Getting Legal Right When Starting Up

Starting a business is hard. I am aware. Starting a business right is even harder. When money is tight, misspending money can literally kill your new business. As I have started a business, I have felt how important each penny is. Some pennies keep the lights on, and anything that does anything other than that can be hard to prioritize.

Getting legally established and protected is, of course, super important to your business, that is, if you plan on it succeeding and growing. Who knows where to even start and thinking about the whole process can be terrifying.

I recently learned about Preti Flaherty’s Launch Pad program, and I have grown to love it. We are so fortunate to live in this little city that has so many resources we can learn from.

One of my favorite SMBME regulars, Maddie Purcell of Fyood Kitchen, recently went through the program and I asked her if we could do coffee and she could tell me about her experience.

If you haven’t heard of Fyood, you are in for a treat. Operating in Fork Food Lab, Fyood is a cooking competition where cooks or teams of cooks create final dishes with four mystery ingredients. Dishes are presented to a set of judges and then everyone shares a full meal family style. The whole event takes about 3 hours and you end up eating a six-course meal. The event is even BYOB, how fun is that?!?

Fyood has standing weekly events but is really seeing growth with private parties, birthday parties and team building events with businesses.

Maddie said she first heard about Launch Pad from a flyer at Cloudport. At the time, she was in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign and knew she was going to need help separating her personal and business finances. She said after doing lots of “unproductive Google research” she was overwhelmed and knew she was going to need help but startup funds are tight.

She said going through the Launch Pad program was a relief because it took the responsibility off her to try to figure it out and put her and her growing business in the hands of professionals. It took one of the thousands of things a business owner needs to do off her plate. She loved the team, she got the assistance she needed, plus they thought of things she would not have thought of herself at this phase of building her business.

If Launch Pad sounds like something you want to check out, contact the folks at Preti or just apply. They do have limited spots, so you need to do the application.

Again, I know there are thousands of things we are working on in our businesses. This is a simple and complementary way to make sure one of the most important parts is handled… well. THAT is what could make the difference for you.

Posted in Business, Case Studies, Maine, Portland, Work | Leave a comment

SMBME is Moving to Rising Tide

ceiling at Rising Tide's new event spaceI am thrilled to tell you that Social Media Breakfast Maine has a new home. I have some very big goals for 2018 and knew a venue switch was needed to meet those goals. I knew a few major needs were a comfortable room, a good internet connection and parking for attendees.

When I sat with Rising Tide and talked about their brand new event space they were opening, it immediately felt perfect. Besides the needs I had, there were some wants, PLUS things I didn’t consider that were going to be met with this move.

I started SMBME almost 9 years ago only because I wanted to help local businesses navigate digital marketing. I wanted them to understand the opportunities and have a safe place to ask questions and meet other people like them. As it has grown over the years, I still have the same things motivating me to keep doing them. I try to keep the room as inclusive as possible, as friendly as possible, and to make it feel like a small room.

In the past few years, I have gotten to know the folks from Rising Tide in a few different capacities. Their ethos (rising tide lifts all ships) isn’t just a slogan, they walk the walk. They are professional, community-oriented, friendly, and driven.

To make this move I obviously needed some help because big things take getting some help 🙂 I think I found a great crew to help us all move forward in 2018.

First I have consistent support from Portland Press Herald, PretiFlaherty, and Gorham Savings Bank. They have helped so much in the past few years and any growth would not possible without them.

Next, we added a long-term partnership with Maine Public Relations Council. After moderating a panel for them last year and attending their annual conference, I was reminded of the top-notch content and workshops they are regularly putting together. We will be doing a few joint events in 2018 and I will be sharing some other workshops and career development programming they are doing. I feel like being more involved with MPRC will be perfect to expand programming for all of you and to get you the resources you need to grow your businesses.

We also started a longer relationship with Noyes Hall and Allan. Bob O’Brien has been an avid SMBME attendee since we started in a conference room on outer Congress Street. Since then, he and the folks have Noyes Hall and Allan have become friends AND who I use for my business insurance. Bob has always helped out when we needed it and this is another perfect example.

Lastly, we met some new friends at the end of 2017 who are helping us grown for 2018 Anania Media and Fluent. I can’t wait for you to hear more about the great work they are doing.

