How Negative Reviews Can Be Good for Your Business

January 2, 2013

Recent studies indicate that consumers are spending longer time on sites that have a mixture of good and bad reviews. In fact, consumers seem to be purchasing more products from retailers with negative reviews than those with only positive reviews. It seems that customers trust retailers that have both kinds of reviews, instead of only positive reviews.

Surprisingly, one of the factors that bad reviews affect is time on site. It appears that bad reviews inspire users who were already inclined to purchase to remain on the site long enough to complete a purchase. According to the collected data, the time spent perusing the site jumps from three minutes to eighteen minutes when negative reviews are present.

Consumers value bad reviews because they trust the honest, unedited opinions of their peers. Social commerce and peer reviews all boil down to trust, as you can see below from the reasons for including negative reviews on your site.

Consumers Appreciate a Balanced View

At least 68% of consumers consider reviews to be trustworthy if both positive and negative comments are displayed. Everyone knows that it isn’t possible for any product or service to be perfect, but consumers do want to know what the negative aspects of a product are prior to making a purchase. For some, the negative side of a product may seem like trivial matter compared to the benefits.

Negative Reviews are Relative

Everyone has an opinion. Certain consumers may view product aspects as negative while other consumers might view the same aspect as positive. Most consumers appear to be able to filter the negativity out of the review and glean the information they need – will the product do what I want it to do?

Ratio is Relevant

The presence of a negative review doesn’t put off customers. It’s the ratio of negative to positive. If a significant portion of the reviews are negative, this may concern consumers. But if there are only a few reviews that are negative, this may actually help.

Consumers Notice the Absence of Negative Reviews

Most shoppers are suspicious of reviews that don’t include complaints. Some consumers may suspect the reviews are censored or fake if there are no bad reviews in the mix. The presence of even a neutral review can validate all of the positives.

Respond to Negative Reviews

Although the jury is still out, preliminary results indicate that properly addressed negative reviews can actually help a business. This seems to run counter to entrepreneurial instinct. Business owners and entrepreneurs never want customers saying bad things about a brand, product, or service. However, every business is destined to receive a bad review at some point in time. It happens.

Instead of removing the negative reviews, respond to them. Ask the consumer (privately) what you can do to make the product or service work for them. Sometimes you may be able to help, sometimes not. But a consumer will be much more likely to use your company for other future products or services if you politely attempt to work through the problem with them. Some reviewers will even go back and place an updated review explaining how helpful you were.

Business owners and entrepreneurs should never fear bad reviews. Bad reviews that are taken in the right context can improve customer satisfaction when the reviews are addressed properly. Additionally, honest reviews assist in building trust between customers and businesses. Bad reviews won’t hurt a business unless there are an overwhelming amount of negative reviews or it appears that a business isn’t addressing them. So don’t squelch negative reviews; instead, allow them and watch your online conversions gain the momentum you’ve been trying to achieve.

Tara Hornor, Business, Entrepreneur, How Negative Reviews Can Be Good for Your Business

Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She writes for PrintPlace.com, a company that offers online printing for business cards, retail catalogs, posters, brochures,direct mail postcards, and more printed marketing media. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.

 

Meet Lisa Cash Hanson – The Mompreneur Mogul

December 6, 2012

Lisa and I are kindred spirits.  Serial entrepreneurs with our fingers in many projects.  When I first met Lisa I knew she was a famous blogger and business owner, singer and rising expert.  What I didn’t know is that she’s also an inventor!  Lisa took her experience as a first time mom and said, “How can we do this better?”  Then she won a grant from Huggies for her product SnuggWugg TM.  Congratulations, Lisa!

Name: Lisa Cash Hanson

Location: Las Vegas

Education: Eastern Michigan University Music And Business Major

Professional Background: I traveled the world performing as a singer for Fortune 500 companies, CEO’s and celebrities such as Chuck Schwab and Larry The Cable Guy, was featured on reality shows.

What you wanted to be when you grew up: A rock star.

What you are: I’m a wife, a first time mom, and a great friend, founder of Mompreneur Mogul a blog filled with inspiration, business, blogging and social media tips. I’m also the Author of Get Famous The Most Amazing Mom Bloggers Resource On The Planet and Creator of Blogs To Riches Club the exclusive business and blogging club where people come to learn how to make money online, and create a life they love.

Meet Lisa Cash Hanson - The Mompreneur Mogul, Business, Entrepreneur, InterviewBrief Summary of your Start Up: I was fortunate enough to be featured on Yahoo!, then wrote my first book and became an Amazon selling author. I had women and men both emailing and coming to me for advice. I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace there are only so many hours in the day and also be present for my family. I wanted a better way to serve both. Thus the Creation of Blogs To Riches Club. It’s a community filled with tips for blogging, business, and entrepreneur endeavors.  I also created my private coaching and a members only Inner Circle Club which is growing rapidly. This is where I’m able to host video trainings and work more closely with my clients. I love it. That way I am able to give attention to the people who need it most while not neglecting my family at the same time.

