Let’s be honest – when we started our businesses it was both exciting and nerve racking. Many of us did not know what we were doing regarding the business, we just knew that we had a passion and – strong enough that we could be successful. For me it is the law. I earned my Bachelor of Arts from South Carolina, my Juris Doctor degree from Loyola, and a Master of Law degree in Maritime Law from Charleston only to go work for someone else. The lawyers I worked with are in the top of their fields and that 10 years of experience and eight years of schooling really did me wonders in serving my legal clients, but I had never owned a business.
We all know that knowing your field is critically important, but running a business is completely different. When you step from getting a paycheck to writing a paycheck your heart starts to flutter for a completely different reason, your hands might start to shake, and the trips to the bank maybe for a withdrawal, as much as deposit. What if someone could just walk in and take that from you? Every dream you had, every drop of sweat you poured in, and every minute you put in could be gone.
This could easily be talking about a liability claim or a lecture on not incorporating your business to protect you personally, but I am talking about the often overlooked patent, trademark and copyright. These terms are known by most people, however their definitions and usefulness is another story. So just like in school a little 101:
A trademark is a symbol, word or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product. An example would be the name of my firm Goldfinch Winslow LLC.
A patent gives you governmental authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using or selling an invention. This would be used when creating a material item. This exclusivity right is basically for a period of 20 years of course there are exceptions.
A copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same. So this is like a patent, but not for a material item basically. This right is generally good for 70-120 years after the death of the creator.
When thinking about your business think about the full picture. It is important to not only create the idea, but to protect it. Contact someone that has experience, because the U.S. government is about as helpful with these as they are with your taxes.
Tom Winslow is an attorney in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, at the Law Firm of Goldfinch Winslow LLC. While his firm practices in an array of legal fields, they pride themselves on being able to help small businesses, families, and individuals alike. They are proud members of the chamber and happy to help the people and businesses of Horry and Georgetown counties with all of their legal needs. You can reach Winslow at 843-357-9301 or email@example.com.
It is now eight months into the year. How are you doing on those 2015 goals that you made in January? Are you still on track to reaching them all? Maybe you have already reached some of them, but are still working on the longer-term goals. If so, give yourself a big pat on the back – congratulations!
If you haven’t stayed on course, it isn’t the end of the world. Maybe you haven’t even looked at your goals since February, and have forgotten what they were. There are many legitimate reasons for not reaching our goals. Here are some of those reasons and what to do to get back on track.
Take a hard look at the goals you made at the beginning of the year. Are they still relevant? Sometimes the goals that we make at the beginning of the year are no longer important to us later. When you imagine yourself reaching each goal, how do you feel? If a goal is no longer relevant for some reason, then cross it off and move on.
Too big or too many
Sometimes we set goals that are too lofty to reach in a reasonable amount of time, and we don’t make enough progress on them. Make sure you aren’t setting a long-term goal in a short time period. We also set too many goals, and end up chasing too many things. Streamline your list of goals if you feel that you have too many. Remember, you don’t have to accomplish everything in one year. Prioritize your goals and pick the top goals to focus on this year.
When we make work goals, we usually have someone we are accountable to – bosses, coworkers or customers. But, when we have personal goals, we don’t always have an accountability partner or system in place. Look at each goal and decide what you can do to hold yourself accountable. For some, rewarding yourself along the way can make a difference.
The process of reaching a goal can become quite boring, even when the goal is very important to you. Make a commitment to yourself and be persistent in reaching your goals. Resolve that you will not give up on your goal no matter how boring or tedious the process of reaching your goal seems at the time. Stay focused on the end result.
Now that it is more than half way through the year, get a jump-start on your progress by hiring someone to help you. If your goal is to get your living environment organized, hire an organizer. Think about hiring a personal trainer, health coach, life coach or anyone who might help you get a head start.
Kim Fowler, founder of Fowler Life Coaching, is a certified life coach. She helps people connect with their dreams and goals. Fowler also holds Vision Board workshops – go to fowlercoaching.com to see the schedule or book one for your company.
Residents of Myrtle Beach have access to free discount prescription drug cards compliments of Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber Rx Card is a free prescription assistance program that was launched to help uninsured and underinsured afford their prescription medications. The program, which is free to everyone, provides savings of up to 75 percent on prescription drugs.
