Straight Talk About Social Media ROI

Social Media ROIAre you using social media for marketing your business? If so what are you trying to accomplish? Maybe you want to make people more aware of your brand, generate leads or make sales. What do you expect your social media ROI to be? A disconnect between effort and expectations is not unusual.

In this show we’ll explore how to succeed in using social media. Carol Fowler, CEO of TheSocReports, gives us some straight talk about opportunities and commitments to meet social media ROI targets.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM CAROL FOWLER OF THE SOC REPORTS

IS IT A MISGUIDED NOTION THAT BUSINESSES NEED TO BE EVERYWHERE IN SOCIAL MEDIA?  (3:22 in)

In Carol’s words – It is. That’s one thing that causes businesses hesitation to get involved in social media. It’s better to identify one platform, maybe two, to reach that reach your target audience.

Insight – Research where your prospects and customers hang out. Chances are you won’t be able to ignore Facebook since nearly 80% of social media users are active there.

SHOULD A BUSINESS HAVE TO PAY (ADVERTISE) TO PUT THEMSELVES IN FRONT OF THEIR PROSPECTS? (5:02 in)

In Carol’s words – You probably will have to pay, but the good news is you can reach a lot of people fairly inexpensively. Facebook has an amazing ability to put a bullseye on your ideal customer. For 10 to 15 dollars a day you can reach thousands of people who are right in your sweet spot.

Insight – Advertising won’t be effective without good content underpinned by a sound strategy.

WHAT ARE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF SOCIAL POSTS THAT ARE SHARED? (7:05 in)

In Carol’s words – Probably the most important thing you can do when creating your social media is include visuals. A post with a photo, gif, or graphic is 75% more likely to be shared with someone else.   

Insight – Be interesting to be followed. Share things beyond the walls of your business. You can build your reach organically by using the various forms of tagging to alert content contributors and followers to your posts.

DO BUSINESSES EXPECT MORE OF A RETURN ON INVESTMENT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA THAN THEY SHOULD? (10:04 in)

In Carol’s words – A lot of companies struggle with the ROI. In too many cases people complain about the ROI, but they haven’t set goals to begin with. If do don’t have consistency or a dedicated person working on it, you probably aren’t going to get results that knock your socks off.   

Insight – Make a concerted effort to measure results in order to see whether your social media ROI goals are being achieved. Use scheduling tools to manage your time and address the publishing demands of the social media platforms you’ve chosen to use.

ARE THERE RISKS TO US AS PEOPLE WHEN SOCIAL MEDIA PROVIDERS INTEND TO MAKE THEIR SERVICES MORE ADDICTIVE? (17:15 in)

In Carol’s words – I worry about people who spend so much time on Facebook. There are people out there spending hours every day on Facebook. That’s crazy. I encourage my clients to take vacations from social media. There are aspects of it that are unhealthy. But by the same token, it’s really connected the whole world in a way it wasn’t connected before.

Insight – By taking breaks and not spending endless hours on social media, you’ll make the most of it and get other rewarding things out of life.

How Does a Pro Buy a Business?

Buy a BusinessHave you dreamed about buying a company or perhaps you’re thinking about making an acquisition to strengthen your existing business? Mackenzie and Company, a corporate strategy and finance consulting firm, believes that to buy a business you should be able to execute one or more of five strategies.

Find out what they are and what a seasoned pro does to buy a business on this episode of What Works for Biz.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM CHIP NIELSEN, PRESIDENT/CEO OF DOSCHER’S CANDIES?

WHAT ARE SOME PRINCIPLES THAT GUIDE Y0U IN LOOKING AT A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY?  (2:01 in)

In Chip’s words –  A strategic reason and an opportunistic opportunity. Increase your size or volume, geographic expansion, lessen competition, acquire key new people. It might be fun, interesting or challenging.

Tip – Consider whether your staff is ready to take on more responsibilities or new challenges.

WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH DO YOU DO TO EVALUATE PROSPECTS?  (4:02 in)

In Chip’s words – Once I’ve picked an industry or business, the research in my case goes to friends, relatives, acquaintances, who might I know and who might connect me to someone in that industry. Read trade journals in that field. Get the word out I’m looking.

Tip – The type of research you do depends a lot on what you’re looking to buy, what your capabilities are, where’s your passion, and how large or small in scope the company footprint is.

IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A THOROUGH UNDERSTANDING OF THE BUSINESS YOU’RE LOOKING TO ACQUIRE?  (8:10 in)

In Chip’s words –  You’re naturally going to succeed at it faster. Those in an acquisition mode should play to your strengths. Look at the things they are passionate about. Overlay businesses they might be interested in, involved in and be able to learn fairly rapidly.

Tip – Pursuing businesses that don’t complement your skill set and background is too big a risk.

HOW IMPORTANT IS PAST PERFORMANCE VERSUS FUTURE PROPECTS OF A BUSINESS?  (11:44 in)

In Chip’s words –  (Past) It’s the best predictor of the future.

Tip – Judging the future is very important if you are already in the business and the acquisition is an add on or you’re looking to close down the business and just buy a customer list.

HOW DO YOU LOOK AT YOUR ROLE IN THAT ACQUISITION?  (14:21 in)

In Chip’s words –  You should be doing it with the purpose of building the business. I’m definitely more of the builder than the operator.

Tip – Develop a clear strategy that can be communicated effectively to those you’re relying on to execute it.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO DOSCHER’S CANDIES?  (15:20 in)

In Chip’s words –  I grew up in a family business environment. We worked that list of contacts in town. There happened to be a couple of small business brokers. It was a family business sold to Greg Clark. In meeting him we fell in love with this quaint candy business.

Tip – Consider giving a previous owner equity in the new business if the person is going to stay on and help you run the business.

SHOULD A BUSINESS BUYER HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY IN MIND WHEN PURCHASING?  (19:49 in)

In Chip’s words –  In my estimation it’s going to be a lot more situational.

Tip – If you buy a business that you’re just getting started in, formulating an exit strategy upfront is likely not as important as it is to the business owner that seeks to turn it over in three years.

Podcasting Grows As Local Leads Generator

Run Your Own Show - PodcastWhen did you start listening to podcasts? If you began within the last 3 years, Edison Research says you are one of more than 20 million people who are doing this at least once per month.

There are many reasons why more than 57 million people in the United States listen now. In this What Works for Biz episode, we’re going to explore why podcasting could be the secret local leads generator in marketing your business. Just like a radio show, it’s a natural marketing tool for individuals to use to sell their books, get speaking engagements and sell advertising. But there is an opportunity here for local business to generate sales leads and strengthen client/customer relationships.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF HAVING A BUSINESS PODCAST?  (1:39 in)

You control the message. It’s a unique opportunity for a one to one connection with a prospect, client or customer that feels personal. It’s also a great content generator for your website without having to write a time consuming article or blog.

For your prospects, access is convenient, on demand and evergreen. They can listen via a smartphone while driving to work, walking the dog, or wherever they want.

WHAT’S THE PAYOFF FOR THE BUSINESS AS A LOCAL LEADS GENERATOR? (2:48 in)

Through your business podcast the company’s reputation and visibility will increase the likelihood of people contacting you for help, service, or acquiring your products.

You’ll be considered an expert. Instead of reading, the emotion registered in your voice makes it easier to take action. Valued content will attract followers and a willingness to pass it on. The reach of your website, conversation on social media, and visibility in search listings can be improved.

Current business podcasts produced by a mortgage broker, dentist, and an office furniture company are examples of good business marketing.

WHY TRY A BUSINESS PODCAST NOW? (7:14 in)

The audience is growing. According to Edison Research, it has grown 75% in the last 3 years. The blog universe is saturated. Organic reach of social media is restricted. Research indicates that the audience is comprise of active, high income and educated people. Competition is limited.   

WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO PULL IT OFF? (8:45 in)

Delivering messages your audience wants to hear is paramount. Interesting stories worth telling are possible by examining a wide range of topics related to your business.

  • Introduction of new products or services or upgrades.
  • Problem solving tips
  • Explanation of business vision and strategy
  • Stories of how your business has helped or exceeded customer expectations

Production of the program is not complicated. If you have limited staff and time is at a premium, using an outside source for assistance is sensible. You can call on their help with content development, hosting, recording, post production and program distribution.

If you use an interview format, all you will need to do is spend some time answering questions. With a good message and production of show episodes regularly, your podcast can be an important local leads generator.

Why Take An Emotional Intelligence Test?

