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.

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!

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.

2016 was a rough year for many of us. The end of the year left a lot of us disappointed, uncertain, and frustrated. I have been thinking a lot about how I can make my little world as good of a place as I can.

A few weeks ago, I read the blog by CC Chapman – Legacy. In it he talks about how we each will leave behind a legacy, that we will never know… and it resonated with me. I asked him to come up and speak at this month’s breakfast.

As usual, he was great and left many of us inspired, hopeful, and ready to do good.

During the event, I asked our attendees to think for a few moments about what they want their legacy to be. If you took a moment and thought about the footprint you wanted to leave behind… would that change how you operate, how you arrange your to-do list, or what you spent your time on?

Here are some of the responses from our attendees:

We want to inspire people to protect Maine’s environment. Make people feel a part of our mission through actions and interactions.
– Beth, Natural Resources Council of Maine

Chaos to clarity guide.
– Sara, The Dreamy Dragonfly

Show you that your tourist dollars have unimaginable power.
– Evan, Longer Vacations

Give people confidence to cook creatively. Live Excellently.
– Maddie, Fyood Kitchen

Crack open our view of people with differences and redefine success for all Maine people.
– Kristen, Spurwink

Make photos that matter. Now and later.
Whitney J. Fox

I want to leave a legacy of love and bravery – to look back and know that my life inspired people to be more brave, more bold, more creative with their own lives.
– Abbie, From the Nest

She helped to grow the green economy in Maine and helped people live better lives.
– Heather, The Sunrise Guide

I want to be known for being innovative and creatine really good content for our guests.
– Alyssa, Stonewall Kitchen

Launch Branding Compass!
– Emily, Visible Logic

She brought art and color to my practical life.
Helen Rebecca

Really cares (for real) about the organization, the success of small business, and the state of Maine.
– Jennifer, Maine SBDC

To have my clients see their worth and build their self confidence through skin care.
– Kimberly, Nourish Skin Care Studio

I would like to ask all of you the same thing and please share your answers with me. What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want to be remembered for? What will be the footprint you leave behind?

I would love to add them to this post or share them on social media over the next month or so. I think this is a great exercise as we head into a new year. Thanks in advance for your responses!

Last night we celebrated 75 Social Media Breakfast Maine events. We had a special nighttime event at Red Thread, in One City Center.

group-photo-smbme

Photo credit: MaineToday Media

Reflecting on the night and last 7 years (eek!), I realized I need more than a quick Facebook post.

First, I have to thank the wonderful community that IS SMBME. This event isn’t about a person or a company, it is about a group of people who are curious, smart, friendly, inclusive, and helping shape business in Maine. What started as 12 nerds (aka “early adopters”) in a conference room, has turned into a group of people who support each other and a monthly event with about 100 attendees each month.

mike-sobol-smbmekyle-smbme

Photo credit: Amazing DJ Music (Sound and Photography)

I want to thank our speakers, Mike Sobol and Kyle Poissonnier, for their interesting and inspiring presentations. Mike talked to us about challenging our assumptions, trying new things, and gave us examples from his work experience where what ‘worked’ wasn’t what people assumed would. Kyle inspires me so much. We asked him to come back again to talk about his recent Just A Kid From Maine release at Catalyst For Change Wear. He had an idea, asked his audience their thoughts, brought it to market and they reached their goal in about a day. A powerful and inspiring story!

A photo posted by April D. Cohen (@soporealtor) on

I want to thank our sponsors. The Portland Press Herald, Gorham Savings Bank, OTT Communications, Mainely SEO, The Maine Real Estate Network, Noyes, Hall & Allen, and Agents of Change. It was especially fun to have some sponsors that helped us really get our start come back for this special event. Thank you all so much!!

stephanie-michelle-chandra-smbme

Photo credit: MaineToday Media

I want to thank Stephanie from Red Thread for being an amazing hostess. I have hosted many an event and have NEVER felt as confident in the space and event prep. Stephanie took things off my hands that have never been offered before. Never. She made my prep for the event so much easier. I can’t thank you enough. If you haven’t been, please go by Red Thread and say ‘hello’. Beautiful space and some great ideas that you can execute in your own office.

I want to thank MaineToday Media and Amazing DJ Music (Sound and Photography) for capturing some great photos from the evening. It is wonderful to see a fun event captured so well in images. We loved having you there!

Lastly, thank you for all of you who attended last night. I know night events are hard, Fridays are hard, rainy nights are hard… but you made it and I truly appreciate it! It was a great time. I can’t wait to see where this community takes us all next!

A photo posted by April D. Cohen (@soporealtor) on

Tomorrow is the beginning of Maine StartUp and Create week. We are so fortunate to have so much support for startups right in our backyard! This is a weeklong event with literally dozens of sessions, keynotes, meetups, and activities all focused around startups.

You can’t be everywhere but I took a look at the schedule and here are four sessions I know I can’t wait to check out!

MONDAY – 2:15pm at MECA
What Do Users Want?
I had the pleasure of speaking at the Retail Association of Maine event with Brett from FieldStack (and Bull Moose). He has some great insight on creating a product Bull Moose’s customers needed and using data to drive business decisions – even when it is against what you as the owner THINK they want. Brett is only 1/4 of the fire power on this panel. We are pretty sure this is going to be a good one!

http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule/what-do-users-want/

TUESDAY – 9am at MECA
How to Share Your Story with Your Customers
It is no secret I am a huge fan of Might & Main. Sean and Arielle are skilled at really helping brands visually tell their story. Take the knowledge of Might & Main and add some Disney, Google, and Weymouth Design and we are pretty sure the roof is going to come off the building. Yowza! Bringing a hip looking notepad and fancy pencil to this session!

http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule/branding/

WEDNESDAY – 11am at MECA
Social Media: The ROI and How to Track It
Well hello! One of our favorite topics. Taja and her Pulp + Wire team are representing so many brands and know a thing or two about measuring the ROI of their efforts. We can’t wait to see what Tess has planned for this Lightning Workshop.

http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule/social-media-the-roi-and-how-to-track-it/

THURSDAY – 11am at MECA
Writing Effective Marketing Copy

Writing GOOD copy is a challenge no matter the industry. This sessions sounds fun and super helpful. Looking forward to checking it out.

http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule/writing-effective-copy/

FRIDAY – 6pm at Merrill Auditorium
Greenlight Maine Finale Event

That morning we have a SMBME but that night…. it is finally here! One of these three companies is walking off the stage with a giant check for $100,000. Two of three three of them are previous SMBME presenters! It is going to be an exciting evening and great way to wrap up the week!
http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule/greenlight-maine-finale-event/

How about YOU? What events are you excited to check out? Or if you can’t attend, which are you sad to miss out on? It is going to be a crazy and exciting week!

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SMBME 96

January 18th 2019

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We moved to Rising Tide. Read about the move and how it was made possible on the blog.