As always, there is a lot going on at SSWBN! You might be interested to know ...
President Elect Announced: Alison Schirone of Yarn's End has been elected as the next SSWBN President! Due to the change in term periods for members of the Board of Directors made last summer, her term as president begins January 2015. Congratulations Alison!
(Note: We now elect New Board members in the early fall for a January term start. Previously, elections were held early spring for June start. The SSWBN Board of Directors voted to amend the by-laws and change the term. This change better coordinates our budget, programs, and installation of president and directors to begin in January.)
Survey coming soon! SSWBN wants to check in with you. What do you need to achieve your goals? How can SSWBN better support you? What additional value can we offer with your membership? We want to hear your comments, questions, and concerns, as well as what keeps you coming back to SSWBN. Look for the survey in early May via email and social media -- and please participate in it!
New Website! We are working to create a brand-new website with a new look and easy-to-navigate design and user experience. Look for it to launch late spring/early summer.
From the Executive Director
Are you leveraging your relationships?
I spoke to a member recently who recounted what I believe to be a great business story. To grow her client base, she sent an email to ten contacts with whom she had a strong, well-established relationship, letting them know she was looking to grow her client base. She also explained a little bit about the type of work for which she was looking.
From the ten emails sent, she got referrals to four new clients.
Not a bad return ... 40 percent.
How are you leveraging your relationships?
I believe that relationships are vital to achieve business goals. These relationships may be new clients, collaboration partners, support resources or social outlets.
SSWBN provides the opportunity to meet new people and strengthen existing relationships.
The key is to nurture those relationships on a consistent basis. Then, when the time comes to ask for help, you feel comfortable and confident with them.
If it is your business or your career aspiration, take the risk and responsibility to ask for what you want.
- Send an email, like the member above, letting folks know you're looking for new clients.
- Pick up the phone and ask for the bookkeeping or marketing support you know that you need to take you to the next level.
- Meet for coffee to share ideas, frustrations, and to get much needed social support. (Sometimes you need to take a break from business to think clearly and ignite creativity.)
Earlier this week I reached out to a contact on LinkedIn. This person is connected to a company I have targeted to contact. When I asked for the introduction she said, "Sure! Send me the information and I'll make the introduction."
Why did she do that? Because we've spent time over the past few years developing a relationship built on trust and friendship.
If you are ready to achieve that next level of success in your career or business (or personal life!), get curious and ask yourself, "How can I leverage my relationships?" Then take action. Maybe, like the member I mentioned above, the result will be four new clients.
What are your strategies for leveraging relationships? Send me an email email@example.com and maybe you'll see your tips listed in an upcoming newsletter!
Message from the President
Lately it seems as if everyone around me is talking about their support systems and the importance of having the right people in the right places for the success of not only their professional life, but also in their personal lives. As small business owners you can very easily get caught up in the "How Many Hats Can I Wear?" syndrome. No doubt, if you have been networking for any amount of time you have met the person to whom I am referring -- heck at some point maybe YOU were that person.
This person may show up frazzled and stressed. They may be working on rebranding their website, suffering sleepless nights from creating copy for marketing material, and as any good business owner will do, trying to build up their pipelines. Being a business owner is exhausting, and if desired can be a very lonely road.
Having the right support in place can make all the difference in the success of a small business. Now before all the excuses come up, I am not suggesting you take out a small business loan to cover salary for staff. I am however suggesting you take a look about what can be delegated and look at your resources for support. I have a great deal of clients who use me for five to 10 hours a month for their virtual work. I help to create content for their emails, organize and sort their client files to determine where there may be opportunity for future work, spend time entering their transactions and running Quickbooks, and I even help them create a system for that overflowing box of business cards they've collected at events. Those 10 hours a month may not seem like a big deal, but it gives them almost an entire day out of the month back to focus on revenue generating activities.
I know that when I started my business I could not have done it without my graphic designer. If I had tried to do it myself, probably I would still be trying to draw out my vision -- something that she was able to do in less than three days. Around tax time, you can bet I am not sitting down and working out the details: I know better than that. I pass my color-coded, report-filled binder off to my CPA with my well wishes and heaps of gratitude.
As of recently, reinvesting in my business by working with a business coach is something I am kicking myself for not having done five years sooner. She believes that you should be doing only 20 percent of the work required for your business and delegating out the other 80 percent -- and really doing only the things that bring in revenue. Only you know if this is realistic for you at this point, but I urge you to really think about it.
