Top 3 Reasons Why You Must do a Patent Search

So, you’ve had an idea.  It’s a widget, a gadget… something with moving parts made up of technical bits and bobs. You’ve scoured Google and the high street to see if anyone has beaten you to it, but you’ve failed to find anything on the market that is quite the same. You know you need to protect it, to have something to license, something to attract investment, or even to deter copycats. You know that you need a patent.

So why should you bother to do a patent search, before you get shifting with making it look the business, and before you instruct your patent attorney to prepare and file a patent application?

Here’s our top 3 reasons why an patent search can be invaluable for any idea at this early stage in the development process.

1. The requirements to achieve patent protection for your idea in the UK and Europe are that is must be novel, and therefore it cannot exist anywhere in the world prior to the date that you file your patent application. There’s a wealth of ideas locked away in patent literature. You’ve bothered to search products through Google and in high street stores, so why not invest some time in searching patents too. We’ve heard the stories where people have skipped over this stage, only to discover downstream that their idea has been done before. Whilst this doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the road for an idea, wouldn’t you rather find out before you’ve raided the piggy bank and spent considerable time and money on the project?

Patent Search

2. A patent search can help to support the design development process. You need to grasp whether your idea really is new, and steer around any pertinent prior art that you uncover when patent searching. The patent specifications that you find might help to pad out the development process, and trigger new ideas for optional extras or modifications. Patent literature can be an invaluable resource during the product development process.

3. A patent search at an early stage can help save you money. The going rates for preparing and filing a patent application in the UK through a patent attorney tend to be in the region of £2k to £3k. Add this to the fact that to reach this stage you’ll have no doubt spent a fair bit of money refining the design and being sure your widget will work. Imagine if you waited for the UK IPO to do their searches against your patent application, only to discover at this late stage that someone had thought of your idea before. Worse still, that it is disclosed in a patent that is granted and in force in all of your key countries, and to proceed with the idea you risk infringing another’s rights. It’s certainly a long way back to the drawing board!

So to save yourself time and money, provide support for the product development stage, and provide reassurance that chances are you can achieve worthwhile patent protection for your idea, you would be mad not to delve into the depths of patent literature prior to making any considerable investment.




Vonage Dials Up New Sponsorship for the National Business Awards

Now entering its 13th year, the National Business Awards has established itself as a major fixture on the UK’s business calendar. Designed not only to celebrate enterprise excellence and highlight the work of fledgling businesses, the awards also seek to encourage promising start-ups through a year-round thought leadership programme. The thing that makes the NBA event so special is that it’s truly open to anyone – any company within the UK, whether public, private or third sector, can enter the National Business Awards, regardless of size or industry.

National Business Awards

This year, VoIP communications specialist Vonage has lent its support, joining the likes of Blackberry, Santander and the Daily Telegraph in sponsoring an award at the annual business event. The Duke of Edinburgh New Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebrates the potential that exists within leaders of the UK’s most promising start-ups.

The award will focus on how start-ups have performed within the first 18 months of trading, how initial targets and KPIs have been exceeded, as well as looking at companies’ vision for growth. Vonage managing director Simon Burckhardt will be on the judging panel, alongside Betfair co-founder Ed Wray, Guy Rigby of Smith & Williamson, and Michael Hayman MBE, co-founder of Seven Hills.

Vonage Dials Up

It’s a particularly apt award category for Vonage to support. As a VoIP business specialist, the company already helps small businesses around the globe keep communication costs to a minimum. Giving a boost to home businesses through its affordable communications products like home business landlines and inclusive international mobile plans, it also lends a hand to start-ups via its helpful business blog. Sponsoring the Duke of Edinburgh Award is sure to bring the firm wider recognition for its own services among the 1,200 business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and media reps in attendance.

The five Duke of Edinburgh Award finalists at this year’s event are:

  • Emma Cerrone of tech education company Free:Formers
  • Alistair Smit of renewable energies start-up The Magic Thermodynamic Box
  • Ben Weaver of digital publishing firm Outlook Publishing Ltd
  • Kathryn Birch of translation services specialist Translive Global
  • Jay Radia of e-commerce tech firm Yieldify

The winner will be announced at the National Business Awards Final, which will take place on 11 November 2014 at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.




An Introduction to Remit – Regulation on Wholesale Energy Markets Integrity and Transparency

What does REMIT mean?

REMIT stands for the Regulation on Wholesale Energy Markets Integrity and Transparency. Pertaining to the gas and power markets, it requires market contributors to report agreements with regard to the supply and transportation of electricity and gas within the EU. Reports will be made to the newly formed ACER (Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators).

The purpose of the directive is to deliver a deeper clarity and transparency in the wholesale energy business, therefore lowering any chance of manipulation within the markets and highlighting any evidence of falsified pricing.

