Yes, you can – Yes you can! Getting funded for your business!

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When you promote, sometimes the trick is coming up with a trick! Something innovative and clever enough that gets you the attention you need.

Some years ago I started up a small marketing firm, and I ran into a few financial problems where I needed to raise funds (when you’re a new young business, this can happen – a lot). I knew about an “angel investor” a weathy entrepreneur who “invested” and/or lent money to young businesses. He’d give them a helping hand … if he liked their business idea.

The problem, getting in to see this large business owner was next to impossible. He had a personal assistant, a private secretary and several receptionists that handled most of his correspondence. And a very busy schedule with national and international interests!

He didn’t attend many of the local city (Portland, Oregon) business type affairs and functions. I was really struggling with how to get by his various assistants who I knew would show me the door. So how was I going to get an appointment with this individual?

And then I came up with an idea. My budget was almost non-existent, yet I spent a substantial amount of money on a beautiful bouquet of flowers. One that looked professional but personal, and I wrote a short message, sealed it inside a small envelope and had the flowers with the “envelope” delivered to the investor, himself!

I was betting on the fact that none of his aides would feel comfortable opening the envelope addressed to him. And they weren’t. He was the first person to read my note.

The next morning I received a call from the personal assistant. His opening words to me were “You’re are very clever Penny, Mr — said to tell you he will give you just 15 minutes of his time on Monday, at 8 a.m. sharp.”

Yes I was excited but very nervous. I organized all the documentation I felt I needed to show him, I reviewed, again and again what I had to say and in what order to get his attention. I only had 15 minutes to accomplish my goals. The morning came, I showed up. I was led into a gorgeous office suite overlooking the water, from Swan island where his offices were located.

I shook his hand, looked directly into his eyes, told him why I needed the money, what I planned to do with it, handed him the paperwork to back it up (which he glanced at and set aside) and then he proceeded to ask me a lot of business type questions, by then the 15 minutes were up and his aid opened the door and said “Sir your long distance call is waiting.”

I knew that was the signal my 15 minutes were up, but then my potential investor looked at his aide and said “I’m not through here yet, I’ll call them back.” I stayed 45 minutes, had to return in a week with more paperwork but he did agree to help!

Previous to my meeting, I’d been told by another business owner, that almost anyone who approached this individual when asking for money, never made it past 10 minutes, before the long distance phone call happened! So I was very pleased and honestly proud of my accomplishment – because through the whole process I was “scared to death” and not sure I could do it!

His final words on our first meeting were. “Oh and Penny, the flowers are beautiful, thank you.”

And the message? Would you like to know what I wrote? It said:

“Dear Sir, I am a young entrepreneur and if you meet with me I can prove to you that I have a business idea you would want to invest in! Enjoy the flowers, either way! Thank you, Penny”

This is a memory I will always remember fondly, because in spite of my fear and doubts I proved to myself that “Yes I can and guess what … If I can, then so can you!”

~ Penny

What do we do next? We bloggers, We artists, We people …

In the digital world of today … how do we not just survive but thrive?

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It’s Tuesday, so what do we know today? We know we have things we have to do – And we know we have things we want to do – We know there is some information we want or need to know more about – and far more information that we don’t have a clue about (what-so-ever, except it’s messing us up a lot) because it’s too much to deal with (emotionally speaking). And “way” too much of the information is negative, isn’t it (TMI- Right?) But, there you go, the above sums things up nicely, I believe.

So what do we do next?

First, understand the nature of the online world; behind the scenes what is going on. Here’s the truth – Many (almost all) corporate/government entities are “crowd sourcing” (gathering information) to create digital profiles. In a nutshell finding out all about you. You’ve made it possible. You’re one of the hundreds of millions online exposing yourself through many little data bytes circulating the airwaves.

And the “Big Boys” of the planet want to know all about you either as a consumer (to potentially buy their product) or as a citizen of their country (How you feel about your country, the issues, your concerns the politicians, etc. Research that will help them raise money and/or potentially influence you to get your vote OR making sure you aren’t doing something subversive, detrimental to your country’s well being.)

