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Starting: Finding the Right Market

Mom Inventors Succeed with Products by Moms, for Moms

If you are a business owner, you probably already know women in general are major spenders and influencers of their family members’ purchases. And that means moms, in particular, are a hugely important market.

So who better to target products at moms than other moms? This Los Angeles Times article takes a look at some mom inventors whose products are making their way onto store shelves. Stephanie Veve invented Pop Pals to hold drippy Popsicles without making a mess, and got the product into Babies R Us. Alison McKinstry and Jill Franks convinced grocery chains Safeway and Albertsons to sell their line of Mommy’s Messages lunchbox notes.

The recession has made it harder for independents to get products on the shelves of big retailers, the Times notes, as more retailers are cutting back and focusing on proven sellers. Still, some big companies are recognizing that mom-invented items have a special power to open the pocketbooks of other moms.

Anna’s Linens, a 264-store chain based in California, recently launched a program to put more products invented by moms in its stores. And Target just added a new line of organic baby clothes designed by the moms behind Los Angeles boutique Little Seed.

Before approaching retailers, the article recommends some steps to take:

  • If you don’t have connections, make contact via a distributor or manufacturers’ representative to approach the retailers for you.
  • Attend trade shows (there are several big shows geared to kids’ products) to see what else is out there and make industry contacts.
  • Be prepared so when your contacts pay off, you’re ready to move. Have your product past the prototype stage with manufacturing lined up. You also need to have packaging ready to go.
  • Be aware that children’s products are subject to safety tests. You will also likely need liability insurance.

If you’re a mom with an idea for a new product, now is a great time to put your dreams into action. The experts at SCORE can help you get all your ducks in a row—visit SCORE today to get advice from a mentor and more.

Rieva Lesonsky - CEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. | @rieva | More from Rieva


Growing: Honor Your Labor

Your Time is Your Most Valuable Asset

Labor Day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Small businesses now employ more than half of all American workers and represent over half of the nation’s GDP.

So for you as entrepreneur, what does it mean to celebrate labor? Perhaps this holiday is the perfect time to take a step back and value your labor:

  • Owner or laborer? As a small business owner you naturally do many different jobs. But not all labor hours have the same value. Are you spending too much time doing $5 per hour administrative tasks? How can you pull away from these activities that take up your time, energy, focus and planning?
  • Labor of Love. You have unique skills, experience and passion. Spending more time on labor that is aligned with your talents will be more efficient – and more likely to drive success for your business.
  • Labor for your own business. Especially in service businesses it is easy to devote all your time to your clients.  Make sure you carve out important time to work for your company.

Your Next Best Three Steps?:

  1. Assess where you focus your labor. Honestly track your time for the next few weeks and see where you are spending your labor hours.
  2. Look for other labor sources. What tasks can you delegate, outsource or automate? What tasks are distractions from the core of your business?
  3. Carve out 20% of your labor for sales and marketing related activities. SunTrust Bank recently polled hundreds of small business owners for best practices and struggles. A key finding was that owners of high growth companies on average spent at least 20% of their time on sales and marketing activities. Dedicate two hours per day or one day per week on labor that will grow your business.
Jeanne Rossomme - President, RoadMap Marketing
Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish. | @roadmapmarketin | More from Jeanne


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