Trademarks and Social Media: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

Josh Gerben July 6, 2016

As a small business owner, there’s no doubt that social media sites, like Facebook, may play a big role in your marketing and sales plans. With 1 out of every 5 page views in the US happening on Facebook, and 42% of marketers saying that Facebook is critical to their business, it’s easy to see why business owners are turning to social media sites as a way to connect with their audiences.

But before you jump into social media with both feet, you need to have your legal ducks in a row. And specifically, to protect your business in social media and beyond, you should understand the importance of registering for federal trademark protection for your business name.

Here are a few tips on how small businesses should handle trademark issues in the world of social media.

Work with a pro to perform a trademark search and file an application.

Regardless of if you plan to keep your business to a single, manageable location or are interested in growing your business across the state or the country, it’s important that you invest the time and money into protecting your name via a trademark registration. Receiving a federal registration for your trademark name ensures that you have the sole rights to use a particular name within your industry, and this will help prove your ownership of the name if someone claims that they used a similar name first.

Before deciding on the name of your new business, ensure the name you choose is eligible to receive a federal trademark registration. This is one of those situations where cutting corners can really cost you in the long run—make sure you hire a trademark attorney to perform a comprehensive trademark search and attorney opinion letter. A professional level trademark search goes well beyond any search you can perform via Google or the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website, and allows you to move forward with your business and branding with more confidence.

Make social media registration a priority, even if you don’t plan on being active.

Once you have properly searched and registered your trademarks, you should always remember to proactively register your trademark name on top social media channels—like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest—regardless of if you plan on being active in those channels. By “reserving” your name, you’ll have it available for you should you decide to market or connect with customers via a particular social media channel. You’ll also be avoiding the chance of:

Customer confusion: If you own the trademark for PATRIOT EAGLE SOAP COMPANY and another business starts posting about their offerings on Facebook using the PATRIOT EAGLE COMPANY name for bath products, it’s easy to see where current and potential customers may become confused. Reserving your name keeps others from using it.

Jeopardizing your brand reputation:To build on the scenario mentioned above, imagine that the other PATRIOT EAGLE COMPANY business is found to be using cancer-causing chemicals in its product line. Or perhaps they are simply taking a long time to fulfill orders. Regardless of the issue, any negative press or reviews on this brand can end up reflecting poorly on your brand, harming your reputation and your sales in the process.

Monitor social media for evidence of infringement.

To keep your trademark active and retain your exclusive rights to use the name, you must keep an eye out for other businesses that may be accidentally or intentionally infringing on your name, in social media or any other channel. And this goes not only for your exact name (PATRIOT EAGLE SOAP COMPANY) but also for a name that is potentially confusingly similar (PATRIOT’S EAGLE, PATRIOT FALCON SOAP, etc.).

So, for example, if you have a Facebook page @PatriotEagleSoaps for your business name and registered the business name with the federal government, you would likely be able to prevent someone else from using the Facebook page @PatriotsEagleSoap or even @PatriotFalconSoap. By using a name that is confusingly similar to yours for related products, the other page owner could be infringing on your trademark—and you can request their page be removed. However, any request to remove a page comes with significant legal risks and should not be made without first contacting an attorney to evaluate the claims.

Take action if infringement occurs.

If you do see evidence of infringement on a trademark you own, your trademark attorney will likely suggest notifying the social media site via its trademark infringement form. All of the major social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have online infringement notification forms that allow trademark owners to identify potential infringement issues and submit evidence of your trademark ownership in the form of your federal trademark registration number. In most cases, simply notifying the social media site of the infringing profile and providing proof of trademark ownership is enough for the site to shut down the infringing entity’s page. However, if you aren’t able to reach a satisfactory resolution, you should work with your trademark attorney to determine next steps.

Prepare for social media by getting your trademark affairs in order.

Whether you plan on slowly dipping your toes into the world of social media or you’re going to jump right in, make sure that your business is ready for prime time by getting your trademark affairs in order. Hire a trademark attorney to help you search for available names and file an application. Then, claim your names on the major social media sites to prevent others from using them, regardless of your short- or long-term social media plans. And finally, keep an eye out for other businesses that may be infringing on your trademark, and take quick action if you find evidence of infringement. By following these steps, you’ll be setting your business up for success in the world of social media and beyond.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

Founder of the Gerben Law Firm, PLLC, Josh Gerben is U.S. trademark attorney who has represented clients in more than 5,000 trademark filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Featured in a variety of national news outlets including FOX News, NPR and The Wall Street Journal, Josh was named 2009’s #3 trademark filer in the US by Trademark Insider.

