sick

5 Surefire Marketing Strategies Every Entrepreneur Needs

marketing

Not all people who want to enter the world of business possess a booming marketing skill. This brings fear to a small business owner who finds it difficult to start with just a little capital. However, there are several ways you can learn to acquire this certain skill to make an incredible income. Most entrepreneurs experienced the same feeling you have when they started their business so don’t be scared – you can be successful, too.

Highlight the benefits of your products or services

You do not have to compare your products to the competitors just to emphasize the values which make them different. Learn how to match the price based on the quality and value of your offers. In every feature of your product, associate it with its benefit. Most consumers value their money by purchasing goods which are useful and beneficial to them. Always remember the difference between buying a product because they need it or they want it.

Profile your potential customer

Base your offer on their gender, age, living status, household activities, and many other preferences, so you know how to position your product or service. You may feel dismayed every time a customer ignores your direct offer due to their personal reasons. To gain their attention, ask few things which may let them express what they need so you can discover the ideal product they want. Listen to them and analyze the things they need.

Use many types of marketing platform through the powerful influence of the internet

Nowadays, social media has affected its large number of users. In this way, your products can reach the awareness of millions of people which is the primary advantage provided by the internet. In addition, creating compelling content for your website can also attract more customers. Other forms of marketing strategy are crowdsourcing, affiliate marketing, and video marketing. Through your creativity and proper use of these tools, you can boost your sales in a short span of time.

Let customers provide their feedback or suggestions

The impression of clients is significant to help you produce a product that is efficient and valuable to many users. Use their feedback to help you meet their needs and resolve underlying issues before you spend a lot in producing products which you think will still be useful for them.

Track every single money you spent for your marketing campaign

This is very important because this will allow you to compare which of those marketing channels you use is more efficient. The records will also help you analyze the resolutions you can do to improve your techniques. You can pinpoint the areas of your product which customers need and which one needs improvement or changes. Through this guide, you can prevent the waste of money focusing on something that is not effective.

sick

How This Woman Made The Leap From Business Attorney To CEO Of A Successful Company

deb1

A former business attorney turned entrepreneur, Deborah Sweeney purchased MyCorporation out of Intuit in 2009 and has been successfully running the business ever since from its headquarters in Calabasas, California.

Deborah is currently the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best.

StarCentral Magazine recently sat down with Deborah to find out more about his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down.

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

I grew up in Southern California and attended the University of California, Irvine for my undergraduate degree and Pepperdine University where I received an MBA and my Juris Doctor degrees. I am an attorney by trade and worked at several Los Angeles-based law firms before moving on to manage the MyCorporation division at Intuit as their GM in 2004. The country was suffering from a serious financial crisis in 2008 and Intuit was divesting small businesses with my division, MyCorporation, affected in the process.

During the economic slowdown, I began discussing with my husband the possibility of buying out MyCorporation from Intuit. We met with our bankers, I proposed the idea semi-informally to my boss, and I put together a presentation on how MyCorporation could thrive outside of Intuit. I met formally with Intuit leadership afterward where I made my offer to purchase the business out if they were interested in selling or divesting to me. Six months later, the leadership came to me to suggest that I present the options for divestiture — close the division, sell to another company, or sell to me. While I knew it was important to be as objective as possible, I knew that I wanted to buy this business more than anything else. I believed in MyCorporation, the customers, and employees and wanted nothing more than to receive the opportunity to grow and manage this private entity. About a month after I presented the leadership with more documentation on how I could make all of this happen in 2009, I received the greatest phone call of my life. Intuit offered to sell MyCorporation to me and make me the sole owner. I enthusiastically accepted the offer, and we were off to the races!

deborah_sweeney_headshot

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?

Transitioning from the corporate world to entrepreneurship was tough at first. Even though I had bought a business that was already established, I still needed to rebrand the business to better define who we were again. I needed to learn how to balance patience with ownership, knowing that not everything could get done right in that exact second. And even though I was an entrepreneur in the same industry where I spun my business out of Intuit (helping business owners incorporate or form LLCs), I had a limited knowledge of entrepreneurship since I had not done anything like it before. However, what I find has helped to make us successful is how we embrace what makes us unique. I embraced my unconventional educational background — especially the legal aspect — and it has served to be a valuable asset in business.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

We place our customers first and focus on maintaining an ongoing relationship with them. When entrepreneurs form a corporation or LLC with us, they often ask us to do their annual filings, store their paperwork, and remind them when tax documents are due. We also work to identify partnerships with like-minded businesses. When we hear customers talk about needs that they have that we do not specialize in, but know a great business that does, we identify the business and work to establish a mutually beneficial partnership together that works for each company and its customers.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

A combination of content, email, search, and word of mouth marketing has really helped us to grow and thrive over the years.

