If you have an idea then that idea is yours and no one can take it from you. Your own mind is perhaps the only place where things are straightforward and where you live by the rules you make. There is no bureaucracy here, and no conspiracy (unless you’re schizophrenic perhaps) and of course if you’ve come up with something then it’s entirely your right to with it as you please and to make money from it and keep others from using it if you so wish.
That only seems fair and right, and you might think that that should be the way things work in the outside world as well. The problem is though, that as soon as you tell someone your idea or write it down things change and suddenly it’s not so black and white. And while this might seem unfair, the complicated laws are actually there for a reason.
Take patents for instance. If you instantly had the patent on anything you invented and keep it forever, then you would be able to have ideas and keep them to yourself preventing others from making any business from them. Imagine if someone came up with the design for a chair and then instantly patented it forever – we’d all be standing up to this day.
That’s why there are complications and limits regarding intellectual property law and why things aren’t quite so black and white. However if you take the time to understand the system and the various laws then you can still make this work for you in order to protect your intellectual property. Here’s how.
Understanding the Basics
There are three different ways you can protect an idea and each one is used in specific circumstances. For instance, if you produce a creative work such as a story or a poem then you can copyright this which will protect it for your entire life and even a time after you’re deceased. Copyright goes into effect as soon as you create something, the only reason you might need a lawyer or legal help is to register that copyright so that you can prove that it was yours first.
Then there are patents. A patent applies to an invention or a process and here you are protecting the ‘how’ not the what. In other words then you couldn’t in reality patent chairs, but you could patent the four legs design that we all know and love. Even then though this would require a lot of paper work and expense via the help of commercial lawyers and would only last for ten years.
Finally there are trademarks which are used to protect names and brands. For instance you could use a trademark to protect your business name or to protect the names of characters in your story. ‘Superman’ is a trademark for instance, as is ‘DC Comics’ and this doesn’t prevent you from writing or saying those names (otherwise I’d be in trouble) but it does prevent others from making money from them directly.
Choosing the right type of protection is very important, as is making sure that you are protected against all situations. Find a lawyer to help ensure that only you can make money from your ideas and creations.
Georgia Rae is a successful freelance writer. She is the owner of a very popular blogging website where she blogs about various business topics and ideas
When you run an office as a manager or a CEO, you walk a fine line between trying to be popular and keep everyone happy, and turning a profit and keeping things as professional as possible. One of the times this dichotomy becomes most apparent is in choosing the dress code for where they’ll work – do you make it strict and thus ensure that everyone looks the part if ever you have visitors while at the same time creating a professional vibe that will hopefully rub off on the way your staff work? Or do you keep things casual? Thus allowing your staff to feel relaxed in their own skin and happy, letting them express their personalities, and winning friends in the process making yourself a ‘good boss’ in their eyes?
The same goes for decorating their personal space, and there are many arguments for and against letting people bring their own things in. Here we will look at them and hopefully help you to come to a conclusion on what to do.
Pros and Cons
The pros of letting your staff decorate their desks are of course the same as letting them come in in their own choice of clothes. As soon as you introduce more relaxed rules here, you’ll find that your staff feel happier at their desks and have a sense of professional pride when they work there. Having colour and stimuli at work does not actually stifle productivity – but it encourages creativity and positivity which are both things you should seek to cultivate in your workforce. Meanwhile your staff will be grateful for your leniency and will hopefully work harder out of a sense of obligation at least.
On the downside of course by letting people decorate their own space you introduce a lot of arbitrary rules where you will have to make it clear what’s okay and what isn’t which can immediately cause more disputes – people can bring in things that other members of your team find offensive, or that makes others jealous, or they can bring in things that you believe to be distracting, but which they believe is no different from what ‘Jeff has’. Then there’s the fact that they can clutter the area and make finding papers more difficult, and that the mix of styles will create something of an eclectic look that’s not going to gel across the whole office.
Of course there’s no simple straightforward answer to this dilemma, but what you can do is to make some kind of compromise. Speak with your office fitout provider and ask them to include an element that can be personalized in the office such as a notice board where they can hang pictures, or an area of their desk designated for particular ornaments. If you do this, then your staff will be able to bring things in and add a splash of personality but remain within the parameters you have set out to prevent arguments and discord. Of course this is going to be affected by the kind of office you have, how much space your staff have available to them, and policies that are beyond your control.
