Via the Lucky Napkin blog...

Lucky Napkin Live–REDUX – The Director’s Cut ;)

Lucky Napkin Live–REDUX – The Director’s Cut ;)

OK, OK I know we are not talking about an Academy Award Winning Movie, but I of course feel a bit of pride talking today about the recently released 4 DVD box set of Lucky Napkin Live, featuring every entrepreneurial inspiration packed moment from the March Lucky Napkin Live Event in Phoenix.

Our great friends atVBN.TVwere kind enough to come to the event and capture every seminar, every insight and every information packed class and it is all available for you to watch in the comfort of your own home, with notebook, pencil and pause button ready so you don’t miss one detail.

Until today the only way you could have gotten your hands on this DVD was by attending and ordering it the day of the event, but because of the overwhelming demand we had received from people around the world who were unable to fly to Phoenix and learn from the experts first hand we decided to release the complete set.

If you are wondering what you get, I have included a complete agenda from the event. Your 4 DVD set includes full length, uncut versions of absolutely every seminar. They have all been captured in their entirety from multiple angles with clear view of every detail from every PowerPoint slide presented and answers to every question asked.And if you would like to see a nearly 20 minute preview of the entire 8 hour set you can do so by clicking here or the links below.

WHAT'S ON THE COMPLETE DVD SET?

General Session Opening
Featuring John Adam and Tom Perry of the John Adam Radio Show‐ The #1 Talk Radio Show for Small Business
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Dream it, Build it, Scale it and Let it Grow‐ How to Create Your Own Lucky Napkin

Anthony Tesoriero‐ Founder Solarceuticals, Co‐Founder Lucky Napkin
‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
Is Your Great Idea Ready for TV, QVC and Infomercial Success?
Bob Warden‐ Developer of Cook’s Essentials, QVC Host and Billion Dollar TV Sales Expert
‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
Dahlynn Mckowen– Co‐Author of the Chicken Soup Series
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One Idea Can Change the World
Amilya Antonetti‐ Founder Soapworks, Co‐Founder Lucky Napkin
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How to Get Your Idea Seen and Sold in A Web 2.0, New Media World
David Cain, President MediaSauce
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How to Get Started in Business With Your Great Idea
John Benjamin, Founder, John Benjamin, Entrepreneurial CPAs

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

How to Create An Entrepreneurial Mindset

Mike Michalowic, CNBC Big Idea Expert and Founder of Obsidian Launch
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How to Protect Your Great Idea‐ Patents, Trademarks, and Trade Secrets
Barb Luther, Founder, The Luther Law Firm
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The Spirit of Entrepreneurship‐ Taking Your Great Idea Vision and Making it Happen

Bryan Gray, CEO of MediaSauce

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Your Brilliant Brand: For the Future Famous and their Great Ideas
Jon Ward, Trump University Faculty
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Top 10 PR Tips for the Inventor, Entrepreneur and your Great idea
Ann Noder, President Orca Communications
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How to Finance your Great Idea -From Bootstrap to Bankroll
Bill Kilburg, CPA, CFO, Co‐Founder Lucky Napkin
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The TeleSphere Expert Forum‐ Four Founders, Every Expert and Your Great Idea Questions
Hosted By Mitch Schlimer,- Founder of The Lets Talk Business Network
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Announcement of the Selected Entrepreneur in‘ The Search for Arizona's Next Great Idea’
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This is truly a phenomenal value. Each of the experts at Lucky Napkin Live runs their own business, some in excess of 100 million dollars per year. The time and exper
tise they offered that day and through this DVD set is invaluable to the entrepreneur looking for answers to the challenges of launching and running a business. You really should take the time to watch the 20-minute preview and decide for yourself.

Of course nothing can replace the real life opportunity to be at the event, the networking, the one on one time with the experts, the access to venture capitalists and angel investors and the atmosphere of entrepreneurship, but the 4 DVD set gets as close to the real thing as possible.
Our friends atVBN.TVdeserve a real big round of applause for taking the time and putting forth the production to bring this special value to entrepreneurs around the world.

Best of luck always.




‘A Truly Great Idea’

‘A Truly Great Idea’

I wanted to dedicate this Blog today to telling you about a truly great idea.

For the past 6 months I have been a member of a great web site calledVBN.tvone of the groundbreaking new web 3.0 sites that seamlessly combines all of the rich interactive tapestry of the web under one umbrella.VBN.tvis not just another site with video it is actually a best in class IP broadcasting network, that is combining television, education, entertainment and business resources into one familiar to use platform for likeminded users around the world.

By now you’ve seen sites like YouTube that allow you to watch mindless video clips of flying Mentos and skateboarding bulldogs to your hearts content. You probably have navigated the pages of Myspace or Facebook once or twice to look for an old friend and found an endless amount of mind numbing peeks intopeople’s personal lives that had you screaming “TMI” and praying that your son or daughter don’t decide to post the seamiest details of their lives on these pages for the world to mock. You might have a Flikr or Picassa account where you post pics to share with family and you may have even held a virtual conference with GoTo Meeting through your job or just to have some fun with family and friends around the world.