Emotional Intelligence TestIn 1995 Daniel Coleman, a psychologist and former science journalist for the New York Times claimed in a best selling book that emotional intelligence was the prominent ability deemed necessary to achieve superior performance in leaders. To him it mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.

So should you take an emotional intelligence test if you want to improve your leadership skills, get that promotion, or find a new job? Listen to what Dr. Stephen Boyd of Growth Counseling Centers has to say about it.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM DR. STEPHEN BOYD OF GROWTH SPIRIT COUNSELING CENTERS

WHAT IS EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE?   (1:29 in)

In Dr. Boyd’s words – Taken from Dr. Paul Stoltz –  it’s your ability to empathize with others, post fun gratification, control your impulses, be self-aware, persist and interact effectively with others.

CAN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE BE LEARNED? (1:59 in)

In Dr. Boyd’s words – It’s directly related to how we are interacting in our relationships.

Insight – If you are experiencing a positive interaction with someone else then you will experience a positive mood.

WHAT TYPE OF QUESTIONS SHOULD AN INTERVIEWER ASK OF A JOB CANDIDATE FOR AN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE TEST? (2:54 in)

In Dr. Boyd’s words – For example, tell me an example of a stressful situation from your last employment situation with a team member and how did you work with the individual in that team.

Insight – Examine real workplace situations of conflict, cooperation, flexibility, and resolution.

HOW MANY DIMENSIONS OF EI ARE THERE? (5:20 in)

In Dr. Boyd’s words – (Among 19 areas are) self perception, self regard, self actualization, emotional self awareness, stress management, flexibility, tolerance, optimism, self expression, assertiveness, independence, decision making, empathy, and social responsibility.

Insight – While your EI is comprised of your capabilities in all of these areas, the fundamental components are empathy, flexibility and optimism.

DO YOU AGREE THAT EI MATTERS MORE THAN TECHNICAL EXPERTISE IN LEADERS? (6:20 in)

In Dr. Boyd’s words – Those that have high levels of intelligence are not as effective to be productive. We get in the way with our intellect.

Insight – A report can be developed to identify low vs. high areas of emotional intelligence. From these comparative findings measured against other leaders, goals can be set and coaching instituted to improve EI capabilities.

WHAT CAN YOU LEARN ABOUT POTENTIAL PERFORMANCE OF A JOB CANDIDATE THROUGH AN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE TEST? (10:02 in)

In Dr. Boyd’s words – We can predict how they will deal with stress, flexibility, how happy they are or how well they feel about themselves.

Insights– The accuracy of the testing process continues to improve as a broader base of people take it. More than 10 years of data now exists.

HAS THE EI TEST CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? (13:45 in)

In Dr. Boyd’s words – Around the area of happiness, yes. There is a move into a broader understanding of wellness. As your functioning at a higher level of emotional intelligence you’re going to be happier.

Insights – A feeling of happiness and well-being leads to improved productivity in the workplace.

IS FURTHER RESEARCH NECESSARY TO UNCOVER NEW ASPECTS OF EI? (14:44 in)

In Dr. Boyd’s words – We’re never done. I would add as a factor of well-being a component of spiritual intelligence. Multiple studies have proven that spiritual intelligence is a component of mood and well-being and happiness. 

 

 

Which Shoulders Do Angel Investors Want To Sit On?

Angel InvestorsCincinnati is not an area that is growing its population like in the south and southwest that stoke small business activity. However, it is home to Queen City Angels, the second ranked group of angel investors in the United States by CB Insights.

Forbes has named Ohio as the 11th best state for small business and number 1 for quality of life. And in a recent survey by consumer research company Value Penguin, Cincinnati placed seventh out of 200 U.S. cities in a report on the Best Cities for Small Business.

There is access to capital, a low cost for office space, and a good talent pool available. In a conversation with Queen City’s executive director, we learn about what’s required to start a business and attract angel investors.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM SCOTT JACOBS OF QUEEN CITY ANGELS.

AT WHAT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT SHOULD AN ENTREPRENEUR SEEK ANGEL INVESTORS?   (2:53 in)

In Scott’s words – We like to engage as early as possible. We have a farm system.  (mentoring program, bootcamp,) We’re looking for customers who have a paying customer or two.

Insight – Connecting with entrepreneurs as early as the idea stage is useful in evaluating the viability of a potential investment in the company.