If you are confused about where to start, maybe it's time to sit down with SSWBN Board Member and Business Partner, Nancy O'Keefe, to talk about systems and processes for your business. Perhaps you need support with social media: Stephanie Neil with South Coastal Media helps small businesses every day to help create and implement a plan for success. Maybe it is time you sit down with a coach like Casey Kerr to discuss what your end vision is and how you plan to get there.
Whatever your need, this might be a great opportunity for you to visit our member page on the website to see what support is out there and how the Network can help you grow to the next level.
703 304 4067
Law You Can Use
|Becky Coletta, Esq|
Branding with Trademark Law in Mind
In a world flooded with information, branding becomes the key to standing out against competitors, even in relatively local markets. Picking the right brand presents a marketing challenge, in that you need to find the message, the emotional tone and the specific words and images that work to achieve your goals.
Before becoming heavily invested in a brand, emotionally or financially, take time to consider the impact of trademark law on your choice. Two key considerations require your attention: a) What are you selling and how does your brand tie to what you are selling? and 2) Are you free to use the brand you like?
1. What are you selling and how does your brand tie to what you are selling?
When you think of what you are selling, what words come to mind? Are your branding words and images descriptive of what you are selling or are they more fanciful? More fanciful marks are more distinctive.
The law considers the distinctiveness of the mark when deciding whether the mark is a protectable trademark, and the level of strength it provides in any trademark protection. Trademarks are stronger legally if they are more distinctive. This is because trademark protection is designed to protect consumers from being confused about the source of the product or service they are buying. The more distinctive the mark, the more likely it conjures up a single source in the minds of the consumer. The law rewards and protects the distinctiveness of the mark to avoid confusion among consumers.
Historically this makes some sense. Prior to the Internet, it was even more difficult to find out whether someone was connected to a specific company or manufacturer. When the snake oil salesman came to town, you needed to know whether he was selling genuine Acme snake oil. By giving Acme a monopoly on the name Acme that was legally enforceable through trademark rights, the consumer could trust that Acme snake oil was produced by Acme and not a fly-by-night operation - at least until Acme became one of the most overused words in business.
Understanding the strength of a mark begins with looking at how distinctive the mark is in relation to the goods or services being offered. On one end of the spectrum are completely fanciful marks made up to serve as a brand name for a product and are considered the legally strongest marks. Think Xerox. On the other end of the spectrum we find generic words that simply describe the product being offered, and thus do not qualify for protection as trademarks. Think widget store. Xerox has risked becoming generic over time as its brand name was so strongly associated with photocopies that people began saying they were "making a Xerox" instead of a "making a copy". Xerox then had to campaign to remind people that Xerox is a protected name and not a generic reference to making a copy. It did this to protect its trademark rights from becoming as generic as "aspirin."
Falling between fanciful and generic marks we find
- Arbitrary marks (real words but not usually used in connection with the products being marketed -- think Apple for computers);
- Suggestive marks (suggest something about the products or services, but do more than simply describe them, and require a little imagination to put the two together - think BeautyRest which requires a little imagination to think of mattresses providing restful beauty sleep); and
- Descriptive marks (merely describe the goods or services and which garner protection only when the mark has developed a secondary meaning to consumers to identify a source of the product - think International Business Machines for computers). Surnames constitute a subset of descriptive marks that also require secondary meaning to gain protection.
Making these distinctions can seem like splitting hairs, but you can begin thinking where you might want to be on the spectrum. Then balance the legal strength you want with your realistic business and marketing goals (and dollars). Do you need to quickly pull in consumers without spending much on brand recognition? Maybe you are better off using a descriptive mark like "Pembroke Widget Store" and worry about brand protection later.
On the flip side, if you are embarking on a national Internet branding campaign with a national customer base and want a brand name that can easily be registered as a federal trademark, it may be easier to secure the trademark if you make it more fanciful or arbitrary. But before you bet too heavily on becoming the next Apple or Exxon brand, you might want to sit down with a trademark attorney.
2. Are you free to use the brand you like?
Many factors determine if you can legally use the brand you like. The basic question centers on whether or not someone else is using the same or a similar mark to sell the same or similar goods or services in the same geographic market (or a natural expansion of a market). If you are already using a mark when you look at this question, you also need to ask who of you used the mark in commerce first. By the time you are asking this question, you should be planning to sit down with your attorney. Before you do that, you can save yourself some time, money and aggravation if you do some of the legwork to get a preliminary answer to this question on your own.