Josh Gerben

Founder , Gerben Law Firm, PLLC

Sheila Harrison

713-202-7174

Posted by: ebcbroadcast | June 12, 2016

40 Ways To Prospect More Creatively!

40 Ways To Prospect More Creatively!

byPAUL CASTAINonNOVEMBER 29, 2010

You know, I could be way out of line in this assumption but prospects need creative solutions to the challenges they face in their world. More specifically they need your creativity.

Million dollar question coming atcha in 3,2,1 . . .

Do you demonstrate your creativity?

I took the liberty of putting together 40 ways for you to hunt more creatively. In the past, this was reserved exclusively for our Rock Star Academy students, but in the spirit of paying it forward . . .

1) Consider leveraging funny days of the year like “National Thank God It’s Monday Day”, “Bring Your Manners To Work Day” and numerous other ones as a fun excuse for you to reach out to a non responsive prospect! Here’s a calendar with mucho funny days!

2) Make a humorous Top 10 List as to why someone hasn’t returned your call or why they would want to do business with YOU!

3) Give that boring calendar you give out a very cool make over. Have each month designed with a theme of you trying to get in to see your prospect (complete with your prospect’s name in the design) Example: One month you could have a hitch hiker holding a sign “Need to get to (Your Prospect’s Name) Office” Perhaps you could play the themes in with the seasons or non religious holidays? Oh, and don’t forget to include some of those funny days we discussed in idea #1.

4) Get a giant cookie from your bakery and have them write “I want to take a bite out of your business” Note: This can also turn into a handy dandy Thank you when you get a new client or even an order from a client. You could change it to read “Thanks for letting me take a bite out of your business”

5) Send a Telegram

6) Send a personalized singing email.

7) How about some Customized M & M’s ?

8) Send a lottery ticket with a note that reads “Why gamble on (fill in what you do)” When you call to follow up have some fun and ask them if they won!

9) Get some sunglasses, a cd with some good rock songs and print up some All Access Passes they can use for a tour of your facility. Play on that theme with a message like: “I take pride in making my clients look like rock stars!”

10) http://klutz.com has a superhero starter kit complete with mask, cape etc. .Consider sending that to a prospect as a follow up to the rock star approach.

11) Send some special occasion ice cream with this cool website!

12) Try this two step approach: Leave a voicemail that you will be in the area on (date) and will stop by with some things of value and to say the worlds quickest hello. Take a gift bag and fill it with some company info, a pen with your logo, a pad, your business card etc. Drop by to see your prospect and present them with the goodie bag. You might want to consider Francey Nathan for some of those cool imprinted specialty items. Click here to check our her website!

13) Purchase one of those prepaid cell phones. Send it to your prospect and tell them a time you will be calling on it and give a specific day and time.

14) Consider having the balls to send a ball (Thank you Jamie McLennan)

15) Go to http://www.choconet1.com/chocolate-foot.html and order chocolate feet for a few bucks a piece. Send them to your prospects with a note that reads “I’d like to get a foot in the door”

16) Take that letter you were about to stuff into an envelope with your company name and logo and use a colored envelope instead. Hand address that bad boy while you’re at it. It will resemble a personal card and have a higher probability of getting opened.

17) Take a picture of you staring at the phone with a caption “I thought for sure that (name of prospect) would call” Follow it up with a picture of you like nose up to the computer screen with the caption “Thought for sure (name of prospect) would write” Fed Ex it so it arrives separate and doesn’t blend in with the other mail.

18) For a more personal touch when sending information, place Post Its with handwritten notes.

19) Consider sending something that is representative of your geographic area to folks who are out of the area. Example: I know someone who sends their clients and prospects Pretzels someone else sends Maple Syrup etc. I have a client who married this concept in with a “Behind The Scenes” video with employees looking in the camera and addressing the prospect by name.