ASIDE FROM HAVING CUSTOMERS, WHAT PART OF A BUSINESS PROFILE ATTRACTS QUEEN CITY ANGELS? (6:35 in)

In Scott’s words – Friends, families and founders. We like to see them have a little skin in the game. They’re not just looking for our money to move their idea forward. We want people completely dedicated to this business.

Insight – Developing a business part-time on nights and weekends will not interest them. Having a good management team that is coachable is key too.

ASISE FROM PASSION AND DEDICATION TO THE BUSINESS, WHAT OTHER QUALITIES ARE IMPORTANT IN THE BUSINESS LEADERS? (8:15 in)

In Scott’s words – Emotional intelligence and the ability to manage the stress.

Insight – Awareness of their own weaknesses and strengths is important..

WHAT ARE COMMON MISTAKES ENTREPRENEURS MAKE? (9:05 in)

In Scott’s words – They’re overly optimistic about the strength of their idea. Companies don’t know the amount of money they need to raise.

Insight – Because multiple rounds of capital are usually required to fund a growing company, over valuation of a company’s worth in its early stages of development can hinder the ability to obtain capital.

FROM THE INVESTING SIDE, WHY DO PEOPLE GET INTO ANGEL INVESTING? (13:52 in)

In Scott’s words – It’s fun. It’s intellectually stimulating. They want to hear about new ideas and they want to help.

Insight – To be an angel investor you enjoy shepherding companies and investing your time and expertise as well as your money.

WHAT SHOULD THE EXPECTATIONS OF RETURN BE FOR AN ANGEL INVESTOR? (15:20 in)

In Scott’s words – We’re in for the long run. The year in which most exits occur is year eight.

Insights– Angel investors are usually putting in five hundred thousand to a million dollars in the first round of financing.

ARE ANGEL INVESTOR GROUPS AT A DISADVANTAGE TO VENTURE CAPITAL GROUPS IN SEEING IDEAS? (17:30 in)

In Scott’s words – No not really.  they need is more like practice management. What types of things should I look at to get to the next level….renewing that motivation

Insights – You’re wasting money if your sales training dollars are spent on standardized training for everyone in the sales organization.

WHAT TYPE OF COMPANIES ARE QUEEN CITY ANGELS LOOKING TO INVEST IN? (18:39 in)

In Scott’s words – Technology based companies, life science, IT oriented, the internet of things. 

Insights – They’re seeking companies that others want to acquire instead of creating the product or technology themselves.

Peak Sales Performers Are Out There

Peak Sales Performers
Results of Peak Sales Performers

If your businesses sales aren’t where you want them to be, it may because you don’t have any peak sales performers on your team. You have to stop hiring people with the wrong “stuff” and know how to get the most out of them. That’s the sage advice from my conversation with Tony Cole of the Anthony Cole Training Group.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM TONY COLE OF THE ANTHONY COLE TRAINING GROUP

WHAT ARE COMMON BARRIERS TO SALES GROWTH?  (1:18 in)

In Tony’s words – What are your systems and processes like? Did you hire (sales staff) them that way or did you make them that way? Does the sales managed environment have the right components?

Insight – Successful selling is more about you than external hurdles you may have to overcome.

WHAT DOES A COMPANY NEED TO DO TO HAVE PEAK SALES PERFORMERS? (2:38 in)

In Tony’s words – Hire them. The selection process is not simple. Most companies look for the wrong stuff.

Insight – To make the right hires possess a depth of knowledge about what you need and how you’ll recognize it in a potential peak sales performer when you see it.

HOW DOES A PEAK PERFORMER GO ABOUT DOING THEIR BUSINESS? (3:43 in)

In Tony’s words – They don’t do it alone. They have a coach. They spend a lot of time doing the right things and don’t make excuses.    

Insight – Peak sales performers take ownership of their role and put it upon themselves to improve or make changes to maximize performance.

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ALL SALES PEOPLE IN AN ORGANIZATION TO BE PEAK PERFORMERS? (6:16 in)

In Tony’s words – The answer is yes.

Insight – Peak performance measurements are different for each individual according to their experience and capabilities.

WHAT TYPE OF GOALS NEED TO BE SET FOR PEAK SALES PERFORMERS? (7:45 in)

In Tony’s words – They’re the ones that decide this is the peak they want to attain.

