StartBIG Tip 2 Trademark your name!

So you have a great idea and you are ready to go into business. My Tip 2 is to Trademark your name.

What is a trademark? According to Wikipedia a trademark or trade mark or trade-mark[1] is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.


A trademark may be designated by the following symbols:

™ (for an unregistered trade mark, that is, a mark used to promote or brand goods)
℠ (for an unregistered service mark, that is, a mark used to promote or brand services)
® (for a registered trademark)

If you go to the United States Patent and Trademark office they provide many useful tools to help you determine what type of protection you need for your idea or product.  My advice is that if you are going to establish a brand you consider a trademark.  You will not want to create a reputation, following, or traffic to a logo, label, or brand only to have someone try to trick consumers that they are  you!

When talking to new entrepreneurs and inventrepreneurs they often ask should I have an attorney I don’t feel qualified to tell you if you do or don’t. I know that for me the cost to do this through an attorney was minimal and my time was better spent working on the launch of my business.

Here is what the US Patent and Trademark office says:

You are not required to hire an attorney, but if you decide to prepare and submit your own application, you must comply with all requirements of the trademark statutes and rules and may be required to respond to legal issues raised by the USPTO. Because the application process can be complex, many applicants choose to appoint an attorney to represent them. If you choose to appoint an attorney, we will only communicate with your attorney. The USPTO cannot help you select an attorney. However, the American Bar Association website includes information on how to find local attorneys who practice trademark law.

For me all of my hard work to come up with the idea and then execute on the idea is well worth the investment in an attorney to help me get my trademark.

According to Fredric R. Abramson world is competitive enough. Why let someone take what you have worked so hard to build, when there is a remedy to prevent them from doing it? A trademark will be able to help you protect and brand your business without having to worry about competitors using and diluting your brand, and confusing your customers with a product of lesser quality.

So go get your BIG on and StartBIG come up with that great idea and name/logo and then trademark your name/logo!

Little Tips for Starting your own BIG Business

I thought it was time I lived up to my twitter claim! Every time I meet someone who is fleeing corporate America to follow their dream of being an entrepreneur I have the same conversations. This is why I started this blog. When I began blogging I focused on how to come up with your “BIG” idea.

Fleeing Corporate America

Now I realize that most of the time I spend talking with entrepreneurs they already have the idea they are just needing the information in how to follow that idea through to a business. My goal is to share with you all the little things I have learned along the way. I will use plain english. I am not an expert in any one field. I will not talk in abbreviations like SEO SOM etc! I did not major in Business or Finance. I will share with you the good, the bad and ugly of what I have really experienced.  On my  journey I have encountered so many people who are trying to sell you one video or one idea that will help you get rich quick! I am not about that at all! Instead I will share with you what I have learned along the way the good, the bad and the ugly! I will encourage my network of entrepreneurs to also share with you what they have learned. These will be practical tips. There is no magic bullet but to engage with others learn as much as you can and have passion for your product or idea.

My goal is to write a post every day this week and next on what I have done to start my own business.

Tip number one! PICK YOUR NAME CAREFULLY. One lesson I have learned is that it is important to have a unique name. In today’s internet economy this is even more important than when I first started. When I started my consulting company I used the name A-Squared. This name was not unique. I thought it clever because I partnered with another consultant also named Amy. I soon found out we had many other businesses out there with the same name.  I did not know to trademark my name. (that will be tip 2)!

A Unique Name that is searchable is more important now that the internet is essential to business success. It is hard to believe that when I started the internet was not the best marketing tool!

When launching a new business now the internet is key. I have just completed a soft launch for my  e-learning site. It has the name “getyourBIGon”. We have had tremendous success in driving traffic to the site. We are around 79000 in the Alexa rankings in the US and climbing!  Sounds good right? Well I called my SEO advisor and said we are getting buyers and new visitors but we are struggling with google. He almost yelled at me when he said what you do you mean you are struggling? You totally own “getyourbigon”! He was correct. We own the run together getyourbigon but we have yet to own get your big on. It seems that most people who are not SEO type the spaces between the words  when looking for us!

