| How To Protect Your Brand

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

When you’re trying to launch your own business, one of the most important things you can do to ensure its future is to protect it. Whether you are craft beer brewery or a bespoke software solutions provider, your brand will be one of your most valuable assets once your business gets off the ground. It represents your reputation, all the goodwill you have built with your clients, and it’s your company’s entire identity. Here are a few things you can do to legally protect your brand.











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Use IP Protections

Before you even get started, you’ll have an idea for a business, which might include a name, logo, tagline, and even some business guidelines. Unfortunately, having an idea doesn’t mean you own it; at least, not until you acquire some Intellectual Property (IP) protections. These protections can include trademarks, copyrights, and patents. The right IP protection depends on the kind of business you’d like to start. If you’re just looking to start a small website business that is similar to hundred of other businesses out there, then you might not need IP protection. However, if you’re hoping to establish a brand, then you need to take the necessary steps to protect it.

Register Your Trademark

Once you’ve taken the first steps towards launching your business, registering your trademark should be on the top of your list. A trademark gives you the right to exclude others from using similar marks in the marketplace that might confuse consumers. The purpose is to make sure consumers know where the goods and services with specific brand names on them are coming from. Doing this before you fully start can help you avoid infringement if your business name, logo or slogan has already been taken. A licensed trademark attorney like Xavier Morales can conduct a Comprehensive Trademark Search for you to make sure that your chosen company name is not infringing on an existing brand, file a trademark application to register your business, and help you protect your brand and ideas by giving you copyright protection.

Monitor New Trademark Applications

However, even if you’ve registered your trademark, you still have to protect it, or you still risk losing everything you’ve worked towards. If you don’t monitor for potentially infringing trademark applications and fail to oppose the publication of a conflicting business, then it becomes much more difficult and expensive for you to stop them from hitting the marketplace.

Set Up Google Alerts

Google Alerts can help you monitor mentions of your company, track your marketing, and keep up with industry developments. Most importantly, they can help you identify plagiarism. Nowadays, a lot of companies have blogs as a way of engaging their customers with their business and services. Even if you don’t blog, the content on your website is your intellectual property and you have a right to protect it. While you can pay a fee for companies like Copyscape to alert you to thieves, it’s cheaper to type key phrases into Google Alerts.

| Business Startup Ideas That Utilize Your Skills

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting











If you’ve always fancied being your own boss and you think you can handle that entrepreneur lifestyle, you can often spend time wondering what sort of business you’d be good at owning. One of the best ways to work that out is to look at your own skills. Whether you want to go into ecommerce or open a work freelance, or even open a wholesale outlet, you can make it happen if you’ve got the relevant skills. To get your mind going and give you some inspiration, here are a few ideas to get your started.


Specialist Consultancy

If you’re skilled in a particular area of business, you could think about becoming a consultant. Whether you’re really great at recruitment and human resources or even a whizz with real estate, you don’t always have to open your own firm. Being a freelance consultant can be a great way to work for yourself. Not only do you have the freedom to work wherever you want, but you can also consult remotely and control your client base.


Product Manufacturing

Product manufacturing is largely underrated. In this day and age, everyone wants a quick way to get into business. However, you can still start up the old fashioned way. If you love a certain type of product or even know a lot about one particular market, why couldn’t you start manufacturing yourself? You don’t even need to create the products yourself, you could design them and outsource the actual production (find out more on that here – www.laserlight.com/services/contract-manufacturing/).



Before blogging was big, many people started a blog as a hobby or to share their love of their topic with others. However, now that you can make a lot of money with blogging, you can start it as a legitimate business from the offset. If you have a particular area of interest, like business, photography, or even writing itself, you could create a reliable source of income from the comfort of your own home.


Virtual Assistant

If you’re great at organization or you have a specialist skill set with things like social media or data management, you could think about becoming a Virtual Assistant (VA). A VA is just like an assistant that you would have in a company, but they operate remotely (find out how here – https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/nov/25/virtual-assistant-small-business). The great thing about this career options is also its freedom. You don’t have to limit yourself to things like admin and email management if you have other skills. You can even list things like proofreading or contracts drafting on your website and generate business for that too.


