kristymlopez

How To Go From Bright Idea To Successful Business

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on February 23, 2017 at 6:22 am

We all love that moment when the lightbulb above our heads suddenly glows, and glows, and keeps on glowing so much that the glass shatters. Sometimes these ideas snap you from your slumber at 3 o’clock in the morning. Sometimes they happen as you are brushing your teeth, or taking the subway to work, or talking to children. There is no definitive time or place, there are just the rare phenomena of a brilliant idea.  

But having a great idea is the easy part. Knowing what to do with this thought – this invention – now that is the tricky part. And while there are numerous different routes you can go down, there is only one first move you should be concerned with, and that is protecting your idea.

Protecting it is the only way you will make money from it, and the best way to protect an idea is to patent it. Don’t tell your friends, or the blokes down the bar, or a company that already works in this market; just patent it, otherwise there are no guarantees that it won’t be snatched by an eager listener.

We’ve all heard of a patent. However, not many of us actually know what the process entails. So what does patenting an idea entail:

Stage 1: The Proof Is In The Detail

Having an idea is no good, not without proof that it is actually your idea. But how do you prove you came up with something? Well, the first thing you should do is pull the pen out of your jacket and write down every single little detail you can that relates to your idea. Write about the idea. Write about the product. Write about how it will work and who it will work for. Write how you plan to market it. Once this is done, go and buy yourself an Inventor’s Journal, copy all of your notes into it and have a witness sign it. An Inventor Journal (yes, this is actually a thing) is basically just a notebook that has been bound, had its pages numbered and has pages that can’t be removed or reinserted. Stage 1 done. Simple.

Stage 2: Due Diligence

Unfortunately, just because you may not have seen your idea anywhere else, does not necessarily mean it hasn’t already been patented. So, always do an initial search to confirm it doesn’t already exist and isn’t already protected by someone else. This includes finding any artwork or designs that relate to your idea because they’ll stop you from being able to get a patent too. As a sort of recommendation, do your due diligence on the market too. There is no point investing time and money into something that no one is going to buy. See if there are similar products out there, see how well they are selling and see whether you can compete with them on price.

Stage 3: The First Attempt

First things first, make a prototype before you patent your idea. Why? Simple; you are going to find flaws in your original idea, flaws that will need amending, flaws that will see you add a new feature to your idea and that new feature will need to be present in the patent. That would be risky because not patenting the added features could leave the door open to someone else patenting those features. Ouch.

Stage 4: File It

When all of the creases have been ironed out and you are happy with your idea, then go and get file a patent (which will either be a utility patent or design patent). We recommend you always have an experienced professional look over application before you file it, though. The reason for this is to make it watertight. If your idea is as great as you think it is, then people and companies will most likely infringe on it, so make sure there are no loopholes.

Stage 5: Rock and Roll

This will include all of the necessary steps that every entrepreneur has to go through, such as writing a business plan, approaching investors and raising funds, because without funds you are not going to get very far. Then you need to consider how you are actually going to manufacture your idea. It could be possible to go it alone. If not, though, then license it to another company. If it is an app, then bring a software development company on board, although you will be shocked at how little you get in royalty fees. However, think about the financial burden you will be free of if you do go down this route. If your product is tangible, then cautiously approach a number of different manufacturing companies to get a feel of their experience, their costs, their ethos and what they will be like as working partners. The latter is probably more important than any other factor. You want to trust the people you are working with.

Once all this is done, well, then it is just the small matter of marketing your product, which requires a new set of skills and understanding.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Organizational Considerations And Business Impacts Of Cloud Empowered Technologies

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on February 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm

In light of the rollicking pace at which technological transformations are realized in the times of today, and considering how short technology lifecycles have become, several IT organizations have adopted a ‘wait and watch’ and ‘convince me before I spend a penny’ approach towards technology adoption. However, there are tech platforms that offer such significant cost advantages, long term savings, and convenience that most IT departments are willing to take the leap. Cloud computing has witnessed this ease of adoption, primarily because of the supreme convenience, scalability, and cost savings it has to lend to businesses of all sizes.

For any organizations in the middle of a cloud transformation, or for companies looking to make their first moves into the realms of cloud enabled technologies, now’s the time to understand the organizational considerations and business impacts, and align their technology choices to organizational goals and capabilities, for the maximum advantage. Here are the major organizational components that are impacted by cloud computing. Finance: Your organization’s move-over to cloud computing is accompanied by significant financial management implications.

  • Because of the shift from a capital expenditure to an operational expenditure model, your IT expenditure design changes, and this directly affects the financial management strategies built around existing expense management.
  • By adopting cloud computing, organizations can free up cash in the beginning of the financial years (when most tech contracts are renewed).

The cost cutting, liberation of IT expenditure dollars at the beginning of financial year, and decisions around allocation of freed up budget towards IT research and development – these are the most critical financial decisions that the cloud transformation invariably brings on the discussion table for any organization.