I am very excited about this new home for SMBME and hope to see you on Fox Street soon!

Posted in Maine, Marketing, Portland, Social Media | Leave a comment

How to do Your First Facebook Live Broadcast

ketchup-bottle

We recently had an event where we discussed Facebook Live. I will admit it is something I have not been driven to try. Some people like being behind the camera and some people like being in front of it. I am the former.

There ARE some great reasons to try Facebook Live:

  • It is an easy way to really show your audience/customers behind the scenes and get a feel for who you are.
  • People connect with video. It is as close as face to face as we can get.
  • Your closest followers (hot leads, company fans, repeat buyers) will get a notification that you are live.
  • You can interact in real time with your viewers.

The first Facebook live is the hardest and you will feel like you are talking to thin air. All the regular Live-ers will tell you, you just have to do it. It will be weird, you may not have a huge audience but… it will only get easier. If it is awful – you can always delete it.

“Be Fearless, be playful, be consistent – and you can always delete it!”
– Kathleen Deely Pierce, Maine Restaurant Association

Since now we all know the first Live broadcast will be awkward, let’s make it easier with some steps to follow.

Steps for Your First Facebook Live Broadcast

  • Have a plan – What will be the purpose of the broadcast? What is the ONE thing you want people to take away?
  • Is there a co-marketing opportunity? – Should you have a guest with you? If you are camera shy, like me, this could take some pressure off. Plus, you can get out in front of your co-host’s network.
  • Find a niche or angle – Nervous? Find an angle that makes you more comfortable. Think about broadcasting from your favorite coffee shop, bar, nature spot. Heck, invite your dog along if it makes you feel better.
  • Premarket – let people know you will be doing this ‘Join me live Friday at 2pm where I am interviewing our CEO about recent changes at our company’.
  • Make sure you have enough battery life on your phone!
  • Make sure you have a good internet connection!
  • Know how you are going to hold your phone/camera – I know from experience ketchup bottles are unreliable (see video below). A selfie stick may sound silly but Kathleen Deely Pierce swears it helps.
  • Add your text to your update first – Tag your location, who you are with, and what you are doing. That way whenever someone tunes in, they have some context.
  • During your broadcast have a plan to try to react to comments –  Take advantage of the instant feedback. Even just a ‘Hi, Beth! Thanks for joining us’ goes a long way.
  • Go as long as you feel like – There are various trains of thought on how long your broadcast should be. Kathleen recommended at our event to broadcast for a long time. She said your viewers continue to grow and you need to give them time to get to the broadcast and tune in. I have had other people say to keep them short. I would recommend, you do what feels right for you.
  • Save the story as an update – After the broadcast, you have the option to keep your broadcast as a page update. If you didn’t hate it, if it was valuable, or if it was even close to those things… keep it and let other people catch it later. My first Facebook Live is below. Do I love it? Absolutely not but… I learned a lot and I know the next one will be easier 🙂
  • Postmarket the broadcast –  Let people know after the fact about your video. Write a blog post (like this one), put it in an email newsletter, boost it etc. Get the biggest bang for your broadcast by making it available and letting people see it after it was done.

There you go! Hopefully, that will help you with your first Facebook Live broadcast. What other tips would you give to folks like you who want to get started?

Posted in Facebook, Marketing, Social Media Tips | Leave a comment

SMBME on MaineLife

I was asked recently by Jess Knox, from Venture Hall, and Erin Ovalle, from MaineLife, to do a short interview for their Game Changers segment. It was great to spend some time gushing about this little community we have made.

I started hosting the Social Media Breakfasts in Portland almost 8 years ago. It started with about 20 “early adopters” (aka nerds) in a conference room and it has grown into what it is today. We were talking about how to use social media to market businesses before social media was “a thing”.

Just about every month we tackle a different topic in and around the social media space and try to figure out how we can use it to promote and grow our businesses. I feel this community is as strong as it is because the events have always been about the room, the market, and the businesses in our city and what they need.

I have been honored to be a part of this. I have been proud to watch people get jobs in this room, start their own businesses in this room, and to grow their businesses. Thanks to all of you for making #SMBME what it is.

Be sure to catch MaineLife at 11:30 on Sundays on WCSH6, their YouTube Channel or their Facebook page.

Posted in In the News, Maine, Portland | Leave a comment