Thursday, April 28, 2011

Don't Let Your Business Fizzle, Make It SIZZLE

So, today I'm going to briefly discuss the difference between business and sizzle cards. First, what are business cards? Usually business cards are bits of information with your name, business information, phone numbers to reach you and email address. EVERYONE should have a business card. EVEN IF you don't necessarily own a business. It's just an easier, classier, neater way to pass on your information when you meet someone.

The difference SIZZLE cards, although sometimes the same size as business cards, have an advertisement as opposed to just your information. They are often seen with dollar bill numbers and faces. For example: As you're walking down the street, you see a $100 bill and pick it up. You think you’ve hit the jackpot but instead it’s a card that reads: Tired of Living Paycheck to Paycheck? Earn $2000-$3000 Part Time! Call now for more information. 555-555-5555

See? There’s a hot, SIZZLING message that allows your prospects to make the choice to call or not and create their own jackpot. Now of course the point is to pass out or drop as many of these cards as you can because the odds of someone getting in touch with you then are much better then giving 5 o 10 out a day. Do your research. There are plenty of great Sizzle Card companies, that have good messages and quality cards to offer. So, today I’m going to create my own electronic SIZZLE card. These are great to post on different sites as well. Here's my ELECTRONiC sizzle card:

Tired of being short a few dollars a month? Want to replace your existing income quickly? We can help.
Check us out and see how it literally pays to have friends.
Check out how my partner made $600 in 4 months

What would your sizzle card say? Comment below.

Tamara Garrison-Thomas

Updated April 27,2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Difference Between a Franchise and Network Marketing

What is the difference between a franchise and network marketing business model? I meet a lot of people who are not sure of the differences, but if you plan on becoming a business owner you should be knowledgeable of different business models.

A franchise is the right or license granted by a company to an individual or group to market it's products or services in a specific territory ( In other words, you (franchisee) would be a third party owner of an already established company (franchiser). You would be given access to the trademarked goods, advertising and marketing methods, and services of a company. You would be given certain territories and continuous training to maintain the franchise. Some franchises need actual buildings or locations and products like a Starbucks or Subway. Others might just provide the material to get started like an interior design franchise that would give you all of your swatches. In exchange for these perks, you would pay a percentage of your gross income and fees to the company. The start up fees of a franchise can range from $8,000 to millions of dollars.

The advantages of owning a franchise is that the company will provide you with all the materials you need to get started. Including logo use, uniforms, and interior furniture and design. You also have support from the company to make your business successful.

The disadvantages of owning a franchise are that you have to be in a location or territory chosen by the franchiser. Therefore, you will work long hours concentrating on the success of your business. If you don't work, you do not make money. But for those who are passionate, it is worth it. You also have restrictions on how your business is operated and have to take inventory on all of the products brought into the store. There is training available, but you have to adhere closely to the policies. Another disadvantage is that you have to pay the franchiser a percentage of the stores sales. You do not get to keep all of the money you make.

Network Marketing
Also known as Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) is a business model in which an independent contractor is compensated for their personal sales and the sales of others they ask to join their team, creating a residual income (residual means continuous). A legit network marketing business is established to help advertise or MARKET a product. Instead of spending millions of dollars on advertising for television, radio, or through ads, a company offers the product to independent distributors or contractors that do the advertising for them. Therefore the millions of dollars that would have gone into the advertising would go directly to the sales force. As an independent contractor, you also get paid for building teams of people that are doing the same thing you are. Because you are marketing a product you usually have to purchase product monthly to have it on hand for your use and as samples. Start-up fees are very minimal ranging from free to $500.

The advantages of a network marketing business are that anyone can do it. Because the start-up fees are so minimal, anyone can learn to operate the business. You also receive everything you need to start including training. The training can help develop business knowledge and for some build self-confidence. As an independent contractor the only money or fees you are paying to the company is the product you order monthly. Otherwise you get to keep all of your earning income. Another advantage is that you do not have to have a location or territory. You can run your business from anywhere. You also have total control of your working hours. Most people start out running their business part-time, but once they see the fruits-of-their-labor, decide to go full time.

One disadvantage of owning a network marketing business is the turn-around time on seeing an income. Robert Kyosaki said "The reason most people do not reach the top is simply because they quit too soon". A lot of people assume they can start making money overnight but do not realize it takes time to build an empire. Another disadvantage of network marketing is the negative perception that the business model is a "pyramid scheme". A "pyramid scheme" is when someone invests in a company and sees no results: No product, no income, no training, and no owner. If you have found interest in a company that does not have easy access to the creators or has no clear policy on how you build a business or a cancellation policy but want you to pay, then yes, it's a pyramid scheme. All the money is going to someone at the top (hence the "pyramid"), and they are laughing all the way to the bank. A legit network marketing business would have all of these things and more accessible to anyone interested in hearing about their products.  

So as you can see there are pros and cons to both business models, you just need to decide which one is best for you. I decided network marketing was the best option for me. My team prides themselves on helping people and educating them on how health can build wealth. What type of business model is best for you? It's never to late to find one. We can help you find the one that's best for you. Contact us today!

Tamara Garrison-Thomas

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to Copyright or TRADEMARK Your Business

I've been talking to some ambitious friends AGAIN! And this particular friend has an actual clothing line coming out. We were talking about how he would go about copyrighting his brand name and the logo and I realized that there might be more up-and-coming merchandisers/designers that don't know about this process. So, this week, I'm going to talk about how to copyright your logo, website, blog or business name. OR in using the actual term, TRADEMARK your "stuff". I used 'copyright' in the title because most people confuse the two. However, as I researched this subject I found out some interesting things...