Amazingly in this new Internet enabled age, it seems all things are possible, yet for all the technology it also seems that no one has really taken into account the quality of the content and the defining purpose of the community. That is whereVBN.tvis changing the playing field. For the first time that I could find on the Internet, a company with good intentions is delivering their brand promise with a purpose and it makes for a great new dimension in family, personal and business infotainment resources available to you today that could change the way you use the Internet for years to come.

Founded in 2005 on the inspiration to provide children& families with wholesome entertainment and the promotion of health, wellness, education and self-worth, VBN.tv has developed an interactive video content broadcast model that gives viewers a medium to participate, communicate and learn, through the use of dynamic collaborative tools and stimulating TV programming.

Now lest you be confused by the familiar idea of TV in their name,VBN.tvis far more than just another Internet TV station. One click through the deep navigation pages will have you wondering how they can offer so much to members of the site. Besides the great programming like the fun Cooking with Gino Cucino show for kids and families alike, there is a social networking component that allows you to interact with like-minded people worldwide. There is a photo sharing portion of the site, live conference tools with video and interactive tools to share ideas. You can send a video email to friends and family or even take a virtual class in a foreign language or use it to teach your kids math and science.

Frankly there is so much thatVBN.TVoffers it is impossible to mention it all in this Blog. That is why I’d really like for you to try their free level one membership for yourself that grants you access to all of the great programming, “Social Network”, “Rewards Shopping Mall” and even the ‘Take-a-Class’ module just click through tohttp://www.vbn.tvto be taken directly to their site. While your there, consider signing up for their premium level 2 service which adds robust, unlimited-use“Video Conferencing” capability for up to four uses simultaneously, and outgoing Video Emails (Yes… emails that when opened automatically play your video greeting or professional marketing videos, etc). In fact I have arranged for you to receive your first 30 days of premium service for only $1.00 if you use promo code 8c657 when checking out.

You’ll be happy to know thatVBN.TVis not owned by some large conglomerate or the offshoot of a major network executive, it is the personal Lucky Napkin idea of two wonderful founders who have self funded every portion of its growth and are committed to the entrepreneurial community and maintaining the highest standards in the growth of their business.

Please take the time to visithttp://www.VBN.TVand get signed up for this special free trial membership today. Both Michael and Doc the founders ofVBN.tvare excited to have you as part of the VBN community and look forward to hearing your feedback on their great idea.

Best of luck always,

Anthony



Into The Trenches - 10 Rules of Preventative Lawyering

Ten Simple Rules From The Perspective Of A Business Lawyer Knee Deep In The Mud


1.)“Good lawyer” is not an oxymoron. Hire a good, experienced attorney.“Preventative lawyering” is one of the best investments you can make in your business. Building a business without good legal counsel is like building a skyscraper without a structural engineer.


2.)Protect Yourself From Personal Liability.Consider protecting yourself from personal liability by forming a corporation or limited liability company to own and operate your business. If property formed and maintained, the entity (and not you, personally) is responsible for the debts of your business and your personal assets should stay well out of the line of creditor fire.

3.)Use Insurance.While we are on this personal liability issue, find a reputable insurance agent and discuss with him or her exactly what insurance is available to protect you against liability for claims against you and your business.

4.)Read the Fine Print.Let me say that again: Read the fine print. You’ve heard this before, but there’s a reason. We lawyers like to say that the deal is in the details and we are right.

5.)Avoid Personal Guarantees.Now, having said that, I appreciate the realities of business and know that sometimes it is just not possible to do your deal without personally guaranteeing some obligation, whether it be your lease or a line of credit. If that’s your story, try to negotiate some limitation on the extent of your liability. For example, consider a cap on your financial exposure and/or limit your guarantee to a fixed number of years.

6.)There is No Such Thing as Boilerplate. Do not buy into the myth that there are boilerplate documents out there which can be used to save you professional fees. As a general rule and speaking from experience,“boilerplate” is just another way of saying “cut and paste job”.

Sometimes these boilerplate provisions can be relevant, sometimes not. However, I can assure you that often buried in the“boilerplate” are all sorts of clauses that do not work for your deal and/or may, in fact, be detrimental. In a perfect world, you would have your lawyer draft up your documents. If you have decided to pass Rule #1, then carefully read all of these other Rules and strictly apply.

7.)Don’t Pretend to Know.Ask questions of your lawyer and anyone else with a pulse. Knowledge is power. Now is not the time to be shy.

8.)The Pre-Printed Form is Not Sacred. Just because you are presented with a pre-printed
form does not mean that some or all of the terms are not negotiable. Refer to Rule #4 above and then refer to Rule #9 below.

9.)Negotiate Where Appropriate.Business is about win-win. Make this your mantra. Now, repeat this mantra as you step into negotiate your deals. In other words, be judicious (pun intended) in your negotiating. Focus on the points that are critical to your success. Don’t spend psychic energy fighting for the little things and lose sight of the big picture.

10.)When You Are Sensing Trouble, Get Help.Don’t wait until you can see the whites of their eyes. Many business problems can be resolved in the early stages. However, the longer you wait to address an issue, the more warts it will grow and the more expensive it will be to resolve. Understand that using your lawyer and other professionals comprising your team at the early stages is money well spent.