20) Next time you are rejected on the phone, but you at least had a friendly conversation, send a handwritten thank you. Note: You obviously won’t win a creativity award on this one but you will stand out simply because hardly anyone does this!

21) Sales Leadership: Send a note to your entire sales organization asking for at least 2-3 creative door openers. Compile a list of all the new cool ideas that get generated and send everyone a PDF!

22) Send greeting cards at off holidays (July 4th, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving etc Stonehouse Collection has a great selection at a reasonable price. Click here to check it out!

23) I know someone who drops off carnations for all the moms she has as prospects the Friday before Mother’s Day. What could we do for the dads out there? How could we leverage other holidays with a drop off of some sort?

24) Call the wrong extension and ask for your contact. Once they tell you that you have the wrong extension, ask to be transferred. Transferred calls look different on the caller ID than typical calls and you might just get through.

25) Send your prospect a humorous letter with options as to why they haven’t gotten back to you. You can even create a “While You Were Out”message.

26) Carve time out each day to think quietly. Ask yourself the following question “In what ways can I be more creative?” This is a great creative brainstorming question for you to ponder. You can even make it more targeted by rephrasing it like this “In what ways can I creatively approach (name of account).

27) Go for a walk or exercise while asking yourself that same question.

28) Study creative people. Pick their brain or just study them from afar. I won’t tell anyone!

29) Use that handy dandy camera on your smartphone to shoot a quick intro of who you are, and a kick ass elevator speech. In that video, make sure you call your prospect by name Tell them a specific day and time you will call to set appt. Include popcorn and candy to make it festive. Remember to use some of the ideas we discussed earlier such as hand delivering this or FedEx so it arrives at a different time of day than the mail.

30) Shoot that same video as a private YouTube video and email it to your prospect.

31) Consider packaging your capabilities into a fun PDF like I did! Click here to have a look!

32) Create a fun bio for yourself and start including it in with your proposals, pricing and even when you’re trying to get in the door. If you got it, flaunt it baby!

33) Send handwritten “Blank Cards”to potential customers. Click here to see how your Uncle Paul does this!

34) How about a “Mission Impossible” type of theme where you send a series of things including that 3 minute intro, a Fed Ex or Telegram and maybe even give yourself a kick ass theme song from this royalty free music site.

35) T.G.I.F. Kit: Create a kit of fun things for your prospect. Perhaps some candy, funny sunglasses, a funny book or comedy cd, etc. Drop it off nice and early. Write your cell number on your card so hopefully you get the thank you call before you are out of the area.

36) Have some cheesy fun by picking up any or all of the following and tailoring a corny message: Payday candy bar, mints, Mounds, seeds, nuts etc. Example attach a note to a Mounds candy bar with a message centered around you saving them mounds of extra work etc.

37) Add this phrase to any of the above “(name) If you think I’m working hard to get your business, you are 100% right. Think about how hard I’ll work to keep your business!”

38) SendOutCards has some customizable cards you can send to your clients and prospects. You can also send Starbucks cards and various treats along with your card!

39) I know a printer who bought some really fancy pens with their logo imprinted on the top half. Each was packaged in a really nice box. They would send the box with only the top half of the pen and a note. The note expressed that they would be calling on a specific day and time to set up a quick appointment to discuss their needs and to bring the business end of that pen!

40) Ask yourself this question every day: “How will I be memorable today?”and don’t leave the scene of that question until you get some actionable answers!

Did You Like These Tips?

Then you might want to check out our Rock Star Academy program!

In this program, we talk about how you can marry creative approaches, phone, snail mail, FedEx, traditional networking, social networking, referrals etc into a really lethal communication plan!

Posted by: StealthMarketer | May 20, 2016

An Interview with Voice Talent Mike Cassidy

2 edited

Visit:  www.MikeTheVoice.com

EBC Broadcast New

Posted by: StealthMarketer | May 19, 2016

The Psychology and Use of Color in Your Marketing and Productions

Hues, Shadows and Brightness – Sharing Your Message in Shades
By Andy Valadez, Marketing Strategist of Marketing Dynamics

You have to be color blind not to be intentional about of the use of color in your marketing or in your productions. No offense to my color blind readers.

As your neighborhood marketer, I am like the lawn man. I come around whether you need it or not. My clients usually laugh when I tell them that, but I am there to remind them that “You should always be selling and marketing!”