Company Website? www.mompreneurmogul.com  & www.blogstorichesclub.com  (which is by invitation only but I’ll provide the invite here: http://www.blogstorichesclub.com/?xgi=3tsqY1CXUz7gFx

Meet Lisa Cash Hanson - The Mompreneur Mogul, Business, Entrepreneur, InterviewWhat inspired you? When people would write and were frustrated or struggling. I knew that I would be able to encourage and lift them up. I had a pretty crappy dad (it happens to many of us) he loved to tell me what I couldn’t do. As a result I really don’t like dream crushers. So I’ve made it my quest to give wings to people’s dreams.

How long have you been in business? This site is under a year old but prior to that 20 years.

How did you fund it?  All of my money to start this project came from sales of my products, private coaching, being a consultant and advertising clients.

Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)? I do but I’m always open to more. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.

Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups? Yes I launched my own on LinkedIn Called Women Entrepreneurs Who Change The World. I’m also a member of another group of women entrepreneurs on Facebook and I visit our local chamber.

Current Business Challenge? Not being consumed with this business.

What are you doing about it? Being aware I think is the first step towards changing so I’m becoming much more aware.

Favorite motivational quote:

“Try to discover

The road to success

And you’ll seek but never find,

But blaze your own path

And the road to success

Will trail right behind.”

—Robert Brault 

Tell us about your Family? [I have] an amazing husband named Chad and a 19 month old named Matilda Grace. I am blessed.

How do you balance family and business? I’m not the best at that yet but I’m working on getting better. I love to work. Many nights I’m up until 2am and I know that is not good

Favorite book? The Bible

What do you do to relax? What’s that? OK seriously I love to go out on the water. Or sit in a park and listen to the leaves in the wind that always gives me an amazing feeling of calmness.

What do you want to change most about your world? I want to be able to give more. Both financially and with my time to others.

Meet Lisa Cash Hanson - The Mompreneur Mogul, Business, Entrepreneur, InterviewWhat are you most proud of? My daughter. I’ve visited some of the most glamorous places in the world and seen the best stages this world offers. She is still the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses? It’s great to have a big picture but sometimes that picture can look like a giant mural that’s painted on the Empire State Building- way too big. Take it one step at a time. Never say “I don’t know how. Instead say “I can figure this out”.

Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)? The internet. I’m not sure how people survived without it. And my iPhone. Suri is my entertainment when I need a laugh I ask her things like “What is wrong with my husband” just to hear her say “I cannot say Lisa.” Makes me laugh every time.

If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use? I would like to find one that’s never been used before, I don’t like copying.

Did I leave something out you would like me to know about yourself or your business?

My goal is to be able to give to any good cause that I desire. The other day I heard of a woman who had two young girls a baby on the way and her husband was hit and killed by a car. They were raising money to help with funeral costs. I didn’t know her but my heart was broken. I sent money immediately. Then I thought- “This is the purpose of owning your own business. To help people when they need it the most. Of course it’s for my family as well but I was so thankful my work allowed me to help a person in need.”

Meet Tze Chun – Founder of Uprise Art

November 15, 2012

Tze Chun, Uprise Art, Business, Entrepreneur, Interview

Happy to meet Tze on Twitter!  This week we’re celebrating connections with over 200,000 amazing people on twitter and Tze is no exception.  Her artwork is inspiring and her business story, just the same!  She also won Daily Candy’s Start Small Go Big contest for entrepreneurs.  Congrats, Tze!

Name: Tze Chun

Location: NYC

Education:

- Columbia University (2006), BA in American Studies (Art in America), BA in Dance

Magna Cum Laude

Phi Beta Kappa

Golden Key Honors Society

Professional Background:

In college, I double majored in Arts in America through the American Studies department and Dance, and also ran a small business for two years through Columbia’s entrepreneurial program. I had over 200 student employees and doubled profits during my time as manger. By the time I graduated, I knew I wanted to be an artist or entrepreneur, or some combination of the two.

I started a modern dance company in 2006 and have been working in the non-profit performing arts since. The company has performed at premiere dance venues throughout NYC, held residencies around the country, and toured internationally. For the past two years, we have been in residency at Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and the institutional support has made it possible for me to return to my other love – visual arts.

In 2011, I founded Uprise Art, an online contemporary art gallery and art collectors club representing over twenty artists.  With a unique invest-to-own model, Uprise Art helps companies build their corporate collections and helps new and seasoned art collectors find the perfect artwork for their homes.

What you wanted to be when you grew up:

A chef.

What you are:

An artist and entrepreneur.