He assures me that it is good to have phrase. He also assures me that the phrase is unique. As we build awareness and take all the necessary steps we will be number one for the phrase get your big on! We are working on owning the phrase! I will let you know what we do it get there.

One of my lesson’s learned is have at least one unique term that people will search for your business. Luckily my client base knows me well and searches Amy Diederich! They can find my sites this way.

This week I had lunch with a budding entrepreneur and inventor. I will devote a whole post to her. She is off to a good start. She has Trademarked her product name. If you google this term you will find her Although when talking to her she picked he name much the same way I did based on being clever.

Tip One: If you are starting a new business- do your research pick a unique name. Don’t make the mistake I made with Asquared. Research the impact of the name you pick. Have a phrase to go with your name!

Now go out there and START BIG!  Go get your big on by Starting BIG!


Service Delivery as Delivering on the Brand Promise
According to Webster’s a brand is defined as having a reputation and a loyal following. If you are an entrepreneur brand is something to which you must pay attention! If you are just starting out you need to decide your brand your image. If you are established you must constantly monitor your brand. Often times we are tempted to think of brand only when we are thinking of our advertisement or public relations messages. However brand is the alignment between your product, service delivery as well as your messages. If you fail to deliver on the promise of your brand your brand is quickly diminished.

How do you deliver on the brand promise? It is everything your organization engages in from delivery of the actual product, to how you answer emails! Today you must think of all the messages you put out to the world. What is being said on Twitter and how does that relate to when your client reaches you via phone?

According to Kenneth Bator Author of  the Pocket Guide to  Strategic Planning 

Successful companies understand the critical nature of aligning their brand, culture, and strategy.

Does your business offer a consistent experience? Are your organization’s brand, culture and strategy in complete alignment?


The Beanstalk

Recently I was one of a “select group” to be invited to attend a webinar on starting your own business. I received a barrage of emails about the magic steps to success. I was intrigued and stayed tuned in until it came time to buy. The cost of the webinar? $1495.00. Why did I not enroll? Not because of the price but because of the promises. The webinar stated if I followed the steps I would get rich quick! This was a giant red flag for me. I know from starting my own business that there is not one magic bean that will grow the giant beanstalk or one magic step to entrepreneurial success. It takes work! You will notice I did not say hard work. The one thing I learned from my dad and had drilled into my head from early on is.. “What will make you successful is doing what you love with those who you love”.  I say almost the same thing to my three kids but I say it a bit differently. I say “Success is doing what you love with those that you love.” I work long hours but I love it! I am always thinking about my business because it is my passion. I am blessed to be in a business that helps other people. Get your BIG on helps connect those who have expertise to share with those seeking that expertise. I receive emails, facebook messages, calls, and twitter messages almost daily from people who want or need help. Sometimes it is someone looking for information other times it is someone wanting to share information. What a great business to be in! What a great life to live!

Next week at we are featuring a class offered by Tara Alemany and Rick Swartz from Building your Biz called getting a rush from your follow up In this class they talk about the joy of building your business. They use an analogy to working out. In building your business you get up work out and repeat day after day to see results. Those of us who love our workout routine know that the only way to do this is and keep it up is to do what you love.

So when you get those ads promising you the magic bean that will grow the magic beanstalk be wary! They may have information that helps but unless you find your true passion.. work will be hard work! My steps for success are do what you love and learn all you can to be the best you can!

Building the Buzz

You have decided to start a business, you are excited about the prospect. You are passionate about your business idea. But there is so much to do. How do you make time to execute your business idea and market your idea at the same time. You may have limited financial resources or the resources you have you want to devote to your brick and mortar business.

The reality is you need to make time for building awareness. The good news is you can raise your profile for free! You can do so organically through interviews with news organizations, speaking engagements and building a reputation in social media. There are ways to do it as you are building your business.

Some ways to consider are starting a blogging about your business places like blogspot and wordpress are a great place to begin blogging. This is a free way to start to get the word out. It can work with your development of your business because you can use it capture and shape thoughts about your business idea best of all its only cost is your time. 