So, as marketers and producers, we need to pay attention to trends and/or start our own trend(s). Lately, I have come across artists, photographers, and those interested in establishing the color of their works, brands, and companies (at my suggestion).

IMG_20160223_091331486

Trump Tie

“Red!” gets your attention. It just so happened that I needed to update my image shot by Scott Frank Photography  for this article and coincidently (not planned), I received a really nice gift of the red shirt and red tie (pictured). I normally don’t wear red per se, but how appropriate that red may just become one of my favorite colors – it has energy, excitement, boldness, vibrancy, force, and it is dynamic. Just like me -whatever.

Color_Emotion_Guide22

Turn on your bright lights and use of pigment and arrays:

  • Establish or re-establish a color for your company, then tell the world about it by using it.
  • In photography with models, personalities or actors, establish seasons or coloration that is unique: white, red, forest green, blue, black, etc.
  • In motion picture, think of scenes that make use of color dynamics and see if the audience and film reviewers pick up on it. In marketing tell a story about the use of it.
  • Writers – use color in your works to direct what will be conjured up in the mind or what will be produced in works.
  • Use a variety of color for texture, but don’t clash.
  • Talk in terms of color in your conversations and elaborate. For example, “Today, I am really in a cool crush blue zone.”
  • Notice what is happening in the fashion world when it comes to color and emulate!
  • Use a color no one is using and make it yours.
  • Paint a room in your workspace a new vibrant color that inspires your creative thinking.
  • Color blind? Ask someone to help you by communicating the emotion you want in your next production.
  • Buy a bag of skittles and eat them as you think about color and using it in your marketing.
  • Go visit an art gallery and just look at the ways artists use colors.
  • Research films that used color to differentiate their stories.
  • Change the color theme in all of your social media.
  • And more!

Send me an e-mail about the colors in your mind at Andy@TeamMarketingDynamics.com or tweet me @StealthMarketer.

About Marketing Dynamics

Marketing Dynamics was founded by Andy Valadez, graduate of Texas A&M University with a BBA degree in Marketing and Tulane University (Applied Business Certificate). He is a former United States Marine (serving during Desert Storm/Shield). Andy is an entrepreneur who enjoys advising his clients on how to capitalize on their opportunities by adopting best practices and principles in marketing, with a focus on strategy and tactical implementation. He is also trending producer on IMDB.com and community volunteer. Marketing Dynamics serves these key sectors: technology, broadcast, entertainment, publishing, sports, and start-ups. To learn more visit: www.TeamMarketingDynamics.com

Posted by: StealthMarketer | May 19, 2016

SelfDefenseFund.com on RaginElephantsRadio.com

SDF logo drawn.ai

 

 

Self Defense Fund to attend SelfRelianceExpo.com to share their litigation focus

Irving, Texas (May 10, 2016) – So, you are not a Doomsday Prepper or Conspiracy Theorist? Well, the movement to be “self-reliant” has taken on stronger interest as those with means and resources are deciding to have back-up plans of their own, in more thoughtful and creative ways.  The Self Reliant Expo is in its seventh season and gaining the attention of companies and providers who cater to this segment in the latest thought-leadership in generator technology, solar panel use, large lot sales, country-living, food preparation and storage, heirloom sustainable gardening, emergency medical care, and yes, legal defense.

“We have committed to this show over the years as we see Americans with assets getting more concerned about having a litigation team by their side to protect their interests in the event that they have to defend themselves or their loved ones,” says Larry Keilberg, National Director of SelfDefenseFund.com which has fought prominent cases on behalf of their clientele.

“There are only two ways to live this life: relying on yourself for your own well-being or having government ‘do it’ for you. Which do you think has your best interests in mind with every decision that is made?” says CJ Grisham, Founder of Open Carry Texas (a client defended by SelfDefenseFund.com) “That is why this convention is so important. We must learn to stand on our two feet and survive in a world that is increasingly destroying itself.”

