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The LaunchPad

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You read it all the time in books, blogs and news articles.  All the experts say if you do what you love, you will be successful.  The unfinished and trickier part of that wisdom; how to figure out what you love doing and make a living at the same time.  For instance, I love gardening but I don’t think I can live off mowing lawns and raking leaves.  Ultimately I started listening to what others were saying about me.  These people came from different places and times in my life such as employees I had managed, participants in one of my classes or groups I had worked with.  I noticed a common theme – I get things done and I have a gift for mentoring others to do the same.  I realized they were on to something.  I do love being in front of a classroom.  I like getting to know someone on a personal level, figuring out what their gifts are and encouraging them to pursue those gifts.In the Classroom

Through The Launchbox® I work with many entrepreneurs and small business owners and there is a common theme among this group as well.  As a business owner you know you have a lot to offer your customers.  You are not afraid of hard work. You have great dreams for the future of your company.  You know the actions you need to take to get to the next level but the day to day of running your business gets in the way.

That is why I am thrilled to announce we have partnered with Lovas Consulting to create SAGE Mentor’s Grow YOUR Business program

  • 12 Months
  • 4 Critical business goals accomplished
  • 4 Marketing campaigns executed
  • No excuses

In 12 months you will accomplish 4 critical business goals and execute 4 marketing campaigns, no excuses.  SAGE’s approach is different than other business coaching programs you may have seen.  You see, we aren’t talkers – we are doers.  That is my strength and I am really excited to help others do the same.  Through education, expertise, tools, resources and specific, measurable reporting we will ensure you stay on track and accomplish your goals.

I hope you will join me and see the program in action by attending a one hour free call. Come ready to work.  During this call you will learn:

  • How the program is designed to ensure your success
  • Establish your first assignments
  • Gain access to free tools and other resources.

Pick the time and date that work best for your schedule.

  • Tuesday, July 9th – 9:00am-10:00am
  • Tuesday, July 16th – 8:00pm-9:00pm
  • Tuesday, July 23rd – 12:00pm–1:00pm
  • Tuesday, July 30th – 3:00pm-4:00pm

Register for the call by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 443.293.7092.  We will confirm your reservation and send you the call-in instructions.

There is no place for excuses in your business plan. Let SAGE Mentor provide the program and support to do what you love and grow your business!

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I work with a lot of new business owners, start-up companies, and franchise owners. The one common thread is their desire to have immediate brand recognition.  In the virtual viral world we live in, everything seems to move at the speed of light and when something doesn’t, we tend to get cranky.  Brand development is not one of those “just add water” things.  True brand development takes time and consistent, repeatable messaging.

By the time you open your door to your prospects and customers you have already spent a significant amount of time working on your business.  You’ve designed and built [if applicable] your product and service offering, established the processes you think will be critical to your success and figured out your pricing.  So, what’s left? 

Branding is probably one of the most important elements of a solid marketing plan.  Your brand tells your consumers who you are, what you do and sets the initial impression.  Is your brand making the right impression?  Is your logo and color palette telling a story?  That initial impression can either drive business to your door or drive them away.

There are a few things you should think about when developing your brand:

  • Focus on the BENEFITS of your products and / or service, ask yourself “What problem do we solve?”
  • Know your AUDIENCE and market; ask yourself “Who are we building this product and / or service for, and where are they buying?”
  • Be consistent with the use of brand COMMUNICATION elements. It’s too easy to get distracted with the myriad of options.  Test-drive a few things that your audience “generally” gravitates to. 
  • Create desirable collateral.  Be sure to include images and written CONTENT.  Not everyone responds to the same material you do, so work to be inclusive.  The use of video, imagery and written word will attract prospects.
  • Be sure to ask your customers why they chose you and / or conduct an UNBIASED focus group.
  • Focus on your STRATEGY.  Don’t be easily distracted and change your logo / taglines / etc. on a whim.  It takes 3 – 5 years for a brand to become a mature brand. 

Once you launch your brand be true to it.  For example, if you are an environmentally friendly company providing “green” products, do not show up at a client site driving a large diesel SUV. 

   Remember, BRANDING is:

      “The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers' mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”

 

Create, develop and nurture an emotional connection with your prospects and customers.  Break through the noise and stand out from the crowd!


If you are intrigued by this type of information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sonata Venture Solutions,a Small Business Secret Weapon Company, as an outsourced marketing, branding and public relations company focused on small/mid-sized businesses and solo-preneurs.

  

The Launchbox®, a Small Business Secret Weapon Company, is a workshop designed to help business owners/ entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, branding and public relations.  The Launchbox provides you with the instruction and tools necessary to build your business.

  

Listen in every Saturday from 10am – 11am on Baltimore’s CBS Radio Station 1300AM to The Small Business Secret Weapon Hour. 

