Market Research Made Easy

This is why I LOVE the library!  It has taken me seven years to obtain a library card, and I SO wish I had gotten it sooner!  I won’t make you read my entire story without giving you the goods first…

http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/libraries/referenceusa.aspx

http://www.referenceUSA.com

If you haven’t been to this site and you need info on your local businesses (or any business in the nation really), you must click above.  This is the link for our local Seminole County library where you have to have a library card and agree to their terms before you can get onto the site.  I’m sure other county libraries have something similar.

Both the ladies at the help desk and our local SBA chapter referred me to this website.  What a lifesaver!  If you’re doing ANY kind of market research for your business, you HAVE to check this site out!  It makes a breeze of finding your competition, their gross sales, and their annual expenditures. Not to mention the library’s website has TONS of information on Seminole County demographics and starting your own business.  They even offer free seminars on how to write a business plan.  I’m thinking of checking this out!  Has anyone taken one of these seminars before?  Was it helpful?

SO, tell me if you’re at all like me.  Every year I kicked myself for not getting a library card!  The hardest part was just remembering to go into our local branch with a piece of “official” mail or something with my name on it.  FINALLY, one day, I happen to be twins-free and thought I would go in and try.  Luckily my car registration, insurance card, and driver’s license sufficed!  Though I loathe inconvenient rules and anything I can’t fill out online, I have to say I am so so so glad I finally made the extra effort!  Silly me for grudgingly taking so long!

I never realized how helpful the librarians could be about just plain old research… on anything.  I think the front desk lady who gave me my library card said the reference librarians have a PhD in research?  Is that right?  I never knew how much they had to know about everything?  What a cool job!  I’d love to hear from any librarians out there about how you know all that you know!  And thank you for helping all of us lay-people figure it all out!

So if you’re not tired of my exclamation points yet (I’m just so excited about how easy this site just made my life!!!!!), then I’d love to hear from you!  Tell me where you’re at in your business starting process and what you’ve discovered!

LOGO LOCO

So, my house is officially CRAZY TOWN.  We are full swing into potty training and it is nuts!!  I must admit, being an engineer, I naively thought I had the perfect solution to the nightmare of this whole potty training debacle.  I had heard a lot about the 3-day Potty Training Method and I was convinced it was my perfect solution.  Oh man, was I wrong.  It is not for the faint-hearted by any means when you have TWINS.  I was not prepared.  Day 1 – I was motivated and ready to tackle this.  I had read the book, prepared the babies and bought gender-appropriate hero underwear by the dozens.  The morning was chaotic, but I saw the progression and was encouraged.  50 bathroom visits, 3 loads of laundry, and countless wardrobe changes (for me and the babies) later, the babies had blown through all their cute character undies and we were all at T-minus meltdown status.  I sat on the bathtub edge with two screaming naked babies who were afraid to peepee in the potty and we all cried.  It was 4pm, and I gave up.  I was mad at myself and losing control of everything.  After I put the babies to bed that night, I had a beer for dinner and went to bed.  I hated that I failed.  As I was about to fall asleep, I finally realized, why am I putting a time limit on them?  It was too stressful and I am blessed to have this time with them.  So we will take it at our own speed… calmly and progressively.  I am happy to report that my daughter has had a handful of successful peepee’s in the potty since then and we are well on our way… well slowly, but on our way anyhow!

On the business side, there is a brighter side.  We are finishing up our logo design for our new business with an up and coming shop on etsy.  Did you know there are many tools for your business on etsy.com??  Great graphics artists and designers building businesses of their own.  Checkout http://www.etsy.com/shop/CreativeTypeDesigns.  The shop owner Jillian K is very talented and a pleasure to work with.  I have used other services like brochure design and marketing tools through other shops on etsy.com as well.  It’s a beautiful resource with countless opportunities for small businesses.

I’d love to hear any opinions on BOTH potty training and using etsy tools for your business.  Thanks for reading!!

babies  undies

Potty Chairs and Market Research

Two scary things are on my mind this week.  The first, and most terrifying, is the POTTY CHAIR.  OMG… where do I start with this??  I have boy-girl twins and my girl is definitely showing signs that she might be ready to start using a potty.  In fact today she demanded a pull-up which I did not think she even knew what it was!! We bought the cutest “gender neutral” potty they had to just start introducing it to them.  We have it in the living room and it is currently just a toy that they play with.  Is this even a good thing to do?  They both separate the seat and put it on their head like a cowboy hat!  Are we starting bad habits already?  I thought that it would be good to just start using the word potty and what it is so that they are comfortable around it when we start actually using it.  But now I’m learning that maybe we need to buy multiple potties for multiple purposes and conveniences?  Any advice for a Potty-bound MAMA??

The second scary thing I’m trying to delve into… is MARKET RESEARCH for our new business plan.  I have found a few online sources and called a few local shops.  However, I found the phone calls to be very one sided and the people to be very not-so-willing to give up those generic numbers like growth rate and daily traffic.  Why?  Are they afraid of the competition from a non-competing business?  I’m curious to hear how others research this?  Here are a couple links I have found helpful to start, but I would really love some more help with this…

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/217345

http://www.sba.gov/sizeup

SO… now I’m thinking I should’ve gotten a degree in Marketing and Potties (do they offer that somewhere??)… it seems like it would be much more relevant, useful, and universally APPLICABLE in my daily life!!!

Please share your potty stories and market research ideas here.  I’d LOVE to hear how others deal with these two frightening matters!! 🙂

Lyla Potty

Write a Business Plan, Save a Marriage

I LOVE this man!

I LOVE this man!

OK, so maybe our marriage doesn’t really need saving, but starting to write this business plan is a step in the right direction. I need to be on the same page as my husband… I want to be on the same page as my husband!! I don’t know how it happens… but you know, when kids come, man oh man, are things different. As a new mom, I guess priorities just change, because they have to. These little lives are now in your hands and someone should be focusing on their survival in this world 24/7, right? Anyhow, I needed to take a page from the “Support My Husband” book, (I wonder if there really is a book with this title?) and get on board with his dreams, which are ultimately my dreams too. What better time to jump into our future together, than now!

SO, I’m using liveplan.com to start our business plan. I’m assuming this is the first big official step in starting our business. I’d love to hear feedback on what resources others have used to write their business plan. I’d also LOVE to hear how you support your spouse… especially after kids… especially in the trenches of 20 month old TWINS!!! Ay, ay, ay!!! 🙂

Start Up

Double the LOVE!

Double the LOVE!

We have twins and we have a business… well, a business idea!!  We are building our family while building an empire of dreams.  Aren’t we all??  I want to document our journey as we discover all the beautiful entrepreneurial freedoms this country has to offer and share all our findings with all of you.  I’d love to hear what path others have taken to build their dreams.  Follow me and share your journey as well.