Date: Friday May 13th and Saturday May 14th
Time: Noon to 6:00PM on Friday and 9am to 5PM on Saturday
Location:  Irving Convention Center – 500W Las Colinas BLVD Irving, TX 75039
Cost: $10 for general public and children under 12 Free
Event FB link:  https://www.facebook.com/selfrelianceexpo/
Radio Interview with Larry Keilberg: http://tinyurl.com/zg7cwyd ** over 80 booths, speakers, plenty of parking, and more.

“We are excited about the momentum of this show and the general interest features for all audiences,” says Ron Douglas, Show Founder who just completed a taping by Discovery for “Blue Collar Backers” – a show geared towards helping entrepreneurs to succeed.  For more information visit: www.SelfRelianceExpo.com.

About SelfDefenseFund.com

A professional litigation defender for individuals, families and institutions in the event one has to defend themselves with a weapon.  Many cases studies and resources for review at www.SelfDefenseFund.com. A Junkyard dog litigation defense group.

SDF logo drawn.ai

 

 

Posted by: ebcbroadcast | April 27, 2016

Fascinating Habits of Incredibly Interesting People

Fascinating Habits of Incredibly Interesting People

Apr 20, 2016

Dr. Travis Bradberry

Coauthor Emotional Intelligence 2.0 & President at TalentSmart

Interesting people have a special magnetism. They tell incredible stories and lead unusual lives. But what exactly makes them so captivating?

They’re curious more than anything else. An interesting person is always excited to explore the world, and this energy radiates outward.

Some people are naturally interesting, but there are also ways tolearn to be more engaging. Dr. Clair Nixon is known throughout Texas A&M as an incredibly interesting accounting professor (an oxymoron if there ever was one). Accounting is a difficult subject to make interesting and fun, which is what makes Dr. Nixon so special. He’s so good at making things interesting that he doesn’t just teach accounting, he also gives lectures on how to be more interesting.

Indeed, anyone can learn to become more interesting, which is a wonderful thing, because being interesting can help you strengthen your network, win more clients, and lead more effectively.

There are several habits that many interesting people have in common. Sometimes these habits form naturally, but they are more often than not the result of conscious effort. Here’s what interesting people do to make themselves engaging, unusual, and hypnotizing.

They are passionate.Jane Goodall, a bona fide interesting person, left her home in England and moved to Tanzania at age 26 to begin studying chimpanzees. It became her life’s work, and Goodall has devoted herself fully to her cause while inspiring many others to do the same. Interesting people don’t just have interests; they have passions, and they devote themselves completely to them.

They try new things. Interesting people do what interests them. They know what they want, and they’re brave enough to take the steps to get there. This often means trying new things—things at which they’re often terrible at first. The very act of seeking new experiences also happens to be great for your mood, and people who are happy are magnetic and far more interesting to be around than downers.

They don’t hide their quirks. Interesting people often have unusual preferences that don’t fit the norm. They’re open and unabashed about who they are, which gives everyone a good look at these interesting tendencies. Billionaire Warren Buffett, for example, has never been suited to the high-rolling lifestyle. Instead, he still lives in the same modest house he bought in 1958 for $31,500. It might seem quirky—or even strange—for such an incredibly wealthy man to live so frugally, but Buffett doesn’t sacrifice his preferences because of what’s expected of him.

They avoid the bandwagon.Nothing is more boring than following the bandwagon, and interesting people are intent on forging their own paths. There’s often nothing wrong with what everyone else is doing; it’s just that interesting people are innovators, who break conformity to pursue new, exciting, and yes, interesting ideas.

They check their egos at the door.An egomaniac is never interesting. Egomaniacs are always posturing, always worrying about how they’ll come across. It’s exhausting, and it’s also dishonest. Take Oprah Winfrey—an interesting andinterested person. In a speech to the Stanford University graduating class of 2008, she said, “The trick is to learn to check your ego at the door and start checking your gut instead. Every right decision I’ve made—every right decision I’ve ever made—has come from my gut. And every wrong decision I’ve ever made was a result of me not listening to the greater voice of myself.” Oprah’s advice is so important: listen to your values, goals, and ambitions, rather than worrying about what will make you look good.

They’re always learning.To interesting people, the world has infinite possibilities. This curiosity about the unknown leads to constant learning, fueled by an ever-burning desire to discover the unknown. Despite his intelligence and accomplishments, Albert Einstein kept a sense of wonder throughout his life that made him continue to ask questions about the world. Like Einstein, interesting people are in a constant state of wonder.