Founder of Uprise Art

Artistic Director of Tze Chun Dance Company

Co-creator of MiniMash

Tze Chun, Uprise Art, Business, Entrepreneur, InterviewBrief Summary of your Start Up:

Uprise Art is an art collectors club offering exclusive access to exceptional art. Members lease original contemporary artwork for $50/month with 100% applied towards the purchase price, so they are investing over time. Collecting art has never been easier.

Where you are located:

NYC

Company Website?:

www.upriseart.com

What inspired you?

- I have so many friends in NYC who are successful professionals, but don’t have time to take advantage of the city’s galleries and museums. They are also intimidated by the process of colleting art. I thought – there has to be an easier way to introduce them to talented artists.

How long have you been in business?

- We launched June 2011

How did you fund it?

- Bootstrapped

Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)?

- Right after launching, I was very fortunate to be invited to present to a circle of mentors. These smart inspiring women (and one man!) gave me key advice that greatly shaped how I’ve approached the first year. The circle consisted of: Holly Lynch, Joanne Wilson, Deborah Jackson, Janet Hanson, Jennifer Hill, Kelly Hoey, Yao Huang, Natalia Oberti Noguera, Deborah Jackson, and Lee Graham.

Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups?

- 85 Broads

- Creative Time Council

- Whitney Museum Contemporaries

- Columbia College Women

- Rising Leaders of Art Business

- IvyLife

What are you doing about it?

We represent twenty-one incredible contemporary artists and they are helping spread the word. We’re all reaching out to friends and family through social media as well.

Favorite motivational quote:

“DO MORE FASTER” – David Cohen and Brad Feld

What do you do to relax?

- Yoga and eating tacos, they kind of cancel each other out.

What do you want to change most about your world?

- I want to make challenging, thoughtful art more accessible.

What are you most proud of?

- When our collectors say that the artwork in their homes makes them happy everyday.

What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses?

- It’s possible until proven otherwise.

Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)?

My Uprise team of five resourceful women.

If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use?

Ones that are light. I like to be active, and am always on the go.

Did I leave something out you would like me to know about yourself or your business?

Our memberships make great wedding presents! We had so many requests for gift memberships we set up a special pop-up shop for them.

For news on events and artists, follow Uprise Art at:

www.twitter.com/uprisenyc
www.facebook.com/upriseart

Upriseart.tumblr.com

pinterest.com/upriseart

Or me!
www.twitter.com/tzechengchun

Meet Gabrielle DeSantis-Cummings & Monica Hillman – Founders of Gigi Hill

September 27, 2012

Monica & Gabrielle, Business, Entrepreneur, Interview

A little bit of excitement came over me when I received a Gigi Hill laptop bag in the mail.  I feel more creative when I pull my computer out of something pretty! I used to carry around my laptop in a blah blue laptop bag, now I tote it around in style.  I knew I needed to learn more about Gabrielle and Monica!  Don’t you love it when simple things are taken to the next level?

Names: Gabrielle DeSantis-Cummings and Monica Hillman, founders of Gigi Hill

Company Website?  www.GigiHill.com

Education:

-          Gabrielle: I have my bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Cal State Long Beach.

-          Monica: I have a degree in management and human resources from Cal Poly Pomona.

Professional Background:

-          G: I’m a lifetime entrepreneur. Before starting Gigi Hill, I started and ran several successful businesses.

-          M: I come from a totally different path than Gabrielle, which is part of what makes us such a great team. Before Gigi Hill, I was in corporate America for more than 17 years working in finance and human resources.

What you wanted to be when you grew up:

-          G: An NFL cheerleader

-          M: It was always changing.  One day it was a race car driver and the next it was a hair dresser.

What you are:

-          G: I am a proud co-founder of Gigi Hill, lifetime entrepreneur, mother and designer of fabulous handbags. Between Monica and me, I’m the more of an eclectic and artsy style, entrepreneurial spirit, and visionary. Monica keeps me grounded!

-          M: I am also a proud co-founder of Gigi Hill, role-model, mother and lover of handbags. I balance Gabrielle’s personality with my classic and mainstream style, and a focus on strategic implementation and practical execution.

Business, Entrepreneur, InterviewBrief Summary of your company:

G: Monica and I started the Gigi Hill collection of fabulous handbags in 2006 as a party-plan direct sales business and took it nationwide in 2009. Since the beginning, it has been about helping busy women bridge the gap between style and function by creating handbags they would love to carry whether going to the beach with their kids or out to dinner with their husbands. Gigi Hill bags are modern and chic yet feminine – all with standout fabrics and the highest quality construction. We have everything from wristlets and totes to laptop cases and weekenders. We also expanded to offer accessories like sunglasses and flip flops, men’s bags and a junior’s line.

Where are you located?

M: We both live in Yorba Linda, California, and the Gigi Hill home office is in Yorba Linda as well.

Business, Entrepreneur, InterviewWhat inspired the company?