The author of the article, Thomas Brown is a home decor blogger and also works as a interior designer who designs office and home space for his clients.
When you buy a property you are going to be dealing with a range of different professionals who will all exist to try and make sure you get a good property for your money, that you get a good deal, that the transaction goes smoothly and that you are happy in your new property. Unless you work in the industry yourself then, this is probably going to involve a lot of things that you didn’t previously fully understand and some of these professionals you might not even have heard of before. Here we will look at one of these service providers – conveyancers – and what their role is when you buy a new property.
Conveyance essentially is the process of transferring a legal ‘title’ from one person to another. A title is a ‘bundle of rights’ regarding the property and this means that you will not only buy the physical brick and mortar of the property, but also the right to access easement for instance, and the right to live in that property/modify it/sell it etc. Without getting the correct title to your property you will be limited in what you can do with your new home and so this is very important.
Conveyance will often take place around a table then where you will have three attorneys to represent you, the seller of the property and the bank or lender of the mortgage respectively. Here they will literally pass the papers and the contracts between one another that they have previously prepared. On the part of the buyer – you – that paper will be your offer contract which will have been written out to once again protect your rights in the purchase. This contract for instance will normally give you the right to pull out of the purchase in the case that the property is found to be unfit for purpose by your surveyor, or if you should find defects in the title which prevent you from getting all the rights that you should get.
Roles of the Conveyancer
As such then your conveyance has several roles that are crucial to ensuring this transaction goes smoothly. For one they will be able to help you by preparing your offer contract in such a way that you are tied into the property before you want to be. At the same time they will represent you during the conveyancing process and pass the papers on your behalf. Finally you will use them to go over your title and to make sure that you have all the rights that you should have. In some cases for instance you might find that the title might mean that one day the council could build a road through your land. Using your conveyance you can ensure that your title doesn’t have any such problems so that you don’t end up making an ill-advised purchase.
Conveyancers can also serve a range of other roles. They are specialist lawyers who deal with the legal aspects of buying and selling property, and as such they can help you with a range of other problems regarding your property and at the same time inform you about the legalities of particular property purchases and plans you may have.
The author of the article, Steve Hewitt is a real estate expert and shares his ideas through guest posts.
Do you know how your employees are spending their time? Are they really working on a project or are they goofing off playing Facebook games? The truth is a number of projects might not take as long if your employees were actually doing their job. While you may not be able to stand over your employees at all times, there are a number of things you can do to monitor their behavior. The following are just a few tips on how to track how employees spend their time.
Use Time Tracking Tools
There are a number of tools that can be installed on company computers to track an employee’s time. These trackers can be as simple as trackers that require employees to enter their time and how it was spent or there are more detailed tools that give you a much better idea. Some tools track inactivity, the websites employees visit, and more.
Keep Closer Tabs on Employees
You don’t have to stand over employees to see how they’re spending their time, but walking through the office at unexpected times can certainly keep employees on their toes. While they can hit a key to change the screen quickly, you can also find ways to be sneakier in your attempts.
Install Keyloggers on Company Computers
Keyloggers are a great way to determine exactly what your employees are doing online. However, you need to be upfront that this method is being used. It’s better to warn employees than them have no idea. Regardless, this is a great method for tracking how employees spend their time.
Control Website Use
Another way to track time is to simply limit what they’re able to do with their time. One way to do this is to use software that prevents employees from visiting certain sites and using certain programs. You can also prohibit the use of personal smartphones so they aren’t using their phone to play games, chat on Facebook, etc.
Last, but not least, if you’re using tools or software you need to review the reports to see how time is being spent. It doesn’t do any good to use these methods unless you follow up.
Just because you pay your employees to do a certain job, doesn’t mean they always stick to the task. Technology has made it even easier for employees to get distracted. Whether it’s games on Facebook or employees checking their personal email, you may not be getting what you pay for. That’s why it’s necessary to track how employees spend their time through tools, software, and basic monitoring.
About the Author: Alvaro Klonski works from a New York coworking space and only sees his employees in person once per week. He has to rely on computer tracking within the company structure to monitor employee use and time management.
Communication has changed and the technology surrounding the way we communicate has evolve dramatically. Gone are the days where offices full of people huddle around a single phone that’s been set to the speaker mode. We now have much more sophisticated methods for holding meetings with people who are in various locations and time zones and web conferencing is one of the most popular.