How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?

We pride ourselves on our personalized customer service. We encourage our customers to give us their feedback, and we really listen to what they have to say in order to improve their overall experience.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

As our business continues to grow, both in sales and in employees hired, our challenge has been to grow the business without significantly growing our expenses too. I pay close attention to ROI with each of our expenditures so that revenue increases without a commensurate increase in expenses.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

Early on in my business career, I spent an astronomical amount of money to build our brand without focusing on ROI. I realized a few years in that some of our marketing expenditures were ROI negative. We were focused on growth, but I wasn’t paying attention to ROI and on a significant amount of our marketing, we were actually losing money. Maybe we were expanding our brand awareness, but we’re not sure how much that impacted us! The experience taught me to pay attention to the ROI of my business. Know where you are spending your hard earned marketing dollars and how that investment is paying off.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would tell myself to take your time when making big decisions. It’s easy to act quickly, but it’s much better to pause and take the time to think things through.

deborah_sweeney_mycorporation_2

Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?

I am a big fan of the book Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. The theme of the book is that it’s all about thinking differently and not following the crowd, which is admittedly something that happens more often than one realizes in business. It inspires you to think for yourself and create an opening that others do not see. In doing so, you can create your own space rather than follow the space of others and march to the beat of your own drum!

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

“Lead from within, not from out front.” This piece of advice emphasizes the importance of how to control a business without being controlling. If you try to run everything yourself, you’ll eventually crash and burn. It’s important to empower and trust your team to keep the business humming without you micromanaging.

What advice would you give to a newbie entrepreneur setting up their first business?

Due to the nature of the work I do, I would advise that they get all of their legal ducks in a row first! Incorporate or form an LLC to legitimize your company, register your trademark, draft a business plan, get your business licenses, file for an EIN and DBA, and stay on top of your annual maintenance.

sick

How Months Of Unbearable Pain Led This Woman To Becoming A Successful CEO

Tara-Langdale-Schmidt-1-683x1024

Tara Langdale-Schmidt hadn’t planned on being an entrepreneur. But after suffering from unbearable pain, numerous medical misdiagnoses, and several ineffective surgeries, she felt that she had no choice.

For four long years, Tara suffered from Vulvodynia, a chronic pain experienced by an estimated 15 percent of American women. Tara had sharp, stabbing, burning pain in her pelvic area, making it impossible to enjoy sexual intimacy with her future husband. The pain – physical emotional and mental – was agonizing and impacted her quality of life. After undergoing several surgeries and even having a doctor suggest she drink wine before trying sex with her husband, she had enough.

Tara with device

From her previous positive experience using magnets to reduce back and neck nerve pain after a car accident, she had a “lightbulb moment” to add neodymium magnets into a vaginal dilator. With the help of medical experts and advisors, she turned her idea into a nonprescription medical device. That’s when VuVa Tech was born.

Her startup was not easy, she went three years without a paycheck and suffered some setbacks on the product design, but she knew she had a game-changing medical device that today has proven to help women relieve pelvic pain and sexual discomfort.

The dilator device has allowed Tara and over 7,000 women all over the world to live a more normal life and finally enjoying sex without pain, helped expand families and brought relief for the men who suffered along with them.

StarCentral Web recently sat down with Tara Langdale-Schmidt to find out more about her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down.

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

Many people know they want to follow the entrepreneur path from the getgo, but I was not one of them.

In fact, I never gave a thought to being a startup business entrepreneur. But after suffering from unbearable pain, numerous medical misdiagnoses, and ineffective surgeries, I decided I had no choice.

I am one of the millions of women worldwide who suffer from Vulvodynia, which causes chronic pain and discomfort in the Vulva region.

For four long years, I experienced sharp, stabbing, burning pain in my pelvic area, making it impossible to enjoy sexual intimacy with my boyfriend, Jason, who would become my husband. The pain, both physical and mental, was agonizing and impacted my quality of life.

For the first two years that I dealt with pain during intercourse, my OB/GYN told me to drink wine and take some Advil before sex. Some advice!

Searching for another answer, I went to a pelvic pain specialist who did not even examine me. Instead, he wanted to put me on an antidepressant for the pain. Can you imagine??

