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Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Business Issues | 0 comments

Success in Business is all in the Mind

There is a common belief that people who are “doers” are more successful in business because they get things done. Other terms used to refer to these active people are “movers” and “shakers.” This is undoubtedly true when you are referring to people who have a task to do.

But what if you need someone who thinks rather than acts?

People with big ideas are often decried as “dreamers” as if that was a dirty word, but other words that may apply included “visionary” and “creative.” It all depends on where these ideas lead, and what will be done to make it a reality.

Dreamers are an integral part of the business process at any stage of its development. New businesses cannot get off the ground without a good concept. Established businesses need to keep their product or service offerings consistent but also to offer something new on occasion to maintain and expand their market share. Sometimes, it is also necessary to be able to “think outside the box” to solve problems that appear to have no solutions.

Dreamers and doers are not mutually exclusive concepts; a successful entrepreneur needs to be both, especially when operating a small business. To paraphrase author T.E. Lawrence, people who are successful in business are those who dream with their eyes open.

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Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Business Issues | 0 comments

Concerns for Business Owners: Protecting Intellectual Property

Starting a business includes conceptualization of a business name, a business logo and products or services that are exclusive to the business firm. These are products of planning and creative thinking by business owners to keep their firms competitive and sought after due to their unique quality service. Thus, to protect and recognize the efforts put into businesses by their owners, including the time and costs incurred during the conceptualization, planning and execution stage of whatever business-related improvements decided upon, laws have been formulated and passed.

One specific law that gives copyright holders and the US government extra capability to stop access to fraudulent websites, where selling of counterfeit or infringing goods is the main trade, is the PROTECT IP Act or PIPA. PIPA, the shortest acronym for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, was introduced on May 12, 2011. It is actually a re-write of COICA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act), a bill which was not approved in 2010. Another related bill that was introduced on October 26, 2011, was the SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act.

“Infringement,” under PIPA’s definition, refers to any act that will enable or facilitate the distribution of counterfeit goods, as well as violation of the anti-digital rights management technology. This is because of the recognition of the exclusive rights to the creations of the mind, such that each unique good, or improvements in existing goods, would be the intellectual property (IP) of the one who conceived such good or improvement.

The intellectual property law grants owners exclusive rights to their intangible assets, like music, literary pieces, other works of art, inventions, discoveries, newly formed words, symbols, designs and phrases. Some types of intellectual property rights are trade secrets, trade dress, industrial design rights, patents, trademarks and copyright.

A copyright is aimed at protecting different forms of artistic and written expression, while a trademark is meant to safeguard a symbol or a name which identifies the specific provider of services and/or goods. A patent, on the other hand, is a legal document that is issued by the US government to grant inventors the right to exclude others from copying or selling their inventions (unless rights have been transferred or granted by the inventor to others through inheritance, renting or selling). A patent usually lasts for 20 years; upon its expiration, the right to exclude others stops.

Often, finding the right employees, who can be trusted with company trades and secrets and who can contribute greatly to the growth of a company, is a challenging task, especially if the firm lacks the instruments necessary in screening applicants well. The emergence of functional employment testing firms, however, changed the face of the hiring process, helping employers find the right people for the right job. Through pre-employment screening, these functional employment testing firms are able to specifically identify applicants’ (as well as existing employees’) skills and capabilities and determine whether they are capable of meeting the job’s basic requirements.

Protecting your intellectual property, besides entrusting your company’s growth to capable and trustworthy employees, should one of your major concerns as a business owner. Rather than hiring just anyone, only to compete with them or others who are able to benefit greatly by copying your company’s secrets and/or legally protected inventions, make sure you hire the right people; hiring the services of functional employment testing firms may be additional company cost, but you will soon find out that doing so is more beneficial in the long run.

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