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Protecting your intellectual property

by the Berwins team

“Protecting my idea? Errm… no. I’m sorry Dragons, I hadn’t thought of that.”

As even the most casual viewer of Dragons Den will know, no matter how good an idea or well thought out a business proposition, a lack of protection can be a real stumbling block.

 

Assessing the Risk

In many ways, it’s a fairly natural problem to arise and one many start-ups will come across. You’ve had a fantastic idea. You’ve tested it, refined it, seen the potential for it to become the business you’d always dreamt of. There’s so much else to think about and plan, that even if Intellectual Property (IP) makes it onto the to do list, it’s not likely to be near the top. Should it be?

Well, the answer depends on the type of business you’re operating and your plans for it. There are three areas of IP to consider:

  • trademark: a symbol, word or sign which distinguishes your goods or services from competitors;
  • copyright: rights granted to the author, composer or publisher of a literary or artistic work;
  • patent: the title or right to exclude others from making, using, or selling a specific invention.

A key part of any business plan should address these points and identify whether, if a competitor were to replicate what you are going to build your business on – most commonly a distinctive brand identity – it would harm your ability to trade and flourish.

 

Protecting Competitive Advantage

Whatever your industry, you’re going to face competition and differentiating what makes your business special is vital. Here, a trademark is a particularly powerful tool and gives you the legal backing to take actions if someone else were copy your special ingredient without authorisation.

In much the same way that you wouldn’t make a significant investment in a property without protecting it with insurance, you need to consider safeguarding the competitive edge which makes the business you are building unique.

 

Building Value

But IP shouldn’t just be considered another cost, rather an investment. For any business, your brand is a hugely valuable asset. It’s the first thing that most customers see and, coupled with the product and service you offer it’s at the heart of what brings them back for more.

It’s also one of the key things you own ‘dragons’ – the investors or buyers key to your growth or exit strategy – will take notice of and a registered trademark not only increases security, but also adds value to your business.

Ultimately, protecting your intellectual property will involve time and consideration. It will also have a cost implication. It is, however something any new or existing business owner needs to explore because, while you may be registered at Companies House and own a domain name, failing to protect your brand could damage or devalue your business.

So, IP. Can you afford to be out?

 

Find Berwins at this year’s YBM on stand W17 in the Wharfe room.

10 Tips For Getting A Great Return From Your Next Event

by Steve Phillip, Linked2Success

Steve Phillip offers social media training for business ownersI exhibit and speak at various events around the UK and many of these I’m paid to talk at. When I exhibit however, I’m usually paying to rent a stand in the organiser’s hall to promote my services. In either case, I never turn up without first letting the world and her dog know that I’m going to be there.

I’m always surprised when organisers of events I’m involved with, send me an email to thank me for frequently tweeting my attendance at their event. Often I’m provided with a database of registered attendees and again, the organisers thank me for emailing attendees to let them know where they can find me on the day and, in the process, I end up indirectly promoting the entire event by inviting my clients and other business contacts to come along.

 

Don’t Blame The Organisers If No One Shows Up On The Day

I know from experience, that there’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into getting paying and even non-paying visitors to turn up to any event. Weeks of marketing; flyers, emails, newspaper ads, radio, the list is endless and as stand holders, we often rock up to the event, raise our pop-up banners, lay out the obligatory bowl of Quality Street and wait, with baited breath, for the throngs to storm our stands.

However, it’s the efforts of us, the stand holders and speakers, that helps to ensure that the foundations, laid by the event organisers, result in an amazing event on the day. It’s a joint venture and you’re not going to achieve a return from the time and money you’ve invested, if you’re not prepared to spend some time promoting your appearance at the events you exhibit and speak at

 

10 Top Tips for Promoting Your Participation at Any Event

Digital and social media marketing has made promoting most things, these days, both easy and inexpensive but you will need to invest some time. Here are my top tips for getting a great return from your event:

Tip 1: Email your current database and let them know you’ll be at the event and which stand you can be found on (provide a room map if available). Don’t just rely on one email either, create 2 or 3 variations of your message leading up to the event.

Tip 2:  Consider running a competition, which requires event visitors to come to your stand. Include the competition in your emails and promote it on your various social media sites. Facebook users love competitions.