They share what they discover. The only thing interesting people enjoy as much as learning is sharing their discoveries with others. While some will spin engaging yarns about their exciting travels, there’s more to it than that. Interesting people are interesting because they feel out their conversational partner to see what sparks that person’s interest. They don’t share to expose all of the interesting things they’ve done; they share for other people to enjoy.

They don’t worry about what others think of them.Nothing is more uninteresting than someone who holds their true self back because they’re afraid that other people might not like it. Instead, interesting people are true to themselves wherever they are, whoever they’re with, and in whatever they’re doing. Interesting people are authentic to a fault. The famous English author Charles Dickens personified this. No matter where he was working—in a friend’s house or in a hotel—he would bring specific pens and objects and arrange them precisely. While his behavior may have seemed strange, he was always true to himself.

Bringing It All Together

It might not always be easy to incorporate these habits into daily life, but that’s what makes the people who do so interesting—they go against the grain, and that’s undeniably interesting. While I know that you’re already interesting, never forget to keep exploring the world and staying true to yourself.

What other qualities make people interesting? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, TIME, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

If you’d like to learn how to increase your emotional intelligence (EQ), consider taking the online Emotional Intelligence Appraisal® test that’s included with theEmotional Intelligence 2.0 book. Your test results will pinpoint which of the book’s 66 emotional intelligence strategies will increase your EQ the most.

Posted by: ebcbroadcast | February 9, 2016

How Do You Look at Opportunity?

How Do You Look at Opportunity?

By Doug Thorpe on Feb 08, 2016 03:00 am

Abhor, Ignore, or Explore

Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

The decision to entertain the prospect of a new opportunity can be difficult. You may react to opportunities in one of three ways; abhor, ignore or explore. Let’s call this a Decision Wheel. Whether it’s a new product, a new idea, or a new way of doing something, are you quick to react by jumping into one of these modes?

A-I-E

In order for you to have the most fulfilling success in work, life or faith, you must be aware of your natural, go-to mode when confronted with something new.

I have seen this phenomenon play out in all aspects of my life. At work, when I have had to present new plans to my team, I see all three modes present. At home, when I am feeling the need to change course with my spouse or kids, working through those changes often spawns one of these responses. The same holds true in my faith. When I am taught about a new, deeper truth, I will be the one reacting in one of these ways.

Changes that may come your way from strange and unknown sources just might prove to be the best possible opportunities for the next chapter of your life. Please consider the way in which you react to proposed changes before you waive them away.

Now let’s dive deeper into the three mindsets:

Abhor (abˈhôr)

This is an old word we don’t use much these days. Webster defines it this way:

“hate, detest, abhor, abominate, loathe, mean to feel strong aversion or intense dislike for. Hate that implies an emotional aversion often coupled with enmity or malice

This is the worst kind of dislike. People being pitched a new idea might initially abhor the idea. Responses like “Why are you bothering me with that idea?” or “Are you crazy? That sounds so ridiculous.” And my favorite “Are you sure that is not a scam?”

Yes, we all need to be wise about get-rich-quick schemes and other possible scams coming from total strangers. However, when people you may have known for years present you with a new idea, do you think they would be likely to scam you? Why the need to react so negatively?

Abhorring an idea presented by someone you usually trust (like a family friend or your boss) really seems like an overreaction, wouldn’t you think?

Ignore

Next we upgrade our response just a little to the mindset of ignore. You can hear an idea and simply choose to ignore it. Ok, maybe you are just too busy or over committed to add a new change in your life. I get that.

However, I am not talking about the flavor of coffee you drink or the brand of toothpaste you use. I am talking about serious, perhaps life altering changes that come your way. We have all had those invitations to go somewhere or look at a new job or change careers. Yet, how many of you (myself included) choose to simply pass on the idea. You don’t get mad as in abhorring the idea, you just pass.

The idea’s details are never revealed. The scope of the idea is never reviewed, you just let it go.

Let me interject something here. With both of these first two mindsets, the well-meaning friends, neighbors, or associates who were bold enough to share the opportunity with you in the first place will eventually stop thinking of involving you in the future.