**This great article was contributed by Gay L. Harwin Esq.


Gay Harwin.is general counsel to Lucky Napkin and founder of The Harwin Law Firm an internationally respected firm representing local, national and international businesses and their executives in all aspects of operations and recognized expert in the area of start-up enterprises. Ms. Harwin is also a member by invitation of several Federal Government regulation organizations and still makes time for her philanthropic work representing such organizations as the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Planet Hope.

Gay L Harwin Law Offices - 9454 Wilshire Blvd # 707, Beverly Hills, CA

Five Things To Ask Yourself To Determine If You Really Have A Great Idea

Five Things To Ask Yourself To Determine If You Really Have A Great Idea

1. What problem does your"Great Idea"solve?

A truly"Great Idea"solves a problem or fills a need. When sharing or showing someone your idea, a good rule of thumb is the longer it takes someone to"get it"the less likely it is a great idea. If this is the case, you may have some fine-tuning to do or may even go back to the drawing board.

2. How is the problem currently being solved?

If you have come up with a"Great Idea"to solve a problem chances are so have a million of other people. Do your homework! Start with Google searching on every possible combination of words that describe your idea, look in all categories, all different type of wording to not only see if your concept and product is already out there but to see how and what consumers are already buying and doing to solve the problem. Knowledge is power and you can never know too much about your idea and the categories it is in.

3. How does your idea compare to other solutions for the same problem?

Compare your great idea to the current solutions on the market from a time, cost and convenience perspective. Create an easy to follow chart (current solution vs. my great idea. Ask people you know, who can be objective which way of solving the problem they find easiest and most willing to do. (Do not influence them)


4. Who are you? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Make two lists. One list should be all the adjectives that best describe you; (i.e. organized, salesperson, closer, number oriented, detailed, etc.)

The other list should contain all the things you think you are good at. Then ask five people close to you to answer the same questions about you. Compare the lists. The answers that are on your list that most match the descriptions by other people are probably the most accurate of who you really are. The ones that have no matches are things you need to reconsider if they truly are"you".

If there are things on multiple lists that match and none on your list, you also need to consider that as strength that you may not have thought you had. Do not be fooled that you are master of all things. No one is. The trick is to have a crystal clear (and honest) view of who you are.


5. Find the people to fill in the gaps to your list - your talent pool.

Now that you have an objective look at who you are and what your good at, you need to start finding people with the skill sets you are missing to join your team. Unfortunately, many times like people attract like people and in the case of a business building this does your idea a disservice. You need opposite and a variety of skill sets in order to complete your idea in order to launch with the most chance of success.

I have a great idea… Now what? (The Next Step)

I have a great idea… Now what? (The Next Step)

As a successful entrepreneur and now co-founder of Lucky Napkin the country’s premiere venture catalyst company, this question is by far one of the most frequent we hear. It seems that average inventors and aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere are befuddled in a process that the books, CDs, TV shows and free money seminars would have you believe is easy. But the reality isthat “easy” is the furthest thing from the truth and in fact the process from inspiration to creation can be down right daunting.

My belief on why such a monumental task is said to be so simplistic is quite straightforward really, it all has to do with relative levels of experience and thus the anxiety that consumes us when faced with a new task outside of our familiarity. While the“experts” are right in one way, the general concept of taking an idea from mind to market or concept to creation is “simple” when you lay it out step by cautious step, the practicality of actually doing it with your own idea is one of the most difficult tasks one can take on in their life.

Birthing an idea, a really great one, is truly akin to conceiving, carrying and bringing a child into the world. Starting on the first day you discover your great idea the anxiety, fear, trepidation, doubt, joy, hopes, dreams and aspirations all become one giant bundle of emotions that you carry with you and effect every decision you make. Each step along the way and each conflicting piece of advice you read or receive creating an internal turmoil that at times makes it almost impossible to move forward.

I for one don’t have a handyman’s bone in my body. Although I consider myself incredibly resourceful and like to believe I can accomplish anything, when it comes to working on my home, or landscaping my own yard I am nearly crippled with anxiety. I can watch those home makeover shows, gain mountains of inspiration, fill my head with confidence and even create a simple plan to change a room or my whole house. Then I’ll take that inspiration to Lowes or Home Depot and buy hundreds of dollars worth of tools and supplies; get home, break down a wall with gusto, hit the first obstacle, get frustrated, try again, meet another obstacle then call a professional to clean up my mess while I wallow in self pity at my continual home improvement failure cycle.

You see, while its true most handyman jobs around the house and even building an entire house can be considered“easy” to some, it can be monumental to most an frankly downright impossible to others. The same is true for idea development. Bringing an idea to market is not an easy task and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. In fact I can introduce you to many bankrupt aspiring entrepreneurs who thought they could just follow the steps in the book and make millions, only to get road blocked half way with insurmountable obstacles that cost them their life savings before they finally came to the conclusion that the original idea they had would never work in the first place and by then it was too late.

So then what is the answer to the proverbial question you ask,“What do I do next once I have come up with a great idea?” Well to that I say my answer will always be the same. For get buying books, CDs or thinking you’ll cull together the answer from a bunch of web sites. The real answer is actually simple, “Validate the idea with unbiased professionalassessment.”

Most business fail and most ideas never get off the ground for one simple reason and it is not for lack of funds as some might have you believe, it is for lack of a fully vetted and verified idea. Just like with my personal failure cycle with home improvement projects, idea venturing requires the same type of careful forethought and professional assessment of a project with strong consideration for your own personal talents and resources at your disposal.