Like it or not that is what’s going on, right now. Data collecting of a volume inconceivable for most of us to imagine and each entity (depending on the quality of their “industry cloud capability”) is efficiently organizing the data into a variety of profiles for current or future reference. Is it the big brother era? Well sort of. But we’ve made ourselves willing partners in this intrusive aspect of the online experience, whether we know it or not!

Meanwhile you’re busy doing your own gathering of information, gathering as a citizen and a consumer yourself. So how do you handle all of this information and your awareness of everyone else’s information gathering.

Short of something really bad happening (meteor strike, large solar flare, etc.) all this data is going to continue to be gathered (and much of it circulated). Just a fact and there will be lots of “talk” because that’s what talk shows (in all media – News programs, etc.) do – and much of it is negative because “viewership” (that’s you) goes up when they (talk show hosts and their “expert” guests) talk about ‘what’s wrong’.

So the talk shows are going to talk about all sorts of never-ending stuff that will complicate you life and view of things (if you listen too much) even more. But let’s forget that for right now and get back to you and where you are.

Woman News  Credit line):  © Bowie15 | Dreamstime.com

Turn your computer off and think about your goals, needs, wants and desires. Consider how you might achieve them. View online connections as “how” they may help you. Be specific here. Everyone is giving “advice”, suggestions and in many cases “selling something”. So your main focus should be why you’re on line.

  1. To be Entertained
  2. To Find out information on a subject
  3. To Buy something
  4. To Sell something
  5. Socially connect with other people
  6. Promote Yourselves (through various social networks)
  7. Use any combination of the first six reasons you’re online to assist you in accomplishing your own goals

So where you go next is to make a plan of action to more effectively use your connectivity. Arrange the above reasons and allot a time period (yes – a little discipline is required here).

  • If you’re a student researching – stick to getting the info. before you “game play” or check out the latest trending YouTube video.
  • If you’re an artist, search for “like minded” creative individuals who will help you nourish your creative goals.
  • If you’re selling something, learn about your perspective customers. And how to reach them (online and off).
  • if you’re a professional in an industry and are job searching, focus on those companies and their background so you’re well informed about the company and their goals before you submit a resume! And yes they will be using the internet to check “you out” this process can take many months – so be prepared for this one.
  • If you’re buying something (take the extra time to check out the source before your purchase – be a smart consumer.)
  • If you want to be entertained – go for it, there’s all sorts of fascinating things waiting to be viewed/listened to – out there.
  • and if you just want to “hang”, be social with others, start a blog, join Facebook, learn how to Tweet or find a social media platform that fills this need.

But don’t forget your offline world. Organize your time so your online time has a sense to it with very specific timelines.

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The most important thing to do with your online world of connectivity is to stay in command of both the offline and online you. You need to stay in control of the amount of “data” your mind allows entry to. Integrate this brave new world of communication so it works for you on your adventures through life … not against you!

Have a great day,

~ Penny

An Act of Kindness – keeps giving – for both receiver and giver!

This is from my own ‘yesterdays’ of life but even though it happened a while ago the memory is indelibly printed in my mind. Each time I recall this day, I’m reminded why small acts of kindness are so important.

This experience happened while I was operating a small marketing firm in downtown Portland, Oregon. While trying to secure an appointment with an editor for a busy city newspaper, the lines to his office phone kept staying busy. Every 5 minutes or so the receptionist would come on the phone line and apologize for the delay.

Although I could hear in the background that she was extremely busy herself, her voice was polite and sincere. At one point, while she was asking me to wait on “hold” just a little bit longer, I heard her speaking to several people, at once, there in the reception room, she was clearly having a very hectic and difficult day.

Still, each time she spoke with me on the phone, she stayed polite, friendly and interactive. I finally said to her. “A hard day today?” And she told me it was one of the worst she’d ever had regarding situations to handle. I was greatly impressed that she did not let her bad day interfere with her ability to give great service. Eventually I did get to speak with the editor and an appointment was set for the next day.

