPRISE, SURPRISE! It was a classic example of thinking too small and not planning BIG enough.

After months and months of brainstorming and talking it out with my team of advisors I feel I have created the perfect solution to reach the masses! ***Clears throat and smiles****I am pretty darn excited about it too!

(INSERT DRAMATIC DRUMROLL HERE PLEASE)

I am pleased to have the ability to unite and educate mompreneurs nationwide through a virtual subscription box. Do you love subscription services as much as I do? This works much like a subscription box service that delivers hair products, jewelry, snacks, etc to your door step every month. However instead of delivering beauty and snack treats to your MAILBOX every month we deliver educational services and resources straight to your email INBOX every month.

This will provide education and resources to help subscribers’ grow their business. It also provides tips on the balance that mompreneurs have been yearning for. The service also provides monthly e-books, virtual business group coaching, business motivational conference calls, access to a private online community, specialized business educational webinars from industry experts, access to exclusive interviews with successful mompreneurs, a mobile app with discounts to over 200 vendors and MORE!

I already know you will LOVE it!! For more info on the service and how it works click here.

Mompreneur, Inc launches at 12 am tonight (June 7). For the month of June there will only be 100 subscriptions. FIRST COME FIRST SERVED. Here is the secret… Registration is open for a few hours RIGHT NOW for my VIPs. HURRY UP!!!  Click here.

I hope this relaunch helps you to see the importance of thinking BIG. Had I thought and planned for big initially there would be no need for a relaunch. Nonetheless it was a learning experience and I good story to share with my clients. “Do as I say, not as I did”!

Hope to see you on the subscription list!

I’d love your feedback! Check out the site and let me know what you think below.

XOXO,

Lenise

My Top 3 Mistakes as an Entrepreneur

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I am addicted to making my own money. When a first time entrepreneur earns their first 50 bucks ON THEIR OWN WITHOUT A BOSS the feeling is empowering. Well, I can only speak for myself. 🙂
I have been a business owner in some capacity for eleven years. I absolutely love it and would not have it any other way. However in buying businesses, starting businesses and growing businesses I have learned so much. Many of the things I have learned I learned by making mistakes…plenty of them. I want to share the top three mistakes I made as an entrepreneur with you. Hopefully you can learn from them. Here are a few more tips on budgeting.

1. Don’t think every opportunity is the best opportunity.
In the beginning I thought everyone that reached out to help me or support me were all “Team Lenise”. Guess what? Many of them were not. People that I thought were “Team Lenise” would present to me what I thought are opportunities. I would jump at them without hesitation. After getting burned several times I realized that some (not all) get close to you because they want to see you fall. Some disguise that with what looks like an opportunity that you just can’t pass up. Do me a favor: investigate, investigate and investigate again. Trust your intuition. If it seems too good to be true it very well may be too good to be true!

2. Create a budget and stick to it.
Whether you have created a budget for the year or for the month try your hardest to stick to it. Troubled financials is one of the biggest reasons that small businesses close. Every dollar counts…it all adds up! Don’t be scared to switch vendors and price search. If you are going over budget research other vendors and make sure that you are getting the best price possible. I had an office supply vendor that I worked with for years; however I had to stop doing business with them after finding lower prices elsewhere. Loyalty is great, but business is business!

3. Don’t ever get comfortable.
Business is booming. All that marketing you did has really paid off. Here is my tip: DO NOT STOP! Keep marketing and keep working hard like you did before anyone knew anything about you or your products/services. It is that same hunger that will keep you afloat. I remember when my phone in my first business (my law office) never rang. I did some effective marketing and for 2 months straight the phone rang off the hook. I got comfortable and way too confident. I stopped airing commercials as often. I figured I did not need it. Needless to say my phone did stop ringing and I had a drought for awhile. Once I started marketing again it picked back up. However had I kept the momentum going I wouldn’t have experienced that drought.

There are so many other things that I have learned. However these stand out the most. Take the time to listen to stories from others. You can learn so much and avoid so many pitfalls if you just take the time to listen. I did not have the privilege of having a mentor when I started my first business. It was so competitive that everyone feared that the other person would take their clients. Silly, I know. Back then I did not know that business coaches, consultants, etc even existed. Had I known I could have saved myself lots of time, headache and money. But then again if I had known then I wouldn’t be able to share with you!

What is your biggest lesson learned? Share below.

