Sunday, March 8, 2015

The End is Near and It’s Only the Beginning.

SpeakLifeTV Logo

The finalization process of SpeakLifeTV’s business plans has begun and I can finally see it all coming together.  This company literally began as a hobby that I was extremely passionate about and has grown into an actual, tangible, living thing that even seems to breathe on its own.  I can honestly say that I’ve learned more about this company, what it does and whom it serves.  During this planning process I’ve learned exactly how important business plans are, why they are needed and what potential investors are looking for. 

According to the writers of “Growing Your Business” it’s best to write out your business plans so that, if there are going to be mistakes, the mistakes are done on paper.  Having your plan on paper will help you to see where you need to improve your marketing, sales and budgeting long before any money has been spent.  Taking ones time when finalizing business plans can be a long and drawn out process but a beneficial one nonetheless. In his article entitled “Top 10 Business Plan Mistakes to Avoid” Alan Gleeson says that business plans need to be consistent.  Working towards the continuity of your business plan should be one of your main focuses.  Being inconsistent can deter potential investors and set your business back months in the planning process. 

I’ve taken the time to hash-out this plan over the course a year and had the business in the works for a total of four years.  Knowing that the plan for SpeakLifeTV is solid, secure and that it has the capability to bring in additional funding is the achievement of a dream.   Everything is set, the official website is nearly completed, the merchandise store is stocked with products and all of our shows are in production.  The birthing of SpeakLifeTV has been a true testament to faith, consistency, persistence and the joy that hard work can bring.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Taking the Experts Advice.

In my endeavor to learn more about the art of creating a well defined business plan, I stumbled upon two industry experts who gave me more than I’d hoped for.  Tim Berry is a business planner and Angel Investor who founded and he’s the writer of “The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan”.   Kaye Vivian is a noted author and contributor to “Write Your OwnBusiness Plan” written by the staff of and she has more than 25 years of experience with assisting everything from Fortune 500 companies to startups.

The most profound information that I gleaned from several of Mr. Berry’s articles was that, in the business of business plan writing, one must know the difference between the types of available investors and who to ask for what.  Before you know what the investors are looking for, you need to know the particular investor.  Venture capitalists are often looking for business startups that have great management teams who have already been successful at launching other businesses.  If you’re thinking of presenting your business plan to these types of investors without a “tried and true” management team, think again.  Berry also suggests that you “check with an attorney before taking any type of investment for your startup.”  One of the reasons behind this rule is that there are many different laws that controls the way people privately invest their money. Preventing stock and tax fraud being at the top of the list.  The best advice that I gathered from Berry was that the business plan needed to be the work of the actual business owners, and their management team, not that of an outsider.  Investors are looking for businesses with owners that know their market, know what the future projections look like and are sure that they can get a return for the investment.  Having a business plan written by someone who is not on the management team or an owner could seem impersonal. Berry also says that unless the business owner is well versed in the actual business plan before presenting it to potential investors, then the situation could go from bad to worse. Business plans often need revisions as time goes on and it’s hard to revise a plan that you never had a hand in writing in the first place. 

In her portion of “Write Your Own Business Plan”, Kaye Vivian gave more logical suggestions such as “knowing your competitors”.  Having the knowledge of what your competitors are doing can help you stay ahead of the game when contending for the same target audience and market.  She suggests that you “know your audience”.  Knowing your audience, their consumer habits and their potential trends is a huge bonus when presenting your business plan.  She also states that you should “be logical” when giving timeframes, projections and budgets.  All of these recommendations are essential for preparing to present your business plan to investors.  Whether they are friends, family or a board of “Angel Investors” it’s a good thing to know your market, your business as well as your audience inside and out before asking for someone else’s money.  Investors want to be sure that they will get a return on their money and being able to guarantee them that is paramount.

Laying the foundation for my newest company, and even when revising the existing ones, I’m definitely going to be taking all of this great advice into consideration.  These experts have been in the field of business plan writing for decades and it wouldn’t be wise of me to think that I could ask for an investment without first being sure that I can make good on all the promises that my company is making.  I look forward to the future knowing that the plan that I’m laying for my business is a solid one and sure to gain the investment backing that it needs.


Berry, T. (2013, September 6). 10 Business Plan Benefits You Might Be Forgetting. Retrieved February 6, 2015, from

Berry, T. (2014, October 9). Start With a Simple Business Plan and Grow It as Needed. Retrieved February 6, 2015, from

Expert Advice: 10 Tips to Craft a Strong Business Plan. (2015, January 15). Retrieved February 6, 2015, from

Tim Berry. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2015, from

Friday, January 9, 2015

Finding a (Hosting) Home!

Since beginning this journey that will eventually lead to the fulfillment of SpeakLifeTV, I’ve been searching for the right company to host the channel.  The domain name has been purchased (held together by a simple place card with a few trailers), the layout has been designed and almost all of the departments have been put in place.  The only problem that I had was finding a host that is reasonable priced with all of the features that we need.  So, torn between Weebly, Yola and Wix, I decided to do some research.  Although all of these sites offer free plans, I’m looking for something a lot more professional for this endeavor that stays under our budget of $35 per month.  Here are a few perks, and disadvantages, to each of these sites.

Weebly offers a Business Plan that has so many features it’s almost sickening.  The Business Package, which we would definitely need, is $29 per month and it offers:
  • ·      Independent video hosting on the site 
  • ·      Custom footers
  • ·      Fully functional shopping cart on the site
  • ·      Restricted member only pages
  • ·      An easy to use sitebuilder with plenty of templates
  • ·      Guaranteed hosting stability.
Courtesy of Weebly's YouTube page.