Finally, I had enough. I took my medical condition into my own hands. Searching for an answer went on for years until I ran across an article on vulvodynia and I realized that is what I had. From my previous positive experience using magnets to reduce back and neck nerve pain after a car accident, I had a “lightbulb moment” to add neodymium magnets into a vaginal dilator. With the help of medical experts and advisers, I turned my idea into a nonprescription medical device and startup business – VuVatech www.vuvatech.com – to relieve the pain and sexual discomfort experienced by so many women today. The dilator device has allowed me and over 6,000 women all over the world to live a more normal life and finally enjoy sex without pain. This device has also improved relationships, marriages and even helped couples expand their families.

Tara & Jason

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?

The journey started when the pelvic pain began. I knew that making Neodymium Vaginal Dilators would work for others because they worked so well for me. There was no doubt in my mind. These women needed help, and I was going to be the one to do it.

What is your main source of income?

Our VuVa Magnetic Dilator product has been wildly successful. It’s been able to fund the company and myself.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

We are working on making our vaginal dilators in different materials, a very exciting development. Also, we have just hired a new marketing company that will help open new doors and opportunity for the business. The ads will launch in the coming weeks. And we’ve been using a fabulous public relations professional, John Goodman, who has gotten us a lot of attention and awareness.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

We are very active on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. All have been incredibly successful in creating awareness of our company and dilator products. We’ve received interest from all over the world, from Australia to the US.

What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?

We have found it very helpful and definitely has paid off. I like Google AdWords the best. We like to focus mainly on our patient outreach, public relations campaign and aggressive social media.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

Branding is everything. You must have a unique, recognizable logo and brand. Stay consistent with colours, fonts, and your story.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

Word of mouth has been very helpful. We have the best reviews which are heartwarming. We’ve helped women regain their sexuality and, in some cases, have saved marriages. Also, some women have become pregnant after they thought they never could because sex was too painful. It is incredible that we have pelvic pain ambassadors all over the globe sharing their successful VuVa stories.

How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?

We are the only vaginal dilators with a patented magnetic sleeve inside to help reduce pain quicker and calm muscles. There are other dilator sets on the market, but ours are made right down the road from our office, and we know exactly what type of safe material that is being used. We also help women find doctors and pelvic floor physical therapists in their area, even if they are not a customer.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

We are growing rapidly, so deciding on how much product to order from the manufacturer to keep orders flowing. I have a hard time spending money because I like to see the bank account grow, but you have to spend money to make money. I would say this can be a tough decision, but a good one to have to make!

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from?

If you can do something yourself, do it. We spent a lot of money on a marketing and branding company to make our site. I was very unhappy with it and created a new website in two days. Do not underestimate yourself. Now I do most everything myself, and Google is my best friend!

What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?

I’m hardly wealthy at this point. I have seen many entrepreneurs that define success by how much money they have in the bank, the car they drive and the house they own. I think differently. I define success by how many women I can help. My main goal is to help women overcome pain and resume normal, healthy lives; anything monetary will only be a bonus.

What new business would you love to start?

I’ve thought about this question for a while, and honestly, I would like to create another business where I am helping people and talking about a subject that people need help with but are afraid to talk about. Similar to VuVatech. But right now, I’m too busy to even think about starting another business! Helping women with pelvic pain is one of the most rewarding things I could have ever done, and I am beyond fulfilled.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

If I could go back, the toughest lesson I’ve learned is always show contracts to an attorney. We had hired a company that was going to help us market our magnetic pelvic pain dilators to physicians and physical therapists. We mistakenly did not send it to our lawyer to review. The potential partner agreed to commission for sales but made a drastic change in the contract one month later. At that point, we informed our attorney, and he sent a termination letter immediately. But the situation could have been avoided if we had sent it initially to our attorney to review. Going forward, we now have our attorney review all contracts and business agreements in advance.

Wedding B&W

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?

Don’t go to college. I am so happy I stopped going (which was due to medical reasons at the time). Student debt is a very big issue in our country, and I am making more than most college grads. I wasted time, but you live and learn.

Do you have any favourite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?

I love Gary Vaynerchuk. He is an amazing entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He doesn’t put up with any excuses, and that is a lot like me.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Do not believe everything you hear; there are a lot of people in the business that want a piece of your pie right off the bat without gaining trust or respect first.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

You might fail, and that’s okay. It’s okay to throw in the towel. Do not waste money keeping a dream alive that you feel will never be successful. This is very important because every mistake you made the first time around will help you create something more successful in the end.