What I Learned When I Intentionally Checked Out

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I have been SUPER, SUPER busy lately. Advising and working on projects with my clients, creating new material for entrepreneurs, hosting a radio show on Business RadioX, getting my kids everywhere they need to go… I could go on and on but I will stop there …lol!

Lately things have been going so fast I couldn’t even think straight. I found myself becoming overwhelmed and pretty flighty and loopy at times. As women we just keep going and going with the weight of the world on our shoulders.

My two little boys were headed out to Jamaica with their dad for Spring Break for a week. I felt that I needed my own Spring break!  I decided to “intentionally check out” for EIGHT days. YIKES! If you know me personally you would know that it is hard for me to sit for even 30 minutes without doing anything. However, I am happy to report that I successfully completed all eight days of my intentional check-out. (Insert applause and cheers here!!) I took my time off to travel, rest, prepare my mind & spirit for revelations and do pretty much whatever the heck I wanted to do!

I spent 9 hours at a day spa in the beautiful and serene mountains of North Carolina, I went to dinner by myself, I had a mani and pedi day, I was able to visit family in Louisiana…ahhhh. I forgot what it was like to just RELAX! I was also able to see my little brother graduate from the Louisiana State Police Academy. Becoming a State Trooper had been his dream since he was 5 years old. What an honor to witness him achieve his childhood dream 🙂

In my eight days of relaxing I realized that for the last few months I have been really busy, but not successful. Busy is not always a good thing. In my solitude I learned that busy is sometimes a way to keep from focusing on what really needs to be done or to prevent from focusing on how/what we are currently feeling or experiencing in life.

The time away was a great gift to myself. It caused many revelations and new ideas for what I can do to better my clients and myself both personally and professionally. I have promised myself that I will schedule at least 90 minutes a day to just RELAX and REGROUP. It can be lounging in bed an extra 30 minutes, having a silent 30 minute lunch and 30 minute evening prayer time or it can be 90 straight minutes in the gym. However I break down the time I WILL GIVE MYSELF 90 MINUTES a day. I am certain that this will give me more clarity, more focus and LESS overwhelm.

I invite you to join me in this Intentional 90 minute a day check out. You deserve to do absolutely nothing for 90 minutes per day/ 10.5 hours per week/ 315 hours per month. Otherwise your head will ache and your brain will explode… like mine almost did 🙂

Cheers to checking out! What are you going to do to intentionally check out? Let me know below.

Why an E-Business Makes Me Happy

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Have you like many others considered starting (or growing) an online business? A business owner who does any, or all, of their business using the internet, is running an online business (also known as an ebusiness).

It has become the business of choice for many boutique owners, consultants, coaches and more. There are so many benefits to having an online business. Here are my top 3 reasons:

1. Location Independence: The internet reaches across the world and spans all time zones. That means that when businesses take their operations online, they have the same capabilities. With a physical store/office, customers are limited by how close the store is and its hours of operation. Ebusinesses, on the other hand, are accessible from any area with internet access and open 24 hours a day.

The best part of that is that you as the business owner can be ANYWHERE! You can provide your services online or via phone, Skype, etc. or you can fulfill orders for products from anywhere with an internet connection. That means you can work from your home, from an office, from a local coffee shop or even from the beach!

2. Lower Overhead Costs: If you have ever owned a brick and mortar business you know the huge financial stress that places on many. The demands of paying for storage space for your merchandise, paying overhead for your office space, building out to make a place suit your needs….the list goes on and on. However with an online business the only expense you are faced with is the cost for a great website, your internet bill and a computer. Sounds pretty great, right?

3. You Stay Relevant: The internet is a big part of our lives, and isn’t showing signs of leaving anytime soon. Opening an ebusiness keeps you in touch with what’s current: it levels the playing field and gives you the resources needed to compete in today’s increasingly digital marketplace. For example, having an online presence on social media websites is a big part of getting your name out there. To stay relevant, businesses need to consistently post content on these outlets that interest their consumers. Having an online presence forces you to keep up with the changes thereby making you continuously relevant.

I started LeniseWilliams.com, an online source for female entrepreneurs, and haven’t looked back. I sell products online to people as close as Alabama to as far as Africa and Dubai. In addition I coach and consult business owners nationwide through sessions conducted via Skype or telephone. It is hard to believe that I have almost matched my salary from my brick and mortar law office in a very short time! The best part is that it gets better each and every month.

In addition to that the impact that I have had on people in multiple states and countries blows me away. None of it would be possible if I had not decided to launch an ebusiness.

