August 26, 2008?
This weeks hits:? If you like food, please check out www.chezus.com? Denise is an authority on all things food.? Her site is full of great information and fantastic photos that will make your mouth water!? Just look at the Grill Charms pics!!!? http://www.chezus.com/?p=557?
Here is another good hit:? http://www.simple-finds.com/2008/08/is-there-dad-that-doesnt-like-to-grill.html?
When bringing a new product to market, I have to say, one of the biggest challenges isnâ€™t how complicated it is to get a patent, or finding a manufacturer, or packaging design or any of the hundreds of other tasks that are required when going from light bulb moment to store shelves.? I am learning that the most challenging task is simply product awareness.? I spend more time on that one task then I do on any other aspect of my business.? It is my job 24/7 to #1 inform the public that my product exists and #2 educate them on how to use it.? One of the biggest advantages of inventing a new product is that you have the only thing out there that does what it does, how it does it.? The biggest disadvantage to inventing a new product is that you have the only thing out there that does what it does, how it does it.? Although you are at an advantage because you or the only one selling your widget, it is an uphill battle to let people know that your product is even on the shelves.? Two of the main ways to get the word out are through PR and advertising.? Because my product is so new and I think there are some good stories in my story, Iâ€™m focusing on the PR avenue (which is evident from my â€œnewsâ€ page).? Different companies do well with both forms of awareness for different reasons and itâ€™s up to you to figure out what works for your company and your product.? I am convinced however, that the first year of your company, you do a WHOLE LOT of telling from the mountain tops with not as much reward or sales as you might expect.? Raising product awareness is a slow process and takes a lot of your time.? There are very few golden tickets out there.? Maybe Oprah, but thatâ€™s about it.? PR and or adverting are things you must spend time and money doing and are worth it in the end if done right, but donâ€™t expect immediate results to come from 1 or 2 mentions in newspapers, magazines or even TV.? It is well know that it takes somewhere between 5 and 7 times for a new or potential customer to be exposed to your product before they are ready to buy.? So as you can see, patience is the name of the game.? ?
In conjunction with formal PR and advertising, every minute of every day you should be at the ready to give your pitch, sell your product and make that person sitting next to you on the airplane, or the new mom in play group or the new neighbor not just a new customer, but a new FAN.? I always carry with me AT LEAST a card at all times and normally a brochures and samples too.? Donâ€™t get me wrong, there is nothing worse then someone who canâ€™t stop talking about themselves or their company, BUT you need to be ready when the opportunity arises.? As much as I want to tell everyone that walks my way about my great product and how wonderful it is, and why they must go out and buy it immediately, that approach would leave me with very few supporters, just about no friends and a family that would probably disown me.? So what is the balance?? Hereâ€™s a little tip on how to talk about your company in a social or networking situation without coming across as pushy or boastful. ??Inevitably, just about everyone you meet or get to know will eventually want to know what you do with your time.? The words â€œso what do you do?â€ are uttered thousands of times a day all across this great land of ours.?? Iâ€™m not sure why we feel the need to ask this, but we do.? Maybe itâ€™s just something we are conditioned to say or maybe we all genuinely want to know what others do for a living, but for whatever reason, you will be asked hundreds if not thousands of times in your lifetimeâ€¦ â€œSo what do you do?â€? What a FANTASTIC opportunity those 5 little words are!!? ??Now as you know, people often just say this to be polite or to make conversation and donâ€™t care what you do, itâ€™s just something to say say.? This is where itâ€™s good to offer a â€œteaserâ€.? In my case I say in a very nonchalant way, â€œOh, I invented a grilling gadgetâ€.? Now at this point, even if at first they didnâ€™t really want to know what I do and were just being polite, with a statement like that, 90% of the people I say that too ask me to tell them more.? â€œOh??? What kind of grilling gadget?â€? and at this point, the curiosity has gotten to them and they are genueily interested to hear and are listening to what I am saying.? Iâ€™m sure you can come up with a clever, interesting comment or statement about what you do or what your company does that will leave people wanting more.? This is a wonderful way to turn just about any conversation into you getting to inform and educate people about your product or service without acting like you forced the information on them.? THEY asked YOU. ?
Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢? www.grillcharms.com
Today is the DAY … Join me as I talk PR. As many of you know I?was on the Channel 4 News last week. Also, recently in the last few months I’ve been in Publix’s Fall Magazine (available at stores now), Miami Herald newspaper, Associated Press segment, Family Circle Magazine, etc. And I’ve gotten my clients in numerous magazines and newspapers as well. (Go to my site to see, www.virtualwordpublishing.com) Join me as I tell how I do it.
?2 Amazing Speakers per day. http://tinyurl.com/6fmzcy
August 21st â€“ 5:00 P.M EST
Publicity and Marketing By: Diana Ennen
PR Made Easy – Sometimes businesses get so overwhelmed with the concept of having to do publicity and marketing, that they just donâ€™t do it. They build exceptional businesses with top of line products and services, yet miss the magic because they leave out this one critical aspect. Not anymore. Iâ€™m going to show you the EASY, SIMPLE way to get PR. Iâ€™ll break it down into concise doable steps.
Iâ€™ll show you:
How to pitch
Where to pitch
Who to pitch
Why to pitch
What to pitch
Once you know these basics, simply apply them to all your publicity efforts.
Iâ€™ll outline how to create a Killer Press Release that gets results every time. Iâ€™ll also touch on the many mistakes businesses make that can jeopardize their entire PR campaign and tell you how to avoid them. Iâ€™ll also disclose some of my PR Secrets to success — the ones that help to get me and my clients into major media magazines and newspapers.
Are you ready to take your business to the next level and beyond? Then join me. Youâ€™ll learn to love PR as much as I do. And better yet, your business will grow with every new step you take. Thatâ€™s when the real fun begins.
Thanks!? Diana Ennen, www.virtualwordpublishing.com
Itâ€™s almost the end of August and I feel once again like Iâ€™m behind.? I should have already had all my pitches out to the major magazines for their February issue.? Grill Charmâ„¢ are the perfect Valentines Day gift for the new couple.? The $20.00 price point doesn’t scream?COMMITMENT, the product is fun and whimsical for a new couple who isn’t quite sure how serious they will take things and it’s generic enough that even if you don’t know the inner most secrets of the new person you are dating, just about every man these days likes to grill and just about every women likes to entertain or have friends over.? (Thatâ€™s the premise of the pitch for Valentines Gift guidesâ€¦ what do you think?)? I should have had all that done by now!!!? Oh, here are this weekâ€™s hits: http://housewares.about.com/?
I also want to mention a friend and fellow Mompreneur? Veronica.? She founded the company Polka Dot Bumble Bee and she totally helped me out this past week.? One of my sisters is getting married and one of my best friends is having a baby.? The baby shower and the bridal shower are back to back weekends and I needed wonderful invitations done QUICK! ?I didnâ€™t know what I wanted so I called Veronica with just a few concepts and she made custom invitations that were beyond my wildest expectations!? If you ever need invitations, stationary, thank you cards, you name it, go to www.polkadotbumblebee.com.? ?
We just got back from our final summer vacation.? My 5 year old starts kindergarten tomorrow and Iâ€™m reflecting on where the time has gone.? Itâ€™s not fair how the older we get, time seems to accelerate.? As a mom I wonder if I picked the â€œrightâ€ time to start a company with the kids being so little, then I remind myself that I didnâ€™t â€œpickâ€ this time, it kind of picked me.? Itâ€™s funny how we never know when that light bulb will go off in our heads or when that passion and drive for something will overcome us and pretty much take over our lives.? Iâ€™m not sure there is ever a perfect time, so I try not to beat myself up too much for starting a company now.? I do truly believe that when the opportunity presents itself, youâ€™ll know if you need to grab hold and hang on for the ride of your life.? Iâ€™m off to get those pitches done!?
Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢? www.grillcharms.com
A recent post on the forum brought up a great point about handling customer situations. One of the members asked about the best way to handle a customer who isnâ€™t happy with your company.
First of all, it is great that a business owner is concerned that someone may not be happy. However, coming up with a set policy to address customer concerns may not be the best approach. Whether you deal with all of the customer concerns yourself or you have a staff, it is best to address each situation as it is raised.
I feel every situation should be handled based on the customer, the issue, and the impact to you and the customer. In my opinion, it is evident when a company has a cookie-cutter approach to customer service or employees are given a policy & procedure manual to address customer complaints. They seem inflexible and not sincere.
The best method is to listen thoroughly to the customers’ concerns. If it isnâ€™t clear how you did not meet their expectations â€“ ask. Let them know that their feedback is important to the success of your company and you want to know exactly how you did not live up to their standards. Many times listening and thanking them for the feedback is all that is needed. Not engaging in a conversation with the customer and simply giving them a coupon may not make them feel valued.
If a customer provides you with an opportunity to get feedback (whether or not you agree with what they are saying), this time is priceless. 90% of your unhappy customers would not give you that opportunity. They just would not come back again.
I also think it is critical to the success of a business to track all feedback, whether it comes as a complaint or a comment. It will help identify areas of your business that may need focus and improvement.
New reviews for the week: ?
Heather Shaw blogged, check it out:? http://hermashaw.blogspot.com/2008/08/grill-charm-review.html?
As well as Jay Brewer with Kitchen Contraption: http://www.kitchencontraptions.com/?
Todayâ€™s topic always brings about such passionate discussion.? Iâ€™m not writing on the subject to start a debate or get into the politics of it all, I just thought Iâ€™d let you all know where I stand, why I do what I do and what I came away with after going through the process.? Where to have your product manufactured is a fundamental decision on the journey of bringing a product to market.? There are pros and cons to both domestic and overseas options.? Iâ€™m going to give you a VERY simplified run-down from an inventorâ€™s stand-point.?
Domestic Pros: smaller runs, more accessibility and control, shorter lead time, less transportation hasslesCons: more expensive?
Overseas Cons: high minimums, not as much control or â€œhands onâ€ opportunity, longer lead time, transportation issuesPros: much less expensive.?
It is no secret that my product is manufactured overseas,
Taiwan to be exact.? And while I would have loved to, and tried very hard to have that â€œmade in the
USAâ€ on my label, it just wasnâ€™t an option if I wanted to have a viable business.? I called many stainless steel manufacturers who did the particular process that I needed and not a single one said it was possible for the price.? More then one was even kind enough to flat out give me the advice I was learning I needed and said â€œyou are going to have to go overseas for thatâ€.?
To come up with my cost I worked backwards from what I knew people would pay.? After doing a good bit of market research, I knew that $20-$25.00 retail was all I was going to get for my product.? With the prices I was quoted from US stainless steel manufacturers my retail cost to sustain a company with a â€œmade in the
USAâ€ product would have been between $50-$60.00 and I knew people just werenâ€™t going to pay that.? My choice was to either pack up my marbles and go home or look off shore.? While a good bit of my American money is going the people of
Taiwan, a substantial amount is staying right here and going to people like my friendly neighborhood patent and trademark attorney, graphic designer, web designer, fulfillment center and warehouses, customs broker and the list of US companies I am a customer of goes on and on.? None of them would be getting my monthly check if I manufactured domestically.? So the lesson I have learned through this is, as a consumer, the label I look at is not so much the country it is made in, but the manufacturer it was made by.? I try to look for smaller companies who are based here in the
USA (Like Charmed Life Products LLC) and I try to by from fellow moms, small businesses and entrepreneurs, regardless of where the widget is made.?
Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢? www.grillcharms.com?