08.24.15

Why is Intellectual Property Important for Your Business?

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If the truth be told, nothing is 100% original. One is merely an updated or revised version of the other. This goes the same way in business. Given this state of things, is intellectual property now a thing of the past? I personally don’t think so.

Intellectual property is defined as an intangible object that refers to the generation of ideas for products and/or services. There are three subtypes of intellectual property and these are the patents, the trademarks and the copyrights. Each of these is independent of the other. To summarize what each covers, just remember that trademarks offer protection to brands, copyrights to written content and patents to inventions.

The importance of IP is that gives great value to research and development. It’s not just because of the money you might get but because you feel a strong sense of accomplishment as you are fully compensated for your creations.

As an entrepreneur, you should be able to identify the areas of your business covered by IP so that you can take proactive measures to protect it.

How can you patent an invention?

There are steps that you can take to make this possible. The first of which is to take advantage of free resources like www.google.com/patents to see what’s already out there. If, for example, you find your invention in the search results then that’s patented. Otherwise, you can create your own patent. An attorney needs to be consulted, though, if you find related references but not the exact invention as what you’re planning.

Know that getting a patent can take two to three years, with the search of patent lasting about two weeks.

How can you get a trademark?

A trademark is your brand. It is the name, phrase or logo that your customers can identify you with. Even scents and sounds can be trademarked. A trademark is different from a domain name or a business name registration. Even if you own a domain name that does not mean it’s trademarked to you. The same goes with your business name registration.

Only with federal registration can you get a trademark, and you can use the definitive TM symbol that would tell other companies that your logo, name or phrase is protected. After five years of owning the trademark, you can already make it incontestable by filing the appropriate documents. You will also have the ability to sue others for trademark infringement.

How do you get a copyright?

Earlier, I mentioned that a trademark pertains to the name, phrase or logo that customers can readily associate with you. But a copyright is much more inclusive in the sense that it covers books, songs, movies, web content, photography and choreography too.

Unlike trademarks, copyrights are often registered at the Library of Congress. They last the lifetime of the author plus another 70 years.

If you have more questions about intellectual property, consult an attorney or a licensed professional.

08.5.15

How Much Should You Charge for Your Products/Services?

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So you have an outstanding business plan that extends to a marketing plan. The next step is to put a price tag your products and/or services. If you’re going off the standard market price and make it too high, chances are your brand won’t sell. Do it otherwise then yes, you’ll be swamped with orders but there will only a very small profit of margin. You might not even be paying yourself right. It is important that you strike a balance between too high and too low pricing in order to make sure you are building a great business.

So what goes into a price?

Well, you have the costs of production (or your skills if you’re offering services), the value you provide, competition and of course, a reasonable profit. In reality, there is no perfect price because it really depends on an understanding of your value and how much your customers are willing to pay for that value. You have to come up with a price that gives you profit because you will use that as basis for sales projections, calculation of profit and the establishment of a break-even point.

If you still don’t know where to start, here are some tips to help you put a price on your offerings:

Check out your competition

You will get an idea on pricing based on your competition. Use your competitor’s price as a reference point and then if you’re offering better products or services (maybe an upgrade) then you can charge a slightly elevated price. That can be justified. But if the case is otherwise, then you must reduce your price a bit.

How much is the total cost of the product?

You must include the production cost (including the labor, packaging, materials/inventory and shipping). There should also be a percentage of your overhead expenses like administrative costs, legal, accounting, and marketing and so on. After which, calculate the profit margin and that should be anywhere between 30 and 300 percent.

The profit margin will depend on who you’re selling to. If it’s wholesale, you might have to double the labor and material cost. For retail, double the amount you’re charging for wholesale.

Perceived value vs. actual value

It’s about mind conditioning so your customers would think that your brand is more valuable than that of your competitors. For this to happen, you have to invest in a professional to study the psychology of your target market so that you can target in very strong marketing techniques.

So basically: (labor + materials) x profit margin = price

Further below are some of the no-no’s when it comes to the topic of pricing.

First, never compete for the lowest price because that’s never going to take you anywhere. Remember, people pay based on perceived value. If you value your products/services too low, they would never get to trust your brand or equate it with quality. This takes us to the second no-no, which is to never be afraid to charge premium because if your brand is really good, people will be absolutely willing to pay what you charge.

Third, don’t be afraid to offer discounts. There are many kinds of discounts that you can offer without affecting your brand’s image. In fact, you might even be boosting your image if you offer down-the-road discounts. It’s always easier to start with a high price and then just come down using discounts than the other way around. If you look at how people think, you will find that offering discounts periodically will be a far better marketing technique than reducing your prices across the board.

Lastly, pay attention to how your target market responds to your pricing. You can add more value later on by adding freebies or discounts.

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07.31.15

Successful Business Idea 101: Setting Goals

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Behind every successful business ideas is a set of goals that have been planned out since the birth of the business idea. Every person you’ve met, every book you’ve read could have told you this already so it shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore. But do you know that there is a science to goal setting that will drive you to effectively set goals? And it all starts in your unconscious mind.

When you’re sifting through information, selecting the best seven, and then deleting the rest, that’s your unconscious mind at work. It will absorb, generalize, and even distort the information in order to fit your needs. The result will be in a format that is useful and extremely comprehensible for your conscious mind to act on. You have full control over your unconscious mind because you can dictate the premises that you want it to operate on. When you set down guidelines for your unconscious mind, you’re setting goals.

