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Two years ago Tim Story and I sat at Panera Bread sipping coffee and planning our futures.  Both of us had recently been laid off from an interactive agency that was hit hard by the recession. I did not even own my own laptop yet and I think Tim was using a borrowed one. Tim knew I was an entrepreneur at heart who wanted to start my own public relations firm, so he volunteered to register my domain name. In betweeen sips, he looked up from his machine and asked for the name of my new company. I said without hesitating, “MarketingMel.” I had already established the name on twitter and when you googled “MarketingMel” it soared to the top of the page, far ahead of a well known actor whose name I share. Who could argue with that? A company was born.

Tim has gone onto success in his new career and he has helped me as a freelancer with SEO work for some of my clients. For two years I’ve had the privilege of working with fantastic business professionals, guiding them with their communications and awareness efforts including marketing, public relations and social media strategies. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some outstanding vendors as well, extremely talented web designers, photographers and videographers.

When I tell people I’ve been in business two years they generally congratulate me and comment that many entrepreneurs don’t make it past the first year.  Shortly after that groundbreaking cup of coffee I attended two workshops at the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at ETSU including one on writing a business plan.  For those of you who may be thinking of starting your own business, here are some pitfalls to avoid and tips on starting a small business. Chief among those, writing and then working your business plan. And as for your business’ name, well, I recommend something with staying power. See you here next year!

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