Wix has a pretty good VIP Package that is billed currently at $24.90 per month.  This package includes:

  • ·      Domain registration free for one year
  • ·      Ad removal
  • ·      Site Shopping Cart
  • ·      An easy to use drag and drop sitebuilder with plenty of flash
  • ·      Plenty of vouchers for Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.
Courtesy of Wix's YouTube page.

Yola’s Unlimited Package is $24.95 per month keeping it right in line with the other two sites and well under our budget.  Yola offers:

  • ·      Unlimited pages
  • ·      Easy to use sitebuilder
  • ·      Ready to use professional photos
  • ·      The ability to publish the site directly to Facebook
  • ·      Full-site search
  • ·      Yola branding removal and
  • ·      Unlimited storage.
Courtesy of Yola's YouTube page.

While all of these sites had great reviews, easy sitebuilders and quite a few perks, I had to weigh all of my options and choose the right one for the task.  I’ve created sites with all three of these websites in the past and I’m very familiar with their inner workings.  Wix is fun and “artsy” but crashes at times due to its heavy flash content.  Yola is a wonderful site but doesn’t offer on site video hosting.  With both of these sites I would have to upload my media content to an external video hosting service, like YouTube or Vimeo, and then embed it in the site.  That takes away some of the control that we intend to have over our content.  Although Weebly costs more than the other two sites, their features are astonishing, they offer on site video hosting and the option to have some pages free while others are reserved for paid memberships.  This is an added bonus that is indeed worth the price.  By way of merchandising, having our own store, directly on the site without any redirections, is huge!  It gives off a more professional feeling to the business and puts SpeakLifeTV in the league with “real, live” cable channels.

So, my friends, it’s onward and upward from here.  It looks like SpeakLifeTV is going to have a home with Weebly!

For more comparison information, check out these articles:
Wix vs. Yola vs. Weebly        by Jason Kay for                                                                        

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Moving Forward. . .

As I press forward toward the realization of SpeakLifeTV I’m reminded of an old saying “anything that is worth having is worth working for.”  What started off as a great idea has, over time, grown into an entity that has a life of it’s own.  An entity that has it’s own share of problems, hurdles and obstacles that it must overcome in order to fully come to fruition.  One specific hurdle being licensing issues.

One of SpeakLifeTV’s shows is an animated series that is produced using a particular animation application.  In using this application, although the main characters are custom made, I’ve found that we are not permitted to use the character’s likeness on our store merchandise.  This is a pretty sizeable hurdle to jump and we are looking for creative ways around this particular rule while still remaining perfectly legal.
Making sure that all of our actions when building SpeakLifeTV are within our rights, and do not violate the rights of others, is one of our greatest missions.  We are seeking to create a positive, informative, channel and in order to do so, we must be careful to remain within copyright, and other governing, laws. 

Another concern that has presented itself is our means of DVD distribution.  Finding the right print-on-demand distributor that will allow us to keep the rights to our material has been sort of a treasure hunt.  I’ve found great aggregators that had all of the services that we required available at a moments notice and some that wanted to nearly own our content in order to print it.  Researching these types of businesses is valuable part of the building process of any type of new company that has self-publishing needs.  The best things to look for when choosing a distributor or aggregator are: 1) retention of your own publishing and copyrights, 2) provision of an ISBN or other descriptive cataloging number, 3) clear description of the royalties that you are entitled to.

 Keep in mind that it’s always best to read the fine print and find out all of the details before signing up with any company. Look for reviews to read, ask to see testimonials and always remember to ask loads of questions.  It’s better to know what you’re getting yourself into in advance than to find out down the road that you’re stuck with a company that you no longer have need of.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The great joy of SpeakLifeTV!

In this day and age there are several different types of liabilities that plague companies like the one I am planning to create.  Not only will SpeakLifeTV be a web based “television” channel but we will also offer products for sale in our online store, daily giveaways and uncensored faith based, family friendly, programming.  Being able to offer all of these types of services will be a great benefit to SpeakLifeTV but they will not be without their challenges and obstacles.  The most important challenge that is of widespread concern is the new increased risk of data breaching,

            More and more, during the past few years, companies of every size on the spectrum have had data breaches.  Cyber hackers have done a number on companies such as Target, Home Depot and Staples making shoppers leery about using their credit and debit cards.  To combat this type of apprehension we will have secure purchasing that requires the customer to enter a CAPTCHA code before they are able to their purchase.  SpeakLifeTV will also not have the site store available on our mobile app to prevent accidental purchases.

            There are also two other areas of concern that faces SpeakLifeTV is our intention to host daily giveaways.  There are three types of giveaways, sweepstakes, contests and lotteries and each type comes with their own set of rules and regulations.  Not properly following them could “place your giveaway into the classification of illegal lottery.”  SpeakLifeTV will simply have participants enter their name and email address onto a provided form and submit it without asking for additional steps of criteria.  The second concern is media censorship.  Typical television shows that are broadcast over network and cable channels are governed by the rules and regulations set forth by the Federal Communications Commission.  These shows have to monitor their content, language and even the types of images that they can show.  Typical censorship laws will not bind SpeakLifeTV because we are an Internet based channel that governs itself.  Our site’s homepage will notify visitors of our faith based, religious and family friendly content so that those who may potentially be offended by our content will have the choice not to view it.  Our intention is to bring joy and to speak life into everyone’s day and not to offend or degrade in any way.