Wellness Tips from Successful Entrepreneurs and Health Experts Katie Lundin | March 10th, 2017

Entrepreneurs are widely viewed as visionaries; the women and men who dare to gaze beyond what is, at what could be. But when you’re busy envisioning potentials (and managing the trillions of real world details of running an actual business) it can be easy to overlook things that are a little closer to home. Things like your own mental and physical well-being.

You’re busy! We get that. But at the end of the day, neither you nor your business will thrive if you neglect your health. So we’ve compiled a few pro tips from entrepreneurs just like you. Tips for how to take care of yourself in the midst of taking care of everything else.

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Five Tips on Leveraging Trademarks to Protect Your Business Ross Kimbarovsky | March 10th, 2017

Protecting your brand is an important part of building your business and maintaining your customers’ trust.

A trademark identifies the product your company sells. For example, Apple is a trade name, while the iPhone is a trademark for the smartphones sold by Apple.

Crucial brand elements like your company’s name, logo and tagline should be protected so that no other company can enter the market and use your identity to sell their product or service. One of the earliest steps you can take to protect your brand is to register your trademark.

Start protecting your brand and products with these five practical tips about trademark law:

1. Do a trademark search before you settle on a trade name (company name) and/or logo.

2. Register your trademark.

3. Maintain your trademark if you’ve registered it.

4. You can file a trademark application before you use a mark in commerce.

5. Understand the Permitted and Prohibited Uses When You Use Another Company’s trade name or logo.

Watch the video for more detail on these five tips, plus the basics of trademark law for business.

Fresh from the SPRING: nhr Audree | March 9th, 2017

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we recognize this gem submitted in this logo project:

The challenge of this project was to create a timeless logo for an event rental business that specializes in vintage, rustic and quality hand crafted products.

Let us start the slow clap for nhr. Check out more great work on nhr’s profile page.

Nicely done, nhr, nicely done!

6 Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Most Important Advice About Starting And Growing A Successful Business Arielle Kimbarovsky | March 8th, 2017

There are more women entrepreneurs starting new businesses today than at any point in history.

We will all benefit as a result of this trend. Women are more likely to see and fix industry gaps than men are, making them more likely to identify business ideas that will succeed and help others.

And while it’s always challenging to start and grow a new business, there are many terrific resources tailored to help women entrepreneurs start, run and grow their businesses more quickly. As a result, women have founded very diverse businesses, across many industries.

For example, what do a fitness expert, sustainable apparel enthusiast, online magazine owner, media co-founder, and two crowdSPRING creatives have in common? They are all trailblazing, empowered, and highly successful female entrepreneurs that have worked hard to carve their own unique paths in the business world.

We spoke to 6 female entrepreneurs about their experiences with starting their own businesses, raising families, and their overall journey as female entrepreneurs. With years of wisdom, different industries, and different ages, these women represent a glimpse into what being an entrepreneur is really like. Here are the important insights they wanted to share with you.

1. Lisa Druxman,
FIT4MOM

As the founder of a fitness community for moms that includes classes, support, and a community of fit moms, Lisa has become an expert in leveraging 21st century marketing for her unique audience.

I have been marketing my company via word of mom for over a decade. The social media platforms may change but the talk has always been based on the story of moms. When moms like something, they talk. When they don’t like something, they talk. It doesn’t matter where or on what they talk, what matters is that they talk. We have made sure to create a very special business that moms want to talk about in a positive light.

When it comes to female entrepreneurship in general, Lisa has one big tip: know your purpose. With FIT4MOM, Lisa’s purpose is to empower mothers to lead healthy, active lives while caring for their children. But for aspiring entrepreneurs, knowing your “why” is Lisa’s biggest tip.

First, figure out your why. When you know your why and you are totally committed to it, you can get through any obstacle. Think about what you want your life to look like. If you want to be a remote entrepreneur and work from your laptop, then you probably don’t want to start a brick and mortar business. Figure out what you are most passionate about and see how you can bring that together with your purpose.

2. Paula Haunit,
Sheer Apparel

Sheer Apparel focuses on providing consumers with a central, online location to purchase fair and sustainable clothing. Paula wanted to bring transparency to the clothing industry- something that others have struggled and failed to do in the past. While starting such a new venture, Paula learned a lot about funding her business.