Outsourcing Your Services

If you’re freelance, or you’ve worked freelance in the past, have you thought about outsourcing your skill set to larger companies? Whether you’re a landscaper or a blogger, you could generate a great source of income and boost your career by taking on subcontract work from other companies. Subcontracting can also give you great experience with international companies and big corporations that can boost your portfolio.

| A Duo of New Business Faux Pas You Need to Avoid

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

The process of setting up a new business is, undoubtedly, a confusing one. There’s so much going on that it can feel you never really have the chance to catch up. In the midst of all the worry and stress, there is also the blossoming feeling of excitement. You’re taking your first steps onto a path of being your own boss and making a success of your ideas. What could be more exciting?

If you pool together all the emotions behind a business beginning, then it’s quite the mix. If it were a recipe, it would probably look something like this:

  • 1 part stress
  • 2 parts paranoia and worry
  • 3 parts excitement
  • 1 part feeling like you have no time

Put it all together and you’ll bake a business – but that doesn’t mean you’re not liable to missing a couple of important ingredients.

The first addition to your recipe is a dull one. It’s the kind of thing we know we have to do when establishing a business, but it’s not going to get you excited. It’s not the thrill of deciding a logo design or the feeling of everything coming together when you finally settle on an office space. Yet, it is essential, and thus it needs to be done.













It’s the legal side. How much time and effort you put into this will depend on the size of the business that you’re creating. If you’re just going freelance from your own home, then there are going to be relatively fewer hoops that you have to jump through. For example, you’re going to have to check your home insurance covers you for business use and that you are registered as self-employed with the relevant tax office. They’re relatively small things, so set aside a single day and get them all ticked off.

If you’re thinking bigger and setting up a limited company, then there are a few more obligations you’re going to have to meet. You’ll need to ensure you are registered correctly, that you have the relevant permits, and that you meet any safety standards you might be required to meet. It might even be worth calling in experts to ensure you negotiate the path smoothly.












The second oft-forgotten area is intellectual property. The moment you have an idea that you intend to make money off, you need to ensure that it is protected. Trademarking and patenting can seem like huge expenses for a fledgling company, but this is a world where patent thieves exist. If you don’t protect your company ideas from the beginning, then there’s a good chance someone else will.

Both of the above need to happen before you begin engaging in the nuts and bolts of running a business, such as promotion and bringing in new customers. While they may be dull, they are so important that not taking care of these areas can be the difference between whether your business survives or not. With only one in 10 new start-ups seeing their fifth year of trading, it’s worth ironing these issues out from the beginning.

Image Credits: Legal / Intellectual Property


| Building A Business That Won’t Tumble

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

So, you have an idea for a business? Good for you; you have the starting blocks to build something amazing. But, building blocks aren’t all it takes. You also need to know how to build a solid structure. The best part about starting a business is that anyone can do it. Success is not set aside for those with years of experience behind them. Anyone with a good idea can decide to make a go of things. But, many start-ups fail within their first months. Why? Because people take on the task without considering what they need for success. And, while it’s true that anyone can give it a go, it’s not as simple as it seems. In fact, building a successful business is incredibly difficult. There’s a lot to consider. Have you thought things through?












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The first thing worth mentioning is that you don’t need experience, but it can help. That’s not to say you need to spend years in a career you don’t love. Simply that it may be worth holding back on starting until you learn the ropes. Getting a job in a business like the one you plan to start can help a huge deal. Or, if you want to take things even further, you could opt for something like UAB’s mba degree online. A degree in business administration could take your business from bust to booming. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about running a business the right way. The best thing about a choice like this is that it allows you to learn from home. So, you could do it alongside your business start-up!

