Tag Archives: Starting a business

Do you think he would be a good boss or business owner?

Do you think he would be a good boss or business owner?
by Andrew R. Spriegel

I was at International Pizza Expo 2011 (organized by National Association of Pizzeria Operators) at the Las Vegas Convention. I walked the various isles and went up to a great booth and saw a Chef, in a great looking Chef’s “uniform”.  I assumed he was the owner and asked “if he owned the business”?  What he said actually shocked me.  He said ” do you think if I was the boss I would be wearing this clown suit”?  We both had a good laugh, but his comment bothered me.  In my experience, the great bosses (with the successful businesses) are those “bosses” that will do anything to make the business successful, they will scrub the toilets, they will take out the trash, they will do whatever it takes to grow the business.  They will wear the “clown’s suit” and do what is necessary to brand and grow the business.

As I walked away from the booth and thought “Would he be a successful business owner?”,  in my mind, probably not.  If you are not willing to wear the uniform, you are not the type to scrub the toilets, and you are probably are not dedicated to do whatever it takes to be successful in a business.

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Do you make these mistakes marketing your product?

Do you make these mistakes marketing your product?
by Andrew R. Spriegel
February 23, 2011

ANDHOW INNOVATIONS, LLC is finally ready to sign the non-exclusive licensing agreements and make money on our product!

The product is a dripless baster.  Here is the initial prototype:

 

Baster Valve

Baster Valve Inserted into the Tube

I don’t know why it took me seven years to figure out how to market my business partner’s and my invention.  My business partner is Howard Loewenthal, a principal engineer at Invacare Corporation. We developed a dripless baster that we have attempted to market and sell for years.

Here is a video of a typical baster in operation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kUYyJ5ACYA

Here is a video of the ANDHOW INNOVATIONS, LLC dripless baster

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rs5c96jKes&NR=1

We tried over and over to sell the baster with the check valve, we were in a position of weakness.  Last year we received a licensing offer from Merry Chance, a Chinese Company, that was below our expectations. In spite of our desire to so settle a deal, we turned down the offer and it dawned on me!!!

We don’t have to sell the baster!!….We just have to sell the valve!!!

INSTANTLY WE WENT FROM A POSITION OF WEAKNESS TO A POSITION OF STRENGTH!  Either you license out valve and have a dripless baster or pass and sell a baster that LEAKS!

Introducing the:

In comes Van Washburn from FIT-Brands www.fit-brands.com to handle the marketing and a new video:

www.wondervalv.com

Off to the Housewares Show in Chicago next month, we will keep you posted on the outcome!

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Using “Constant Contact” to Market Abstract Art

Using “Constant Contact” to Market Abstract Art
By Lynne Taetzsch

(Andrew Spriegel) – I asked Lynne to write this article because not only does she create amazing art but she also does a great job at marketing her work.  Her artwork and art books are collected worldwide.  “Constant Contact” is a paid service provider that helps their customers build stronger customer relationships with professional-looking email newsletters.  Lynne uses “Constant Contact” to promote her business.

(Lynne Taetzsch) When I first started accumulating the email addresses of art lovers interested in my abstract paintings, I kept it as a “group” in my email address book.  But of course, as the list grew, there was no way to send a group email without my message being blocked from many mailboxes.  Plus, as I changed computers and software, it was hard to manage that list.

(Andrew Spriegel – I am one of Lynne’s fans and I have the painting below in my law firm.  The photos are great but the don’t give a true perspective of  the amazing textures and vibrancy of the colors in her works)

(Lynne Taetzsch) Constant Contact came to the rescue.  It offers safe emailing to any size group of business prospects.  People who receive Constant Contact email trust their brand and know they can easily opt out of getting any more emails from me if they so choose.

Constant Contact allows me to maintain my email lists on their site, dividing them into any number of specialized groups.  I have one for “art lovers” for example, for those who have expressed an interest in my art; and another for “art collectors,” those who have purchased my art.  I also have a list for “designers & galleries” in case I want to send a special message to the trade.

Once my lists are up to date on Constant Contact, I can easily send a group email, selecting from any number of pre-designed formats including a newsletter or plain business letter.  I can also insert images of my art and links to any number of pages on my website.  Once I’m completely satisfied with the project, I can then select the email groups I want to receive the message and schedule the date and time to send it.

