garden-shed-192058_640You’ve probably read the title and are expecting an article outlining the reasons why it’s so important to trademark and how to do it. But that’s not why I’m writing today, I am really asking the question – why bother trademarking?

I’ll fill you in on the backstory.

Like a good business owner, I trademarked my business in 2012.

Then, approx a year ago, a business trademarked a name very similar to mine, in the same Industry, servicing the same people, with similar offerings.

I consulted with my lawyer on sending a cease and desist letter to the other party – but after checking with IP Aust it turns out they had received a trademark in the exact same Class as me! (there are many different Classes you can register under ie. 35 is business services and 41 is mentoring)

After further enquiry, it turned out that when the person checking the mark had searched for competition in the Class – they had used the term Motivated to search – not Motivat – which is why I didn’t show up. Huge error on their part.

The only option we had was to contest the trademark and have it revoked and I paid the princely sum of $800 (which I do not have) to have my lawyer draft the appropriate information and send it off.

Fast-forward two months or so and it turns out that the business simply changed their description slightly with IP Aust so they have been allowed to remain in the Class and, therefore, in the same Industry as me with pretty much the same name!

It’s hugely frustrating as, firstly, I don’t understand why anyone would want a name similar to mine in the same Industry anyway. Secondly, I don’t understand the point in trademarking when it seems I’m not protected anyway. And, thirdly, it’s all great trademarking but if you don’t have the money to pursue it – which I don’t – what’s the point?

So, I ask you again, why bother trademarking?

Now excuse me while I go off and punch a wall.

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Posted in Let's Make it Legal | 1 Comment

Hi there lovely business Mums,

Spring has arrived and what a great time to have look at your wardrobe. Is it ready for Spring/Summer? Do you need to inject it with some seasonal pieces?
You probably meet a lot of other small business owners at events, networking meetings and meetings with clients, so be prepared and make sure your wardrobe has outfits ready for all those occasions.

As a Mum, it is easy to think “I don’t have time for fashion and style” and we neglect ourselves and the way we look. I see it all the time and I have been there as well. I quickly got ready in the morning to face the day of feeding, preparing food and playing with the kids and then my day was done. But here’s the thing… it is still important to look after yourself. It makes us feel better and being a Mum doesn’t mean you have to give up style. We still have time to look after ourselves, or have to make time for ourselves, because I found that when I got out of my uninspired frumpiness, I felt a lot better about myself. I was finally “me” again, just like before I had children but with a new look. I was a Mum with Style and you can be too!

I have found some really great items that you can use to update your look and still are easy to wear when you are around kids. These are items that are very versatile and a must to have in your wardrobe to take you from school pick ups to meetings and coffee catch ups.
Have a look, here they are:
1. A Blazer jacket

A sharp jacket is going to smarten up your outfit in no time. Wear it over dresses and with skirts, or with pants and a t-shirt for a casual look. It takes your outfit to another level and you are ready for your day with business meetings and school pick ups, or whatever your day brings.

mumpreneur wardrobe

2. A Dress

What is easier in the morning, when you don’t have much time, than to put on a dress? You don’t have to think about what to wear together, your outfit is done. You can choose to wear it with a blazer jacket as above if you need to layer it or look the part, or keep your look a bit softer with a cardigan. Very stylish and by far the quickest option to get dressed. Which Mum doesn’t like that?

mumpreneur wardrobe

3. Shoes

I have to say that this season trendy shoes are perfect for Mums. It is the Mule that is making a fashion come back, they go well with pants, skirts and dresses. The heeled sandal is another great option for looking stylish without having to wear heels. If you don’t want to ruin them by going to the park for a play after your business meeting, keep your sketchers or trendy sneakers in the car and swap.

mumpreneur wardrobe
4. Pants

They are a wardrobe staple. Wear them with a smart top, a jacket and you look great. They are the most practical item you can have and work well for having a day running after the kids mixed with business meetings or meeting with clients.

mumpreneur wardrobe

5. Bags

Your bag finishes your look and is a great accessory to update your outfit. Here are some bags that are able to put your tablet in and some kids toys at the same time. Pick an interesting colour, like yellow, to instantly brighten up your outfit. Stylish!

mumprenuer wardrobe

I hope this has inspired you to look stylish again. It is important to look after yourself and feel great with the way you look. It will have a ripple effect on many other areas of you life. Find out what is important for you to spend that little bit of time on. Is it your hair? Your nails? A stylish out fit? Why not prepare your outfit the night before, so you don’t stand there in front of their wardrobe in the morning rush hour and feel uninspired to create an outfit or a look that you want. Spending time on yourself as a Mum is one of the best things you can do, I am speaking from experience!

Enjoy and have fun when you start your new stylish journey!

 

mumpreneur wardrobeMieke Krijgsman, Personal Stylist

Mieke Krijgsman is a Personal Stylist, her business Smart Styling provides styling tips for Mum-preneurs! “I love helping women find their own unique style. I’m a firm believer that dressing and shopping should be fun.”

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creative tools for businessIt’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of running your own business. A quick way to inject some creativity and revitalise your business is to see things from a different perspective. In this blog, I’ll walk you through a simple and practical exercise to get more ideas for your business.

The Random Word Tool helps us see an issue from another view. With this tool, you pick a random word and try to connect your topic to this random word in as many ways as you can.

Let me take you through an example. You might want to review your product or service offering and see how you could tweak it to give more value and make it more enticing to buy.

1) Choose a random word

Open up a dictionary or book at any page and randomly put your finger on a word. Or pick anything that you can see from wherever you are. I used the latter approach when I spoke at this year’s Motivating Mum’s Brilliant Biz Mum Conference. The audience picked the emergency exit sign above the doorway as our ‘random word’. The sign had a white picture of a stick figure next to an arrow going through a doorway – all on a green background.