It’s also worth mentioning that you need to have some idea about marketing to make things work. You could have the best business idea in the world. But, if you fail to develop an effective marketing strategy, you won’t get far. Too often, people focus on the product and the business itself. So, the way that business appears to the outside world falls by the wayside. In truth, though, successful marketing is nearly as important as your product. It’s what will get the customers coming. The good news is, there’s plenty of information about how to make marketing work. You could even consider hiring a marketing professional to help you out. While it’s important to keep startup costs low, this is an investment well worth your time.











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Lastly, we’re talking tech. No one’s saying you need a computer degree to make technology work for you. But, it can help to know the basics. In the modern age, no business will succeed without technology on its side. From the top production tech, to a website that can help you sell, you need to get on top. Getting technology right will also be a huge help in your marketing ploy. The good news is, this isn’t difficult to learn about. The internet has all the answers you need. So, get searching and see what technology could do for you.

| Capital Critters! Fundraising Methods To Ponder

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 1:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

Running an established business can come with concern after concern. When you are setting up your business, the worries come thick and fast! The most obvious one is money. The precarious position a business can find itself in during the early days means that business owners are tearing their hair out to find the easiest and quick source of money to inject into their business and also pay their staff members! And for many first-time business owners, they may not be too sure where they can go to raise capital, or what is available to them. So here are some alternative sources for your notebook!

















While there are many different types of small loans, the microloan is one that is easier to get than the traditional ones. There are companies that provide up to $25,000 to small businesses and startups that have no access to any type of funding. Some money loan organizations provide loans based on the type of business, for example, a group like Accion has a program for food and beverage businesses. Microloans are usually under $50,000. So if you need a larger sum, you will have to go down the standard loan application route.


Merchant Cash Advances

This is where a company offers cash advances in exchange for a percentage of future credit card or sales receipts. It is a quick process, and for businesses that are looking for mca leads to help aid their marketing and generate leads, it is a lucrative prospect. The benefit of businesses looking for merchant cash advances is that it is very quick to apply for and generally involves minimal paperwork.













A mainstay of the internet is the ability to crowdfund almost anything. It is a very attractive option when you have to raise capital fast. People have used it fund movies, businesses, books, you name it. If you can reach a broad spectrum of people, and each person donates a small sum, you will be able to reach your target in a short amount of time. But for each person that donates, you need to give them an incentive to give that money, and this could be a free sample of the product you are raising for, or something else. For example, a musician may offer a free CD. As the process can have a very quick turnaround, it is a great way to get funds fast.


Sales or Discounts

You shouldn’t overlook your customers as a way of generating quick cash. You don’t even need to be in the customer service industry to reap the rewards of this. You can offer a discount to customers who pay quarterly or pay in advance, and as this gives you the big cash injection up front, it is something you won’t notice further down the line because the discount doesn’t have to be a massive one. A discount, as small as 5% from one customer, is barely noticeable on your books, but they feel like they are gaining from it.

| Business Beginnings: Which To Choose?

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 4:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

Sometimes people don’t know what kind of business to get into. The problem is, they know they want to go into business, to own their own business, but they don’t know what to do. They may have skills and experience that is all encompassing and as such not have direct knowledge of any given niche. At this point you need to sit down and really ask yourself about the business you want to create. The fact you want to go into business is great. You can really make a name for yourself in doing so and live the life you want. Yet it will be hard, grueling at times especially if you make the mistake and set up the wrong kind of business. Your issue is that you simply don’t know what you want to do, but all great businesses are built on ideas or knowhow. You need to find one of these. This article can help you by making suggestions involving different kinds of businesses whilst also making suggestions involving how you can think and come to the right decision for you. You may have pondered some of these tips before whilst considering what business to go into, yet read on because you might read something else that hits a cord and makes you think. Good luck in the pursuance of your business dreams.