Insight – Goals are usually set too low and often are just suggestions. Goal setting from the top down is a mistake. If your sales people resist a bottom up goal setting process, you have the wrong people.

WILL TOP SALES ORGANIZATIONS MEASURE TIME ON TASK FOR ALL SALES RELATED ACTIVITIES? (14:54 in)

In Tony’s words – Yes. Most companies, even when successful aren’t hitting on every cylinder.

Insights– Often companies that hire outside sales development organizations are not broken but seek assistance to reach the next peak.

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN THE TYPE OF TRAINING PEAK SALES PERFORMERS SHOULD RECEIVE VERSUS OTHERS? (17:03 in)

In Tony’s words – The training they need is more like practice management. What types of things should I look at to get to the next level….renewing that motivation

Insights – You’re wasting money if your sales training dollars are spent on standardized training for everyone in the sales organization.

Where’s the Artist in Your Sales Pitch?

Art of Sales PitchWould you believe that the sales pitch you’re using today may not be your best at generating sales? In a study conducted by the sales consulting company, Corporate Visions, more than 86% of the companies surveyed said they used sales pitches that were different than what they judged to be the most effective.

So what is a good sales pitch? There are up to nine elements worth including.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM PAUL HEAGEN OF DEFINING MOMENTS ABOUT THE ELEMENTS OF A SALES PITCH.

#1 – WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?  (2:52 in)

In Paul’s words – A solution in search of a market isn’t going anywhere if you have to convince the market to use your product or service. People do respond to what looks like a fix in their life or business.

Insight – By identifying a solution to the problem in your sales pitch you’re helping rather than selling the customer.

#2 WHY DOES THAT PROBLEM MATTER? (4:09 in)

In Paul’s words – Our attention goes to our big ones.

Insight – If you help them realize the importance of fixing the problem, you’ll get their attention and trigger their desire to fix it.

#3 WHY HASN’T THE PROBLEM BEEN ADDRESSED BEFORE NOW? (5:16 in)

In Paul’s words – It sets you up for your differentiator.    

Insight – This question is a set up to introduce your product or service. The customer acknowledges what may have been tried before hasn’t worked or admits the problem has been ignored.

#4 WHAT HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS? (6:13 in)

In Paul’s words – If you come to a discovery, an insight that other people have, there’s tremendous value in that. Let me tell you something we’ve discovered, that invites curiosity.

Insight – For entrepreneur’s in search of capital, knowing your position in the marketplace is necessary.

#5 HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS IS GOING TO WORK? (7:47 in)

In Paul’s words – I need some confidence that what you’ve set up is really going to work. Will the customer or market understand this as a solution.

Insight – If you have to take a great deal of time explaining to your customer how your product or service works, you need to re-think your presentation and simplify.

#6 HOW WILL YOU MAKE MONEY?  (9:31 in)

In Paul’s words – What’s the path to profitability? (for an investor or customer)

Insights– Value can be defined as money or time savings, efficiencies, and multipliers which generate money.

#7 WHY ARE YOU THE BEST AT DOING THIS? (10:38 in)

In Paul’s words – Can you execute on the idea?

Insights – Consider bringing into the pitch other team members responsible for executing the idea that make the customer confident in your ability to deliver.

#8 WHERE ARE YOU NOW? (13:08 in)

In Paul’s words – Sell new stuff to old clients. Sell old stuff to new clients.

Insights – If your pitch is to an investor, you’ll need to be clear on where you are in your development of the business. For old clients it’s a chance to expand your relationship. For new clients you introduce them to something you have delivered previously.

#9 WHAT DO YOU NEED? (15:30 in)

In Paul’s words – In a sales presentation it’s ask for the deal. Here’s what the relationship would look like.

 

 

Using Video to Generate More Referrals

Using VideoIn two years Cisco Systems estimates that 80 per cent of all consumer information on the internet will be in the form of video. Advances in technology recently have made it easier for people to watch live events, user generated videos, entertainment, and informational videos on any device.

So if you’re in business, you ought to be thinking about using video. In my conversation with Ron Harper of Videos on Your Website, you’ll realize that your business story told effectively can be a great referral tool.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM RON HARPER OF VIDEOS ON YOUR WEBSITE

WHAT TYPE OF VIDEOS WORK WELL FOR BUSINESS?  (1:19 in)

In Ron’s words – The number one thing is testimonials. The other thing is overviews of a company. You can explain what it is you do and why you do it.