About the author:  Laura A. Meck.  Laura, President and CEO for Sonata Venture Solutions /The Launchbox, has been helping businesses grow for over twenty years.  Passionate, tenacious and driven to help others succeed best describes her work style.  The Launchbox is a workshop that can be taken in person or online with support by certified instructors.  

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How well do you know The Launchbox? Well…here’s a fun Friday scavenger hunt for you to learn more and also win a prize! The first person or business to submit the correct answers (must answer all five) will receive a 2 hour complimentary strategic business consultation from our team at Sonata Venture Solutions. The focus can be on marketing, branding, public relations, social media, personal branding, leadership development, or other areas involved in growing your business. Consultations may be in person or by phone depending on the winner’s location.

So, here you go: Below are five questions. Answers to all of these questions are somewhere on our website http://www.itsmylaunchbox.com/. Once you know the answers, please submit them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . That’s all there is to it!

 

1. What are the 3 types of businesses that can benefit    from The Launchbox?

2. What is the cool title of the owner of Hoppers Kid Zone?

3. What is the vision for The Launchbox (hint: you might check the Media Kit)?

4. What event will Maggie be leading on June 8th?

5. What was the date of the press release announcing Sonata’s Baltimore Office?

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“I don’t have anything interesting to say.” “I don’t have time to do social media.” “What would I write a blog about?”  I hear these comments from clients all the time.  It can be intimidating to force yourself to be creative, especially if you think you aren’t.  Ideas and inspiration can come from almost anywhere…BUT, you have to look up to see them.

I took my car in for new tires today.  They told me it was going to be several hours before the car would be ready.  I grumbled a bit but it was a beautiful morning and I had skipped my early morning walk so I figured it wouldn’t hurt me to stroll the few blocks home.  After a couple of blocks I came across a front yard that was the definition of “spring snow”.  The large double blooming cherry had dropped all its pink petals and the ground was covered, they even formed drifts!  I was so taken with this image I got my smart phone out and took a picture.

 

I turned the corner and there was a beautiful wisteria in full bloom, the flowers looking just like big purple grape clusters.  The next block yielded a red bud in full fuchsia colored glory.  This walk was becoming like a treasure hunt and I began to wonder what I would find next.  I discovered this amazing tree peony, a lovely white dogwood and these luscious azaleas (from my own front yard).  I was stunned at how fast the walk had gone and how much fun I’d had with my camera.

 

 

 

So maybe blooming trees aren’t your thing, I am a gardener.  The point is I took the time to be in the moment, to look up instead of staring down and saw inspiration. If you make time to have a real conversation with your customers you may hear or see something that could change your business.  Listen to your kids at the dinner table or in the car and you might learn a way to communicate with a whole new audience. 

To make a business successful takes hard work every day.  As business owners, it is easy to just keep plugging away, looking down at your keyboard or paperwork.    If, however, you are willing to look up occasionally, you may find that moment of inspiration that you just have to tell someone about.  And in that moment, you have a blog topic, a Facebook post and a couple of Tweets just waiting to be released.  

 

We'd love to hear how you're growing your business.  Please shoot us a message or check out how others are building their companies through our social media networks.

If you are intrigued by this type of information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sonata Venture Solutions is an outsourced marketing, branding and public relations company focused on small/mid-sized businesses and solo-preneurs.


The Launchbox® is a workshop designed to help business owners/ entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, branding and public relations.  The Launchbox provides you with the instruction and tools necessary to build your business.

About the author:  Maggie Clayton 

Maggie, Executive Director for Sonata Venture Solutions /The Launchbox, is a creative and fun professional and educator delivering results for over 20 years.  Maggie joined the Sonata team in 2010 and has delivered The Launchbox workshop to a wide variety of audiences.  The Launchbox is a workshop that can be taken in person or online with support by certified instructors.  Sonata Venture Solutions is an outsourced marketing provider.  The Launchbox is its educational outreach arm.  Whether you want to completely outsource your marketing to someone you trust, or you want to educate yourself on current and traditional marketing techniques, we are here to help.

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My business partner, Laura Meck, always says you can find a marketing message in almost anything.  If that is true, I just received a whopper!  A few weeks back I was teaching a Hospitality Bootcamp class at the Arlington Employment Center.  This is a fantastic program that helps unemployed individuals find new careers in the hospitality industry.  I am always so inspired by the participant stories and eagerness to do well.  Part of the “graduation” ceremony requires each participant to make an oral presentation in front of the class on any topic they wish.  One woman told a story about how she loved to look through old books on the library’s FREE cart.  She found a small book of poems and shared one of them with the class as a way to provide encouragement and strength as they began their new jobs.  I was so enthralled with the poem, I asked her to make a copy of it so I could take it home. 