In the first instance you need to think of a few logical ideas. The best businesses are the ones where the services offered are always needed. Think about that, what do people need? Or what do other businesses need? An example would be cleaning services, for which you can find more about at https://www.cleaningbusinessacademy.com. Business-to-business ideas like these are great. If you set up a business where people actually need the services you offer you have a better chance of succeeding. Or course the competition is fierce so you need to offer something unique, put a different spin on what you do and use it to your advantage.













Food is always a good bet. Yet remember, it comes with all sorts of problems. Owning a restaurant or eatery of any kind means wastage, inspections, food safety issues, etc. Also, you would think food is a necessity, but it isn’t in terms of a restaurant because people can just buy something from somewhere else. Food is everywhere and at all varying prices. If you want to go into the food industry you need to do it because you have a great idea. Look at your town. What is it really missing? Is there something specific that could do well but isn’t yet there? Beat the others too it! Remember, restaurants have high setup costs due to the machinery and if you have limited culinary experience you will need to hire chiefs that cost a lot of money. If you really don’t know what kind of business to set up then don’t go with a restaurant. It is hard work with tough competition. It can be great, but only if you have a certain passion for food.

If you have more of a digital flair then you could be better places keeping your business online or in the digital sphere. You can do and manage all kinds of business from the internet, you don’t even need a physical business address in this day and age. However, you do need a stellar idea. The benefit of a physical business is that it is unavoidable to the passer by. They can see it and some will be lured towards it. On the internet you don’t have this, yet of course you also don’t have the high costs of upkeep. Swings and roundabouts, you need to come to the best and most logical business decision for you. Online can be done. Look at Amazon, and businesses like Uber. The models are there for you to copy, you just need to try and bring something new to the table, something world beating. Or, something that is needed and works such as marketing, SEO, etc. These are the current trends for online businesses and are most popular. Yet again, they require high depths of knowledge.

To be successful you need to mix your passion with a vivid idea. You need the idea to ensure your business is successful and the passion to carry you through. You can go through just on your passion, as long as you carry yourself through it. People have forged empires through sheer force of will. What are you good at? What experiences do you have that you can take into business? Lots of people want to go into business but are basing it on a spark of idea they have. Without the idea you need to think of one. Don’t base it all on one thing. Be all encompassing. What can you bring to the business world. In the meantime save money. No matter what you do, setting up will need money for a premises or a website etc.

You need to avoid jumping in as soon as you can. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. You need to be hard on yourself and really try not to jump the gun or you’ll be wasting money and asking yourself for trouble in some kind of way. Plan it all out, come to the best conclusion and then go ahead. Business plans are hard to draw up at the best of times let alone when you need money from the bank, so give it the best possible chance of success and do your research. You may just find something close to your heart and as a result find something lucrative and worthwhile. Ask for help every step of the way, the internet is full of resources. You could even speak to a business analyst or a consultant to ensure your ideas can be properly implemented. They key is in never giving up, but toeing the line between this and restraint. You must ensure your business is planned to perfection and then breathe life into it. Be the force that drives it to succeed.












| Cutting Costs When Setting Up Your Business

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 5:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

You would be surprised that one of the main reasons a business fails is due to funds. After all, a lot of entrepreneurs don’t realize how much they need when they start a business. And then they fall short when they have to pay for things like materials. After all, it’s so easy to spend beyond your means if you don’t budget properly before. In fact, it’s a good idea to get some financial help before you begin. However, starting a business doesn’t have to leave you short. In fact, here are some ways you can cut costs when setting up your business.

Outsource Work Rather Than Hiring Employees

It’s hard to get your business to go from strength to strength when it’s just you working for the company. After all, there are so many factors to a business that it’s hard to do it all. But if you start hiring employees, it can make things very expensive for you. After all, a salary will hack into any profits you have made. And being responsible for employees can just be added stress. Therefore, if you want to cut some costs, you should consider outsourcing work instead of hiring employees. For example, if you need a website drawn up for you, hire a freelance designer. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg if you get them from sites like Freelancer.com. And the same goes when it comes to your accounts. Just pay someone to do the work, and then if they do a good job, you can work with them again in the future. That way, you won’t have to pay out for a full-time employee!