For now, my business is self-funded. Although that won’t work forever or for any type of company, it keeps you disciplined, makes sure you spend money in a smart way, and shows a future investor that you are literally invested in the business- you aren’t just saying that you are. Also, people who are just starting out can sometimes forget that raising money, be it from Angel investors or through crowdfunding takes time and effort, so inevitably it’ll take you away from the day to day running of your business. So if you can, I suggest trying to start out self-funded.

Paula echoes what many other successful entrepreneurs say: entrepreneurship is a lonely, difficult road- though worthwhile! She suggests building a support network and anticipating the unexpected and the underestimated, especially for first time entrepreneurs.

I’d give female entrepreneurs the same advice I give to any entrepreneur, male or female: surround yourself with smart people who will challenge you when you are becoming too comfortable and will support you when you are being too hard on yourself. Also, everything will take twice as long and cost twice as much as you thought, plan for that.

3. Sallee Poinsette-Nash,
Tall Guides

Sallee has built her business based on an online magazine surrounded by a community of women seeking empowerment. When it comes to building a support network, Sallee is all too familiar with just how important it is to be surrounded by a support system.

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Interview with The Founding Moms’ Jill Salzman Arielle Kimbarovsky | March 7th, 2017

If you’re a mom and you’re thinking about starting a new business or growing your existing business, you are not alone.

According to the International Finance Corporation, female owned businesses make up 37% of businesses globally. In fact, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, women are more likely to reinvest in their businesses, create more jobs, and be more innovative than men. It’s no wonder that female entrepreneurs are changing entrepreneurship and setting the bar for success even higher.

Fortunately, as more women have become entrepreneurs, there are also more networks, support systems and resources to help them succeed.

One of our favorite resources for female entrepreneurs is Jill Salzman’s The Founding Moms, a community that enables mom entrepreneurs to connect with each other for support and advice. We recently collaborated with Jill on a free eBook to help women entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

Jill is a mom and a serial entrepreneur. We asked Jill to share her insights on how women entrepreneurs can raise a family while building a great business. Here’s what she had to say:

1. What were you doing before you started The Founding Moms?

I was running two unrelated businesses. My first was a music management company that I started in 2005. I sent bands out on tour. And since it was my first business, I should have called it Mistakes, Incorporated. Two years into that, I decided to start selling baby jewelry. By the time I (accidentally) launched The Founding Moms, I was running two unrelated businesses with two small children in one home office.

2. Had you always seen yourself as an entrepreneur?

Absolutely. There was never a time I was not starting a business. In elementary school I co-founded a catering-for-parents company. By the end of high school I was editing, publishing and selling my own fanzine. I also attempted a record label but I sucked at it so it never got off the ground.

3. What inspired you to start The Founding Moms?

My hunger to meet just one other woman who had a business and a baby. I didn’t know any. So I launched a coffee get-together on Meetup.com to meet a couple. That “couple” turned into 10,000+ women 7 years later. It’s amazing how many of us are hungry to connect with one another to build better businesses.

4. What was your biggest challenge with starting The Founding Moms?

Figuring out how to make it a business. I knew these women wanted to get together. I didn’t know how to formalize it in a way where people could have success because of it and I could make money because of it. To be frank, I’m still working on it and figuring it out. Every. Single. Day.

5. What is an average workday like for you? Does it change day to day?

There is no such thing in my universe. It changes hour to hour. Things get moved, kids get sick, and/or opportunities pop up that I want to chase.

6. What do you think made you a successful entrepreneur?

Persistence. The more I persist and ask and go for it, the more success I have. It’s gradual, and it’s 100% true for everyone.

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How Chatbots Can Help You Grow Revenue In Your Business Amanda Bowman | March 6th, 2017

At every turn, companies and organizations are competing for our attention. How many of them actually get it? To fight against the white noise of impersonal marketing, companies are increasingly turning toward chatbots. For marketing professionals, this is an exciting way to reach their target audience. Who doesn’t love a memorable conversation? Building rapport with your customers helps generate brand loyalty, and that translates into revenue for you. That’s where chatbots come into play.

Going where the (inter)action is

Image courtesy of Pexels

Chatbots give you access to where your customers are: messaging apps. Over 2.5 billion people are using at least one chat based app, and they are outpacing the growth of the four largest social networks. “People are now spending more time in messaging apps than in social media and that is a huge turning point. Messaging apps are the platforms of the future and bots will be how their users access all sorts of services,” says Peter Rojas, Entrepreneur in Residence at Betaworks. It’s clear that taking advantage of these chat interfaces is the way of the marketing future.