The next morning as I prepared to go to the meeting I kept recalling the excellent demeanor of the receptionist, I wanted to thank her and acknowledge her “good job”. I stopped at a florist’s shop and bought a single rose. When I arrived at the newspaper’s offices, it only took a few minutes, once in the lobby to locate the receptionist. She was the busy person handling a variety of people standing by her desk while holding the phone to her ear.

I waited my turn then introduced myself to her mentioning my appointment with the editor. She checked a list on her desk and I could see she recalled our brief ‘back and forth’ phone interactions. In a friendly voice she gave me directions to his office.

I handed her the single red rose bud and thanked her for her courtesy on thea single rosebud phone. She looked up at me, tears flooding her eyes and the cool, calm demeanor vanished. With the tears rolling down her face I was rewarded with one of the largest and most sincere smiles I had ever seen. She thanked me profusely, and said “That was such a long hard day for me, thank you for thinking of me. I now have this rose to recall when I think about yesterday.”

I was personally overcome. I had just wanted to do a thoughtful gesture of kindness. To me “a little thing”, but for her, something that made her sit up straighter, feel much better about herself and the job she was doing … just because … Someone was thinking of her, appreciating her and letting her know!”

As I headed down the hall towards my appointment, my own heart felt lighter and my steps more carefree. I nailed the interview with the editor and my piece was published.

I’ve never forgotten the expression on her face or that day. An act of kindness does keep giving … for both the receiver and the giver!

Have an excellent day, thank you for stopping by,

~ Penny

Are YOU an Innovator?

The Passion of an Innovator!

Are you an Innovator, just hovering inside a niche waiting to move into the mainstream by making a sizeable impact? Do stylistic explorations of “newness – being different from” define your idea or thought, (your personal creativity) going forward?

Understanding why this happens is not easy. Do you need to be “special?” A “genius?” No I think not! Do you need to be a superior marketer of your work? I don’t believe so, many artisans (of all shapes and sizes, crafters and creators) shy away from promotion even while being aware of its need.

What makes one brilliant “idea or creation” wildly successful, and another ignored? Look beyond the individual, however gifted, and beyond even the idea itself. Just as a painting is encompassed within its frame, innovators always operate in a market of some kind, and the success or failure of their idea is invariably contingent on its individual peculiarities.

First, the nature of the consumer is constantly evolving: Young, elderly, middle class, wealthy or not, local, national or global in its focus.

Second, new channels of distribution keep expanding and for each – a new breed of marketers emerges as well. These young, hungry and ambitious marketers are competing to find the next new thing first and sell it at the most compelling price possible.

In short, although I’m sure you’ve noticed, the Internet is a breeding ground for and very receptive to the commercial possibilities of risk-taking. Innovation appears to be extremely economically viable. Breaking with the past seems now demanded. This is the environment where an innovator will make his or her leap into the unknown.

Having an exceptional idea isn’t enough: if it is to catch fire, the market conditions have to be right – a question of luck and timing! The closest analogy is Silicon Valley in the early days of the dotcom boom, when venture capitalists and entrepreneurs were “out there” in the cutting edge of tomorrow.

Jeff Bezos success of Amazon was the product of a unique set of converging economic, technological and cultural circumstances, although with his passion for success he would have made it in any era. Steve Jobs, another who was passionate with his ideas, was “sure” of his innovative design at a time whenone_red everyday design was already becoming more important to consumers.

With the innovator, their talents have to be perfectly suited to the movement of the market. In a world that increasingly rewards experimentation – at a time when it’s cool to bend the rules of artistic endeavor – the level of the passion of the innovator seems to be the one key ingredient in all of them.

Stating this in another way; for your innovation to succeed YOU must still reach out and seize the moment.

Are you an innovator?

~ Penny L Howe

penny

Marketing – the copyright of things

Yes, I still need to post part II of promoting (I haven’t forgotten that many of you want to increase your viewership, and get yourself or your work “out there” in the public eye), but today my topic is the copyright. What it is and isn’t.