Consider Your Location When Setting Up Your Company

A lot of people don’t think about the fact that different areas have their own legal rules and taxes for businesses. After all, some states have great benefits if you do start a business there. While others might charge a fortune on taxes if you begin your business in that location. Therefore, if you want to cut some costs, you should make sure you research different areas before securing a place for your business. And remember that you also need to think about this when it comes to where your business is incorporated. After all, some states are more business-friendly than others. Therefore, look online to find the best states to incorporate. That way, you won’t live with regret that you have extra taxes and fees than other states!

Make The Most of Free Advertising and Marketing

The cost of advertising and marketing can often leave a business in financial woe. But it’s so important to get your message out there, so the clients come rolling in. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune when it comes to marketing. For one thing, use online tools to your benefit. For example, setting up a website and social media page could bring clients to your doorstep. Also, sending out email newsletters about your company to potential clients is also an excellent way to market for free. And there are plenty of other ideas online of low-cost ways to promote your business.












And you might want to consider working from home at the beginning. After all, opting for a workspace at home could save you a ton of dollars!












Image from Pixabay

| Scrapbook To Shelf: Tips For Entrepreneurial Inventors

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 4:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

Have you had a bit of a Dragon’s Den moment? Have you come up with something brilliant, which you believe could be the next big thing? If you’re an inventor with designs on becoming an entrepreneur, you may be thinking about how to get your product from the scrapbook to the shelf. In this day and age, it’s not enough to have the ideas. You also have to possess the acumen to get your product to market and then make it a success.


Image sourced from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ZX81_concept_design.jpg


If you have designs and prototypes, the next thing to do is work out how you’re going to mass produce the product. Where are you going to manufacture it, what kinds of materials are you going to use, and how are you going to finance the process? It’s a big jump to go from sketching and making a prototype version to having a product on sale in shops. Once you’ve got the financial side of things sorted, you can decide how to best to invest your capital. Work with suppliers and distributors to negotiate deals, and think carefully about price points. You want to generate a profit, but you don’t want to price yourself out of the market.


Image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/factory/?cat=transportation


There’s no point in investing your life savings and taking out a loan to pay for a venture that nobody is even aware of. Marketing is essential for any new product. You want people to know about you and your product, and to buy it. There are so many ways to market your business, and it’s essential to understand your market before you start working on a strategy. What is the target demographic? How can you best connect with these people? Do they like the concept and how much would they be willing to pay? Tailor your marketing plan to suit the audience. If you’re aiming at young people aged between 18 and 30, for example, online marketing is probably a good bet. As an inventor, you may be not up to speed with techniques like social media marketing and SEO, and this is where SEO expert services come in handy. You can work with agencies or individuals with expertise in this field to build your profile, create a buzz, and get people visiting your shop or website.

Pitching to buyers is another important cog in the process. Buyers at online retailers and huge chains have the power to change your life overnight, so don’t underestimate the importance of being prepared. Go into a pitch feeling confident about the product. Be clear and concise, and make sure you have the figures pinned down. If you hesitate when it comes to numbers, this can be an instant red flag for buyers. Show off your passion, and tell the panel your story. Be engaging and inject some personality. If there is a possibility of an order, be willing to negotiate on price.


Image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/en/photos/digital%20marketing/

Are you a budding entrepreneur keen to change the world with a brand new product? If so, you should be prepared for what’s to come. Bear these tips in mind, work hard, and be confident in your abilities. Good luck!

| Set up a Stall in the Internet Marketplace

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 5:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

The Internet offers up a whole host of opportunities for anybody to make a bit of extra money, or even a living. There are a plethora of platforms and services out there that allow for anybody to make some cash without even having to leave the comfort of their home, or even their bed. If this is something that interests you, then make sure to continue reading and see some of the ways in which you can do it yourself.