M: Gabrielle and I met at our daughters’ soccer games, where we quickly became friends. As we sat on the sidelines week after week, we talked a lot about the lack of worthwhile bags for busy moms. We started Gigi Hill both to fill that market gap by creating a bag that was fashionable and functional, and because we wanted careers that would allow us to spend more time with our families. After researching industry trends and direct sales models, we decided to take the leap of faith and start Gigi Hill.

Inspired by our own experiences and those of women we knew, we worked to design a bag that would help real women stay organized. That led us to the Gigi Hill Signature Pocket Design™ that ensures there is a pocket for everything so moms can stay organized on the go. It includes a key fob to keep your keys handy at all times, as well as pockets for your cell phone or other electronics, water bottles, sunglasses, pens and other essentials like your favorite lipstick. We also made several pockets out of a clear material to make it even easier to find what you need.

How long have you been in business?

G: We threw our first Gigi Hill party in July 2006 and spent the next two and a half years selling bags regionally and learning from consumer feedback. The research and attention to detail has definitely paid off. We launched Gigi Hill nationally in 2009 and grew an astounding 900 percent in that first year. Since then, the company has continued to double in size each year in both sales and the number of women joining our sales team.

How did you fund it?

M: We started Gigi Hill with a little personal savings and $23,000 in loans and investments from friends and family. Following years of hard work and building a successful foundation, Gigi Hill received a $3 million investment in 2011.

Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or mentor)?

M: We have been fortunate to have many women in the Direct Sales industry who have mentored us and given us great advice in building this company.

Current Business Challenge? What are you doing about it?

G: Staying relevant and keeping agile with innovation today. We are constantly reading, researching and networking with other business owners.

Family?

-          G: I have my wonderful husband Chris, son Jake (16) and daughter Giavanna (14).

-          M: Phil is my supportive husband and we have a son Matt (17) and daughter Danielle (14).

How do you balance family and business?

G: Having balance in our lives is part of the reason we started Gigi Hill. We both wanted a career that would let us spend more time with our families, and that’s a great bonus for direct sales. We’re so happy to have that time with our family, and thrilled to offer the same opportunity to our stylists, who create their own schedules, work as many or as few hours as they want, and take full control of their own income potential and business growth.

What do you do to relax?

-          G: Spend time with my family… and watch mindless television!

-          M: Spend time with my family

What do you want to change most about your world?

M: We wish more women felt empowered. You really can take control of your life and your career, and have all of your dreams come true! Whatever you want in life, make it happen. If you don’t know what you want yet, that’s OK too. But work on figuring it out because nothing is going to happen if you don’t work for it.

And, if any women out there are looking for new opportunities, we encourage them to visit www.gigihill.com to learn more about career opportunities with our company. Gigi Hill is looking for new stylists to start their own businesses selling Gigi Hill handbags, totes and accessories in their hometowns. It’s a fun-filled job where you have full control of your own hours and earning potential. It’s also a great company to network and meet other women, both at your parties and through Gigi Hill stylist events. Being surrounded by fabulous women is such an impactful support system and so much fun!

What are you most proud of?

G: We are both so proud of Gigi Hill’s success over the years and how much the company continues to grow. We’re also so unbelievably proud of all our stylists – today, more than a 1,000 saleswomen – who have taken this company to such great heights. Each and every woman who has joined the Gigi Hill family, taken the business opportunity and made it their own – they are so fabulous and the reason for all of the company’s success.  Gigi Hill is a dream come true!

What advice would you like to offer other Startup Princesses?

M: We strongly encourage women everywhere to chase their dreams and make them a reality. Follow your passion and your intuition, then research, research, research. Then it’s time to get moving. As we always say, plan your work and work your plan.

Business, Entrepreneur, InterviewFavorite Magic Wand?

G: That’s hard to narrow down! What mom can live without great handbags to carry her through the day, under-eye concealer, a smartphone…and the list goes on and on!

For our Gigi Hill handbags though, we love the magic of laminated cotton canvas. The fabric is so easy to clean – a necessity for busy moms – and looks fabulous. We have totes, handbags and travel bags made in laminated cotton canvas so you can keep them looking brand new, and many bags that are lined in the fabric, so it’s perfect for easily wiping away any spills inside.

If you could design a tiara that showcases Gigi Hill, what would you use?

M: Well Gigi Hill is known for being super fashionable and functional, so we’d have to make our tiara that way too. Of course it would be in bold colors. We’d find a way to include some amazing pockets so you can stash your lipstick and other necessities. And I know without a doubt that our stylists would want us to include a wristlet strap option! It’s something we’ve learned from feedback from both our stylists and consumers – women love a little strap so they can easily carry a bag, wallet or whatever from their wrist when juggling kids, work and everything else. Gigi Hill will have the first tiara with a fabulous wristlet strap!!

Michelle McCullough, Megan Brown & Mindy Gledhill Receive Top Magazine Recognition

September 27, 2012

40 under 40, Michelle McCullough, News Congratulations to Managing Director, Michelle McCullough, for being featured in Utah Valley Business Q 40 under 40!