Tip 3:  Message your LinkedIn connections – review your connections and identify those you’d really like to have a meeting with. It’s a great excuse to get back in touch with some of those useful but long lost connections and rekindle the relationship with them.

Tip 4 : Find out which #hashtag is being used by the event organisers and include this in your tweets to promote your attendance.

Tip 5: – Use a scheduling site, such as Hootsuite, to plan your LinkedIn updates and tweets, so they continue to be shared with your followers, whilst you’re busy on your stand or speaking. Speakers can pre-schedule a tweet to say “Looking forward to speaking at #XYZevent in 15 minutes in Hall B” rather than suddenly finding you’ve run out of time to tweet and miss the chance to get more people in the room.

Tip 6: Consider a Facebook or LinkedIn Paid Ads campaign and target specific types of individuals, inviting them to attend the event and visit your stand or hear you speak.

Tip 7: Post a short video, if you’re speaking at the event. This tip will only apply if you have a speaker show reel or some decent video footage of you speaking. A great video will help draw more visitors to the event to hear you speak.

Tip 8: Post images of your stand, so that people know what your stand looks like. People may know roughly where you are from the floorplan but could end up walking right by you, because they didn’t recognise your stand.

Tip 9: Use your amplifier network, to retweet your tweets, share your LinkedIn updates or Facebook posts. Who are your close followers and connections who regularly share your content? Try tagging them in your event updates and posts and when they like or leave a comment, you’ll also reach their audience of friends, family and business connections.

Tip 10: Most important – follow up immediately after the event. Make sure you email, promptly, those hot enquiries and consider giving a shout-out (tag them) on LinkedIn and Twitter to those important business contacts who visited your stand and then engage with them when they respond.

 

These days, great event planning is not just about making sure you’ve packed the banners, tables and cloths etc, it’s about how you promote yourself before, during and after the event. That’s the way you end up achieving a real return on your investment.

Looking forward to meeting everyone at this year’s Yorkshire Business Market. I’ll be opening up the speaker seminars at 11:00am with my talk on ‘Attracting More Of The Right Customers Using LinkedIn’

 

Steve Phillip is Managing Director and founder of Linked2Success Limited. Since 2009, he has helped hundreds of professionals around the UK, in Europe and the USA, in companies such as The British Red Cross, Toyota GB, FedEx, The Civil Court Users Association, Deloitte, as well as many small to medium sized businesses, to attract more of the right customers and strengthen their online brand presence, using tools such as LinkedIn and other social media.

Don’t gamble on exhibition success: How Yorkshire accountancy firm DSC is preparing for YBM

The team at Yorkshire accountancy firm DSC give their tips on how to succeed at business exhibitions

By John Garbutt, director of DSC Accountants

Every now and again an opportunity comes along for business owners to promote their products and services to a captive audience. As a local business ourselves we’ve exhibited regularly at the Yorkshire Business Market and every year we have put plenty of thought into making the most of the occasion so that the people we meet leave with a better sense of who we are and how we can help them.

This year our theme is gambling – but we’re leaving nothing to chance. We’ve been discussing ideas and preparing our stand so we know exactly what we want to say to people who take time to stop and say hello.

The message is clear: Business success isn’t down to luck. With the right advice and support, every business can make the most of the opportunities that come their way and overcome the challenges they face.

We’ll be inviting people to try their luck with our personalised game and chat to our team to discover how we can help manage the risks involved in running a business. As you’d expect, there will be no losers and everyone will win a prize.

If you’re planning to exhibit at this year’s Yorkshire Business Market, make sure you prepare for the opportunity to present your business to a significant local audience. Business success goes hand in hand with planning and preparation and events like this depend on investing time so that you can make the most of them.

We are fortunate to have a very strong business community in Harrogate, and in Yorkshire as a whole, which makes events like the Yorkshire Business Market possible. I have personally been involved in the organisation of the business market over the years and DSC Accountants is also an active member of Harrogate Chamber of Commerce. Through events and organisations like this we have built a strong network of local business contacts and an enviable reputation as a long-established and trusted local firm.