Here are some considerations when setting goals:

1. Since the unconscious mind is the main player when setting goals, you have to feed it with positives. This means that you must focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

2. Create specific goals. For example, if you want to increase your sales, you have to specify the percentage that you want, when you want to have that done and what steps along the way you want to complete.

3. Having a timeline of your goals is as important. This is because you want to train your unconscious to identify urgency, which will help you overcome distractions and get on with your goal.

4. Next, you have to make your goals measurable so your unconscious mind will know exactly when you’re moving in the right direction. Having a set of guidelines to measure your progress will also tell you if you’ve already achieved your goal and if it’s time to move on to the next goal.

5. Your goal must also be realistic. This means that it must be physically and technically achievable in your lifetime. For instance, to realize your goals, you can start by making some smart investments today by shifting to more affordable yet equally effective options in running your business.

6. Also, your goal needs to be ecological. An ecological goal means that it must not only be good for you and to the people around you, but to the environment too. You need this because your unconscious mind will always protect your body so you cannot expect it to be cooperative in reaching your goals if you’re aiming for something that is not ecological in the first place.

7. Your goals are yours alone. They’re your personal drivers to success so you cannot expect your unconscious mind to help you with the goals of other people. Now what if you have partners and you have to set goals that include them? If you and your partner are in mutual agreement, then the goals will likely work well. Otherwise, you may be able to achieve some goals while your partner lags behind.

8. Focus on your goal with care and diligence, which translates to repeat it daily. Remind your unconscious of your goals, and you can do that by keeping a journal.

9. Last but not the least, take action! Your goals will remain goals if you don’t take action.

Now, your unconscious mind know exactly what it is looking for. It will direct any information, ideas, thoughts and experiences to your conscious mind next for consideration. This way, opportunities would just seem to “turn up” because you know your goals.

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07.24.15

A Recurrent Reminder of What Hedge Funds Is

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07.13.15

Making it Big: 5 Basic Steps to Success

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Who doesn’t want to be successful? All of us want to be successful in the things we find joy in our lives. We all have dreams that line up waiting to be fulfilled and interests that we want to excel in. May it be in business or in our chosen professions, we all dream to make it big.

The key to becoming successful, according to Earl Nightingale, is the understanding of the “Law of Cause and Effect”. Whatever we “sow” as we pursue our chosen interests is what we “reap”. Not everyone in this world understands this concept that is why there are people who win in life and there are those who fail.

Those who fail do not understand that everything in life has a price. This price doesn’t literally mean of monetary value but it refers to the things that you give out (effort or hard work) in order to gain what you have set to achieve. This is the reason why you can’t just have what you wish for without having to work for it. For example, you want to have a house of your own, you won’t be able to have it if you sulk all day in your room and do nothing. If you wanted that promotion at your place of employment, you won’t be able to get it if you give out incomplete work.

If you aren’t successful though, that doesn’t mean you won’t become one. That is why you need these 5 basic steps start your journey to making it big:

Step 1. Set a Goal. Make a resolution.

Set one big goal and be resolved to achieve it. A resolution is when you have made an earnest decision to be determined in doing what you are set to do. This makes the foundations of your dream strong enough that your will to pursue it will never wither. With determination come sacrifices in order for you to successfully reach your goal. Not only you will make such great sacrifices but also those people you have built your dreams for and with. Make sure these people understand the goals you have set and the things you are willing to set aside for a while in order for you to successfully attain these ambitions. If you aim to become promoted in your workplace, you will have to put on long hours at the office and less hours at home. If you are aiming for a successful business endeavor, you will have to give a lot more extra hours at your place of business than at home. This requires incredible heights of patience and understanding from the people you have built your dreams around; your loved ones. These sacrifices will be worth it.

Step 2. Be Creative.

Making it requires you standing out and to excel among everyone else. In order for you to stand out, you need to be creative and you need to be willing to give more than what your bosses or your costumers ask of you. Creativity will up your game several notches from everyone else. If you are into business, make sure the service you offer to your clients is of great quality. The willingness to go beyond the expectations of your costumers will surely make them come back for more.

Step 3. Be Self-Reliant.

It is YOUR dream. YOU are responsible of achieving it. Nobody else will reach your dreams for you. Only YOU can make it work. In everything that we do, there will always be setbacks and difficulties. It is your job to hold on to your goal and never let go. May it be problems with business associates, or some problems at the office that throws you off track in pursuing your objective, you are responsible of stirring the wheel right back at the right path.

Step 4. Use Your Time Wisely.

Time is your best friend and your worst enemy. If you manage your time wisely, it will become an advantage in reaching your target. If not managed wisely, time will kill opportunities that may pull you closer to your dreams. Learn to use time to your advantage. Do not let anyone waste your time. They have their own time to waste so do not allow them to take yours. Remember that time is the most precious commodity in this world.

Step 5. Work Hard.

Every successful person in this world knows very well that without hard work, nothing will be achieved. This is the most crucial step for it requires a resolved goal, a creative mind, self-reliability and time. Remember that nothing in this world is free. In order to gain something, you must work hard for it. What you reap depends on how much you have sown.

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