Start by picking several good choices for your brand and then do a thorough search for similar names out there. Use different spellings or partial words in your search to find similar words. Search multiple locations for the information - state trademark registries, state business or corporation filings, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filings (www.uspto.gov), Internet search engines like Google or Yahoo, industry publications and directories, telephone directory listings, and domain name registries. (Do not assume that domain names are the same as trademarks without discussing this with your attorney.)
Cast a broad net over any market segment you might want one day. Once you find a few brand names that seem to work, review them with your attorney and put your marketing savvy together with your legal savvy to launch a brand that will work for your business.
As usual, I offer my blogs as general food for thought and they do not cover nuanced legal issues you should consider in a specific case. They are best used as jumping-off points for further research and discussions with your own legal advisor.
Rebecca Westerlund Coletta, Esq.
Coletta Law Office
620 County Road
Hanson, MA 02341
Becky Coletta is the principal of Coletta Law Office and has provided representation to a variety of large and small companies since graduating with honors from NYU School of Law in 1990. She is a member of the Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut bars. She is also a member of the SSWBN Board of Directors, the South Shore Chamber, the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Pembroke Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club of Hanson and the Pembroke Planning Board
This column constitutes legal advertising, and is designed only as an information service. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it should not be relied upon as legal advice. Legal advice is only provided after a careful review of the specific facts provided by a client after formation of an attorney-client relationship.
There is a real theme of connection in my column this month.
It's making me recall what
Jessica Foley said at the
SSWBN Spring into Networking event at Dave and Busters recently. She said that you really need to work at networking. That means that you shouldn't just be trading business cards at an event! Shake hands. Make eye contact. Listen to what they are saying. Strive to make a connection with them. Follow up with them after the event, and once the connection is made, maintain that connection.
Here's my take on it: If you're building a bridge between you and another person -- how strong would you like it to be before you take a step on it?
Lori Cook of A Fork in the Road at Bryantville would like to thank Kristen Ford-Hernandez of Premiere Pros for her dedication to Lori's projects. "Kristen has treated my marketing changes as thoughtfully as if she were working on her own business!"
Caroline Chapin of The James Library & Center for the Arts was thrilled to have SSWBN director Stacey Shipman perform one of the 10 selected stories at their recent, standing-room-only Story Slam. Caroline said, "Stacey is a terrific storyteller!"
Allison Guido of Almar Building and Remodeling, Co. had a great one-on-one with Judy Rizzo from Rizzo Plumbing and Heating, and got to tour her new office. Allison said, "I was really pleased to get the chance to reconnect and talk about how we can keep working together."
Christy Kendrick is very happy to announce that she will be teaching a class at the Inspiring Windows store in Hanover on May 17th from 3 t0 5 pm. Christy met the store owners through SSWBN and decided to collaborate for this class, called Whole Food = Real Food -- Some of the Whys & Hows. They will provide food samples and recipes. Reach out to Christy for more information and the fee for the event: 508-846-4522.
Stacey Shipman, SSWBN executive director, would like to thank Lori Cook of A Fork in the Road at Bryantvillefor providing a cheese and vegetable tray and sandwiches for a recent Hanover Toastmasters event. "Lori accepted my last minute order and delivered later that day. We had so much food I got to take some home! Thanks Lori!"
Patty Funder of LaserLight for Men and Women acknowledges host Carolyn Chapin of the James Library and Center for the Arts, Jen Mullen of JAM Gourmet Foods & Catering, and Stacy Doherty, president of SSWBN and owner of Errands Etcetera, for their collaboration in the May 6th Coffee with the President event. "I walked in to a concert pianist playing the baby grand, the best scones I have ever had, and what turned out to be an inspirational discussion among a nice, but small mix of new and seasoned SSWBN members," said Patty. "If you have never participated in one of these Coffee events, you are missing something pretty special!"
Stacy Doherty, president of SSWBN and owner of Errands Etcetera, sent in a bunch of acknowledgements:
- Many thanks to Heidi Smith of Heidi's skin care salon for the referral to a great hairdresser! I love my new look and it is so easy to maintain!
- Thank you to Nancy O'Keefe of Simple Small Business Solutions. You have been such a beam of support for me and I greatly appreciate it!