DSC has also created its own bimonthly networking breakfasts which have become well-attended knowledge sharing events offering local business owners a chance to meet, exchange ideas and pick up valuable advice on topics ranging from creating a business plan to effective time management.

As you can see, we’re leaving nothing to chance. Our business success is down to planning, preparation and making the most of the opportunities that come our way.

We look forward to meeting you at the Yorkshire Business Market where we’ll also be talking to visitors about our new Leeds office. In the meantime, if you would like to attend one of our bimonthly networking events please contact Ellie on [email protected] to be added to our events mailing list.

Free business mentoring sessions at Yorkshire Business Market

Julian Horrocks will be offering free business mentoring sessions at Yorkshire Business Market in Harrogate

Do you have a great business idea, but aren’t quite sure how to get it off the ground?

Are you in the early stages of launching your business, and just need to check you’re on the right path?

This year’s Yorkshire Business Market has the perfect opportunity for you: free sessions with an experienced business mentor.

Julian Horrocks will be at YBM throughout the day to speak to aspiring entrepreneurs and start-up business owners about their plans. He will offer impartial feedback on ideas, look over business plans, and answer any questions that they have about running their business.

The sessions are free, but need to be booked in advance by contacting us. They are likely to be popular, so book early to avoid disappointment.

The free business mentoring sessions are an ideal match for YBM. This year’s event will focus particularly on start-up and new businesses, with an emphasis on growth.

As well as the support and guidance Julian can offer, YBM is a great place to meet leading Yorkshire businesses who can offer specialist advice in marketing, sales, IT, web design, intellectual property, finance and the law, as well as much more.

Around the aisles, businesses from across a wide range of sectors will be on hand to talk to entrepreneurs about their needs. Whether you’re looking for an accountant to keep you on track through the year, or you need to start shouting about your business with the help of a marketing professional, you will find them at YBM.

Equally, if you’re a new business owner and want to get the word out, there’s no better place to do it – and it’s outstanding value too. From just £250 +VAT, a sole trader or partnership in their first year of business can take advantage of our start-up stand offer.

Not only does this help you to get the word out to around a thousand business visitors in one day, it also positions a new business alongside the established, respected brands exhibiting in the halls. It’s the perfect way to give your new business the early boost it needs for long-term success.

Click here to find out more.

YBM: a window into business in North Yorkshire

Yorkshire Business Market is one of the best business events in Yorkshire and reflect the wider Yorkshire economy

The changing shape of the modern business world is set to be reflected in the 13th annual Yorkshire Business Market.

A focus on digital, a growth in the number of new and start-up businesses, and support from large organisations will all be in evidence around the aisles of the event on Monday 24th April at Pavilions of Harrogate.

Despite a tumultuous year following Brexit and the uncertainty it created, organisers are predicting another strong year, with confidence among exhibitors and partners still very high.

Event chairman Mark Lancaster said: “Since its inception, YBM has been a fascinating way to take the temperature of the local and regional economy.

“During harder times, businesses are wary of spending money exhibiting and the aisles are generally quieter. In the last few years, however, we have noticed a real growth in confidence among both exhibitors and visitors, and that trend looks set to continue this year.”

The trend is also reflected in the event’s partners, who represent diverse sectors which are all leading the charge for growth in 2017. NY Design‘s digital services, including web design and video, have never been more vital, as businesses seek to reach new audiences online.

Leeds City Region LEP and the Federation of Small Business are both supporting growing numbers of businesses. Their services to start-ups are in high demand, as more people turn from employment to self-employment as they strive for greater independence and influence over their working lives.

With rising energy prices affecting businesses as much as domestic customers, CNG Ltd offers ways to get the best value and control their costs.

Meanwhile, Stratstone BMW goes from strength to strength, offering the latest technology to assist business owners on the move. The company will be bringing a selection of its vehicles to the event to show to visitors.

The event will be broadcast by media partners Stray FM, who will bring a mobile studio to the venue and interview attendees, reflecting the atmosphere of the halls.

“The support of our partners across such diverse sectors is a reflection of the changing business landscape,” said Mark.

“Along with the wide range of start-up and established businesses around the aisles, they make the event vibrant for all our visitors. We’re looking forward to another interesting day with the chance to see just how well local and regional businesses are doing this year.”