Although the exact date has not yet been confirmed, the approximate time frame for go-live is 2014-2015. It will affect all companies or participants who have involvement with wholesale energy markets.

Regulation on Wholesale Energy Markets Integrity and Transparency

You and REMIT: five key points

In essence, the five key pieces of information that must be disclosed by companies / participants are:

1) Identification of the purchase and trade of market products

2) Price

3) Volumes

4) Details of the negotiation, with date and time

5) Details of the dealings with the seller, buyer and recipient

REMIT covers all contracts for the supply of electricity and natural gas to areas of distribution within the European Union, including transportation contracts. In addition, REMIT is responsible for maintaining both contracts for actual delivery or monetary agreements. The regulation’s requirements, which include data collection and recording, refer to every type of wholesale energy product on the market.

One key area to take note of within REMIT is Article 4’s general rule. It requires market contributors to openly reveal, both clearly and within the time criteria, any inside knowledge that they might have regarding business or facilities that affect the market participant, its architect contract or associated contract. The information must be a detailed account pertaining to production, containment, usage or transmission of electricity or natural gas.

There are dispensations that can be made in exceptional circumstances – especially if the material has not been printed within the required time frame.

Sources: http://www.acer.europa.eu/, http://www.lseg.com/markets-products-and-services/post-trade-services/unavista/regulation/remit-regulation-wholesale-energy-markets-integrity-and-transparency




Hottest Feature of Ivy Exec – Mentor Network

Ivy Exec is popularly known for its job recruiting services among all the leading companies and qualified professionals. It has been successfully meeting significant need of countless companies by helping them in screening the applicants. Ivy Exec has launched the new Mentor Network, which allows members to search, browse as well as meet willing mentors online.

What to Expect – Mentor Network

This hottest addition to Ivy’s suite of ground-breaking career resources has developed to a great level particularly to match budding stars directly with experienced executives in a purposeful way. The Mentor Network of Ivy is the very first such involvement which interacts directly with potential mentors for significant interactions online. The firm conceived the idea as a way for aspiring members of the firm to gain essential career intelligence and advice. Very soon, the firm received an extremely enthusiastic response from the seniors of the firm, who were keen to take the position of mentor. The mentors are the senior executives, counting Managing Directors, CEOs, and CFOs from the list of Fortune 500 companies.

Thoughtful Features of Ivy

Ivy Exec offers a great forum under its mentorship program combined with thoughtful member matching along with precise video chat technology. Such features set this firm apart from the other websites as they form a professional community, which is mainly centered on finding jobs versus building careers. The Mentorship Program offers the senior executives the opportunity to share their perspectives and insights with others people who seek success and personal growth in their professions.

Each member of the firm can schedule a mentorship session online with a new mentor every month. This is the first career community created online that is exclusively designed for high qualified professionals carrying an executive job hunt. Ivy helps the qualified professionals to find exclusive MBA jobs, $100K jobs, jobs in finance and consulting jobs with the leading companies. These companies utilize Ivy’s services to recruit the top tier applicants from the Ivy’s exclusive talent community. The firm offers exclusive facilities to its members along with quick notifications about latest vacancies throughout the world.




Should You Just Depend On A Cost-Free Construction Environmental Plan Sample?

Construction officers searching the Internet for sources on designing a construction environmental management plan may find document samples that they can utilise for free. Should they just go on and use the samples as their own CEMPs and keep the money for other demands of the project?

Designing an environmental plan is indeed time-consuming and expensive, especially if you use conventional methods like hiring a specialist (who will ask for a high professional fee), or making one yourself (which may require considerable efforts since you need to touch up your writing skills and be knowledgeable with current legal guidelines and regulations). Writing an in-depth management plan is a juggling act: you must explain very technical and legal references, but you must do it in a very clear and concise manner to make the document completely implementable in the construction site. Thus, using a construction environmental plan sample for your needs may actually seem like a realistic option.

Nevertheless, not simply any document you can find on the internet can satisfy the legislative requirements and also the environmental safety standards of your construction company. It may have been composed when present environmental laws were not yet in effect, deeming the articles irrelevant and useless. The material may be basic but not flexible, making you not able to tailor-make it according to the requirements of your project and the regulations of your organization.

If you’re trying to find a fast and easy way of getting your environmental management plan composed, why don’t you try a downloadable format you can fill in with information adapted for your necessities? These templates are accessible from reliable construction management experts who have thought of a strategy to make 100% legislatively updated, easy-to-read and simple-to-understand environmental plans readily accessible with out the high charges. It may not be free, but the affordable value can already ensure conformity with current laws, ready-to-implement regulations and assurance for the construction team.