Image courtesy of Business Insider

The number of people communicating via chat interfaces is astonishing:  Whatsapp boasted that they had 1.2 billion monthly active users as of January 2017, and as of July 2016, Facebook Messenger had 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. Following this trend, companies are turning to chatbots to reach customers using something that feels very natural to them: conversation. “It’s more of a cultural shift,” says Mike Roberts, head of Messenger at Kik. “Users are now so used to chatting with their friends via SMS and messengers that they feel comfortable with that same interface delivering an app experience.”

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Why It’s a Great Time to Be a Female Entrepreneur Katie Lundin | March 3rd, 2017

You’ve toyed with the idea of starting your own business or have an idea you’re passionate about, and the thought just keeps creeping back. “What if?” you say.

“What if?”, indeed. Now’s the time to find out.

There has never been a better time for a woman to become an entrepreneur. According to the American Express OPEN 2016 State of Women-owned Businesses Report:

“Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45%, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses. Therefore, over the past nine years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate fully five times faster than the national average.”

What makes this time so ripe for female entrepreneurs? There are a number of factors in your favor.

You have more support than ever before.

It’s faster and easier than ever to become an entrepreneur thanks to helpful resources available online. Let’s face it- most modern women don’t have the time to build a business infrastructure from the ground up. We’re busy working, raising a family and generally, well… living.

The great news is that now you don’t have to build your business infrastructure from the ground up. Online services like Gusto can help you manage your human resource tasks like payroll and health benefits management. Need a logo, company name, or marketing copy? crowdSPRING can help you quickly and easily crowdsource the creative work you need.

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Find the Perfect Name For Your Business or Startup With These 10 Tips Ross Kimbarovsky | March 2nd, 2017

Picking a good name for your business can be one of the most difficult parts of building brand identity, but also one of the most important. As Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot CTO and Founder puts it, “A great name reduces the friction between your company and the market. It makes it easier for people to find you. Easier for people to talk about you. Sometimes, even easier for people to trust you.”

If you need help naming your company, you might find the following tips useful:

1. Think about what you want your company name to convey.

2. Brainstorm to identify name possibilities.

3. Keep the name short, simple, and easy to write and remember. Also, consider acronyms of the name.

4. Avoid names that are too narrow or too literal.

Watch the video for more detail on these four tips, plus six more.

Fresh from the SPRING: HambaAllah Audree | March 2nd, 2017

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we recognize this gem submitted in this book cover project:

The book is a chef’s collection of stories from kitchens around the world. The challenge of this project was to create a cover based on an unfortunate incident on a cruise ship. This entry made quite a splash.

Let us start the slow clap for HambaAllah. Check out more great work on HambaAllah’s profile page.

Nicely done, HambaAllah, nicely done!

5 Successful Rebrands and the Strategies That Worked for Them Amanda Bowman | March 1st, 2017

Public awareness of company rebrands in recent years is high, and with good reason: A good rebrand can shed new light on a company, connecting it with consumers in new and effective ways. No one wants their rebrand to become the next headline or subject of public ridicule like the brands outlined in our previous post “5 Major Rebranding Failures and What You Can Learn from Them.

In order to avoid this, here are examples of brands that used proven strategies in their rebrands to excellent effect.

Mailchimp – The design is in the details

We tend to notice big redesigns and rebranding disasters, but sometimes small tweaks and restraint are more effective. Taking stock of what’s there, optimizing it, and then distilling it is often a better strategy than a complete overhaul.

Mailchimp is a web-based email marketing service that is used by, in their words, “more than 15 million people and businesses around the world.” Their features and integrations allow marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns to be sent out to customers, with detailed reports to track progress.

Designer Jessica Hische covered every little change in her post about the redesign. For a rebrand that was all about the details, this was rather fitting. “They just wanted a facelift—one of those classy facelifts that make your friends ask you if you’ve been sleeping better lately or lost some weight because you look like a more vivacious version of yourself and not like a different person.”

The subtle evolution was not missed by those in the know. Leading design website Brand New raved that it was “[A] Fantastic evolution that maintains the character of the original with enhanced performance,” and Design Taxi called it a “subtle but refreshing makeover.”

Strategy: Read the rest of this post »

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