We’d also like to give a shout out to Startup Princess friends Megan Brown of The Sweet Tooth Fairy and singer/songwriter Mindy Gledhill.

 

Meet Christina Patterson – Creator of I Do Cake Toppers

September 13, 2012

Business, Entrepreneur, Interview, I Do Cake Toppers, Christina Patterson

Are you networking on twitter? You should!  We meet the greatest people (from all over the world) online and Christina is no exception!   Fun girl and fun business!

Name: Christina Patterson

Location: Charlottetown

Education: Graphic Design Diploma from Fanshawe College (London, Ontario)

Professional Background:

I used to be in graphic design, but quickly realized that I didn’t want to spend my life making brochures and mocking up websites. It was at that point in 2004 that I started my Custom Cake Topper business.

What you wanted to be when you grew up: I always wanted to be an Artist.

What you are: I am the Owner/CEO of www.idocaketoppers.com,

Christina Patterson, Business, Entrepreneur, Interview, I Do Cake ToppersBrief Summary of your Start Up:

Since 2004 I Do Cake Toppers has been making quality sculptures for clients world wide, including celebrity clients such as David Copperfield and Regis & Kelly. A hand made Custom Cake Topper is the ultimate keepsake after the last of the wedding cake is gone and the party is over. Custom Cake Toppers have made the perfect gift for many Weddings, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Retirement parties and any other event that is worth celebrating!

Where you are located: In beautiful Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Company Website? www.idocaketoppers.com

What inspired you?

I have always been an Artist and I was really drawn to the idea of making Art my full time job.

How long have you been in business?

I started the company officially in 2004

How did you fund it?

I was working three Jobs at the time and doing the occasional topper. As my topper business grew, I scaled back on the other work until it was 100% toppers. This method was the smartest option for me, even though it meant that I had a real tough couple of years workload wise.

Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)? I wish I did…but no.

Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups?

I have on occasion tried to get involved with some local groups that are in the entrepreneur or crafting vein, but to be honest I am not much for organizations.

Current Business Challenge?

I think there are certainly a lot of challenges in this current economic environment and for me this means that I need to make every advertising/marketing dollar count.

What are you doing about it?

FB and Google Ad words have really good analytics systems so that I can really see my return on investment. If I can see the effect of my marketing dollars in a quantifiable way then its much easier to justify the cost.

Favorite motivational quote:

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. – Rumi

Christina Patterson, Business, Interview, Entrepreneur, I Do Cake ToppersFamily?

One Artist Husband and one needy Shi-Tzu

If so, how do you balance family and business?

Finding a balance is certainly a work in progress. I try to make time every day to meditate, spend time with my Husband and work on personal projects. The challenge comes when the line between what’s work and what’s fun gets blurry.

Favorite book?

I am currently reading Four Hour Work week by Timothy Ferriss. It’s a really great book with a lot of helpful suggestions on how to work smarter not harder.

What do you want to change most about your world?

I wish that people would be more open and accepting and pursue their passions more.

What are you most proud of?

The fact that I have been able to make Art my career and creating an army of satisfied customers since 2004

What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses?

1. Know your value proposition: Are you the Prada of your industry or the Walmart. This becomes very import when positioning your product, identifying your competition and building a successful brand.

2. Get to Know your customer: Talk and interact with them, learn all about them , this can help uncover new product ideas and services that you hadn’t even thought of before. Many business’ fall into the trap of assuming they know their customer and then acting on those assumptions…big mistake.

Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)?

Social Media is definitely my favourite tool.

If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use?

Lots and lots of red rubies

Did I leave something out you would like me to know about yourself or your business?

I just want say to all the other Start Up Princesses out there. Believe in yourself and your business, don’t listen the army of nay sayers and always make sure that your business is travelling in the direction that you want it to! I think it is great to a have blogs like this that promote women in business and feel that as successful women, the knowledge that we share empowers us all.

Staying Legal with Your Blog Images

September 12, 2012

Adding images to your blog is a necessity for almost everything but microblogging, which is anything with less than 160 words. Just as with marketing brochures or newsletters, images enhance your blog in many ways – they make it more visually appealing, help connect concepts, and even enhance your search engine optimization. All this added value is worth something.

However, it is important that you stay legal whenever you are using images on your blog because you do not want to deal with the hassle – or expense – of any copyright infringements.

Avoid Copyright Issues

The single-handed best way to avoid any copyright issues with the images you use on your blog is to take the pictures yourself. Not only does taking your own pictures for your blog help you to avoid any hassle, it is also a way for you to connect on a more personal level with the people who read your blog. Of course, this is not always feasible. You may not have access to a high-quality camera or you may simply prefer to use images that are already available on the Internet.