The Benefits of Web Conferencing
First, let’s explore the benefits of web conferencing. In the past you were only able to use phone conferencing, which meant you could hear a person’s voice but you couldn’t get any additional information. Web conferencing offers a wide variety of features. You can incorporate both voice and visual contact, whether that means seeing a person face-to-face or watching a PowerPoint presentation during a talk. Speakers are able to share a lot more detail, giving you a critical business advantage.
Ask for a Demonstration
A quick Google search will show several different web conferencing providers. Start by asking all of the ones you’re interested in to give you a free demo of how the service works. You should be able to log into the system and test their functions and controls, whether you’re on a live call or not. A free trial in which you can host a call and really live-test the system is even better, giving you the ability to make sure people won’t have trouble accessing the website and/or phone lines. Test not only the ease of use but the quality of your conference. Are the phone lines easy to hear or was the sound muted? Were your web shots easy to change or were there lags and delays?
If you do have customer support issues, they’ll likely come up at the worst possible time – like when you’re trying to have an actual web conference. Make sure the provider you choose has constant customer support. Ask if the support is offered by the company itself or by a third-party support provider. Is customer support included after your initial training or will you have to pay extra for someone to troubleshoot your problems?
Scalability and Pricing
You shouldn’t, of course, have to pay for something you aren’t utilizing. Many web conferencing providers will charge you based on the size of your presentations or the number of people who are attending. You shouldn’t be paying a company for a meeting of 100 people when you only have 10 in the room, because you’re obviously not using up all of that web/phone bandwidth. Can the company you’re considering modify your pricing plan based on the size of each meeting?
You should, of course, dig around a bit to learn about the overall reputation of the company you’re looking at. Do a search for customer reviews and see what others have had to say online. If they’ve had bad experiences, you’re likely to find out about them on the Better Business Bureau website or on any of the myriad of company review sites and blogs on the web today. While every company will have a bad experience with a difficult customer from time to time, constant complaints from a wide variety of businesses and customers should be a red flag.
Web conferencing is an innovative and valuable tool that every business with multiple offices or far-away clients should be utilizing. Choose the right provider and you’ll always be able to put your best foot forward when arranging meetings!
About the Author: Keila Vandevsen loves using a web conferencing service to hold meetings with other offices, employees working from home, and even her customers. She’s constantly using her voicemail, email, and web services to stay in touch.
Whether you’re a large international corporation, or simply a small family run business, at some point you’re going to be hosting a business event. This can be anything from an exhibition, a seasonal party or even client entertainment. This is why these events must be perfect – the reputation of your business is on the line!
Why Host a Corporate Event?
Events take a multitude of forms and themes, but they all start out with a goal in mind. These goals shape the overall event and help you decide how best to host and plan the event.
Reasons for hosting an event include;
- Thanking staff
- Celebrate business achievements
- Improve relationships with new or existing clients
- Raise the company profile
- Thank customers
- Launch a new product
A corporate event is the best way to gain exposure and increase your company’s profile. An event will reflect your business’s inner goals into a positive outer image and help you to stay ahead of your competitors.
Leaving too little time to prepare your event can be detrimental to its success. You should always allow for sufficient time to plan and ensure your event is as perfect as possible. The time you take to plan your event will depend on the nature of the event and the size of it. Experts state that the best time to start planning a corporate event is as much as 6 months beforehand. This length of time means you are able to consider the elements of your event;
- Competitions and sponsorship – Are you going to seek sponsorship for your event to help cover costs? Do you need to organise a competition and prizes?
- Availability of venues – If you’re booking a venue that has a long waiting list being earlier is better. For instance if you’re considering track hire or some other specialised product promotion you should look to book well ahead of the event as your options will be limited.
- Invitations – These should be sent out at least 10 weeks before the event.
Remember that if you’re booking an event during a busy seasonal period you should be extra early with your bookings – especially for Christmas parties.
Factors to Consider
Even if you manage to book your ideal venue there are plenty of other factors to consider before your event can go ahead. As this is a business orientated party you should plan it as if you were planning a new business case.
Sit down and consider what your objectives are;
- What are your objectives?
- Is there a budget?
- Where are your clients based?
- Will there be a theme?
- Is entertainment required?
- Are the timescales achievable?
- Can you manage the event yourself?