Yet like my personal penchant for biting off more than I can chew and being caught up in the inspiration without thought for the perspiration required, most aspiring entrepreneurs and inventors too get caught in the ego trap of their love for an idea.But the fact remains if they were simply to take a good hard look at their idea and get proper professional assessment up front before investing too many dollars into just running full steam ahead, they might easily learn that their great idea is not actually great for them or worse that its not actually great at all and maybe even being done already someplace else.

Although I am a firm disciple of“The Power of Positive Thinking.” And a person who will tell everyone I meet that they already have the power inside of them to take them where they want to go, I am also just as firmly a believer in rational, practical thought and realize that the will to do something alone is not enough to getyou over the top. Regardless of the amount of motivation you have for your great idea, and how easy the experts make it appear on TV, in books and magazines, don’t let yourself get caught in an ego trap.

Once you truly believe you have a great idea, make sure you seek and find competent, professional and unbiased advice to help you evaluate it to its fullest. Then decide what to do next.
While I cannot guarantee you that you success if you follow my simple advice, I can personally guarantee you that if you proceed full steam ahead with your idea without first asking the right questions to the right people you will increase your chances of failure 100 fold. Take the time to listen, learn, develop and adapt. The investment you spend in doing so now, just may make you millions in the future.

Lucky Napkin Live -V.I.P. Question?

Oops, almost forgot. Many of the attendees of Lucky Napkin Live who purchased V.I.P. Tickets have asked if their ideas will get any additional preferential treatment in the process and the short answer is"YES".

To be as fair as possible to everyone who attended we of course are reviewing each idea individually looking for the"Big Vision"and discussingamongstourselves where we can offer assistance, but we are working in order of the V.I.P. Ticket holders first and moving through the list.

As anyone who attended the event knows, each founder and every expert in attendance at Lucky Napkin Live worked from morning until late night meeting and listening to entrepreneurs and inventors make their best pitch and then offering candid replies, boosts of confidence, in most case very specific instructions on what to do next and in a few very special case an on the spot handshake deal.

Now since the event our goal has been to"triage"the event itself, tie up all loose ends, offer our thanks to the many people who made it all possible and close the deals that we saw that we all immediately agreed upon.

Now we're going to focus first on completing the value offering to our V.I.P. guests by re-reviewing all of their ideas first and discussing our cumulative impressions before moving on to all the other wonderful ideas we saw. Every person who purchased a V.I.P. ticket has received or will receive a personal follow up phone call from Lucky Napkin to tell them our final thoughts.

To be clear with all other attendees, we will not be able to offer the same level of service. It would clearly be impossible to do the same for all 600 plus attendees, which I am sure everyone understands. But regardless don't fear, we live by a"No Great Idea Left Behind"policy and if you attended Lucky Napkin Live and submitted in person, in the Life Lock Launch pad or both, if the idea is truly great, I assure you we will find you.

Whats Happening with My Pitch since Lucky Napkin Live?

O.M.G.

Oh My Goodness!What an amazing event, I personally have never seen so many incredible ideas, enthusiasm, talent and resources in one room on the same day in my entire career.

Lucky Napkin Live, held this past March 20 was everything we expected it to be and so much more. Truth be told, it exceeded our expectations in every way possible.
There were more attendees, more inventors, more experts, investors, entrepreneurs, angels, friends, guests and of course great ideas then we could have imagined. The response was so overwhelming unfortunately we even had to turn people away at the door because we ran out of seats, badges, bags and everything else. (Sorry about that)

In fact, that really seemed to be the only major stumbling block, that we never planned for such an incredible turnout our registration desk was a disaster with some people waiting as much as 1 hour and half just to get their badges and find a seat in the main room for the opening sessions. I think I personally shook the hand of every registrant, going down the line apologizing for our screw up and notifying them that we would push the whole show back 1 hour to accommodate as many attendees as possible.

I must say how impressed I was by the understanding and patience we received from everyone who just seemed so jazzed and energized regardless of the long wait on the registration line. All I can say is THANK YOU. You made the day great for all of us as well.

I have so many wonderful things to say about the event and the hundreds of honest hardworking inventors and entrepreneurs we met that I really don’t know where to being nor do I think I have space. Needless to say we found a couple of great ideas we will be investing in immediately, at least another dozen we are paving the way to QVC and other retail channels for and over a hundred others we are tossing back and forth to determine where wecan help and the truth is we haven’t even finished reviewing all of the pitches from the Life Lock Launch Pad, so we expect to find more.

WHEW… This is exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.
So all that aside, the main reason for this post is to shed some light on our processes and where we are at today to help ease the anticipation and possible anxiety of the hundreds of people who attended Lucky Napkin Live and made a pitch either in person or in the Life Lock Launch Pad on the 20th who want to know,“What is going on?”

Simultaneously I expect people who have submitted ideas via the LuckyNapkin.com web site and have been waiting would like a bit of insight as well, so I hope they too will read on and get a better feel for us and what we’re up to lately.

First things first,“What is happening with the Life Lock Launch Pad Videos?”

