Monday, October 13, 2008

Holiday Gift Ideas

If you are looking for holiday gifts for employees and customers, take a look at these suppliers who have put together a holiday catalog with their best gift ideas.  Click on the name to see the holiday catalog.

Also, if you need holiday cards, click on the holiday cards link on the left.  And, as always, call me if you have any questions, or if you don't find what you are looking for.  I'm happy to help!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What I Learned My First Year In Business

I was asked to be a presenter at Touchpoint presented by Startup Princess. The topic I was given is "What I Learned My First Year In Business." I came up with eight items I think are essential for new business owners, though I have to say, that some of these things have been helpful in every year that I've been in business. (Doodads has been operational and running profitably for 9 years.)

Though these have been simplified for presentation and article format, each one could be a topic in an of themselves. You'll see more information on these topics in the future, but for now here are the eight things I have found to be a good place to start: (In no particular order)

1. Business Plans are Non-Negotiable: If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you plan to get there? Resources are available online, check out a book at the library, or ask an experienced friend for help.

2. Include Money for Marketing in Your First Years Budget: How do you expect people to buy your product or service if they don’t know you? I don’t know why, but many companies think of marketing and advertising as “optional” or think they will just use whatever money they have leftover. When you’re running a startup, what do you have left over?

3. Surround Yourself with Good People: Hire good people, pay money for good people, find mentors. It doesn’t just have to be one person. If you don’t know very much about finances and accounting, get good people who do. If you don’t know very much about operations and processes, find good people who do. If you don’t know very much about marketing, find good people who do.

4. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK: Be active in online groups (like and, but don’t give up on face to face networking. Go to trade shows and expos that match your product or service, join your local chamber of commerce, find networking groups. This will help you find good people, mentors and friends along your journey. It can also be an easy way to get some cheap local advertising and exposure.

5. Set Goals and Check In on Them Weekly:
a. Be realistic. If you can’t sell a million pieces in one year, then don’t make that your goal. If you can, set that as your goal. But often in your first year you’ll have goals like: find a good solid manufacturer, get my social networking going, don’t loose the house, and so much more.
b. Be specific. I use some generic examples above, but really break down your goals.
Work backwards to create your action item list. If you want to sell 500 orders in a year, what steps do you have to take to get there? Use this list to drive your daily activities, and don’t spend time on things that won’t help you reach your goals!

6. Keep Up: Keep reading, keep learning, keep up on marketing trends, keep up on business trends, subscribe to magazines that inspire you and keep you informed on your industry and your competitors.

7. Don’t give up! Believe in your passion, remember why you got into this business and remember your dreams. Times will get hard, I guarantee that, but keep track of all the good things that work, write them on a white board or keep them in a file on your computer so that you can remember the good things that happen when you feel like you are swimming in only things going wrong.

8. Prioritize: If you have a family, decide now how many hours a week you will spend on your business dreams. Are your goals in line with your priorities? Ask yourself these questions every week! Spend time in the most important areas of your business and outsource the rest.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Touchpoint: The Annual Event for Women Entreprenuers presented by Startup Princess

On Friday, September 26th, I attended Touchpoint, the annual event for women entreprenuers. I was there as an exhibitor, promoting Doodads, but I also helped founder Kelly King Anderson with the back end event coordination. This was a great event, and I was super thrilled to be involved and to attend.

Keynote speaker, Heather Madder was inspirational, and so were the other workshop presenters and panelist. The content was fantastic!

There was also an Elevator Pitch Competition, and Sarah Jane Write, of Sarah Jane Studios was the winner. She has a promising business plan, I can't wait to see what she does!
My favorite part of the day was networking with wonderful and powerful women, and I made friendships that will hopefully be mutually beneficial for the long run.

If you are feeling bummed that you missed Touchpoint, you can attend the Startup Princess Academy Retreat in November. It's a two day event discussing Marketing to Women Online. The event will be held at Zermatt resort in Midway, Utah. Gabrielle Blair of DesignMom, and Holly Buchanan, Author of The Soccer Mom Myth are being flown in for the event. It will be a top notch event, don't miss it! If you'd like to know more, leave a comment and I'll get back with you.

If you haven't yet checked out Startup Princess, I highly recommend you make it a stop on your daily website check list. The information is useful and powerful.

It's Holiday Gift Time!

It's that time of year when you want to thank friends, clients and employees for a successful year. Doodads Promotional Products can help. Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting all kinds of holiday gift ideas. I also have holiday cards to choose from. If you are interested click on the banner above.

Here are some tips for choosing the right promotional product for your business during the holidays:
1. Choose something long lasting. The purpose of promotional products is to get your logo in front of clients and employees to secure your brand with your gift, don't waste your money on something people will throw away!

2. Choose something seasonal, like a sweatshirt or blanket. Or maybe a company mug. Seasonal gifts are fun and help celebrate the season!

3. Sometimes it's fun to pick a product that matches your business. Work with cars? Give an imprinted tool set. Work in education? Give imprinted dry erase markers or a memo board that can be used in a classroom or taken home.

4. Above all, choose something unique! They have lots of pens, give something that will mean something to the recipient that they will want to keep on their desks and think of you every time they see it!

Contact me today to request a catalog, or to set up a meeting to discuss your holiday gift-giving ideas!