If you’re still unsure of your decision, you can hire a CEMP team that gives risk-free, money-back purchases. You can pay for the plan, download it and determine its significance to your requirements. In the event that you cannot entirely utilise the product, you can give it back for a refund and look for other alternatives. This would ensure every investment you make will be suitable for your construction team, the consumer, the community and the environment.



Do you suck as an entrepreneur?

If you answered yes, I recommend Michael Gerber’s book, “The E-myth Revisited.“  I have to say, that out of all the books I have read on business or entrepreneurship this is one of the best.

Something like 90% of all small businesses fail within the first 5 years. Why? If you are in business for yourself now you may be acutely aware. If you aren’t, let’s look at the scenario.

You…are some kind of technician, perhaps you are a programmer, engineer, carpenter, plumber, cake baker, or retail worker. Whatever the case, you have probably thought…what am I doing here working for this moron. I could do better. How can he be my boss,? I am smarter, and better, and know what customers want.

entrepreneur

You may in fact be smarter, better, know your customers better, and what not. And, you are used to servicing customers or clients as a technician. But a business is more than the work that it does, and an entrepreneur needs to be more than a technician.

According to Gerber, this technician mentality is one of the main stumbling blocks.  In the book, Gerber describes the entrepreneur as having three personalities  all fighting for dominance.

There is the entrepreneur. This person views the world through rose colored glasses and is usually somewhere off in future thinking about next year’s sales projections or company expansion.

Then there is the manager. This personality seeks order and views the business in terms of systems and processes. The manager views the technician and entrepreneur both as cogs in the wheel. This person is more focused on present operational details.

The technician is the one who thinks. “If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.” This is a person who works for work’s sake and who can’t understand why they can’t work themselves out of a problem.

Each of these personalities fights for dominance, but because we usually migrate into entrepreneurship after being technicians that is usually what we fall back on when things take a downturn. That is where we go wrong.

We need to understand that working hard “IN” our business will not make things better. We need to learn to take a deep breath and work “ON” our business.

If you want to learn more about saving your business, I highly recommend reading the E-Myth Revisited. Applying the principles in this book will save you a mountain of heart and head ache. Big praise for Michael Gerber.




Holiday marketing touchpoints

This may seem obvious, but have you ever noticed the increased advertising in print, television and radio whenever there is a holiday? That’s because holidays give people excuses to buy things. Holidays (no matter how small) are great opportunities to stay connected with your customers.

Are you connecting with your prospects during the holidays? If not you are passing up valuable opportunities. Many online retailers are aware that holidays are big buying times, but I haven’t noticed  many internet direct marketers filling my inbox with targeted promotions during the holidays.

I was reminded of this when I realized that Mother’s Day is coming soon. I think Mother’s Day is really a universal holiday, and not many people would be offended by receiving a Mother’s Day promotion.

I bought my mother a day at the spa with a relaxing massage, facial, and pedicure. If I were a spa owner with a list, there’s no way I would let an opportunity like Mother’s Day pass me by. I can think of dozens of ads that could be created for Mother’s Day promotions. If you are doing email promotions and don’t have any holiday emails planned you should sit down right now and plan which holidays you will promote to your list. These should be included in your autoresponder series in addition to all of your other autoresponder messages.

Holidays are also great opportunities to cross promote affiliate products. For instance, going back to the spa owner as an example. The spa owner must be aware that women are sensitive about their weight. And, well…lets say that Thanksgiving or Christmas is right around the corner. Think about it. Thanksgiving and Christmas are times when people dress up to attend parties and reconnect with family etc… The last thing women want is to look overweight. So…in addition to regular spa services that you normally promote, now would be a good time to signup with an affiliate that offers a free trial of the latest greatest diet pill. If you have a list of loyal customers this is an excellent way to increase the lifetime value of those customers.




Choosing Smart Trade Show Promotional Items

Trade shows are a great way to promote your organization. Even if you purchase a booth at the trade show, it is important that your booth stands out from the rest. A great idea to boost your marketing efforts is to include some trade show custom promotional items as a giveaway at your stall.

Here are some ideas to help you select an effective promotional product as a giveaway:

Usefulness: Try and give a product that is useful, otherwise it is sure to make its way to the dustbin in no time. Items such as badge holders, tote bags, water bottles and mugs serve as great giveaway options due to their high practical usability.

Promotional Items

Company Logo: As obvious as it sounds, it is essential that the gift you choose to give at a trade show has the company logo displayed clearly on it. Custom imprinted promotional items such as apparels, business card holders, personalized water bottles or stationery give you enough surface area to print the company’s brand logo.