Insight – Your overview message should not be presented as a commercial. You’re seeking to build trust, not sell your products and services.

WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS OF A GOOD VIDEO TESTIMONIAL? (4:35 in)

In Ron’s words – I think number one is transparency. You have to think about what are the questions your customers might be asking you.

Insight – Great testimonials are emotional stories about how the business helps solve a problem or produce a solution that satisfies the customer’s need.

HOW LONG SHOULD BUSINESS VIDEOS BE? (6:41 in)

In Ron’s words – The key metric is about 3 minutes and 45 seconds.    

Insight – Length is not as important as the message you’re presenting. Make sure that your video will deliver what is promised so when it is clicked on to be seen, the viewer won’t be disappointed.

WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR VIDEO DISTRIBUTION AND OPTIMIZING FOR ONLINE SEARCH? (8:07 in)

In Ron’s words – On my site I have a mixture of those that live on my site and those that live on YouTube depending on what their function is going to be in the website navigation. With Facebook, upload your videos natively.

Insight – Remember that search engines can’t read video. Having words on a page related to the video are important for proper indexing. More of your videos will be shown on Facebook if you upload them directly, not as a link coming from YouTube.

THE COST OF PRODUCTION CAN SCARE PEOPLE. SHOULD THEY BE SO CONCERNED? (11:50 in)

Insight – Simple professional production mixed with DIY videos can be very effective. Consider spending some money on development of a formula and a storyline for producing videos that you can replicate on your own if you can’t afford a professional. Whatever you do, make sure in using video that yours don’t look amateurish.

IN WHAT SITUATIONS WOULD BUSINESSES FIND THE USE OF FACEBOOK LIVE TO BE SUITABLE? (14:05 in)

In Ron’s words – I look like at Facebook Live sort of like Headline News. Make your followers feel like they are a part of something.

Insights– Effective Facebook Live content could involve some community activities you’re involved in, not just something specific to the businesses products or services.

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF PRODUCING GOOD VIDEO THAT CAN’T BE LEFT OUT? (16:01 in)

In Ron’s words – The most important thing about video is audio. You’ve got to have good sound.

Insights – The other essentials in using video are a stable picture that is lit properly. Use a tripod to stabilize your picture. Make sure that your subjects on the screen aren’t bathed in shadows.

Invention Protection from Preying Vultures

Protecting Your InventionAll of us at one time or another have probably thought about creating a product or inventing a process to solve a problem. The United States Patent Office receives more than six hundred thousand applications for invention protection each year.

Equally as great is the desire to police and protect existing patents.  Llitigation costs on the resolution of a patent challenge will often run into the millions.

Let’s find out what we should know about patent applications and protection to keep preying vultures at bay.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM GREGORY AHRENS, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ATTORNEY AT WOOD, HERRON & EVANS LLP

WHAT SHOULD AN INVENTOR DO BEFORE APPLYING FOR A PATENT?  (1:22 in)

In Greg’s words – Documenting their invention and the process they’ve gone through to come up with the invention and secondly some preliminary research to determine what other patents or prior inventions already exist.

Insight – The status of what currently exists plays a major role in determining the viability and scope of a patent. The first inventor to file, not when it was invented is key.

HOW LONG DOES THE PATENT APPLICATION PROCESS TAKE? (3:18 in)

In Greg’s words – It can take from several weeks to a couple of months.

Insight – The timeline depends upon the complexity of the description and drawings as well as the investigation into other patents or applications similar to the one that is to be filed.

ARE THERE LIMITATIONS TO A PATENT’S INVENTION PROTECTION? (3:58 in)

In Greg’s words – The term of the patent is 20 years from the original filing date of the patent application. The patent may have broader or narrower scope depending upon what other patents and products pre-existed at the time the invention was created.  

Insight – Don’t assume a patent protects you from all competition.

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHETHER A PATENT IS BEING VIOLATED? (4:54 in)

In Greg’s words – Do an infringement analysis. Evaluate whether the product that may infringe   has all of the required elements.

Insight – Pursuing an infringement case will probably be futile if the product in question doesn’t possess all of the required elements of the patent holder for invention protection.

HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHETHER TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST AN INFRINGING ENTITY? (6:07 in)

In Greg’s words – It’s a business decision. How important is it to the company to police the marketplace.