Another idea is twitter. You can begin to tweet about your business right away. You may also want to consider writing articles about your business concept, location, expertise, etc.

According to Hubspot “It is exciting to see inbound marketing growing as an industry. As this trends picks up, business owners, marketers and marketing agencies have the tough task of hiring the right people to help with inbound marketing for their business. This process is often further complicated by the fact that the recruiters are still in the process of learning about inbound marketing themselves.”

If time is in short supply check out tools such as Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows you to update several social media outlets at once. Some networking sites such as LinkedIn allow you to update both your LinkedIn network and Twitter friends at the same time.

So jump in and begin sharing your story!

My Formula for Entrepreneurial Success

Right Product + Market Opportunity +Committed Execution= Success

Many people ask me what is the key to my success as a business owner. I look to the formula that my dad passed down to me. He would say you need to have a product that people need. Elaborating that not only do you need a product people need but you need enough people to need it to make a profit. Mix in a passion for what you are doing and learning everything you can about selling, marketing, making and developing the product.

Harvard Business School professor Nitin Nohria along with William Joyce and Bruce Roberson studied 160 companies to look for common management practices that succeed and found a sound business plan is at the core of success. They found a strong grasp of business basics was the key to longevity and growth. My dad never went to college only trade school. He smiles when I share what the Harvard Business School says about success.  My dad is a smart man with a great deal of common sense. As I explore what makes a person both a success as an inventor and entrepreneur I think that I have found another key! You must be highly smart but also have common sense. I am not sure the two always go hand in hand.

I look to the great inventor/entrepreneur Colonel Deed. He not only invented things but was called by Quaker Oats to improve functioning of a factory. He is an example of a highly intelligent man with good business common sense.

Does the Formula Matter or is the Brand that Counts?

According to a recent CNN article there is much buzz about a copy of the secret formula of Coke being released in the media.  However several experts indicate the formula does not matter.

“Today, anybody with access to a sophisticated chemistry laboratory could analyze the formula of Coke, but no one can call a product called Coke other than the Coca-Cola Company,” John Sicher, editor and publisher of “Beverage Digest,” told the paper. “The so-called ‘secret formula’ is a wonderful story of lore and mystery, but in reality, the value today is the brand, not the formula.”

Is this true? and is it true for your start up? First let’s look at what is a brand? According to Wikipedia:

A brand is the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan. The word brand began simply as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. A legally protected brand name is called a trademark. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity - it affects the personality of a product, company or service.

Ironically the first image that appears when you search the definition of a brand on Wikipedia is the Coke logo! This further begs the question is brand as important as formula for everyone or only Coke? Lets look further at the definition of a brand.

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.  Seth Godin

Several sources agreed with Seth’s definition. They stated that the brand is the emotional  response to a product.  So how does the consumer get this emotional response? From either advertising or direct experience with the product.  So for the start up some suggest that demand creation is actually more important than your brand.

 ”When you’re small, nothing builds brand better than selling.” Tom Scearce of Scearce Marketing Group

Ah ha! The formula does matter! it is much harder to create demand without the right product. No demand no emotional response to the product.

The moral of the story you must have a great product to create the intrique in discovering its secret formula! Your brand comes from the experience the consumer has from your product. A great formula creates a great experience.

Three People in this Romance

Yesterday I “broke” my website resulting in the revelation that I am in love with my business. Today I am dealing with the implications of breaking the website. One person it negatively impacts is my business partner. Since I love my business and am truly fond of my business partner I thought I better read about how to make my partner happy. My research led me to read a great article called “Like Marriage, Business Takes Work” printed in the New York Times. I have never thought of my business as a romance until yesterday . Today I learned that I am not only in love but I am married.

In the article the author suggests that business partnerships are like marriages in many ways. Like marriages business partnerships often fail.

So if my business partnership is like a marriage lets see what Dr. Phil says about a healthy marriage does it relate to a business partner?

According to Dr. Phil…
•You get what you give. When you give better, you get better.

This point seems to fit! When working with my business partner the better her ideas the better our conversation and the better outcomes we have in our business and of course the converse is true!