Anyone interested in obtaining a free card can visit the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber office (1200 N. Oak St., Myrtle Beach) or visit the website. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber Rx Card has no restrictions to membership, no income or age limitations and there are no applications to fill out. The card is accepted at more than 56,000 national and regional pharmacies around the country.
While the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber Rx Card was launched to help uninsured and underinsured residents afford their prescription medications, the program can also be used by people who have health insurance coverage with no prescription benefits, which is common in many health savings accounts (HSA) and high deductible health plans. Additionally, people who have prescription coverage can use this program for non-covered drugs.
For more information and to download a free card, visit the website.
Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Cameo Travel Enrichment are partnering to offer our members and the community an incredible business discovery tour of China in March 2016. This 12-day adventure includes one-stop shopping of commodities in 1,901 categories and exhibition of 410,000 consumer goods. Plus tour the most attractive sites in China! Join us for this exciting China trip!
We invite you to join Myrtle Beach Area Chamber from Nov. 3-9, 2015, as we enjoy the beauty and culture of Cuba. We will spend seven days experiencing Havana and the surrounding area, including Plaza of the Revolution; Old Havana Walking Tour (UNESCO); Museum of the Revolution; Bocoy Rum Factory Tour; Hemingway’s Farm-Finca La Vigia; Haban Compas Dance Group; Vinales Valley (UNESCO); Tobacco Farm and Farmhouse Visit; and much more!
Dates: Sept. 4, 6-9:30 p.m. and Sept. 5, 12-10 p.m.
Location: Horry Georgetown Technical College Conference Center and Surrounding Area of The Market Common
- Cook teams will be competing for more than $9,500 in cash prizes.
- Wing competition Friday starting at 6 p.m. until sold out. Sampling tickets for sale.
- Barbecue sampling Saturday 12-3 p.m. with $10 wristband. Kids 8 and under sample free.
- Myrtle Beach Car Club Car Show Saturday 12-4 p.m.
- Entertainment both days
- Barbecue sandwiches, ribs and combos for sale Friday and Saturday
- Cornhole tournament Saturday
- Arts and crafts exhibitors
- Beer and wine garden with lots of craft beer selections
- Food vendors
- Lots more!
Social media is a place for brands to tell their story. It is also a place for consumers to talk openly about any company, whether it be positive or negative feedback. So when the customer comment or review reflects your business in a negative way, what do you do? It is important to follow these three simple steps in order to maintain your relationship with a particular consumer and other fans of the page.
• Respond immediately – Always, always respond! I can’t stress enough how important it is to respond to every comment received on any social media channel. Social media has become one of the top sources for customer service. If a business chooses to not respond, then it can have more of a negative impact than the comment alone. It can give your customers a feeling that their voice isn’t important and you aren’t concerned. When you respond, be patient and understanding. It is extremely easy to become defensive of your brand, but you have to see it through the consumers’ point of view.
• Take the conversation offline – As you are responding, take the conversation offline. Let’s say that you are in the hotel industry and someone comments about the bad experience they had while staying at your resort. You can respond by saying, “We are very sorry to hear about this and apologize about the inconvenience. Could you please send us a direct message to the page, and we will be happy to get this resolved. Thank you for your patience.” Once the customer has sent you a direct message ask them for their phone number and email address and have someone contact them right away.
• Remove negative post – Once the issue has been resolved ask the customer to remove their negative comment. If the customer is happy with the outcome of the situation, then this is where opportunities lie to make a negative a positive. The customer could come back with how satisfied they were about how your company handled the issue.
Negative comments are going to happen with any business. It is much easier for a consumer to share a negative experience they had with a company. When a customer leaves a negative comment or review they are simply asking to be heard by the company. With these three easy steps you will show your fan base that you value their opinions and you are a trusted brand.
About NewMedia Digital
NewMedia is home to a growing and passionate group of award winning creative thinkers. We are a digital creative and branding agency dedicated to helping brands and businesses reach new heights. Working hand in hand with our clients, we mix smart strategy, creative, and digital technology together to create ideas that generate performance driven ROI. Our belief is that brands are best built with an integrated formula that revolves around the entire consumer experience. From the beginning strategy to the final smile, we build unique, innovative, memorable consumer experiences that create that special bond between people and brands.
NewMedia has been a Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce member since 1994.