While this poem is really targeted at how to live your personal life, as Laura says, I think there is a very strong message useful to budding entrepreneurs and business owners.   I share this poem with all of you, The Launchbox® community, to say take a look at your vision and mission.  Is it connecting with your heart?  Owning your own business can be very scary sometimes.  Remember this sage wisdom and advice….

Good luck & Stand tall –

Maggie

 

Advice From a Tree by Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud

Sink your Roots deeply into the Earth

Reflect the Light of your own True Nature

Think long term

Go out on a Limb

Remember your place among All living beings

Embrace with Joy the changing seasons. For each yields its own abundance

The Energy and Birth of Spring

The Growth and Contentment of Summer

The Wisdom to let go like leaves in the Fall

The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun and delight in their presence

Look up at the moon that shines down upon you

And the mystery of the stars at night

Seek Nourishment from the Good Things in life

Simple pleasures

Earth,

Fresh Air, Light

 

Be content with your natural beauty

Drink Plenty of Water

Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes

Be Flexible

Remember Your Roots!

 

ENJOY THE VIEW!

 

We'd love to hear how you're growing your business.  Please shoot us a message or check out how others are building their companies through our social media networks.

If you are intrigued by this type of information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sonata Venture Solutions is an outsourced marketing, branding and public relations company focused on small/mid-sized businesses and solo-preneurs.


The Launchbox® is a workshop designed to help business owners/ entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, branding and public relations.  The Launchbox provides you with the instruction and tools necessary to build your business.

About the author:  Maggie Clayton 

Maggie, Executive Director for Sonata Venture Solutions /The Launchbox, is a creative and fun professional and educator delivering results for over 20 years.  Maggie joined the Sonata team in 2010 and has delivered The Launchbox workshop to a wide variety of audiences.  The Launchbox is a workshop that can be taken in person or online with support by certified instructors.  Sonata Venture Solutions is an outsourced marketing provider.  The Launchbox is its educational outreach arm.  Whether you want to completely outsource your marketing to someone you trust, or you want to educate yourself on current and traditional marketing techniques, we are here to help.

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Everyone has been posting on various social media channels the “30 days of Thanksgiving.”  Until this year, and yes thanks to social media, I had never heard of the 30 days of Thanksgiving… While I haven’t kept up, outlining the 30 things I am most thankful for, a different post today made me stop and take notice.

On Facebook today I learned that a great local wine bar will be closing at the end of the year.  The owners Patrice and Tony are fantastic, supportive through the community and provide our town with a great local spot to catch up with friends, or as we like to say “solve world peace.”   The wine bar, Patrice and Tony will surely be missed.

They have apparently been (from what I can tell through social media) harassed by a small group of catty women.  I’m not quite sure exactly why these people are hell bent on having them close the wine bar.  Maybe they received poor service?  Maybe they didn’t get their food out in a timely manner?  Maybe they were cut off for being drunk and stupid!  Who knows what the real reason is for the harassment?   It’s a sad day when any local business closes.  It does impact the economy, beyond the jobs provided at their location.  Closing one, albeit small town wine bar, will impact more than just the bar owners.  It will have reaching impact to the patrons (who will spend their money perhaps in another town), the city and county – financially, the vendors who supplied the food, wines, beer and so many others.

Small businesses are the heart of America.  We should be supporting their efforts, patronizing their establishments, and buying goods and services.  Small businesses employee the majority of Americans and continue to be the fastest growth for jobs in our economy.

I’m grateful to have the opportunity to follow my dreams, to have supportive family and friends and to live in a place where (I thought) people rallied around one another.

I do hope they reconsider and feel the support of the community behind them, at the wine bar.  They deserve to follow their dreams and we deserve the right to a great little local wine bar.   I’m thankful I had the opportunity to meet both Patrice and Tony and to share in their hospitality!

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Posted by on in Launchbox

It's been an exciting year here at Sonata Venture Services and with The LaunchBox® growing at a compounding rate we wanted to bring you a new and exciting portal. Well...

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology... Better then it was before. Better... Stronger... Faster."

 

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... you just have to be open to it! What a crazy day, I feel like I have worked an entire week inside of 10 hours - I had an early morning meeting with John Herman, author of Hermanisms. He's an amazing businessman - he's realistic, honest and straight-forward. After two hours talking to him and reviewing my business plan and strategies, I felt I could conquer anything. If you haven't read his books, blogs or had the opportunity to hear him speak - you can check out some of his work at Herman University. While you may not find anything "new" - you will have an aha moment!

 

Several client meetings and great calls with old friends in the industry- each day brings something new and exciting.

 

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings

Tagged in: aha moment John Herman
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The LaunchBox®

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    Westminster, MD 21157
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    443.293.7092

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