The truth is quite a bit. As a micro business owner you’ve more than likely chosen a catchy name that incorporates what your business is, your own personal name, or something about you that you want everyone to know. You’ve spent an inordinate amount of time agonizing over whether it sounds good, run it by your friends for their feedback and then made a series of tweaks and revisions. But the truth is there is a lot more you need to know about your businesses name than you might realize. For example, did you know that in some states as a sole proprietorship, you are are presumed to operate under your name as the owner? If the business will operate under a different name, most jurisdictions require that a fictitious owner affidavit be filed.
Needleman’s story starts with an account of cookie maker Kori Stanton, whose business was featured on the Rachel Ray Show, and appeared to be off and running. Unfortunately, not long after the show, another company with a similar (and trademarked) name threatened a lawsuit. The story includes some helpful tips – including doing the research up front and being specific in your naming. But one thing you should also do is check your state’s requirements when it comes to business naming, and what paperwork you might have to file before starting up.
Ultimately starting your business is a fun and exciting time, especially at the very beginning. But before you pick a name and start making up fliers, postcards, business cards and every other promotional product you can think of, do some homework and make sure you’re doing things by the book. The legwork could end up saving you a lot of aggravation (and money) in the long run.
What steps have you taken to protect your businesses name? What advice would you give others?
by Jason Keith: Trent Hamm recently penned a wonderful piece on OpenForum that highlighted a real life story about a small restaurant in his hometown. While the outcome wasn’t uplifting, the lessons learned from the story are vital. And it’s a story that’s recounted all too often amongst micro business owners. Essentially Hamm explains how a local sandwich shop his wife wandered into one day had to close just three weeks later. The reason? No one in town knew about the business, even though they thought people did.
Now, we’ve highlighted how important marketing is for micro businesses is in the past, but this story highlights a more important topic: why it’s paramount that your local community knows you, and CONTINUES to know you. We’ve found that the typical microbusiness spends on average $500 on marketing during the year. But where those marketing dollars actually go is vital to your success.
As Hamm points out, a simple flyer around town would have done wonders for this business, but I think it goes beyond that. I would encourage micro businesses to focus only on customers within their town with their marketing efforts to start, build up a customer base and expand from there. But the lesson is, never forget about those first customers that came in the door. You can never assume they remember you, they have to be encouraged to remember you. Marketing is about consistent touchpoints, so making the most out of that small budget is vital.
A small buy loyal customer base can sustain your business. In fact, we’ve found that our average micro business customer typically has less than 60 customers of their own, on average. And 45% have 20 or fewer regular customers. So make sure they are the happy ones, and if you can expand from there, great.
What have you done to ensure prospects in your town know about your micro business? Should you be doing more?
Micro businesses are everywhere. They are run by people of all ages, educations, talents and passions. Today we wanted to highlight an amazing story in Massachusetts of a unique and successful micro business, but with an intriguing sole proprietor. McKenzie Plante, a local 11-year old girl in the seaport town or Gloucester, MA has started up her own successful micro business, making welcome mats from used fishing rope. Not only is her business succeeding, but thriving. The only thing holding her business back will be the upcoming school year, where she will enter the sixth grade.
The full story can be seen in the video below, courtesy of the New England Cable News Network. But as the economy continues to struggle, stories like this one warm the heart and illustrate the entrepreneurial spirit that is still alive and well across the country, and across all ages.
A recent feature story in the New York Times took a look at Trek Light Gear, a micro business that sells lightweight hammock, backpacks, tarps and apparel. The owner Seth Haber is also the only employee, which made him a perfect example of what a micro business is. But as any micro business owner knows, sometimes gaining market research and using it to determine the next big move or decision for his or her company isn’t easy. But it’s easier than it used to be. Read more…
A few weeks ago I consulted with a family member about revamping his resume. Since he was chef de cuisine of a trendy restaurant in New York City, I was confused about why he was looking to move on. It turns out he was approached by a competitor interested in bringing him on staff. He had no interest in leaving his coveted position but he did want to know what he was worth in the industry. He needed a fast-talking resume and he needed it yesterday. Read more…
Shoppers across the country may have circled this weekend on the calendar weeks ago. The reason? Many states will roll out a “tax free holiday” which will allow consumers to make purchases tax free, in an attmept to boost spending and jump start the local economy. Some decry the move as a political gimmick, but others have lauded the decision and point to estimates (at least in Massachusetts) that the holiday will generate some $500 million in revenue.
The truth is that results have been mixed. A story posted this week in the Christian Science Monitor cites a 2009 dissertation done by the University of Michigan, which found that, “computer purchases did go up with tax holidays, but between 37 and 90 percent of the rise resulted from consumers timing purchases they would have made anyway to coincide with the tax break.” Read more…
The summer sun and winds burned my arms, face and back as I bent down to pick yet another rock from its earthen home where it most likely had rested for many generations. To this day, I can remember how hot, sweaty, and back-breaking that job of picking multitudes of rocks from the fields of our north central Minnesota farm was for me as a teenager. It wasn’t a job I necessarily wanted to do. I simply did it because my dad said to. I guess he thought it would build my character. At the time, I couldn’t see how that could be, and yet, because I knew my dad, I continued to do what he had instructed me to do. Read more…
It’s something people don’t like to talk about…the issues with hoarding. Just like the TV show by this name- some of us out there have a problem…mine is hoarding emails. Last week I had over 3,758 emails in my ‘in’ box. Why do I hoard emails? I’m afraid of losing something important. I’m afraid that I’ll delete something and of course need it the following week. Read more…
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Micro Business Perspectives was launched with the goal of giving micro businesses information and tools to more effectively market and manage their business. We’ll be posting answers to questions, tips and tricks we hope you will find useful in marketing and promoting your business, and suggestions about ways to explore new and innovative mediums. We’re also encouraging you to send us your own successful marketing stories. We’ll publish some of them on this blog so other micro businesses might learn from your example.