If you do want to use someone else’s images, then you should always obtain permission before using them on your blog. The best way to get permission for the images you want is to go to the image owner and send them an email asking if you may use the image on your blog. If you prefer not to wait for permission, there are other options available.

Keep in mind, too, that if you visit the About page of a photographer or their profile page, you may be able to read about their Terms of Use. Some photographers only place a Creative Commons License on their photos, which means you can use them on your blog as long as you credit them with a link and their name. If the image or the website includes a copyright symbol, however, then this more than likely means the photographer does not allow use of their photos without permission.

Using Stock Photos

There are a number of different websites available online that offer stock photos for free or for a small fee. You can subscribe to these different websites that offer stock photos, purchase credits at a discounted rate, and then use those credits to buy different images that will go along with the content on your blog. This is a safe way to use images on your blog without having to worry about violating copyright laws. Just make sure you indicate whether or not your blog is a personal site or used for commercial purposes. A good test for determining this purpose is whether or not you sell something – including advertising – on your blog. If you do, then you’re a commercial site, which is the vast majority of cases.

A few places you can find quality stock images for free include:

The best policy for you to adopt with publishing images on your site is: “If in doubt, ask first.” This way, you will save yourself the headache (and budget-ache) of learning the painful and costly way.

 has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She writes for PrintPlace.com, an online printing company that offers services for brochures, business cards, marketing flyers, posters, postcards, custom booklets, and more printed marketing media. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.

 

5 Surprising Skills of Successful Entrepreneurs

September 11, 2012

There is no such thing as a “typical” entrepreneur. We come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Still, myths abound and most of us walk around with a specific caricature of an entrepreneur in our minds. Most often that image includes someone who is bold, daring, comfortable with risks, and a consummate schmoozer. There’s no problem with this constellation of traits except that it can hold a lot of other people back. I have met countless aspiring entrepreneurs who fear they aren’t cut out for the job because they keep comparing themselves against this common stereotype. The truth is that success depends on something quite different.

When it comes to building a sustaining, stable, and satisfying venture, there are 5 specific skills that make a difference, including your ability to:

1.       Admit, comfortably and confidently, what you don’t know

Far from the know-it-all, most successful entrepreneurs spend a lot of time identifying what they don’t know and, more importantly, how they can find out. Openly admitting knowledge gaps is as important as comfortably asking for help. Most people are hesitant about displaying this much vulnerability but entrepreneurs know that their survival depends on it.

2.       Embrace the pursuit of learning

Because you can’t and won’t know everything, those entrepreneurs who love and embracing the process of learning go further. They indulge their curiosity and consider themselves perpetual students. It’s their hunger for a better understanding of their industry, product, customer and business that helps propel their company further and keeps them ahead of the curve. So, no matter how big your business coups don’t go resting on your laurels. Instead dive into another area of unknown.

3.       Persevere in the face of uncertainty

Perseverance is a critical survival skill. And luckily, most people can find it within themselves to persevere in the face of adversity – we’re just wired to do it. And that’s a good thing because there is plenty of adversity in entrepreneurship. What’s even harder though is persevering in the face of uncertainty, which you’ll find plenty of in entrepreneurship. Success depends upon your ability to remain committed despite having no guarantees.

4.       Know and manage your own weaknesses
None of us is perfect. None of us can do it all. The sooner you embrace that fact the better – for you and your business. Successful entrepreneurs are just as clear about their strengths as they are their weaknesses. And, they don’t stop with just acknowledge their short-comings. Instead they work hard to counteract their impact on their productivity, leadership, vision, execution, and decision making. It’s important for all entrepreneurs to identify successful tactics for staying out of their own way.

5.       Value yourself and the business
Many entrepreneurs make steep compromises for “the sake of the business.” These may include money, type of work, sleep, friends, family, health, mission, the list goes on. I’ve yet to meet an entrepreneur who hasn’t put their business ahead of themselves at some point in time. What successful entrepreneurs realize however is that the business needs to actually be in service of them. It’s not sustainable to sacrifice your own interests and needs for the business. It’s not strategic to offer your business less than your very best self. It’s not wise to ignore your own limits and boundaries. Your time and energy are valuable assets and they should be as carefully marshaled and preserved as other business resources.

Strategic Entrepreneurship Expert – Adelaide Lancaster of In Good Company from Philadelphia, PA

Adelaide Lancaster, Business, Entrepreneurship, The Perils of Thinking Big, Small StepsAdelaide Lancaster, co-founder, is a successful entrepreneur who excels at making business ideas a reality and helping businesses grow to their potential.  Adelaide is both a strategic thinker and a master implementer.  She has spent her professional career dedicated to helping women find work that is meaningful and rewarding. Adelaide was recently featured in the book Upstarts!, as one of 60 Gen-Y entrepreneurs who are rocking the world of business.  Adelaide was co-founder and Principal Partner of Berkman Fives a consulting firm that helped women professionals with career development and advancement and women entrepreneurs with business growth and efficiency. Adelaide also is a contributor to The Huffington Post and Daily Muse.