2) Next, think about your random word in connection with your issue

It also helps to use the random word to create questions that you can ask in relation to your topic. Back to our example: signs help us to communicate an idea simply or give directions. So some questions might be:

- How do you show your customer the way to your products/services?

- How do you lead your customer through your sales page or process? Can you make your sales funnel clearer?

- Are there a number of signs or points along the customer journey that you could highlight or communicate better?

- How can you improve the way you communicate the outcomes and benefits of the product/service with your customer?

Exit signs also help us to leave a situation safely and quickly. So:

- What refund or exchange policies can you put in place to make your product or service more hassle free (for you and the customer)?

- How could you improve the way you close the sale?

- How could you improve the way the customer feels once the service or product has been provided?

3) Write down all your ideas and any questions and answers that you’ve come up with

The aim is to keep using this approach to get as many ideas as possible. It’s about quantity versus quality. You’re in the idea generating stage, it doesn’t matter how bad or impractical your ideas are. You don’t need to narrow them down or commit to anything yet.

Be prepared for some silly answers. There are no bad ideas. In fact, get it out of the way and give yourself permission to come up with your worst idea first.

The more ideas you have, the more likely that you’ll discover a gem in there. Sometimes, we don’t get the most creative results because we tend to rush this part and run off with the first do-able answer. It’s better to keep going and stretch for more creative ideas. You don’t know where it could lead you.

Once you believe you’ve exhausted your possibilities or have found some idea gems, then you can go through the process of picking and refining the best ideas. But that’s a whole other topic and we won’t get into that now.

4) Keep practising using this Random Word tool to give your brain a workout with different problems and situations

Get your brain used to thinking and combining ideas in different ways.

 

Use this Random Word tool whenever you get stuck in how you think about your business. Get a fresh perspective to see how you can revitalise your business today.

 

creative tools

Natalia Walker, founder of Inner Creative, empowers small business owners to unlock their creativity to create a business that’s more aligned with their purpose, passion and values.

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mummy mentoringMonica has donated 1 half-hour mentoring session to Mummy Mentoring Festival – supporting COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence. Click the link to read all about Mummy Mentoring Festival and COPE.

About the business

Whole Kids is Australia’s largest range of certified organic, additive free and allergen friendly snacks for kids.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

About Monica

Following an extensive corporate career, in early 2000 Monica Meldrum was fortunate to travel to Indonesia to deliver an aid program to children living in poverty. The experience challenged her assumptions about the meaning of success and how she could make a greater contribution with her life. At the time, Monica vowed to make a difference to children’s health. On returning to Australia and witnessing food related illnesses amongst children and an abundance of over processed, heavily marketed children’s foods, Monica launched Whole Kids. In recognition of her sound business strategy and great vision for the future of Whole Kids, Monica was awarded 2015 St George Banking Group Ausmumpreneur of the Year. Monica was also awarded Emerging Entrepreneur 2013 by NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership awards for her innovation, leadership and a strong commitment to creating change for the future.

Monica can mentor on

  1. Starting a business
  2. Balancing family with work
  3. Product Development
  4. Financial Literacy
  5. Finding your ‘why’

To win a mentoring session with Monica, you must purchase a $4 ticket at this link. One $4 ticket is worth one entry. To enter twice, purchase two tickets and so on. The winner/s of the mentoring session will be drawn on Mon, Oct 3.

You can donate as many times as you like to one mentor to increase your chances of winning. You can also donate to as many different mentors as you like. All funds raised go to COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence.

Winners will be announced on the MM FB page and also emailed directly.

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This post brought to you by Konica Minoltalaptop-943558_640

One of the best ways to earn money is through starting a business. And nothing feels better than that moment when you launch something you’ve conceptualised and worked on for months, maybe even years.

You have the necessary materials organised and ready for use like a website, business cards, a working desk complete with computer and laser printer and other marketing and advertising paraphernalia. The only thing left is to execute that business plan.

If you are just starting out, here are some great tips to remember for business-minded mums like you:

Motivate yourself and put your mind to it

There will be many times when you just cannot find the motivation to continue on, potentially because you are too busy or it may feel a little too daunting. In times like these, it’s great to go back to your business plan and remind yourself of your direction and aims for your business. It’s also great to re-visit why you’re doing this and all you’ve achieved thus far. These activities will help re-focus you and also remind you just what an amazing job you’re doing.

Find the best time to work on your ideas

If mornings are busy for you, then evenings might be the best time to work on your business. Or maybe you work better getting up earlier than the rest of the household, making use of that precious quiet time? Whatever it is, determine the best schedule for you and make it a habit to work in this time as you will generally always get more done.

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Ask for help when you need it most

Looking after kids and house and all else is going to get overwhelming – there is no way around it. Sometimes you’ll feel in control and other times you’ll feel like you’re drowning. Make sure to ask for help whenever you need it; from your mum, your partner, your friends, other business owners. Never feel like you should be managing it all yourself or guilty that you’re not doing enough – we all need help from time to time.

Perfection is not everything

If you’re waiting for everything to be perfect, you may never get your business off the ground. Perfection will happen with practice. Once your plans are viable, get started on them and then review on an ongoing basis – making changes where necessary. Remember that you do not need to go all out in your first months, you are allowed to grow through trial and error.

Make time for yourself

It is very important to take a break especially when you are feeling stressed out. Nothing helpful will ever come if you’re too tired to think or act. Even if it’s 5 minutes of mindfulness in your office chair every day – do something that gives back to you.

And above all, make sure that you have fun. Running a business can be hard work, stressful and challenging – so try and enjoy it – even in the tougher times.

 

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