The good news is we started the review process. The better news is, we have seen more good ideas than bad. The best news is we are seeing more and more ways to assist entrepreneurs in their process to get their products to market without necessarily having to get into big contract negotiations and invest heavily into every idea. Which means we should be able to facility some fast routes to market allowing some inventors and entrepreneurs to hold onto all their equity and just focus on fulfilling sales. Very cool stuff.

The bad news is, this video review process is going to take us much longer than we predicted. Each founder is reviewing every idea and every pitch, one by one and there are over 600 at at least 2 minutes apiece. Do the math, that’s a lot of work. In addition we are taking copious notes, consulting with members of our board of experts and cross-referencing Life Lock Launch Pad videos with web site submissions, product samples that were received and then discussing our first hand impressions of the inventors that we met atthe actual event.

It’s a lot of work, but as anyone who was at the event can attest to we are committed to finding great ideas and the great people behind them so we will do what it takes to make sure we turn over every rock, before we pass on an idea.

The bottom line is its going to be a few more weeks before we can make all of our final decisions and get back to the attendees who we are interested in working with to determine the next steps.

That brings me to the next big question, everyone has,“What should I do in the mean time, while I’m waiting to hear back from Lucky Napkin?”

Well that answer is crystal clear, MOVE FORWARD! Don’t wait on us or anyone else for that matter on your journey to achieve your entrepreneurial vision. You should be out selling, creating, developing, meeting investors, retail partners, attorneys and anyone’s else you think can help move your vision forward, just like you did contacting us in the first place. That is the right way. The fact is, if we call you a few weeks from now and would like to make a deal, but you’ve already moved on than it’s our loss. We will have missed out on possibly investing in your great idea but we will still wish you the best and invite you to come back and see us when you have your next great idea.

OK. So those are the two most critical questions we keep hearing and I wanted to get them answered for you so that you can understand our direction and also to give Vicki our executive relationship manager a break from the hundreds of calls she’s been receiving.

I know there is more you want to know and dozens more questions you want me to address, so just give me a few days and I’ll post again and email everyone with more, to keep you in the loop. In the mean time I have to get back to reviewing some more great ideas.

Best Of Luck Always,

Anthony

Great Article in The Business Journal

This is a terrific article about the inspiration of Lucky Napkin

http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2007/11/26/smallb4.html?jst=pn_pn_lk

Nice to be Recognized by our Peers

Lucky Napkin is popping up all over the place.

Check out this flattering recommendation on Scribd...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/1127255/Business-Growth-Accelerators-Y-Combinator-Lucky-Napkin-OLaunch

CH 3 AZ Family is Talking about Lucky Napkin

We love to love our friends who say such nice things about us.

Check out who's talking about us now. Channel 3 Arizona Family Televison the number 1 independent television station in Arizona

http://www.azfamily.com/news/homepagetopstory/stories/KTVKLocal20080122_luckynapkin.4be108f7.html

AUDIO Part 3: Founding Partners Amilya and Anthony on the Radio

Part 3, the conclusion of the interview with Lucky Napkin founding partners Anthony Tesoriero and Amilya Antonetti on the Peters and Brown small business radio program.

Anthony and Amilya take call in questions, assist entrepreneurs to gain clarity on their great ideas and help move them in the direction of their dreams.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FfN4f-UQMs

AUDIO Part 2: Founding Partners Amilya and Anthony on the Radio

Part 2 of The Peters and Brown radio interview with Lucky Napkin founding partners Amilya Antonetti and Anthony Tesoriero.

Anthony and Amilya discuss the Lucky Napkin company and explain how they help entrepreneurs of all stages of the journey take their ideas from mind to market.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uJIpwMlE08

AUDIO Part 1: Founding Partners Amilya and Anthony on the Radio

Meet Lucky Napkin founding partners Anthony Tesoriero and Amilya Antonetti on The Peters and Brown small business talk show.

This is Part 1 of a 3 part interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjdgCgxcGcg

Q&A- I Got No Team, What Now?

Q) Amilya on the The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch show you spoke about your team behind you. What if you don’t have a team and are doing everything?

Dan P.
Frustrated in Washington.

Dear Dan,

A) I honestly believe most people want to help. The reason they usually don’t is a problem on both ends. Firstly the person needing help has no clue what they really want someone to do and are so controlling that they can’t let others help if the person doesn’t do it exactly the way they would have or want it done. Secondly, the person helping often feels the expectation is set too high or not set at all leaving too much room for error so they feel its better to not get involved and set oneself up for others disappointment.

Here are some tips and getting more hands on deck. First, define what tasks you enjoy doing and are good at. This can be from cooking, cleaning to numbers, design, creative project. Then clearly define the areas and tasks that trip you up and slow you down. Now find others with opposite talents to trade with. I will make dinner for your home and mine if you can review my spreadsheet. I will work on your web site if you can help me with my marketing. You get the idea. Now you are attacking more issues quicker and working within a team.

In my personal and business life I have created different teams to help me stay focused and I offer each person on the teams the same commitment and reciprocation. Amilya’s business team, my children’s team, health team, spiritual team and so on is how I begin to see the people,e in my life who offer their help.