Explore

Now we come to the only positive response in this decision wheel. You can hear an idea and choose to explore it. Exploring an idea does not mean you pay your money or sign some contract. It means you are open to the possibility; listen to the details, read the material, see the show, etc. Yes, I know this might take extra time from your schedule.

Worst case, you spend some time and brain power doing an analysis of the proposal only to decline. At least you’ve kept the idea open.

Best case, the idea turns out to be a reasonable, maybe even big, opportunity. Maybe it is something you have never done before, but is now a direction that makes great sense.

Summary

I think you can see two of the three possible outcomes are negative. By landing in the abhor or ignore mindset, you could very well be denying yourself a very fulfilling opportunity (rewarding, satisfying, financially better, etc.). Agreeing to explore an opportunity could open new doors. In the first two modes, you guarantee your status quo, changing nothing. If you explore new things, you might just be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

Posted by: ebcbroadcast | January 25, 2016

7 Ways to Improve Your Website Homepage

7 Ways to Improve Your Website Homepage

Bysmallbiztrends, Guest Blogger

Published: January 21, 2016

Your website is your virtual place of business. Just like your regular place of business, you want it to be neat, clean, attractive, inviting and professional looking.

Here are 7 low cost ways to improve a homepage to meet today’s standards — and they may be easier than you think.

1. Freshen the Content Regularly

Just yesterday I saw a restaurant website highlighting its Thanksgiving menu — and it’s January! That restaurant had a great idea to add a special seasonal menu to the front page. However, they didn’t execute well, and let it stay up too long. Schedule a monthly reminder to check your website and update the content on the homepage.

2. Make Sure It Has a Call to Action

Ask yourself: what’s the top action you want visitors to your website to take? Here are three examples of common calls to action:

  • Sign up for your email list – When people sign up for your email list, you create an ongoing connection allowing you to market to them. Most email marketing software (e.g., MailChimp which is free for small lists, or Constant Contact) offer an easy way to insert a signup box.
  • Shop in your e-Commerce store – If you sell products online, either embed pictures of a few products on your homepage to entice buyers to click through, or add a prominent “Shop Now” button.
  • Fill out a lead form – If you sell services instead of products, encourage visitors to fill out what’s called a lead form. It captures contact information so you can follow up.

3. Add Contact Information Prominently

Examine your homepage objectively. Are you making visitors hunt or guess to figure out how to reach you?

Many small businesses add contact information in the header or footer of every page. At a minimum, include an email address and phone number. If you receive customers at your location, add your address. If you’d rather use a separate “Contact” page, add a large prominent link to your Contact page.

4. Add Images and/or Video

Look at your home page. Is it text heavy? Images break up big blocks of text — and they are more inviting to visitors. Include at least one photograph showing your business, team or products. If no one in-house is a competent photographer, invest in professional photography. In most locales you can hire a professional photographer at rates starting at a few hundred dollars.

Videos are also excellent. So create a how-to video or one demonstrating your product, or of you welcoming visitors. Load it on YouTube or another video platform. Then embed the code to put it on your site.

5. Update Your Design to Current Standards

A website designed in 2005 will look dated compared with one designed in 2015. An outdated web design gives the impression your business is not up to date, either. It’s best to update the whole website. But if time and money are in short supply, at least redesign the homepage to create a great first impression. Update other pages later as time and money permits.

Contact your Web developer and ask for a homepage facelift. Or if you are a do-it-yourselfer, purchase a low-cost template — you can buy a professionally designed template for under $100 from places like ThemeForest or TemplateMonster.

6. Improve Page Speed

If your home page loads slowly, visitors may never go beyond it. And very slow pages can even negatively affect rankings in search engines. Take the speed test here. The best part: you’ll get suggestions for how to improve the speed.

7. Make it Mobile Responsive

Last but certainly not least, today’s websites need to be viewable on mobile devices. This is especially true for local businesses where customers may be searching on a smartphone from their car for a business nearby. A website that is not set up for mobile devices can be negatively downgraded in search engine results. If you give your site a facelift, make sure the new design is “responsive,” meaning it is responsive enough to adjust to mobile devices. The same goes if you purchase a template.

About the Author:

Anita Campbell

Guest Blogger

My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 6 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, andBizSugar.com, a small business social media site.

Posted by: ebcbroadcast | December 15, 2015

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