- Thanks to Betsy Donahue of M. Donahue Associates, Inc. for passing my name along to your Pilates instructor. I'll keep you in the loop if we are able to connect.
- Thank you so much to Nancy Boyle of Live Light Yoga for the inspiring meeting at the beginning of the month. It was great to hear your version of why the Network was started so long ago, and why it has continued to help women in our community to connect.
- Thanks to Nicky Peterkin of NYLife Securities for setting up my retirement account just in time for the tax credit!
Finally, I'd like to send out my personal thanks to Janet LaBerge of Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap and Good Deeds
. I have met some wonderful people who are committed to heartwarming local charitable organizations at the Good Deeds monthly Give-Back parties, and once in a while I get to sing to them.
Build your bridges strong and true, so that they will be there when you need them!
Lynn Feingold, Tavern Wench
Songs of the Colonial Days
|Our continued gratitude to our partners:|
Managing Editor: Patricia Funder
|Above and Beyond|
What's Happening Around the Network
The First Annual Macaroni Kid South Shore Boston Best of Family Awards named Lori Cook of A Fork in the Road at Bryantville as the Best Party Planner. Tracy Marino of Tracy Marino Photography was named Best Family Photographer by Macaroni Kids. The online magazine asked local parents to nominate and vote for their favorite family-friendly businesses. A Fork in the Road at Bryantville also won Best Salad at the Taste of Pembroke event. Congratulations, Lori and Tracy!
Attorney George Boerger has recently moved his law office from Kingston to Snug Harbor in Duxbury. His new office offers an expanded conference room to provide better service to his clients. Attorney Boerger continues to focus his practice on business law, estate planning and real estate. His new mailing address is P.O. Box 2827, Duxbury, MA 02331 and the street address for his office (no mail) is 459 Washington Street Duxbury, MA.
Also boasting a new location, Liz Dow of East Coast Printing would like to welcome everyone to visit at their new place at 2 Keith Way, Unit 5, in Hingham behind Derby Street Shoppes. Congratulations to George and Liz on the new locations.
Kudos to Stacey Shipman, SSWBN executive director, for recently teaching an eight-week Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program at Hanover High School. Ten students graduated and presented speeches at a special ceremony on March 19, to an audience that included parents, teachers and Toastmasters members. Read the story and see the photos published in The Hanover Mariner.
Remember: if you have taken a class, won an award or have other news, SSWBN members would love to hear about it.
All lasting business is built on friendship. -- Alfred A. Montapert
Molisse Realty Group
Selling the Entire South Shore
(781) 837-5600 office
(781) 363-0485 cell
The Featured Businesses for May include two focused and self-confident women who built new careers out of their previous professions:
Carolyn Jenkins, My Life Dances,
Brenda Stewart, Long Term Care Insurance Agent.
Carolyn, most often working with women over 50, explains how she provides a "... suite of offerings ... [within a] short term engagement or ... a long-term commitment."
Building on her backgrounds as Beachbody Coach and Certified Health Coach, her programs "focus on change of habits and, ultimately, lifestyle," she said, for women "who are seeking something more out of life - whether it be more meaning, better health, increased vitality, or a better quality of life; who are not satisfied with the status quo or with cultural stereotypes.; and who are finding the Divine in their life -- or seeking the Divine, however that Divine manifests for them, be it as God or nature or truth." Read more of her story.
registered nurse, "transitioned from taking care of folks to helping them to be able to afford that care," she said. "I love working one-on-one with people and helping them plan for their future health care needs while protecting their family legacy."
Keeping up-to-date on industry and demographic shifts that have the potential to either devastate or enhance family resources when an older loved one needs long-term care, Brenda considers her greatest achievement to be "the satisfaction in hearing people I have helped express their appreciation for the security they now have in knowing that they put a plan in place for when their health changes; and that their spouse and family will know what to do to afford those choices," she said. Read her story ...
Wants & Needs
To submit your wants and needs, please write each one exactly as you want it: there will be little to no editing services in this section. Make sure to include specifics about your "advertisement," and a way for readers to contact you. Remember: this is not a section to advertise for new clientele.
NEED: a used van for catering. Contact Lori Cook - A Fork in the Road at Bryantville, at 781-293-4300or via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
WANT: a disciplined walking/workout buddy to help me to get in shape to climb abother mountain this summer. Contact Patty Funder at 781-871-2224, or at email@example.com.