A handful of stalls are still available in each size, from micro-stands for start-ups to large spaces for established businesses. Click here to book now.

2016: a record year for new UK companies

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Research performed by Inform Direct shows that 2016 was a record year for new companies in the UK. We’ve produced summaries for the country as a whole and individual counties, so you can look at how your region is faring compared to others.

To see the infographic

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_code admin_label=”Code”]<script type=”text/javascript” src=”//www.informdirect.co.uk/infographics/id/infographic.js”></script><a class=”inform-direct-infographic” data-width=”930″ data-height=”1000″ data-location=”national” data-year=”2016″ href=”//www.informdirect.co.uk/company-formations-2016/national”>Inform Direct Infographic – Company formations in National 2016</a>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

How to make the most of 15 minutes at Yorkshire Business Market

Ruth Whiteley's seminar will be a chance to make the most of fifteen minutes with expert business adviceCould you spare 15 minutes?

As a business owner, you’ll know how busy life can be. Even 15 minutes can be hard to find when you’re trying to balance the demands of clients, staff and everyone else.

So let’s ask a different question: could you spare 15 minutes to learn the skills you need to make your business even more successful?

That’s the idea of our seminar programme at Yorkshire Business Market in 2017. Time is precious, so we don’t want you to waste your day sitting through hour-long presentations that won’t do much to make your life easier or your business more profitable.

Instead, we’ve put together a programme of business seminars that will cover just 15 minutes each – and yet everyone in the room will walk away with something they can implement immediately in their own business.

Whether you want to use LinkedIn to generate real sales leads, you need to hone your networking technique, or you are looking for inspiration to take your business to the next level, you’ll find a seminar to suit you on our 2017 programme.

Take just 15 minutes out of your day to listen to our experts. There will be five minutes for questions afterwards, so you can double check anything you’re unsure about before you go away to implement it in your business.

Choose to visit us for one seminar then head back to your desk, or pick a couple of relevant topics and browse the aisles between seminars – or stay for the whole day and see just how much you can learn. It’s completely up to you. Even better, it’s also completely free. What have you got to lose?

To see our full seminar programme, click here. To register as a visitor, click here.

How Millennial Entrepreneurs are becoming Millionaire Entrepreneurs

Guest blog by Spinder Dhaliwal

Spinder Dhaliwal discusses millennial millionaires - could you be the next one?Fast and furious, that’s the pace of enterprise for the young generation today. We are now seeing more and more young entrepreneurs appear in global Rich Lists and it’s worth noting the pace and direction of this movement and what sectors they are in.

Businesses owned by young entrepreneurs are diverse and include traditional businesses such as property and fashion as well as high tech businesses like apps and specialist websites. They’re young and they’re rich, young entrepreneurs are set to be the new “captains of industry”.

The technology era has opened doors for budding entrepreneurs and enabled them to start-up businesses cheaply and quickly. You can start a business in less than 20 minutes online and some of these have grown to see enormous success and have made fortunes for their owners. Creativity and innovation play an important role in entrepreneurship. You need to be open to opportunities and also to create them.

There are enormous advantages to being a young entrepreneur, you have greater energy and motivation and you have less to lose. You do not have to make the decision to leave a highly paid, safe professional job, or to start a new venture with a mortgage or children to look after (in most cases). However, while you have more energy and creativity, unfortunately you lack experience and you may be less money savvy and you don’t always know your own strengths and weaknesses so you may be overconfident.

There are many risks facing young entrepreneurs too, they are unlikely to have personal savings and may rely heavily on the bank of mum and dad and grandparents. Young entrepreneurs have to work really hard as it is unlikely that they have people to work for them so cannot delegate. It’s vital for them to build networks and understand and use new technologies. In most cases, like many small business owners, they need to multi task as manager, salesperson, negotiator and so on.

Young entrepreneurs today are lucky in that they grew up with new technologies and social media. This will benefit their businesses and are central to a lot of them. They have grown up in the web era and it is second nature to them.

What young entrepreneurs need is a mindset of faith and belief. They have to make things happen, not wait for them. They must create opportunities, not wait for opportunity to open up for them as the entrepreneurs below can testify to.