- Is sponsorship available?
- Who is your target audience?
- What level of exposure do you want?
As with any new business product launch or press release, you should consider how you will handle the media and PR. Corporate events can be costly, so ensuring you have an adequately planned marketing plan for your event will help you get the most out of your investment.
If you own any kind of business, there is no doubt that you are fully aware about the benefits of buying the supplies that you need wholesale. In addition to ensuring that you have stocks of the supplies that you use regularly, buying them wholesale will also allow you to save a good amount of money. If you are planning to buy plastic bags wholesale, though, it is imperative that you look through the following points before you settle for any of your choices. With these guidelines, you will be able to find the best supplier that can give you access to the highest quality plastic bags that you may use for your business.
Find Printable Options
If you are going to buy plastic bags wholesale with the intent of using them for your business, you should at least make sure that you will be able to use them to build your brand. With this said, it will be best for you to find printable options that will afford you the benefit of customization and personalization. This way, you will be able to print your logo or your business name on your plastic bags and use them to discreetly promote you brand.
Stick to High Quality Bags
If you are going to spend a certain amount of money in buying plastic bags wholesale, you might as well see to it that you will be able to make most use of your money. This means that you have to limit your options among the ones that are durable enough to be used and reused by your customers. Limiting your options to high quality plastic bags will help you see to it that you will be able to effectively use them, no matter what you may put into them.
Buy Bags that are Easy to Use
It can be pretty hard to open a fresh plastic bag, because the sheets tend to stick together when they are pressed and folded for a certain amount of time. This problem is nothing that little peeling and crunching cannot fix though. To boost the efficiency of your business, however, you have to buy bags that your employees will be able to use as easily as possible. See to it that you take this factor into consideration when you buy plastic bags wholesale.
Go Cheaper or Go Home
Buying plastic bags wholesale will require you to practice a certain amount of foresight, which means you will have to look past the numbers and think of the actual value that your business will enjoy in the long run. Buying plastic bags in bulk will surely allow you to save a good amount of money if you will factor the price per piece, but doing so will require you to spend more money in one go. Worry not for going down the wholesale route is almost always a money saver. If you find that buying from a certain supplier will not help you save up, then simply pick up and find one that will offer you better prices.
About this Author:
R. Lorraine Namey is a business writer who regularly contributes articles on how business owners can improve their bottom line to various websites. In this article, she talks about you can buy plastic bags wholesale.
If you’d like to know how to get a business loan, the first thing you have to know is that there are different kinds of business loans that you can take out. For small to medium business enterprises, you’ll need a small business loan. There are also those that target specifically startup businesses, or those that are still considered to be at risk more than established ones. Then there are those that involve a bigger amount of money for high-rolling investments.
Credit History Requirement
Depending on where you will be getting the money from, there are certain requirements that you will have to meet before your loan can be approved. Particularly, they are strict about your credit history. Knowing how reliable you are as a lender is important for these lenders, obviously because they will be entrusting you with a pretty large amount.
If you turn out to be a delinquent lender, unable to pay the dues on time, then it’s going to be a cause of a host problems for both sides. In fact, if you have a good credit standing from your banks, whether it be for your credit card use, or for your car loan, you will find that the lenders are the ones coming to you to offer some more.
What this basically points to is that your credibility as a lender is going to be very integral in successfully getting that business loan that you have been aiming for. To be safe, therefore, if you can pay off as much existing loans as possible, you better do it before you go for the big leap with the business loan. Besides, this ought to benefit you as well in the future, because for sure, the business loan will be taking up a huge spot in your budget in the coming months.
Comprehensive Financial Portfolio
Another tip on how to get a business loan successfully is to get your documents ready. Remember, you will have to make your case before the bank or lender to convince them that you’re not going to run away with their money. Apart from your credit history, therefore, you will also need to show them your existing financial portfolio. They will be interested to know in how much money are flowing into your accounts, and how much of it are going out.
To be able to give a better impression, it would also be advisable that you prepare for them a projection of the costs that you are expecting to have for your business. If you can give them specifics as to how the loan will be divided, then that’s going to be much better for you.
Essentially, what this is going to prove is that you know what you are doing. You have a clear-cut vision of what you want to happen with your business, and how you’re going to achieve it. Do not go into that presentation giving the feeling that you will just be winging it. Coming unprepared is definitely not how to get a business loan from these lending institutions, so just do your homework, and give it your best shot. If you want a free source to help you get a business loan, you should check with the SBDC
Interested in getting a real estate license? It’s going to be a very good career path for you, especially if you have the natural skills at talking to people and convincing them to buy property. There will always be someone in need of a new home for their family, as well as those people looking at properties to invest in.
In so far as demand for real estate agents, you can bet that there will always be room for more. If this is the career path you are keen on getting into, however, you should be ready for the competitive arena that you will be thrust into. With many other agents looking to score new clients, you always have to be on your toes, ready to offer your service to those who may need it.
Getting Your Real Estate License
Getting a real estate license is not as simple as filling out an application form. You have to remember that there are particular stipulations in each and every state. If somebody offers you a licensing opportunity that will allow you to practice throughout the country, that’s most likely to be bogus. There is no such thing as real estate license recognized on a national level.
Each and every state has adopted specific rules and regulations regarding their real estate agents. Therefore, if you want to practice, say in California, then you should take the necessary course and training there, as well as get the licensing exam there.
It would also do you well to keep in mind that the policies and procedures regarding the obtaining of your real estate license may vary from time to time. This means that the requirements that your friend used to get his license last year may not necessarily be the same requirements that you will need to meet. The best way to make sure is to check with the governing local real estate board, so you can ensure that the requirements you are preparing are the updated ones.
Usually, this would include minimum age requirements, educational attainment, job experience information, application documents and the corresponding fees, as well as whatever else that the state may ask you to provide. You might as well prepare these documents from the start, so that you can just take care of the rest of the needed requirements.
Preparing For The Exams
If you’re feeling jittery about the exams – as most people naturally are when it comes to tests – you may opt to take special review classes. Usually, the local licensing schools offer these review classes to help you prepare for the actual exam.
As soon as you pass, you will be sworn in as a licensed real estate agent, and there you will be given your license number. This tedious process only goes to show that a real estate license is not to be taken lightly. Therefore, to have one really opens up a lot of wonderful career possibilities. The only remaining question now is are you ready to face the challenges that will come along with the responsibility?
Brandon Jones is a professional blogger who writes for real estate licensing sites.
Image courtesy of Flickr.
Dividend investing is different from how a lot of people tend to invest. However, those differences tend to be in the best possible ways. When an individual invests in securities that pay dividends, the ultimate benefits tend to be extraordinary. Dividends tend to be excellent ways to grow one’s wealth slowly and steadily over time, but dividend stocks also tend to do well from a capital gains perspective. On the whole, dividend investing is a valuable consideration every investor should at least ponder over, even if they elect to take an entirely different approach to growing their wealth.
What is a Dividend?
A dividend is simply the money a company pays its shareholders when it has extra money. While dividend percentages are calculated from how expensive a share of stock is, the stock price and the dividend itself have absolutely nothing to do with each other in most cases. A dividend generally comes about because a company believes that the extra money it has earned and its expenses are paid can be best used by giving it back to their shareholders.
Don’t Dividends Hurt Companies?
Dividends are generally part of a carefully thought out plan that management is undertaking. A company does not release a dividend on a whim. As such, most companies do not take out loans to fund their dividends or pay regular dividends by selling valuable assets. Special dividends may be different, but in general a dividend is a long term commitment by management to make their shareholders wealthier.
Can You Use Dividends to Buy More Shares?
You can! In fact, this is one of the best secrets that isn’t a secret at all. By reinvesting your dividends into the same company, you can grow your position and make yourself wealthier automatically. If the company’s stock goes up or down on any given day, it matters less because you are investing a continuously growing, stable amount of money that the company paid you. Some of the wealthiest families on earth are essentially just reinvesting in this way, or living off of the dividends they used to reinvest.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Do This?
Some people’s investment objectives do not align with dividend investing. For them, capital gains are the most important part of building their wealth, and they perceive dividend payments as taking away from a company’s ability to expand its operation. There is validity to both sides of this debate, so the decision is one you shouldn’t make lightly.
Dividends are the money a company makes, paid back to its shareholders. Some investors love dividends, and some don’t like dividends at all. Dividends should be something you consider, but you should also make up your own mind based on your own goals.
About the Author: Virgen Swor loves studying the stock market, learning about different stock picks and their histories, and studying the trends set by other successful investors. He hopes to one day become a professional trader.