Often people go to one person for all the advice, nurturing and feedback. The mistake with that thinking is that one person can not be all things to you You will set your self up for failure. Don’t ask the person you feel is a great parent how to build your business. Don’t ask your trainer at the gym how to throw a dinner party. Stay focused with clear goals from clearly defined people and let those people know you are counting on them for defined knowledge.

Remember to relinquish some control and allow others to help you and be prepared to assist them with their needs as well.“Play it forward, pass it back,” commit this phrase to memory and make it your mantra. Offer help to others you could use help from and ask them to join your team if only on a part time basis to give you the relief you seek. Be patient and watch as your “team” starts to develop.

Never quit, your success is closer than you think..

Amilya

PS. You can learn more about Amilya on her web site,http://www.Amilya.com. And when you are ready to make the entrepreneurial jump, make sure you check out some of the priceless information and inspiration athttp://www.LuckyNapkin.com, or plan to attend our Lucky Napkin Live Event, March 20, 2008 in Scottsdale AZ. Lucky Napkin is the country’s premiere “Venture Catalyst” company, an entrepreneurial catapult “Where Great Ideas Launch.”

Q&A - Connections

Q) Amilya I have caught several of your episodes on“The Big Idea” I love seeing a real world successful woman sharing her knowledge. How do I make the “right” connections to get my business to where it is profitable enough for me to quit my bill paying job?

Kat C.
San Diego, CA

A) Dear Kat,

This is a big question to answer completely in a small space so let me give you some starter points to think about to get you moving in the right direction.
First off, you need to know exactly what that REAL bill paying number is for yourself personally and also for the actual business expenses per month, only once you have identified these numbers will you be able to start to develop the proper plan to leave your job and focus on your business full time.

As far as connections, the“right” ones are probably closer than you think. First off identify clearly who and what kind of people can help you build momentum in your company. Remember to think of this from all angles; who can help you internally with operations issues, who can help you build your brand and sales and whocan help you check and balance your numbers and budget?

Now start to examine your personal rolodex and make a secondary list of their professions, education and hobbies of all of your most important contacts. Begin having confidential conversations with your most trusted contacts and tell them what you are looking for and take accurate notes. These conversations will reveal to you a second level of connections that you will be able to tap into by leveraging your primary relationships. Just make sure when you are asking questions to ask the proper question to the most qualified source, (don’t direct your accounting questions to your plumber)

Once you identify the people who can assist you the most don’t be afraid to ask for their help and secure their assistance. Then readjust your breakeven numbers accordingly to account for the savings in time, productivity and hard costs.Remember to always remain sincere in your confidential conversations and never betray the trust of your connections by going around them or using them without giving back. Make this activity into a habit and I assure you that you will continue to grow your rolodex along with your sales, and soon you will be leaving your“bill paying” job and moving forward with your dreams.

Never quit, your success is closer than you think..

Amilya

PS. You can learn more about Amilya on her web site,http://www.Amilya.com.And when you are ready to make the entrepreneurial jump, make sure you check out some of the priceless information and inspiration athttp://www.LuckyNapkin.com,or plan to attend our Lucky Napkin Live Event, March 20, 2008 in Scottsdale AZ. Lucky Napkin is the country’s premiere “Venture Catalyst” company, an entrepreneurial catapult “Where Great Ideas Launch.”

Q&A - I Got No Cash...

Q) What if I don’t have any money to get started?

A) I think I hear this more often than I can count and trust me when I say ,”I get it.”, I know what it is like to not have the funds to do the things I want to do. With that being said most of the stories I have read about the entrepreneurs that have built some of today’s most well know brands went through some very creative financing in the beginning, maxed out credit cards, took money from student loans, borrowed money from friends and family and I even read about a garage sale to raise funds.

So when people say they don’t have money to get started... it causes me pause... not because I believe that you don’t need the proper funding to launch your idea, but it shocks me how quickly people want money from others before they have put any money in of their own.

As an investor I have never thrown money at an idea that the inventor did not have his own cash into. How much can you really believe in your idea if your not willing to fund it the fist baby steps to at least prove the concept?

The reality is the start up phase is usually more soft dollars than hard. Doing the research, spending time on the patent sites to see what else is out there that could be seen as similar, making a prototype or sketches even out of cardboard and tape if need be. Many, many things can be done and structured to"get started"

When I hear"I don’ have the money to get started"I really hear an excuse for why you have not gotten started. One of the strongest traits an entrepreneur needs to have is creativity and trust me that trait comes in handy each and every day. The world is trained and conditioned to say"NO"and"No"is when your job as the entrepreneurs, inventor or idea dreamer needs to begin.

Unless your Big Idea is to create a new rocket to travel to Jupiter, more often than not you will not require much money to gather the resources to research it, develop a prototype, create a name and brand concept and demonstrate that to potential buyers. At minimum start there, and uncover weather people will actually purchase it before you ask anyone for money or before you mortgage you home to go for it...


Amilya Antonetti will be addressing this and dozens more of your questions about your Big Idea in person at her keynote address during Lucky Napkin Live, March 20th 2008. To learn more about it and to purchase tickets click here:
http://www.luckynapkinlive.com

Q&A -How Do I Protect Myself?

Q) Should I get a patent on my Big Idea?

A) I think that there may be huge misconceptions about this topic. I am going to try and address Patents here to help us all get a better understanding of what patents do and don’t do, what they cost (generally) and when to get one.

