Stacey Kannenberg's home-based business helps kids, parents and teachers get ready for the school year.
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In this interview, we learn a little bit more about how Stacey started her company and what she has learned along the way.
What's the name of your business?
Cedar Valley Publishing; Stacey Kannenberg Unlimited; Mom Central Consulting: and Mother Talk.
Where is your business located?
The publishing companies are located in my home in Fredonia, WI and I work virtually from home for Mom Central Consulting and Mother Talk, both located together outside Boston in Newton, MA.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
I write and publish the Let's Get Ready series for Cedar Valley Publishing, including Let's Get Ready For Kindergarten! Let's Get Ready For First Grade! and will be releasing the Spanish/English of Let's Get Ready For Kindergarten! iA Prepararse Para Kindergarten! I consult for Mom Central Consulting and Mother Talk where we help brands, authors and small businesses reach mom via viral grassroots and word-of-mouth marketing.
When did you start the business?
I started writing in 2003 to release and start Cedar Valley Publishing in 2004; Mom Central Consulting in 2007 and Mother Talk in 2008.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I had always worked in Corporate America as the entrepreneur within the company but decided to be a stay-at-home mom when my first child was born. My husband and I built our dream home and added an office for me. We always knew I would run my own company from home; we were just unsure what that business would be!
Where did you get the startup money?
We had saved for me to be a stay-at-home mom and for me to start a home-based company.
Who are your main competitors? How do you compete against them?
I don't really have any! I created something that is so simple but had never been done! One book that covers the curriculum for Kindergarten and First Grade that can be read like a book over and over for parents, kids and teachers! The books are currently used inside schools, head start programs, libraries and early learning centers across the country. Schools purchase them in bulk to give to each Kindergartener and First Grader in the entire enrollment.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
I understood the hard work that is required to create a brand. I was willing to do the little things to create a detailed plan of attack before I ever invested a dime. I spent so much time developing my niche market on paper so I had a detailed approach to selling. During the research and writing process, I was working with parents, kids and teachers to create that niche and take pre-orders.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I could have saved so much money, had I shopped around more before I settled on my first printer. I had all the power but never realized it at the time. I thought they were doing me a favor by helping me create my book; and forgot that I was a paying customer that potentially could become a big client. They so over charged me because they outsourced much of the work.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
I have worked hard to create a "google footprint" so that people can find me and my products everywhere. I didn't have much of a marketing budget and yet with a phone and a computer I was able to create a global business. I took advantage of the free sites to promote my company and subscribed to everyone's free newsletter so I always had free ideas on how to keep growing my business.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Find your niche. Network with other businesses to gain knowledge and develop a "google footprint" on line. Be seen everywhere on line; all the social networking sites, micro sites, blogging, posting comments, video presence and network, network, network to grow your business. The guy at the gas station might hold the key to opening your lines of distribution!
Wow, Stacey! You are an inspiration to everyone wanting to start a home based business after having a family. Thank you for the tips.