Copyright is actually not the same as a trademark. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, a copyright provides protection for original works in the realms of music, poetry, movies, literature, etc. In fact, copyright exists as soon as the publication exists. It is just advised to register your publication with the U.S. Copyright Office for legal purposes. Some people also like to publish the copyright facts on their publications and make sure there is public record. Registration fees vary from $35 to $80. And it's more to renew, get copies or search copyright records. Believe it or not, people steal ideas so you want to make sure you're protected. And for a mere $35 at least, I'd say it's a good idea to make sure your writings are safe, LEGALLY.

Now to the good stuff. A trademark is what is used to protect patents, trademarks, and ideas. This is handled in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). So a business name, logo or even business idea would fall under the trademark category. It is often confused with copyright but now you know the difference. The reason you would want to register for a trademark is to get legal use of a service mark (™,℠,®) for your word, phrase, symbol, or design.
The benefits of getting the service mark is to protect your name! Keep people from stealing your ideas. Just like with copyright, if you claim ownership, you can use the ™ and ℠ symbols on your business name or logo at any time. But owning the federal trademark registration obviously has it's benefits legally. Some of which include, being able to defend your logo in federal courts, being listed in the USPTO database, and the use of the ® symbol. YES! You MUST be registered with the USPTO to use that symbol on your logos, etc. You can't even use it if your application for registration is pending. So there are great benefits to registering your business name and logo.
Now, keep in mind, the USPTO has the right to deny your registration application. Especially if there's a similar logo. So, you need to research and make sure your business name and logo are UNIQUE and fit federal regulations. When filing an application for trademark registration (or to get a service mark) you must file one application per category(class) you the need the service mark for. FOR EXAMPLE, if you need a service mark for a t-shirt logo AND for the store marquee, you must submit two applications. Application fees vary from $275-$325, depending on the type of application you submit.
I know it sounds a bit complex and confusing but registering your business name and logo are so worth the protection. Especially if you're an owner that offers services/goods, merchandiser, designer, or inventor that's about to BLOW UP!  You can of course find out more and get an application at
For help on a business plan and development contact us today!

Tamara Garrison-Thomas

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Contractual Agreement

So, lately I've been talking to my friends who either own businesses that offer services or are thinking about it. And one of their biggest concerns is creating and having a contract. They've been asking questions like, "Why would I need one?" and "What would it say?" etc etc. So, I figured I would address this issue in this week's posting.

 Who needs a contract?:
First, let's discuss what type of small businesses would need a contract.  Any business that is providing services as an independent contractor like an event or wedding planner, buying or selling goods without an established distributor, distributing equipment, or selling or leasing  real estate. You also need a contract if you have partners, employees or even selling your business. Having a contract would first guarantee your services to your customer and THEN ensure that they pay you! Also, with business partners, things can somtimes get sticky so you want to make sure everything is divided properly, to avoid nasty break ups :).

What exacly is a contract?:
Now, what IS a contract, you ask? Well, The World English Dictionary defines a contract as the following: "to enter into an agreement with (a person, company, etc) to deliver (goods or services) or to do (something) on mutually agreed and binding terms, often in writing." In order for a contract to be valid, both parties need to sign and agree on terms listed in the contract.

What type of contracts are there?
There are two different types of contracts. First, there is an Oral Contract which is when people speak on the terms and conditions of the business transaction. Contrary to popular belief, these are legally binding contracts. The only thing is it is harder to prove who said what in a court of law.

The second type of contract is the Written Contract. This is the most common type of contract and obviously easier to prove in the court of law. Usually a contract is written to determine the job that needs to be done and what is going to happen after that job is done. If the people who are involved with the contract, do not keep up their part of the bargain, they can be sued.

What should it say?
Well, there are several contract-writing softwares out there that can help you with the actual wording of the contract but I will give you a general idea. Remember, you want to be very specific about what is said in the contract.  Unless you are a lawyer, you don't have to use legal terminology you just have to be clear on the expectations of both parties.

You want to make sure you have the following features in your contract:
~Date of contractual agreement and expiration of contract
~Name of everyone involved- i.e. customer, owner
~The services taking place for the contract- i.e. Company agrees to decorate Customer's house by 5/6/12.
~The payment amounts and DUE DATES- i.e. Initial Deposit, Amount Due after decorating is done
~Any interest that would take place if the payment is not made on due date
~Expiration dates for the contract
~Terms and conditions if contract is broken- i.e. If either party does not adhere to terms on contract legal action will take place
~Terms and conditions for someone to cancel or break contract before due date- i.e. If Customer breaks contract before job is done, the deposit is non-refundable. If Buyer breaks contract before job is done, the Customer will receive their deposit via mail.
~Signature of both parties

If you include all this in your contract, you should be fine! All grounds should be covered. Make sure you go through every aspect of the contract with your customer, answer and ASK all questions. Do not assume that they understand all the terms of the contract. Make sure you also review your state's laws on contractual agreements. They might have certain things that must be stated in the contract.

Lastly, at the end of the day, if you're still unsure about the validity of your contract or NEED that legal terminology included, then consult a lawyer. They will be able to help you ...for a small fee.

For online resources or sample contracts you can visit these sites:
allbusiness.comsample contracts - sample contracts

Tamara Garrison-Thomas