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Why would you as a firefighter want to use a patent attorney that is a professional fire fighter and an Inventor?

Why would you as a firefighter want to use a patent attorney that is a professional fire fighter and an Inventor?
by Andrew Spriegel
January 12, 2011

Many of the advances made in firefighting and EMS equipment and training have been made by firefighters and paramedics.  So if you are one of the numerous firefighter/EMS inventors, who do you go to write a patent to protect your idea?  Paul Filon, full-time lieutenant and paramedic in the Strongsville Fire Department and a licensed and registered Patent Attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Paul works at Spriegel & Associates, LLC (Patent & Trademark Attorneys) in Hudson, Ohio, http://www.Smart2Patent.com.

In addition to working as an EMT/paramedic for 22 years and a firefighter for 16 years, Mr. Filon is also chemistry specialist and Haz-Mat technician for the regional Haz-Mat and bomb teams.  He is experienced in several technical rescue disciplines and teaches a variety of firefighter and EMS classes.

Spriegel & Associates, LLC is gaining a reputation as working with firefighters, Captain Phil McLean is one of their clients and one of those inventor/firefighter types that owns Sensible Products Inc. (www.senpro.net), in Richfield, Ohio.  Phil and his business partner, retired Fire Chief, Russ English are quality manufacturers of unique holders and bracketry for fittings, adapters, brass goods and tools mounted on fire trucks.  Here is what Phil has to say about working with Paul:

I have worked with Paul Filon on several occasions related to product development. With his Fire Service background and knowledge of Emergency Services it made the development and patent process easy for me and my company as we were developing a new product in the business. He is an energetic worker and has a passion for all the work and all of his professions.  His multi-professional experience was and continues to be an asset to our project.

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Innovators and Genius in Ohio

Innovators and Genius in Ohio
Tom Moran
By Andrew R. Spriegel
December 30, 2010

There are many stories about the lack of innovation and the down economy in the Ohio and Cleveland Area.  Enter Tom Moran of Midwest Plastic Fabricators (MPF) in Aurora, Ohio.  Innovator and Inventor of numerous patented manufacturing processes and products, Tom is a 45 year veteran and leader in the industry.

One of the innovative products is a line of NEMA PVC Junction Boxes.  A combination of innovative materials and patented cutting edge technology combines for easy installation and reduced life cycle cost.

PVC offers less resistance than conventional metal in cutting holes for conduit entrance.  In addition, non-conductive PVC eliminates potential shock hazard.  In addition, its non-corrosive properties offer longer life and environmental integrity.

Photo Above: Light weight PC Enclosures offer Heavy Duty Performance for food process applications

Photo Above: Innovative Non Metallic PVC Enclosures feature Three-Point Latching

Photo Above: Patented PVC Elbow Crate Saves warehouse Space and is a dispenser pack.

Consider the Fulton Road Bridge,

a Cleveland engineering landmarks is a $44 million architectural attraction that spans the Cleveland Metropark Zoo


and Big Creek Valley.

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Attorneys have been laidoff from Large Law Firms and have to set up a New Office – Go Used!

Attorneys have been laid off from large law firms and have to set up a New Office – Go Used!
by Andrew Spriegel
December 9, 2010

Being an attorney and having attorney friends that have been laid off, I see those friends quickly rent cheap office space, rush out to Office Max and buy inexpensive furniture that does not exactly ‘WOW” a prospective client.

I am suggesting you go USED!  One of the large law firms I used to work for bought their furniture from Office Furniture Warehouse at 4100 Payne Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44103, 216.431.2700, 216.431.7778.  This is not a paid advertisement or endorsement.  There are used furniture stores all over, I just happen to like the team at their store, the great furniture at the store and I have purchased a lot of it.  I would never consider buying new office furniture for my office or home again.

Here is one of my latest purchases, I wanted additional two 5 drawer Steelcase (Great Product) lateral files.  The files look brand new and they were approximately $379 each plus $75 deliver or about $833 + a $20 tip for the deliver guys, so a total of $853 TOTAL.  The files look brand new, have the keys for locking the files and they shipped them with an abundance of dividers!  By the way the drivers are great and very careful in moving the furniture.  Below is a picture taken off of Office Furniture Warehouse website.

Just for comparison I called a local company (Canton Ohio) for a quote on new Steelcase in “case” I needed more lateral files in the future.  I try to shop locally as much as possible or in Ohio.