The most important thing to know about a patent is that they are only as good as the money, resources and time you have to defend and protect your idea or claim.

You can have a patent on something but if you are fighting someone with bigger, better and more money and resources... guess who usually looses. Why? Because eventually you will exhaust your funding or resources and quit and unless it is ironclad, blatant rip off with a clear picture of a well funded, easy to get to company as the target, no lawyer will take the case on contingency and hope to make their money when the case settles. And we all know lawyers can become very expensive.

There are companies who make their fortunes on the backs of other entrepreneur’s R&D waiting for a hit product and knocking it off quickly and producing a similar one at a cheaper price regardless of any patents. They usually have an army of lawyers instead of research and development budget and their strategy usually is to wear you down in court for as long as it takes to exhaust all of your assets then make you settle for pennies. It this fair? Heck NO. Does it happen? Yes, all the time.


So when I read so many emails and letters from people saying that they can’t or won’t talk about their idea because they are waiting to pull together enough $$ to get a patent, it causes me a bit of pause. Unless you have redesigned the human genome and anticipate winning the Nobel prize, for most ideas with patents It is usually very easy for a competitor to tweak an idea just a little to get around it.

I could list you off a dozen examples of products that are virtually the same but with a small engineering difference therefore allowing them to compete for the same customer in the same space. My belief is that a patent provides you with tangible proof to your claim of ownership so that you can begin a discussion, or a fight to stake claim on what is or was yours. But it is still up to you to prepare, defend, and rally the correct players, resources and money for that fight and in most cases that money could usually be better spent in marketing, advertising, PR or business development.

That said, I would still encourage anyone with a truly BIG idea to have a conversation with a great IP attorney and investigate the options. Any credible attorney worth their salt will absolutely tell you if you are wasting your time before you engage them in the process. Finally If you would like to save some money you can do some research about patents on your own by visiting the US Patent and Trademark Office online at www.USPTO.gov– patents - search

Below is a general look at patents, their protections and general costs. As with all advice, use it as a baseline but I encourage you to keep digging until you arrive at the solution that works best for your own personal situation.


Provisional Patents- allow you 1 year to work on an idea/product/concept while you are still developing it but this shows proof of concept.

The cost depends on the complexity of the idea and information to be related to the patent office. $1-3 K should handle a bare bones draft. However, after filing a complete provisional patent application, no additional work needs to be done during the year. If you make significant improvements in your idea before the year expires, just expand the first filing and re-file with the US patent office.

Utility Patents- a more complicated patent that takes longer and normally takes several passes through the EXAMINER at the patent office.
This can run from 10K to 50K based on how much research and communications between office and attorney have to happen.

Budget about $5,000 to 10,000 for the utility patent application, formal drawings, and extra paperwork. The negotiating back and forth with the patent examiner may go to $10,000-30,000. At the end, there is the issue fee to pay.


Design Patents. A simpler patent process, but also the easiest to get around. These can cost as little as 2-5 thousand dollars. This protects only the decorative aspects of your product, not the functional aspects.

Mailing yourself a copy of the idea and not opening the envelope does NOT protect your idea. It is inexpensive enough to file a provisional application and that is necessary, except at large companies with systems to create records of inventions.

So after hearing all of this are you more confused or less? The bottom line is that while a patent does provide you with rights afforded by law to the ownership of your big idea, even if you get one there are no‘patent police’ who will rally to your cause to protect you. It will still be up to you to fight it out in court and prove your case to a judge before any money will be awarded. So consider cafefully the options before you before diving head first into a patent. In many cases, just plowing aheadand selling your great idea into the marketplace is a far wiser decision than waiting until you feel protected by a patent which you may not have the cash left over to defend even if it is infringed upon.

Special thanks to Barb Luther, patent attorney extraordinaire and a member of the Lucky Napkin Board of Experts for her contribution to this answer. Both Barb and Amilya Antonetti will be addressing this and dozens more of your questions about your Big Idea in person during Lucky Napkin Live, March 20th 2008. To learn more about it and to purchase tickets click here:
http://www.luckynapkinlive.com

Q&A- Who Do I Trust?

One common question I have received over and over is"How do I know whom I can trust with my Big Idea?"

The text book answer to this question is to protect yourself at all times, demand non disclosure agreements before talking and chronicle and commemorate every conversation you have about your big idea. Like most things they teach you in school though the reality is quite different. In practice, there really isn’t anyway to fully protect yourself from someone taking your idea and doing something with it, nor will it be easy to get any one of any real business substance to sign an NDA just to discuss your idea and you can chronicle and commemorate all you want but if you don’t have the money and lawyersto go after the people who steal from you, it really is irrelevant. So I really have to tackle this question from the perspective of the word trust.

Trust is a common theme in our lives and unfortunately the longer one lives, it seems that more jaded one gets and trust becomes harder and harder for most.
After having both good and bad things happen to me over my business life my conclusion is that"bad"people do bad things and if they are in your life they will do their damage no matter how much you try to protect yourself. So how do you know whom to invite into your journey... my answer is instinct and research.

It amazes me how many people do not use the tools around us. I encourage you to spend some time researching the people you reach out to. A person’s past is a very good predictor of their future. It’s not hard to find out what people do in their lives, the Internet and social networking has really opened up a ton of resources. People who have good intentions and fly straight have examples after examples of"doing right or good"in their lives.