•If you put your relationship in a win/lose situation, it will be a lose/lose situation.

Ahh Dr. Phil you are so right! In the trials of our start up a lose for one of us is a loss for both of us!

•Forget whether you’re right or wrong. The question is: Is what you’re doing working or not working?

Again Dr. Phil I think this is spot on for a business partnership. You should focus on your goal and work to get there.

•There is no right or wrong way to fix a relationship. Find your own way that works. But recognize when it’s not working and be honest when it needs fixing.

In the New York Times article they state that most partnerhships fail because of real business problems not interpersonal problems. The danger to the relationship lies when the real business problem causes communication break downs.

•Falling in love is not the same thing as being in love. Embrace the change and know that it takes work.

Not sure about this point. Although it seems to address when work goes from the fun inventive part to the day to day routine part.

•You don’t fix things by fixing your partner.

Agreed. Just like in marriage we should not try to change our business partner. Luckily for me my business partner does not need any changing!

•Intimacy is so important because it is when we let someone else enter our private world.

Okay this point might be a stretch when it comes to a business parntership however when you are working on someone’s dream business it is pretty intimate.

Dr.Phil’s next three points I will examine together.

  • You don’t necessarily solve problems. You learn how to manage them.
  • Communicate. Make sure your sentences have verbs. Remember that only 7 percent of communication is verbal. Actions and non-verbal communication speak much louder.
  • You teach people how to treat you. You can renegotiate the rules.

The last three points I will address as one. My take away for entrepreneurs is that we need to treat our business partners well. We must communicate, communicate, communicate!

I can not help but recall this Bible Verse from my days in Sunday School:

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken

I am glad I have a business partner and will work hard to make my business partner happy and our business flourish!

Love and Business

Love and Business.

Love and Business

Business and Love

Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.
Mark Zuckerberg

The quote from Mark Zuckerberg leapt of the page for me because last night I broke my website.. well at least the homepage. I found Mark’s quote reassuring as I wait for my webmaster to contact me with the fix for my missing home page. 

After reading and fixating on this quote on Valentine’s Day of all days. I realize I might be in love with my business! Read more and see what you think?

According to “love experts” you know you are in love when:

1. When, at the beginning of the day, you are already filled with thoughts of the other person: what he/she is doing, how he/she looks…

I woke up this morning with the very first thought on my mind did the webmaster fix my website? will I see my beloved home page again?

2. You become selfless. And you start thinking more about what would be good for the other person, than what would be good for you.

I have a ski trip scheduled for the holiday weekend. I had to give up a speaking engagement to go on the trip. I found myself wanting to cancel my trip to stay home and be with my budding new elearning site.

3. You start to think of how it would be to be with this person forever… and you relish that dream or feeling. The thought of spending the rest of your lives together is not seen as being stuck with another person, but is considered to be a very wonderful idea.

Recently on a daily walk with a friend she expressed she is having trouble deciding what to do in her fifties. I told her she needed to find her passion and her calling… like I had.

4. Even if there are other people who are more beautiful or attractive, you still choose to be with this person. This means your commitment to this person is absolute. You have fully and undeniably decided to be with only him/her no matter what. It is not only love, but also devotion.

I was approached recently about taking a six plus figure job at a well known corporation. I did not even entertain the idea.

5. There is passion and fireworks, even after the infatuation period of six months. If you have been together for such a long time now, but aren’t bored out of your minds yet and can still feel the fire burning – simply because you keep it burning (and this requires dedication and effort), is a clear indication that love is still shared between two people.

I have had my own business since 1999. Sure it has grown and evolved. Building the new e-learning website has added a new passion and a new sense of purpose. I can not imagine doing anything else.

6. There is a desire to understand each other, even at the biggest of arguments. You continue to communicate openly and do not harshly judge each other. You accept each other’s faults and shortcomings.

Last night I was ready to throw my computer against the wall but instead I stayed up late trying to understand Joomla.. the software that supports my website.

 So I don’t know is it love or just business? any of you out there in love with your business?