Here are drawings/informational sheets and the attached quote for the new lateral files:

So here is the quote:

So here is the actual quote from a company located 7 miles from my home in Jackson Township, $2586.25.   So I SAVED $2586.25 – $853 = $1753.25.  So to all my clients and future clients, let me say I am not cheap, I am saving you money by reducing overhead and going green (the cabinets look better in my office than a landfill) so that I can pass that savings along to you.  So if you read this post please ignore the tiny, almost imperceptible ding on the lower cabinet door on the right side cabinet.  I interviewed Allen Ferber, the owner of Office Furniture Warehouse.

Question: Where do you get your furniture?

We get out furniture from mostly very large companies who are either moving and/or purchasing new furniture.  More than half comes from the east coast, about a quarter comes from places like Chicago and Detroit, and that balance from metro Cleveland.

Question: How do you advertise and promote you business?

People find us in many ways. We advertise on Television, the internet, various print media – business magazines and newspapers.  We also get a lot of our business by word of mouth.

Question: How far do you ship furniture?

We ship mostly in the eastern half of the United States, however 80% of our business is within a hundred miles of Cleveland.

Question: What type of furniture do you sell?

We sell mostly high end office furniture and some nice home office furniture, with very little lower end furniture.

Question: Where are you located?

Our business is located about 3 minutes from downtown Cleveland.

Question: Where can I see you furniture?

A cross section of the furniture is put on our website. – we encourage people to call with their needs and we can within a few minutes e-mail pictures of various items that may be of interest.

Question: Can I get get a discount on my next purchase for writing this article?

Andrew, I have a call coming in on another line, I have to go, let me call you next week.

Yo Allen I am still waiting for your call!  Either way you have saved me a lot of money!

Take Away: So if you are looking to opening a new firm or business I recommend buying used.  In addition, if you are a new client think of the money I am saving you!  Not to mention the great work/services we perform.

Office Furniture Warehouse at 4100 Payne Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44103, 216.431.2700, 216.431.7778.

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What is Franchising?

What is Franchising?
Kelcey Lehrich
12/6/2010

Franchising is an industry where a franchisor licenses a complete business model to a franchisee.  Franchising is a growth model for small businesses that allow the owners of the business model to expand while using outside capital and retaining control over the business model.

A franchise relationship is defined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as having three main properties.  If these three properties are present then the FTC will rule the business relationship as a franchise regardless of the name of the contract the parties signed.  There is a common mistake called “the accidental franchise” where these three elements are created within a licensing or distribution agreement.  An accidental franchise can create large financial and legal issues for the accidental franchisor if the accidental franchisee takes the accidental franchisor to court.  If you’re building a business model you’d like to replicate and it includes the three elements below it is likely a franchise and should be documented as such.  Franchise opportunities have their own set of FTC rules to follow and some very solid case law to protect all of the parties involved.

  1. Trade Name – Every franchise agreement gives the franchisee the right to use the franchisor’s name brand.  Typically this name brand should be trademarked but a trademark is not necessary to satisfy this part of the franchise definition.  Any one offering a business opportunity where they grant a trade name to the business opportunity buyer meets this part of the franchise definition – regardless of how well known the trade name is or isn’t.
  2. Business Systems – A key element of the franchise relationship is the presence of a business system.  The business system is typically outlined in an operations manual and contains trade secrets for systems, processes, procedures, recipes, techniques, and marketing methods.
  3. Fees of $500 – Upfront and/or ongoing fees of $500 or more in the first six months is the final part of the franchise definition.  This figure should explain why so many MLM opportunities have entry costs just below $500.

Franchising your business means entering an entirely new line of business.  Your customer is no longer the public; it is now your franchisees.  If you want the three elements described above franchising is likely the only way to legally replicate your business on a large scale.

About the Author:

Kelcey Lehrich is a franchise consultant and business intermediary.  Kelcey’s work in franchising includes franchisor development, sell-side franchise sales, and buy-side franchise consulting.  Kelcey is part of FranchiseInc!, a national franchise consulting firm.  Kelcey also work as a business intermediary with Confidential Business Sale, a regional business brokerage firm with offices in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit.  Lastly, Kelcey is also an Area Director for AmSpirit Business Connections, a national business networking organization that assists sales representatives, entrepreneurs, and business owners succeed by creating a forum where they can exchange qualified referrals with other professionals.

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