Archives for April 2012

Who’s The Boss?

be the boss

be the boss

I was talking to a friend today who works in an office. She said she really hates her job, but as long as she makes sure her boss is happy, she’s pretty sure she will always have a job. I told her that’s probably not the only thing she needs to be worried about in this new economy, but, whatever.

She said she only has to please one person, but I have to please everybody. At first I thought “I don’t have to please anybody. I’m the boss.” But after giving it some thought, I realized she was right. As an entrepreneur, everybody’s your boss. And since I’m running multiple businesses that number multiplies greatly. She IS right. EVERYBODY is my boss. And I have to make them all happy. [Read more…]

The Learning Curve

The unemployment numbers lately have been pretty bleak. But for recent college graduates they are even worse. Almost half of all recent grads are either unemployed or underemployed, meaning there are a lot of very educated people flipping burgers and serving cappuccino. I’ve been there. It’s the learning curve.

learning curve

learning curve

I used to dodge the question I would always get asked “So, where did you go to college?” “Um, oh, a school you’ve never heard of”, and drop the subject. I always felt like I was missing out on some kind of secret party that everyone had been invited to except me.

The truth is that I could have gone. I’m sure my parents would have scraped together the money somehow or borrowed it if I had pushed the issue. But I didn’t. Instead I saved up a few hundred dollars and as soon as I turn 18 I left my small town and jumped on a plane headed to NYC.

I had no idea where I was going to go or what I was going to do when I got there. And I didn’t know anyone at all in the city. Talk about not having a plan! But fate had other plans for me. [Read more…]

How Well Do You Know Your Customer?

know your customer

know your customer

How well do you know your customer? The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to serve them.

I just got back from speaking at the California Public Information Officers Conference on the topic of “Getting Your Message Across: What Great Leaders Know About Storytelling”.

I really didn’t know what these people did, but I decided to do a lot of homework to find out. I’m glad I did because it paid off and they noticed.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because it’s important to know who your customer is. Since I was speaking at a conference, my customer was the meeting planner that hired me. But the “end user” was the people who were in the audience. So I actually had to know both for different reasons.

Let’s say, for example, you have a product or service to sell. You could sell that product directly to the end user, or you could sell it to a distributor, wholesaler, or retailer. With each one, you need to know the needs and concerns of each customer. And some of their concerns overlap. [Read more…]

Product Entrepreneur – Prototype

product entrepreneur

product entrepreneur

I remember trying to explain my first product, swiggies, wrist water bottles when I didn’t have a tangible bottle to show. “It’s a bottle that straps onto your wrist and has a pull top like a regular sports bottle.” People were picturing a regular water bottle that simply strapped onto your wrist.

Even when I made a clay prototype, it still didn’t quite register. The clay was molded into a small bottle type figure that sat on top of the wrist and had a vel-stretch band through it to keep it from moving. The cap opened and closed like a sports bottle.

It wasn’t until I had the finished product in the packaging that people finally went “Oh, I get it!”

Because most people can’t visualize something exactly the way you can with your own vision. So, if you plan on licensing, or even manufacturing yourself, it’s good to have some type of prototype for several reasons. [Read more…]

Product Entrepreneur – Inventor’s Notebook

inventor's notebook

inventor’s notebook

An inventor’s notebook, or also called a logbook, is a special notebook designed for inventors to keep track of all of the details of their invention. This has always been important in the U.S. because we’ve always been a first to invent country. But that will all change on March 16, 2013 when the America Invents Act kicks in.

The first to invent means that the inventor has conceived and “reduced to practice” their idea. So, until March 16, 2012 the inventor’s notebook will be critical. Even after that date, keeping an inventor’s notebook will still add value to your invention. Why wouldn’t you do it anyway? It’s free. And just added proof that the idea is yours and you have been actively working to get it on the market.

You can technically use any kind of bound notebook that can’t be changed or altered, but I like to use ones like The Inventor’s Logbook: An Essential Record Keeping System It includes everything you need to know to document your idea and shows you how to do it step by step.
[Read more…]