Adelaide also co-authored the book “The Big Enough Company”.

5 Things Disney’s Cars Land Taught Me About Marketing

August 31, 2012

Business, Entrepreneur, Feature, 5 Things Disney's Cars Land Taught Me About Marketing

Written by Melanie Donahoo for Startup Princess.

I was 28 the first time I went to Disneyland. And while I’m sure we could have a lengthy discussion about how sad and ridiculous that is, or talk for hours about my deprived childhood, I think maybe we should tackle that with my therapist another day.

Because my first experience at Disneyland was when I was “older,” I viewed it through a different lens than, well a 5-year-old would. As I made my way through the park, my entrepreneur mind couldn’t help but recognize how Disneyland has handily mastered the fine art of marketing.

I mean, how many places on earth can you go and see adults happily pay to walk around wearing crazy hats and ears? If you were to go to a morning business meeting in a set of mouse ears, you’d likely be looking for a new job by lunchtime. But when you’re inside Disneyland, nobody even thinks twice about it.

So how did they do it? How did Disneyland manage to create a marketing-centric atmosphere that is accepted, embraced, and even sought after? What Disneyland knows, and the rest of us should learn, is how to make the marketing a part of the overall experience.

I recently attended a social media event where I was privileged to chat with and hear from the Disneyland team, including Kathy Mangum, the executive producer and vice president for Walt Disney Imagineering. Kathy gave a fabulous presentation about how Disneyland’s newest attraction, Cars Land, came to be.

As she presented, I couldn’t help but recognize a few marketing lessons we could all learn from Disneyland’s experience building Cars Land.

1. Do Your Research
I’m sure all of Disney’s Imagineers were fairly well versed with the movie Cars when they set out to build the Cars Land attraction, but that wasn’t enough. They wanted to know and understand it completely. That’s why their team took a road trip along Route 66 to see the same sights, meet the same people, and even eat the same food as the creators of the movie. It was from this trip that they gathered information for their project.

Now your marketing might not require driving across the U.S. with your team, but it should include plenty of research. Before you lay out your marketing plan, talk to your customers and your potential customers. Dig in and get familiar with your product or service and even check out your competition. Figure out what people think of you, or what they will think of you. Examine what makes you different, better, or weaker. Ask why people buy from you. Determine why people buy from your competitors.

If you’re approaching your marketing without doing research, you’re guessing. Before anything else, get the facts.

Business, Entrepreneur, Melanie Donahoo, Feature2. Be Innovative
Saying the Walt Disney Company is innovative, is like calling the Statue of Liberty a “nice piece of art.” I mean, they have people with the job title “imagineer,” who are tasked with, you guessed it, coming up with new and innovative ideas.

This innovation can be seen throughout Cars Land. They could have built a ride or two and let the rest of the area remain as it was, but they didn’t. Even the concession stands fit the theme and are housed in giant orange cone buildings where you can get things like “popcone” or other tasty “cone-coctions.” They pushed the limits of their imagination to carry the theme everywhere.

Disneyland isn’t content with giving people the same experience over and over, and you shouldn’t be either. Work within the confines of your budget and the realities of your industry, but never be afraid to push the limits. Never settle for the same old marketing techniques just because it’s what you’ve always done, or worse, because it’s what your competition is doing.

So what if you don’t have a huge budget? Don’t let that hold you back. History is replete with creative marketing ideas that have been executed using little or no budgets. That’s where innovation really comes into play.

Business, Entrepreneur, Melanie Donahoo, Feature3. Plan for the Future
Flash in the pan marketing efforts may boost traffic or sales for a day, a week, or maybe longer, but they won’t get the long-term results you’re seeking. For Cars Land, Disneyland built a mountain. They built a mountain! Since most businesses don’t just throw a mountain up on a whim, I’m willing to bet that they thought ahead and envisioned how the attraction would work as part of the park’s future.

Most people know they should plan, so why is it that there’s no shortage of “shiny object chasing” syndrome? Trying something “just to see if it works” is a waste of time and money. Think before you execute, and always ask yourself how your effort fits into your long-term plan.

4. Integrate Your Efforts
Today, there’s no such thing as single channel marketing. You can’t expect to reach your all your customers with a radio commercial. Not everyone in your target market will see your Facebook or Twitter post. And many people will never even visit your website or read your blog. That’s why diversifying your efforts is essential.

Disneyland reached across multiple platforms to promote Cars Land. They promoted it on the construction signs inside the park, as well as through social and traditional media, and much more, because they knew that to generate interest and spark conversations, they would need multiple ways to reach people.

Sound expensive? It doesn’t have to be. Sound like a lot of content to create? It doesn’t have to be. Learn where your customers are and reach them there. Then, repurpose your content for various platforms. Would that blog post you wrote make a great Tweet? Is there a customer question that would make a great YouTube video? Look at your marketing efforts holistically and integrate your efforts across multiple channels.