Plucked from obscurity to become a sporting heroine, Paralympian Georgie Bullen, is the Director of Team Insight and her advice is, ‘Whatever your starting point, look at your strengths and build on them, don’t let your fear hold you back. Only then will you be alert to opportunities’.

So what can we learn from Georgie?
• Believe in yourself
• Minimise your debts and go for grant funding
• Get professional support and a good mentor
• Promote yourself at every opportunity and be pitch perfect
• Surround yourself with champions
• Sell, sell, sell!

Quirky, confident and intelligent Solveiga Pakstaite, founder of Design by Sol, is easily recognizable with her inimitable trademark glasses and bags of confidence. This, together with her intelligence and tenacity in finding solutions won her the coveted James Dyson award for her Bump Mark innovation while still an undergraduate, catapulting her to a new league.

Key lessons from Solveiga include:
• Stay alert to opportunities
• Think creatively
• Win awards
• Have a scalable business
• Protect your idea
• Commit to your business wholeheartedly.

Oxford educated Matt Simmonds, 25, is the co-founder of SpeakSet. Together with Adi Kasliwal and Ewan Marshall they have transformed the way older people connect with technology. Tackling the issue of isolation head on, they have eased the fears of the elderly with their high tech solutions.

Matt’s advice is:
• Start with a big problem
• Make the most of the accelerator experience
• Find the right team
• Do your market research thoroughly
• See how you can save organisations money
• Help others – do something that’s good for society

These young entrepreneurs didn’t just dream about starting a business, they went for it. Many started small. They made mistakes, they lost money, they felt insecure but they grew from their experience. They surrounded themselves with strong networks, good mentors, and put in the time and effort to learn. They all work hard, some of them in traditional business, many of them in high tech businesses. They work long hours, are committed and mature for their age. They’re having fun building up businesses that make a difference, and that they can be proud of. Their futures are more promising as a result.

 

 

Spinder Dhaliwal is the author of The Millennial Millionaire, how young entrepreneurs turn dreams into business (Palgrave) available from Amazon .

Watch original interviews with successful young entrepreneurs at he.palgrave.com/companion/dhaliwal-millennial-millionaire

Academic and author, Spinder Dhaliwal is a recognised expert in the field of entrepreneurship. She is a Reader in Entrepreneurship and Director of Postgraduate Programmes at the University of Westminster, UK. Spinder has taught entrepreneurship modules and programmes to undergraduates, postgraduates and executives both in the UK and internationally. Spinder has written extensively about entrepreneurship and her books include The Millennial Millionaire, how young entrepreneurs turn dreams into business (Palgrave) and, Making a Fortune – Learning from the Asian Phenomenon (Capstone).

Getting the Most out of Visiting The Yorkshire Business Market

Attending any business event is always more productive if you have a plan.

Whether you want to make as many new contacts as possible or you’re looking for support in a particular area, thinking ahead is vital.

With this in mind, here are our top tips for making the most of a day at Yorkshire Business Market:

  1. Make a diary date. Unless you commit a particular day or days in advance, it’s quite likely you will allow something else to interfere and prevent your visit.
  2. Pre-register www.yorkshirebusinessmarket.co.uk and avoid potential lengthy queues.
  3. Decide exactly what you want to get out of the exhibition and then create a timetable and allocate certain parts of the day for certain priorities. Make sure you include relevant seminars in your plan.
  4. Read the previews to discover the highlights of the show. Make use of the pre-published floorplans and exhibitors lists to plan your route around the show and avoid criss-crossing the floor.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes. Exhibition halls are hard work on the feet, so don’t compound the problem by wearing new or tight-fitting footwear.
  6. Take plenty of business cards but hand them out cautiously unless you want to be deluged with follow-up calls and information.
  7. Take a break, have a drink and review what you have achieved and what’s still to do.
  8. Write notes and make follow-up contact with suppliers you talked to as soon as possible while your memory of their products and services is still fresh in your mind.

Armed with your plan of action, all that remains is to head to YBM with a positive attitude and a determination to succeed. We’ll see you there on Monday 24th April!