Unique: Most of the participants in the trade show will give a free gift to people who come to their booth. Giving something which is unique will ensure that your gift stands out from the rest. How about some custom imprinted promotional items such as luggage tags, magnets, business card case? You can even add a funny/catchy message.

Economical: While you do want to give something which is unique, be cautious and do not go overboard from a cost perspective. Since you will be handing these out to everyone who visits your booth, ensure that you do a cost-benefit analysis before you select an item. Items such as customized pens, badge holders, key chains, paper clips and sticky notes are great economical options.

Another point to consider when selecting trade show promotional items is to select one which meets all your business marketing requirements. For instance, you can use tote bags as gifts for your other marketing campaigns or give out apparel at a social gathering. This way in case you have any left from the trade show, they can easily be used in other marketing events.




Saving money on your home office

Starting a business is a way that many people choose to make a living or to make extra money to pay bills or help with savings. It can be a very lucrative and enjoyable decision if it is done properly, but it is important to avoid the start-up expenses which doom many small businesses before they start. if you are spending too much getting your business going then you are just building up more debt and making it more difficult for your business to succeed. If your business can’t make money for you then what is the point? Here are four tips to help you save money as you open your home office:

1. Save on furniture – Lawyers and other businessmen care what the furniture looks like in their office. Their image is important. If you are just starting your own business then image probably isn’t as important to you yet. You don’t need to go out and buy fancy new furniture when you start out. This is an easy way to build up debt and you don’t need it. You are much better off using an extra kitchen table or card table as a desk until your business gets established and you can afford more.

2. Shop around – Even if you are saving and avoiding buying new stuff, there will still be a few items that you will have to go out and purchase. The temptation is to head down to the stationery superstore and buy everything you need at once. Don’t do it. There are all sorts of sales on new equipment that you might need and second hand stores, auctions and even garage sales can provide you with a source for the equipment you need at a much more affordable price. Remember, the more you save the more you will make and the more you will have to pay down your debt or add to your savings.

home office

3. Be creative – the point of starting a business is to make money not to spend it. Instead of buying whatever it is that you need, ask yourself if you really need it or if there is an alternative that will work just as well at a lower price. If you concentrate on being creative you will surprise yourself at the solutions you can come up with.

4. Don’t buy it now – Eventually you may need a fancy computer or a new fax machine or a laser printer, but not now. You can get buy with less for now and save yourself the money. The point is to make money to pay off debt, not build up more debt. If you really need the equipment then you can get it when your business is more successful.

5. Go back to school – Not really, but shop like you are. There are great deals on all kinds of stationary at back-to-school time. If you are going to use a specific type of stationary a lot in your business then stock up on it then. You need to be careful, though. It is too easy to stock up on a whole bunch of stuff that you don’t really need and won’t really use. That is just throwing money away and that is not the point. Only buy what you are certain you will use. (more…)




How to Get a 6-Figure Job From Home

Getting an annual income of £100,000 (often referred to as 6-figures) is a goal that many people aspire to, but few are able to accomplish. The vast majority of people who make 6-figures a year work their way up the corporate ladder and end up in a nice position by middle age. Other engineers and technical experts may be able to get such salaries at higher end companies, but the vast majority of people will never attain such levels. However, if you are willing to work hard and work smart, creating your own 6-figure job from home is not a difficult task. You can do any number of things to create your own job at home that will thrive and offer you a great salary.

Home Living with a 6-Figure Job

It may seem farfetched for some people to think that living at home while earning 6-figures is possible. Within this list, there are many great ways that you can actually build a 6-figure job of your own without spending years to do it.

1. Create software – if you have worked in an industry then you have a more intimate knowledge of the industry and the painful aspects that could be remedied with software. Even if you have no experience, you can think of a problem that you have and solve it with software. If the problem is big enough, you can create amazing recurring revenue!

6-Figure Job uk

2. Sell items – there are thousands of people who can make a 6-figure income by simply selling things on the internet. These days you can have a fully operation store without needing a location. Find a product that is cheap in some part of the world, bring it to a place where it is more expensive, and market your way into a 6-figure income!

3. Blog with a niche – rather than just write your thoughts in a blog, try to narrow down your focus to a specific niche. Once you do that, you can build an audience and create relevant products that your audience would like to buy. With time, there is no reason why this can’t be a 6-figure income. After all, e-courses and books are a scalable product.

4. Options trading – I must mention – I am partial to options trading. Just get a monthly paid subscription to a company that can provide you with all the options data you need to successfully use your capital. Making thousands of pounds is not at all difficult if you have some capital to start with and the fortitude to stay in the game.

Using these methods, you can easily make a 6-figure salary from home without worrying about climbing the corporate ladder. With the internet and technology, there is no reason for you to be sitting in a desk job the entire day.