Can some con artist fake it... Yes... and for those cleaver devils even some of the smartest people get taken... But if your belief is somewhat like mine that everything both good and bad happen for a reason and that is to prepare you for the wonderful things ahead than you will inevitably move forward regardless of your trust issues, knowing that it will all work out in the end.

Trust me, many bad things have come my way and nearly knocked the wind out of everyone around me. I have many journals filled with heart-wrenching things that people have done in business and in life as I had to"learn as I go"in the journey to success. My"instincts"have gotten very good and when something doesn’t feel right no matter what the facts say I follow my gut... I suggest that others do the same.

My thought on when the bad things happen is simple. Make sure you take everything out of the experience and suck out every last lesson so that"the world"doesn't throw it back to you to learn again.

When I sit and chat with people as I speak and teach across the country It amazes me how many"lesson"keep coming someone’s way ... bigger and louder until they GET IT, learn and make the life corrections needed. Once again confirming we are all in more control of our lives then we give credit.

As Donny said on one of the shows we did together (not a direct quote) ... You have to put it out there and move forward with your life and what you want out of it and not get hung up on what others will or will not do since you have NO control over others. I live my life"trying to do good"and have found that in the long haul"good"comes back. The"bad"is there only to remind me how great"good"feels :)


Amilya Antonetti will be addressing this and dozens more of your questions about your Big Idea in person at her keynote address during Lucky Napkin Live, March 20th 2008. To learn more about it and to purchase tickets click here:
http://www.luckynapkinlive.com

Q&A: Starting Over

Q)“I was thrilled to see you on “the road to CES” I have attended several events where you were a keynote (NABOW and Woman Success) and your wisdom and advice has always been easy for me to incorporate into my career.

My question is how do leave a career that I have spent 20 years in to start all over for myself?
Marcia W.San Francisco, CADear San Francisco,

A)
It sounds like there is a“fear” you have created about leaving 20 years of hard work to start all over again. But instead of facing the picture head on, let’s change the angle that you are looking at your “20 year career” verses the blank slate you see in front of you.Begin by filling in the blank slate with all that you will take with you from your 20 year career. Make a list of the contacts and connections you have made and how they may be used in your new venture.Try to think about all the connections you made and examine how they could be of help to you as you jump-start your new opportunity.

Reflect upon the knowledge you have developed from your 20 years that will be instrumental in your new opportunity; What do you know about business now that you didn’t know then? What mistakes have you witnessed in your career and how can you prevent them? What role have you played inside an organization? What people do you need to surround yourself with to attack a problem from multiple angels? What are your strengths and what are your weak areas?
I believe the more time you spend looking at all the tools, knowledge and connections you already have the more the fear will disappear and a new found entrepreneurial confidence will immerge and you’ll realize how ready you really are.

Never quit, your success is closer than you think.
Amilya

PS. You can learn more about Amilya on her web site,http://www.Amilya.com. And when you are ready to make the entrepreneurial jump, make sure you check out some of the priceless information and inspiration athttp://www.LuckyNapkin.com, or plan to attend our Lucky Napkin Live Event, March 20, 2008 in Phoenix, AZ. Lucky Napkin is the country’s premiere “Venture Catalyst” company, an entrepreneurial catapult “Where Great Ideas Launch.”

Amilya Shines As CNBC Big Idea Expert

Have you heard the news? Our own Lucky Napkin founding partner Amilya Antonetti was named a Big Idea Expert by Donny Deutsch. You have got to check out The Big Idea site on CNBC and see Amilya in action. We've included a link to the pagehttp://www.cnbc.com/id/22801925

All of us at Lucky Napkin are proud of Amilya for her contributions to the entrepreneurial community through The Big Idea and truly grateful for the generosity of Donny and the entire Big Idea Team who have continued to show unending support for our Lucky Napkin vision.

They truly embody the spirit of what they preach and if your not already a fan of the show, then you better get your TV tuned in and your TIVO recording because every night you can get an up close and personal, slap in the face, thumbs up, enthusiasm lifting ,confidence building shot in the arm from Donny and his never ending stream of big idea thinkers and growing entrepreneurs. And now to add even more flavor to your day, when your not in front of the tube you can even surf your way to The Big Network and gather more insight from Amilya Antonetti and the other incredible business experts who have all volunteered their time to reach out and help aspiring entrepreneurs on their journey.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/22801925

Welcome to the Lucky Blog

Welcome, fellow entrepreneurs, evangelists, capitalists, investors, inventors and all around great idea thinkers. You've reached the official-unofficial blogspot for the founders of LuckyNapkin.com.

Here you will find a veritable cornucopia of fresh minded thinking on all things"great idea"related. Fortunately for us that leaves lots of room for interpretation and doesn't bind our proverbial hands. So you can expect almost anything here from the mundane to the sublime and everything in between. After all we are entrepreneurs and by definition that means we are a bit off tilt. So sit forward in your seat, lets your eyes scan feverishly back and forth across the screen and try to take it all in, I think you'll agree we have a lot to offer.

And don't forget to stop by the main site athttp://www.luckynapkin.com, peruse the content, read the shameless self promotion and then submit your great idea.