Do your research and determine if it is the right move for you. You would be surprised at the impact AND the money you’d make. Generating a great income doing something that I absolutely LOVE, being home for my children and having the freedom to work from practically anywhere has changed my life…for the BETTER!

Are you ready? If you need help starting your online business I am here! I will show you everything I learned and everything I have done.

When It Is Time To Fire Yourself!

When You’re CEO Sometimes You Have to Fire Yourself!I found this article written by Toni Jones Dixon on www.AwesomelyTechie.com and I thought about you and all that you try to achieve by yourself in your business! There are some great tips in this article. Enjoy!

I was sitting back looking at my mobile workspace (otherwise known as my car) and wondering who was going to do all the “must do” items on my list, while I sat, filling up already crowded spaces in my calendar? The answer is usually ME, but I didn’t have time for that.

Business is going relatively well. Steady and moving forward. When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s ideal to create a name for yourself, own a piece of this here American pie, write your own schedule, sign your own paychecks, deliver some goods and services to the world and all of that.

Sounds simple and sounds like a bit of fun, right?

However, there is one thing you have to keep in mind: you may be gifted in that “thing” that made you start a business in the first place, but that does NOT mean you can do all of the jobs the company has to offer. I was doing business, earning business, learning business, growing business, presenting business, putting business online, selling business, publicizing business, and whatever else was needed to make it all work. Yeah, things were going well… until they weren’t.

You see, I had been contemplating firing a couple of my employees for a while. Their butts needed to go! I had one employee who thought she could do everything, thus not doing most things well at all. She thought she was the master of all trades, picking up every job our company offered. And I let her. Though, she was fierce at the things she was most gifted in, eventually she was overwhelmed and tired and I bounced her. She was me! And she had to go. I was doing an adequate job, and that’s how one ends up defining one’s work and company, as simply adequate. Ugh!!!

I couldn’t afford to keep jeopardizing the company I built and its brand by presenting it in such an amateur way. I did a reorganization of the company and made the smart decision to fire myself.

Operating as the owner, ceo, president and everything else of your business, is something that most of us do because we must.

But before you tank your business and ruin your brand and reputation, know that you cannot do ALL things and expect to do them all well.

Professional Photographer – Stop taking sub-par pictures your and posting them on your company’s website. These pictures are your representative. Get yourself a good photographer and have them take some sharp, clean shots of you, your product and whatever else your business is about. As I saw it, I took all my pictures with a good camera and good lighting (a lamp) and like I said earlier… it was adequate. But adequate is not enough. It is not excellence.

Publicist/Public Relations – Find a good business writer to shout your praises. You’ll need a solid press release, brand statement, mission statement, value statement and an “about you” write-up. Most of us won’t even talk about ourselves enough to write a good enough statement that explains what we do. Let the professionals be your bullhorn. Plus, it won’t break the bank as much as you think it would. And it is absolutely worth it.

Website Designer – I was being schooled by Awesomely Luvvie on a few changes that needed to be made and didn’t even realize I had done my website a disservice with an antiquated looking website. She said, “you’ve got to get a proper About Page” and I looked up from taking notes and didn’t even realize I had wiped out the About page with my jacked website building skills. Double Ugh!!!

I needed a fresh pair of eyes to tell me what the rest of the world sees when they look at our company’s website. Yikes! And I thought I was the bomb dot com, like really. One thing she was adamant about was the font Comic Sans. If someone uses or suggests using this, you’re supposed to punch them in the throat. Yeah, I’m not sure that was supposed to be the take away from our session, but I’m ready.

Logo – Get one! A good one! Make sure it pops. Make sure it represents you well. I was appalled at the logo I created in MS Word (yeah, I said it… MS Word). It was cute, but it did not cut it. I gasped with disappointment and embarrassment when I saw my own logo in a publication. That is when I really knew I needed a change.

Bottom Line: Don’t be so impressed with yourself that you don’t allow the pros to do what they do to really pull together a well-rounded presentation of you and your company – YOUR BRAND. When you fire yourself and only work the jobs of your calling, essentially, you’re able to operate in your gifts full on and with excellence. Additionally, you WILL drive more traffic to your business, thus, seeing more cash flow your way.

I just recently fired myself and my business is undergoing a rebranding because of it. Hand yourself a pink slip so you can prosper.

What are your thoughts? Is it time to fire yourself?? Let me know below: