When should I worry about Protection?

No this is not a blog about sex, but just as important: protection for your business idea. When do you need to start working on protecting your new product idea in order to maximise the capital return on your investment?

We start a new series today on an Intellectual property as it relates to small innovation businesses. Now, if you chat to different people you will get different opinions on what to do. Your IP lawyer will say, “File for protection for everything” – mostly because that is what they do to make a living. Your true entrepreneur will say, “First to market will save the day and beat out the competition”. Both are right, but careful consideration needs to be taken in providing a good cover and legal protection for your idea.
So let’s unpack some of the concepts:
Any new idea that will earn you money, whether it is a new product, service or just a way of doing something old in a new way is worth protecting. But not everything can be protected by law, and not everything that is protected can be enforced. So we need to tread a careful line here so that you do not end up spending millions on lawyer’s bills and end up with a bunch of papers that add no value to your business.
IP or Intellectual Property is an umbrellas term used for Patents, Trademarks, Copy write and Designs. Each has numerous categories and subcategories, each with a different process. We will unpack some of these over the next month in this series. But to start off with here are some basic rules to follow before you speak to a lawyer and spend money:
1. Is your idea unique in design or function – unlike anything else?

2. Is your idea worth protecting locally or internationally in order to make you more money?

3. Is the name you are using for your brand or product going to add value to the product in marketing and brand identification for your customers?

4. Do you have resources to pay for protection?

If the answers of any of the above questions are Yes or Maybe, then I urge you to come chat to one of our team and see if there is a case of IP for your idea. It is better to be sure than to find out later that someone has copied your idea and is now making all your money for themselves. And yes, it does happen.
But for now: do not talk to anyone, if you do, sign a Non-disclosure Agreement and keep copies of everything: designs, emails, sketches, models and related documents.
Next week, we unpack the Trademark vs. Copy write issues.

By |2017-11-01T12:23:09+02:00November 1st, 2017|Strategy|0 Comments

Business Growth Strategy IV – Process and Profit

We conclude this series this week with a look at two areas of business that are often ignored by entrepreneurs: the processes and the profits.

Most small businesses are started by one person or a small team. As the business grows, processes are generated on the fly and often made up when and where needed. This is great as it supports the entrepreneurial mindset and fast-growing nature of the business. But as things develop and other people join the team, they are left alone and often confused about what to do when and by whom. They refer things back to the original owners, who then just do things themselves, mostly because it will take too long to explain things to others and get them to do it, so they take it upon themselves to do it. Faster, easier and cheaper – Yes? Well actually NO.

Developing strategy for your internal processes is key to the development of any business from craft to enterprise. A clear set of processes that can be found and followed by anyone within the business and any new staff member, is key to growth. It also gives a sense of assurance to the business owners that things will be done and done according to the process.

Developing processes is also the key to creating internal models, frameworks and procedures that could be converted into sellable products in the future. A lot of what we coach our clients today started out as an internal process that developed into a workable model, workshop, coaching tool and online course.

The strategy around profit is just as important to the sustainability or your business. Turnover for any small business is the first measurement that we look at; but very soon, this needs to be expanded to include accounting items such as the cost of sales, expenses leading to gross and net profit. The big step for most business owners is to go from a cash business to one with proper accounting processes and reporting. It is also key to, as soon as possible separate the business money from personal money and then begin to manage the business based on profit, not turnover.

These and others we will unpack a bit more in the webinar on Wednesday. Join us HERE to be part of the live class or to watch the recorded version later.

By |2017-10-23T09:56:59+02:00October 23rd, 2017|Strategy|0 Comments

The Strategy of People and Products: YES or NO?

On Monday we opened up a can of worms by looking at what growth strategies need to be implemented in a business for the people and products you manage.

This has created some debate with some of our clients and colleagues with many different opinions and ideas. As we add to this conversation, here is a 30-minute video of the webinar mast class on this topic for you to watch.

I would love to have your opinion and ideas: please comment or email us.

By |2017-10-19T12:17:00+02:00October 19th, 2017|Strategy|0 Comments

Perfomance Measurement: Product & Service Quality

We continue this week with our discussion on Performance Measurement. Last week we explored some practical examples on how businesses in different sectors can measure their performance using NFPIs.

This week we conclude the topic by looking at the product or service that the business offers and how the business can measure the performance of their operations.

The product or service that the business offers is the ‘raison d`etre’ of the business or the purpose of its existence. A lack of quality can lead to customer dissatisfaction and loss of sales. A company should always critically and objectively review their offering and compare it to the competition and customer expectations and needs. Business owners or managers should ask themselves:

·         Is my product or service offering good value?

·         Does it deliver quality superior performance?

·         How does it fair relative to competitors?

·         With industry developments, can my product or service remain relevant with changing technological trends?

In Summary, the following are good examples of NPFIs:

Product quality

  • Percentage of items rejected by quality control
  •  Number of items returned by customers

Product delivery  

  •  Percentage of customer orders delivered on time
  •  Waiting time from order to delivery
  •   Cycle time

Customer satisfaction      

  •  Number of customers returning
  •  Number of complaints

After-sales service             

  • Waiting time
  • Number of complaints
  • Use of customer surveys to measure their satisfaction.

Benefits of Non-Financial Performance Indicators

The balanced scorecard philosophy asks the critical questions at the heart of business growth and sustainability. It looks at performance from four perspectives:

1.       Customer Perspective –how do we look to the client, customer ratings?

2.       Internal business process perspective –at what must we excel?

3.       Learning & growth perspective –continuous change and growth in a dynamic innovative age.

4.       Financial perspective –how do we look to shareholders?

These four factors complement each other; for example, relatively greater customer satisfaction will result in greater revenues and profits, consequently improving the financial perspective.

Financial performance measures are lagging indicators of performance, this is because financial performance is a result of past decisions. On the other hand, NFPIs are lead indicators in that they drive future financial performance as they focus on the customer, internal business processes and learning and growth.

By |2017-10-25T13:51:04+02:00October 11th, 2017|Strategy|0 Comments

How to get a Strategy for your business

To get from HERE to THERE requires a strategy. Not just a plan with a dash of hope: but a full strategy. But what is this thing called a strategy? What does it contain? What does it mean? And how can I get one?

The webinar video this week unpacks the various elements of a good strategy. Watch the video below (27 min) to get a full understanding of the different elements. Here is a short summary:

Vision: A written image of what the future will be if all goes according to plan.

Focus areas: select up to 5 areas that require focus and change to realise the vision.

Goals: write out 5 goals per focus area that need to be achieved in order to obtain the vision

Actions: What actions are required and by whom and by when in order to achieve the each goal.

Watch the video for the full story and an explanation of the WIGS required to get all this done.

By |2017-10-05T09:47:04+02:00October 5th, 2017|Strategy|0 Comments

Defining Your Business for Success

Creating a business is not just about products and customers. Like any good thing it needs a name: a name that will represent what your business stands for and can be recognised in the market as a leader in its field.

But what is in a name? The first sentence we ask of our clients is to define the Purpose of the business. This is so much more than just making money and paying the bills. We will expand more on this in tomorrow’s post.

We also need to add to our business with a good name and logo. This is always one of the hardest issues when starting a business. Not only do you have to find a good name, but then to register this in the CIPC but also find a good URL for your website and then to register the same on all the required social media platforms all becomes a huge undertaking.

Having a good name and purpose is still not enough. These all need to be backed up by a well defines Vision, Mission and a set of defined company values.

Once all these have been written and edited to completion your business will begin to develop a live of its own guided by all of the above. Staff, suppliers and customers will begin to develop their own interaction behaviours with your business based on how it is defined and so your business will develop. Without one or more of the above, your business will have to rely on you at all times to define it with each interaction you have with others and as your mood changes, so will the perception of your business.

 

Spend some time this week defining your business for success. We will expand on each of these during the week on our blog and related social media platforms.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:04+02:00October 10th, 2016|90 Day Sprint|0 Comments

Business Strategy – Strategic Networks

Building your business cannot be done alone. It requires a team of dedicated leaders, staff, suppliers and a well developed team of outsiders who have a vested interest in your business. We call them your Strategic Network. People in your Strategic Network fall into one of three groups

Foundation Network – the people you need in order to build your business, these people offers services, advice and products that your business relies on to function.

Support Network – the people you use for emotional support and advice.

Expansion Network – the people you use to build and develop a wider footprint for your brand.

Watch the video, subscribe to our channel to keep informed of further videos and more business tips and tricks.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:08+02:00April 11th, 2016|Bruce on Business, Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Business Growth Strategy – Product offerings

What is your current product offering linked to your existing resources? How do you leverage these to develop a firm future focused business growth strategy? We explain a simple to use, yet effective tool that will assist you to map out a product/resource strategy for your business.

A successful business needs to develop a constant relationship between existing assets and resources and product offering, always looking to develop both. But added to this is the need to develop new assets in the form of Staff, Equipment and IP to equip the business to increase the product offering in both width and depth. View this week’s Bruce on Business video for the full story.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:08+02:00April 4th, 2016|Bruce on Business, Business Resources|0 Comments

April is Strategy Month – Do you have one?

This time of year when the seasons change and the new financial year is finally in full swing we tend to look towards our budgets and forecasts with a little doubt and fear. Developing a solid business growth strategy has to be the best way to secure the future of your business. But what is s strategy? How does one go about developing a plan on paper that actually translates into implemented actions and improvements to the bottom lines?

Join us this month as we unpack the different models, frameworks and tools of a functional business strategy.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:08+02:00April 1st, 2016|Bruce on Business, Business Resources|0 Comments