Each day on the internet, many trillions of pieces of data (of all kinds, in all formats) are circulating copyright-by-charlieajaeverywhere (worldwide) online. Protecting your creations has become highly interesting.

A few of the larger advertising agencies have no problem with “borrowing” creative works from individuals who have posted on facebook, or other multimedia entites.

And they’re the big boys. Many many private individuals are doing the same thing.

So can you really effectively “protect” your work? Well yes, if you have as much clout and money as the big companies do – no worries. Otherwise develop an understanding about the original work you display online, beginning with understanding what the word copyright means and what it really does.

COPYRIGHT: The meaning – The legal rights (protection), given to an individual/group/entity of original works of art or intellectual property (such as written words, music, lyrics, audio visual, audible, photography, and many other types of creations) belonging to the originator or designated owner.

So here’s the skinny: Your original work is copyrighted the second you hit the publish button for your blog orglobal-copyright-by-alexskopje website. When the public views your work (artistry, literary, musical, or pictorial expression) it’s already been dated and copyrighted (this is understood by the law of most countries).

Stating this in another way, In the United States (and in most other countries), creative original work is automatically the copyrighted property of their creators, once completed in tangible form for the first time, without doing anything else.

The copyright symbol online is a symbolic gesture indicating to the viewer that you “own” the rights to your creations. In the case of large companies, the symbol also means you can safely assume they have lawyers standing nearby to enforce those rights.

Many people still choose to file an application and pay the fee (modest) to register work with the copyright office as added protection in case of legal disputes. But here’s the thing. As previous mentioned, if there is a legal dispute (because someone has “stolen” your original work), you will still need to hire legal representation. To sue for damages, etc.

There are several government agencies in the United States and most other countries, where you can report “stolen” creative property. And they will investigate and help to enforce copyright violations.

copyright-by-drizzdIt is not hard to prove your original work is yours, because it’s dated and viewed publicly. If you’ve put a lot of time and money into something creative, then you should have already hired an attorney to attend to the legal details to protect your property.

In summation: Today, online, there are those people who have trouble distinguishing between “borrowing”  something to put on their blog or website and “stealing” someone’s creative property.

Bottom line, it’s probably going to happen to you. That’s the understanding I’m speaking of. No one (I’ll repeat this) No one is immune from this happening to them.

With the advent of the cyberworld – who owns what, online, can get very murky. Understand this too.

Your creative property has copyright protection, but this does not mean it will not get stolen. You’re the one that decides what you want to expose to the public and what you don’t.

If you have any further questions regarding copyright laws. There is a ton of “free information”  online (google it), and through government agencies.

Good luck, keep creating and understand that you are unique, if someone copies your style or an idea (you cannot copyright those things) remember that being copied is the greatest form of flattery you can have, So keep being the original you that you are!

~ Penny

Penny L Howe

The Entrepreneurial Spirit – Key to success!

A while ago I wrote a piece about being an entrepreneur. Today I’d like to include the most important ingredient for (successfully) owning your own business. But first ,,,

step by step

The meaning of an entrepreneur:

entrepreneur: One who owns (or is in the process of owning/operating) a business enterprise – selling a product or service (always with an accompanying degree of risk!).

~

While the meaning above is certainly true, there is a bigger truth!

An important part of being an entrepreneur is about having an ‘entrepreneurial spirit’! In too many cases this turns out to be the determining factor as to whether or not a business venture makes it or fails.

step by stepWhat is an entrepreneurial spirit? It’s a feeling, a driving ambition, a burning desire to be successful. In a word – The passion of the thing!

Without a doubt passion is the motivation that often makes the telling difference. 

In the course of my marketing career I’ve met a handful of highly successful entrepreneurs.

Without exception the one thing they all shared was this huge desire to make it happen. A ‘never give up’ attitude. An understanding that there will always be “financial risks” involved, but the desire to have a successful enterprise is greater than the fear of taking the risk.

