Continuing from Part I of our Q&A with Tamara Monosoff, find out what she’s learned from being an employer, how entrepreneurs can take advantage of online marketing tools and Tamara’s final advice for entrepreneurs to “…go for it.”
Q: What is one thing you have learned from being an employer?
Tamara: Clear and regular communications are critical. Small business people are often putting out fires daily, running very quickly and working closely to address the priority of the minute. The assumption can be that everyone can see what is happening and there is an ongoing flow of communication. However, this is not the same as committing a block of time, say 30 minutes a week, to check in with team members to see how they are feeling about their work and making sure that everyone understands the intended results that the team’s collective work will achieve.
Q: For the first time in 2013, marketers spent more dollars to promote their brands online than on broadcast television. In your opinion, what does that say about the future of marketing? And how will this affect a startup company’s marketing strategy?
Tamara: When I wrote the first edition of the Mom Inventors Handbook, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook did not exist. Sending out formatted emails and writing a Blog were considered cutting edge. I still remember spending 3 months and $25,000 dollars on a new website. Today, any product entrepreneur can launch a website in the space of a couple of hours for a modest amount of money. And, that website can be fully ecommerce-ready, have videos, blog and integrated with any number of other solutions from inventory control systems to bookkeeping tools.
If an entrepreneur is willing to learn to use the online tools available, things like webinar tools, marketing automation tools, and design tools, he can literally reach global clients from his PC as easily as a major corporation.
For example, I teach entrepreneurs how to use Video Marketing to Build Your Business. Nothing is more powerful in conveying a message about your business than compelling videos. The reality is that people watch videos more than they read. Why? Because most of us are visual learners. There are a variety of both on-camera and off-camera tools to improve your brand visibility such as Google Hangouts, ooVoo, iMovie, Skype, Animoto, VideoScribe or VideoStir to name just a few. Use these tools to create your videos and then post them on YouTube.
Tip: In the description area under your video on YouTube, remember to add your website address to direct people back to your product or service page.
Q: You mention in The Mom Inventors Handbook (2nd Edition) that you switched Mom Invented from an S Corp structure to a C Corp structure. What were you reasons for changing structures?
Initially I elected to set up an S corporation because I wanted the protection of a corporation. I went with an S corporation because the profits and losses are passed through directly to the shareholders. In short, an S corporation avoids being taxed twice on the same money, which is not the case with a C corporation. At some point we decided to go out to raise investment capital. There are limits to the number of outside investors that can be involved in an S Corporation and we found that institutional investors would only invest in a company that was a C corporation. It is not difficult to convert to a C corporation from an S corporation so we found this to be a good approach for us.
Q: How did you hear about LawDepot and why did you recommend us to readers?
Tamara: My focus has shifted from a product business of my own to advising others through my books, Power Mentoring classes and other programs at tamaramonosoff.com. In my mentoring programs I help entrepreneurs through all the steps in the process of planning, launching and growing their businesses. Through that process I actively seek out and ask others for their most valued resources. At one point, one of my students shared LawDepot with me as a valuable resource. Since then I have recommended it to many people as a place to save time and money on basic legal documents.
Q: What do you think is the biggest reason for Mom Invented’s success and why?
From the start the brand was based on meaning and authenticity. We enabled innovative people to get their ideas to market, put the picture of inventors on the package, and highlighted their creativity. I no longer license products under the Mom Invented brand but instead focus on mentoring others to successfully launch their products. Tamaramonosoff.com is similarly focused on the success of others through the production and delivery of valuable tools and content in a variety of forms and price points to help entrepreneurs plan, launch and accelerate their success.
Q: Do you have any other advice for entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Tamara: Take the time to plan, network with others, and gather as much information as you can find. Once you are ready, go for it. There have never been more resources for building, funding, and growing a new business. And the economy is rebounding and ready for you. Five years from now, you will be sitting somewhere thinking about what you did for the past five years. Start now so that you look back with the satisfaction that you went for it.
Q: What can we expect from you in the future?
Tamara: I launched the How Hot is Your Product? Product evaluation system in 2013 and just launched the second edition of Mom Inventors Handbook and companion workbook in 2014. These are part of my self-paced video and live mentoring programs. For the rest of 2014, I intend to continue to teach as many aspiring entrepreneurs as possible via those programs. I am already planning my next set of tools for 2015 now.
You can join Tamara on her website to learn how to turn your product idea into an income-generating business and to hear about upcoming programs.