Insight – Determine the value of the patent to the business versus the cost of litigation or the cost of getting an injunction to stop use.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOUR PATENT SHORT OF PURSUING LITIGATION? (8:26 in)

In Greg’s words – Companies can send a cease and desist letter. There’s one potential drawback. The recipient who has now been accused of infringement, they can then go to court and file a suit where they seek the court’s judgment that they didn’t infringe. An alternative, they can also establish a licensing program.

Insights– The goal is to prompt a dialogue between the parties in dispute. Weigh the probability of a reverse infringement lawsuit. As an alternative, consider creating a licensing program to collect royalties from others seeking to profit from your invention.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD A COMPANY TAKE IF THEY WERE ACCUSED OF INFRINGING UPON SOMEONE ELSE’S PATENT? (13:28 in)

In Greg’s words – One thing that should not be done is ignoring the notification. Determine if you have a defense. Engage in dialogue and try to seek resolution early.

Insights – Have your patent attorney do some research to assess whether you are an infringer or not. Based on the strength of your case, you may choose to go to court seeking a declaration against the charge. Or you could propose to become a licensee of the patent being contested.

Proven Health Wellness Program for Business

Health Wellness ProgramU.S. employers know that increasing productivity and profitability is linked to the health of its employees. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, at least 7 out of 10 American employers offer some form of employee health wellness program. This is up 21% since 2008.

So what kind of wellness program should employers offer today? We’ll talk to a doctor of integrative medicine about this.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM DR. GARY HUBER OF HUBER PERSONALIZED MEDICINE.

WHAT IS INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE?  (1:19 in)

In Dr. Huber’s words – What that implies is we are going to take a broader at your health….a look at your nutrition, your sleep patterns, your stress, your exercise and your lifestyle.

Insight – The goal of this form of medicine is to try to reverse or prevent disease when the patient is willing and able to change their lifestyle.

IS PERSONALIZED MEDICINE ANOTHER WAY TO DESCRIBE INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE? (3:44 in)

In Dr. Huber’s words – We’re going to look at your genetics because your genetics let us know what you’re predisposed for.

Insight – According to Dr. Huber, genetics are responsible for only 15-20% of our health result. But by looking at those genetics ahead of time, it’s possible to take measures to avoid diseases you may be more susceptible to get.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL HEALTH WELLNESS PROGRAM INVOLVE? (6:04 in)

In Dr. Huber’s words – Preventive care programs. If we can identify issues and put them on drug therapy, that will avoid costs.   

Insight – Having lunch and learns or providing financial incentives to participate are having only marginal impact. One of the biggest challenges continues to be getting people to engage in a program.

IS THERE A BETTER APPROACH TO HEALTH WELLNESS? (9:43 in)

In Dr. Huber’s words – If we took Joe and Joe lost 50 pounds and he started eating different and he looked different and his energy was better, guess what his co-workers said, what are you doing? Show me how to do that.

Insight – Select the riskiest group of employees, those that potentially could cost the business the most in healthcare cost. Work on getting them healthier. If material changes occur in them, others in the employee pool will want to follow their lead.

IS YOUR HEALTH WELLNESS PROGRAM TYPICALLY SIX MONTHS? (12:20 in)

In Dr. Huber’s words – It takes someone six months to truly change their mindset. What we’re really working on is what’s between the ears.

Insight – Results come quicker, but to maintain better habits for the long term requires an initial program of several months followed by periodic follow ups. People who have been in the program for a while can be mentors for others thinking about participating.

CAN AN INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE PROGRAM BE AFFORDABLE FOR A BUSINESS WITH LESS THAN 50 EMPLOYEES? (15:10 in)

In Dr. Huber’s words – Yes. In the very first group we ran through we had a 49% reduction in medication costs. Savings in drug costs more than paid for the program.

Insights– In evaluating ROI consider the cost benefit of less absences and more importantly, employees working at their job instead of languishing because they don’t feel well.

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONTACT WITH THE PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS OF THE EMPLOYEES? (19:09 in)

In Dr. Huber’s words – We can and sometimes do. I’m not going in there to be their primary care physician.

Insights – Patients are encouraged to share recommended lifestyle changes with their doctor. Sometimes implementing a lifestyle change program becomes a collaborative effort between the primary care physician and the integrative medicine provider.