Internal Auditing

Methods of application management undergo a significant change with the cloud computing transformation, because businesses no longer own or directly control the IT hardware that’s at the core of the cloud services.

  • Cloud computing consumers need to upgrade, modify, or completely replace their existing IT systems to leverage the convenience and flexibility of cloud.
  • Processes and plans centered around measurement and control of IT usage need to be updated in sync with the cloud technology delivery model.
  • SLAs become tighter, which increases the service value for cloud consumer enterprises, which increases the importance of regular measurements and re-negotiations.
  • Internal audits need to start looking into value maximization more than the organization’s IT infrastructure’s compliance to industry standards.

Taxation

Depending on the country and the industry you operate in, taxation considerations around your cloud computing expenditures change. Whereas some taxation experts regard cloud computing services as a ‘lease’ kind of expenditure, and there are others who regard it as a service expenditure. Because the tax treatment of these expenditures is different as per corporate taxation laws in different countries, it becomes an important consideration or businesses while choosing which components of their IT infrastructure they’d want to move to cloud. Also, even vendors are aligning their service models to maximize the taxation advantages for enterprise consumers. Considering how cloud computing services will continue to be a month-on-month expenditure for businesses, this decision has ample financial considerations for the long term.

Sales And Marketing

Sales and marketing driven organizations have so much to gain out of cloud enabled services that their business growth can be put into overdrive if they use the right technologies, services, and processes.

  • By enabling real time access to smart and actionable inputs based on organization’s data, visual reports, quick update and upload of information, and data analytics, cloud computing services significantly empower sales executives, sales planners, product designers, business developers, and business directors.
  • Customer service management is another area that has witnessed massive improvement in several organizations because of cloud enabled CRM technologies.
  • These SaaS (software as a service) model offerings from cloud computing vendors help employees collaborate, enable better workflow management, and solve problems in real time.
  • Cloud technologies are aligned to big data, cybersecurity, and IoT, which means that organization’s investing in these platforms today will witness major IT synergies as other platforms mature.

Compliance and Risks

Essentially, cloud computing means that your company’s data will not be co-located at a shared server space, and the vendor manages the server end-to-end. This creates critical compliance and risk assessment concerns for organizations. With knowledge of these issues, organizations can negotiate with their vendors in a better manner in terms of the security functionalities bundled with the service. Advanced encryption, intrusion detection, antivirus, and regular backups – these are the 4 critical components of wholesome cloud data security. After defining the criteria for measurement and evaluation of cloud security, your organization will need to move to the operational steps towards risk mitigation. Industry standards for cloud hosted application security are maturing, and your business would do well to stay in sync with the same.

Mauricio is the lead Cloud expert at Cloudwards.net, a data and user feedback driven comparison engine for cloud storage, online backup and VPN apps and services. In addition, he also loves producing educational videos and reviews to help people get the best services for their needs. Get in touch with him on LinkedIn.

 

This post may contain affiliate links.

First Impressions Count: How To Make Your Business Look More Professional

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on February 16, 2017 at 11:51 am

When it comes to business, appearance really does matter. Many people still put a lot of stock in their first impressions, which is why companies still invest a lot of time and money in their appearance. Put it this way, even if your store is selling some truly amazing products, if the place looks dark and shabby, no one will want to go inside. When it comes to making your company look more professional, there are a few things you can do to improve your overall image.


Brand, Brand, Brand

It’s written three times because it really is the most important one! If your business doesn’t have a strong brand, there’s no way you’ll be able to get it to grow. Though a quality logo will likely make a big difference, you should start by making sure your company is referred to the same way across all material including your website, business cards and social sites. Also make sure the colour scheme and font is also consistent so people start to associate these closely with your business. You should also establish a specific tone of voice for your brand and stick to this throughout.

Make Sure You’re Social on Social Media

There’s no point having social media accounts if you’re not going to use them! It just looks unprofessional if people log on only to find your accounts haven’t been refreshed in months. Use your accounts as a portal to engage with your clients. Also think about the type of material you are posting on there. It shouldn’t all be sales-based. Instead, engage with news stories in your industry and try to encourage people to respond.

A Quality Workspace

Wherever you are inviting your clients to meet should project the same image as your company. Even if you don’t have a fixed address, there are number of options offering virtual offices including www.hoxtonmix.com. When you meet your clients, dress to impress. If you have any branded items you are handing out to customers like stationery or mugs, make sure they are also high quality. If you buy in bulk, quality can still be affordable.

Create A Website That Stands Out

With more people than ever searching for businesses on the internet, having a website that stands out is hugely important. Make sure your homepage communicates everything that your business does concisely and effectively. With the mobile phone now the most commonly used device to access the internet, you should make sure your site is responsive. This also highlights the need for getting your message across in an extremely small space. Before building the site, make sure you are well versed in the ways of SEO so your site has more chance of being found naturally. Make sure the site is easy to navigate and display your contact details clearly throughout so people can easily get in touch.

These few things can make such a big difference to the way your business in seen by your clients.   

This post may contain affiliate links.