Business, Entrepreneur, Melanie Donahoo, 5 Things Disney's Cars Land Taught Me About Marketing5. There’s Magic in the Details
Each time you visit Cars Land, you’ll likely discover something new. That’s because even the simplest details have been so painstakingly executed that it would be impossible to notice them all the first time around. Why did Disney go to so much trouble? Wouldn’t people have been happy if they’d just thrown together a new ride or two?

It all goes back to the earlier statement about how Disney doesn’t just do marketing, they create experiences. Part of creating those experiences is integrating the small details that allow people to get lost and forget there is marketing happening.

Once again, the magic question is, how do you apply that in your business? Paying attention to the details in your business can mean anything from responding quickly to customers or listening to their needs and implementing their suggestions. It can mean that you look at ways to make the buying experience/working relationship more pleasant. It can mean that you make it easy for people to share your content, give you referrals, or talk about your company. Whatever those details are for you, they could make all the difference and keep people coming back again and again.

Those are a few of the things I learned about marketing from Disneyland’s Cars Land. What do you think you could learn from it?

Melanie Donahoo, Entrepreneur, Business, Feature

Melanie Donahoo has worked in many different areas of the advertising industry and has always utilized her strong writing skills. She’s written everything from blogs and billboards to sales pages and video scripts, and everything in between. She even wrote a stand-up comedy routine for a client.  Today, Melanie owns her own copywriting and marketing and social media consulting company. She specializes in helping small business owners and entrepreneurs identify their audience and create powerful messages that resonate and drive sales.

 

Disney, Disneyland, Cars Land, etc are registered trademarks of Disney.

Meet Tessa Farnsworth – Founder of Damsels in Success

August 16, 2012

Business, Entrepreneur, Interview, Tessa Farnsworth, Damsels in Success

It’s fun to find fellow friends supporting women business owners.  I love the name: Damsels In Success!  Enjoy meeting, Tessa.  Another creative, spunky, inspiring women entrepreneur!

Name: Tessa Farnsworth

Location: Utah

Education: Bachelors degree in Journalism from Brigham Young University

Professional Background:

I worked with The Daily Universe as a reporter and editor for several years in college, went on to work in Washington D.C. as a summer associate at Ashoka on their News and Knowledge team, worked part-time with different SEO and online marketing agencies.

What you wanted to be when you grew up:

A marine biologist. I got to swim with dolphins when I was 8 and fell in love. After realizing how many science classes that would take in college, I had to move on from that dream.

What you are:

I am the editor for damselsinsuccess.com, a site for and about women in business.

Brief Summary of your Start Up:

I’ve always been passionate in women in business, so when the opportunity to revive an old website Damsels in Success, Tessa Farnsworth, Business, Entrepreneur, Interviewdomain came up, I jumped on the chance.

Company Website?

Damselsinsuccess.com

What inspired you?

Women everywhere. After working with inspiring women and being surrounded by so many my whole life I realized that there was a lack of information about women in business and wanted to create a space to share news and stories, while having others join the conversation as well.

How long have you been in business?

About 6 months.

How did you fund it?

We run ads and are looking into more ways to find funding. We are still young and looking to grow.

Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)?

My mother has always been a huge mentor to me. Along with several women from my hometown who managed to balance family and work life in a way that I find incredible.

Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups?

 Currently we are looking to join some that fit our profile.

Current Business Challenge?

Finding funding. It’s always a challenge when you first start a business to get others on board and people to back you up.

What are you doing about it?

Gaining a broader audience and building our credibility

Favorite motivational quote:

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
—Vonnegut

Family?

I’m engaged and getting married in a few weeks!

If so, how do you balance family and business?

It’s been a crazy few months with the business and planning a wedding, but I make sure to set aside time after work where I am not at my computer and I can focus on having fun with my fiancé.

Favorite book?

I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter series.

What do you do to relax?

I like to be outside. Whether it’s taking a drive or going on a picnic it’s relaxing to get away from my electronics for a while and just be.

What do you want to change most about your world?

If there was more time in a day I would be on top of the world. Oh, and traffic. I hate traffic.

What are you most proud of?

That I’ve been able to grow the website from the ground up. It’s a scary thing to try and do and I’m proud that I’m moving forward with it.

What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses?

Don’t be afraid to try new things and go after what you’ve always wanted to do. There’s no reason to sit around and wait.

Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)?

Google analytics are my best friend right now. I check them every morning to help me track and manage my site. If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use? Sapphire is my birthstone and I’ve always been partial to it. Plus, it looks good alongside diamonds :)

Did I leave something out you would like me to know about yourself or your
business?

I love to travel and I love meeting inspirational women all across the globe. It’s humbling and amazing to see the impact we can have.

 

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