~

So the key word in this article today is PASSION!

~

If your strongest desire is to become an entrepreneur and you are committed to making that happen – then youPASSION are one. If you are determined to be successful in your enterprise (regardless of obstacles) you are an entrepreneur.

And if you’re willing to learn well and apply what you need to know, while you never stop working towards your dream, then YOU are not only an entrepreneur but you have an excellent chance of becoming a successful one!

Just remember, it’s the passion of it all! That’s the stuff successful dreams are made of!

~

Good luck on your venture, thanks for stopping by,

~ Penny

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The Female Entrepreneur – growing the seed of an idea!

female entrepreneurI’ve had several careers in my life. Life experiences tended to change the direction I was going a few times. As I was also a single mom raising children during these changes, life was – well never dull! One of the businesses I owned was a marketing firm.

Today I’d like to talk to the women out there who dream of, or are getting ready to, or who have started a business that is relatively new. If you’ve been in business for awhile then I’m guessing you’ve weathered many of the business storms that can come your way and have a handle on most things by now.

But for those of you who are new to the game I’d like to, encourage and perhaps give you a few things to think on!

When I began to give marketing workshops for people who were small business owners, I discovered many of them lacked a couple of essential pieces of information about running a business. Perhaps the following words will be something for you to consider as you venture forth into the wide world of business:

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A Business, A Tree – A Comparison

There is a tree standing alone. The tree is mighty. It is clearly one of the biggest and strongest trees in thetree area. Its branches are many and fully extended and developed. The leaves are a vivid green and well secured to the multitude of far reaching branches.

The peak of this magnitude reaches high into the sky.

Each year this tree produces bountiful fruit. Better and more plentiful than the year before. It knows when to produce the fruit; and when it is ripe for harvest it yields the fruit to the harvesters.

The climate and other environmental conditions alert the tree as to the nature of the activities it needs to be involved with all the year round.

The tree has survived because it is equipped with the understanding necessary for its survival.

~

blossomsNow picture the tree as a seed, recently planted, bearing no fruit. Picture yourself as a gardener. Because you want the tree to grow strong and healthy you plant the seed in rich soil.

However, before planting the seed you learned about all the conditions in the environment that could affect the seed during its early stages of growth. Next you found the best location suited for your tree.

As the tree grew you monitored your tree closely – fertilizing, weeding, watering – nurturing it carefully.

Year by year it grew but bore no fruit. This was a slow process but necessaryapples to insure the proper growth and structure of the tree itself. The foundation was important. To survive,  it would need to be well rooted.

As the tree continued its growth you pruned and cut back unwanted branches and buds as necessary so that the remaining buds could receive enough essential nourishment that would in turn produce rich fruit.

When harvest time finally came you knew the fruit was ready.

~

With each step, beginning from the seed, to planting, nourishment,  protection, and growth, you took the necessary time, energy and required learning to further insure the successful growth of your tree.

All this accomplished before your tree would produce and bear healthy fruit.

Single Red Apple on Grey Stone

The Seed of Your Idea

A business can be compared to this tree. Your product or service can be compared to the fruit. And most important your idea (for your business) can be compared to the seed.

As with the tree you must be familiar with the environment (market research) and all the other factors (business plan) that will influence the success or failure of your business idea. Where necessary you should learn what is needed so that you will be able to accomplish the necessary tasks.

selling apples

The beginning of a business (like a tree) needs to go through all the required steps before the eventual product or service (fruit) can be successfully produced and sold.

REMEMBER:

the seed – an idea

is but the potential

a place to begin

A strong and healthy, fruitful business is the successfully reality of growing and nurturing the seed of your idea -with many steps in between! So with this comparison in mind, go back and reread from the beginning.

I hope you enjoyed this piece on owning a business. I encourage all women who want to become an entrepreneur to go for it! There has never been a better time than now. If any of you have a particular subject they’d like to know more about regarding marketing, let me know. I would be happy to post an article about it.

thank you,

~ Penny

plh