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The first option is to make use of the huge and various marketplaces that the Internet has set up in recent years. There are services, such as Arcadier, that allow you to create your very own e-commerce marketplace in order to sell all the things you know longer need in life online, instantly eradicating the need to get up early on a Saturday and go and do a car-boot or garage sale. This kind of venture also cuts out the possibility of allowing for products to be sold at a cheaper price to the power of haggling; when somebody is trying to convince you in person to lower your prices, it can be easy to do so, whereas online that human connectivity is diminished and ultimately the prices you set are retained. A type of online marketplace that is coming into real fruition is the independent distributor scene, specifically those that distribute electronic components. The products distributed on DigSemi.com, for instance, are those that are generally hard-to-find and difficult to source, which is why the company and scene in general is, in this day and age, so vibrant. Becoming an independent distributer is a great way to make money, but you must be aware that you need to be able to provide a vast amount of products and supply must meet demand.

However, if seeking all of your world belongings isn’t of any interest to you, then why not take to other online methods of filling your wallet with wonga? You could, for instance, take to a freelance job where all the work is done and submitted via the Internet. Freelancing is a flexible job that can even be turned into a successful career — all you need is a strong Internet connection and the ability to remain self-motivated throughout the day, even without authority figures looming over you. Similarly, you could start you own form and brand of online entertainment. Blogs have turned into a business as the ways in which connections are made over the Internet has grown, which is why blogs now are viable ways of making money. Consumers are accessing blogs in order to connect with other likeminded people, and the bloggers themselves, which then means that said blogger is making an income. As well as this, entering the video sharing site Youtube as an uploader, and not just a consumer, of videos is now a way in which those that do it are making SERIOUS amounts of money. For instance, KSI, a Youtube personality, has managed to earn himself a net worth of £11 million through his comedic videos and even spawned himself a career in other ventures such as TV presenting, acting and even rapping.

So, if you want to make some more money, or even ditch the traditional nine to five, then you should boot up your laptop, jump online, and start making money on the Internet today!

| Starting Up In Logistics? This Can Help

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Logistics is a great business to get involved with because companies always need to be transferring items from one place to another. Goods need to be moved. Whether over land, sea, or air. Your business will be hard to set up, there is so much you need to think about in logistics, however, if you nail it and get it right you’ll be making money hand over first. You may have already considered some of these tips, which is great! But check out the others and see if they can stoke your ideas. You may even think of something you had previously not considered. Good luck!

 The first thing you need to think about is your base of operations. This is the place from where items come in, get moved around and packed back up before going out again. This place needs to be pretty big; it also needs to have the right machinery. Items like a 3 ton overhead crane, forklift trucks, roll pallets. All of these warehouse style types of machinery need to be used because of the extensive amount of items you have coming through. This gets worse with the more variety you use. You’ll need fridges for food and separation techniques when holding certain items like gas, fireworks etc. The more you take the more money you will get. Just be wary of the amount of space you have in your warehouse. Certain things will need to be segregated.



 On the same note it could be worth investing in a bespoke inventory management system. It can stop silly mistakes happening and save you money by limiting on items going missing in paperwork which can sometimes happen with under delivery and the like. Paper based systems are redundant in this day and age. Go for an automated system and watch your profits stay consistent.

Now you have your base setup you need trucks. These cost a lot of money, especially now you need to ensure they comply with environmental standards in terms of emissions. As such, settle on a low number at first. When your business expands you can increase the number at your disposal. There should be clear loading bays and easy ways to add the items into the trucks. Again, you may need to invest in truck cooling systems if ferrying food around. At this point you need to work out your limits. If in America, are going to cover the whole USA? In Europe? How far out are you going to go? Again, start out small and get bigger as you expand. Your drivers need to be comfortable in travelling long distance, so ensure they have the right training to do so.

You may need to partner up with other companies that use shipping and cargo flights, as you won’t be that far yet. As such, you need to include all of this in your price plan. Never operate at a loss otherwise your business will be gone before you know it. Try to just use your trucks when you can, only outsource to shipping firms when you really need to.

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