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It’s Raining in My Cubicle

iStock_000011187812XSmall-300x198It was a beautiful sunny day when I walked into work, but by noon I was drenched to the skin. Which was bad enough, but my desk drawer was a doll swimming pool and as for the computer, I was sure it was ruined. The entire office staff ended up outside in the sun wringing water out of our hair and suits. You’d think such a thing could only happen if a tornado came through, taking the roof off the building or shattering all the windows. Certainly none of us could have predicted such a heavy downpour on a day without so much as a wisp of cloud. It happened, though.

Take a Step Back

I should start at the beginning, I suppose. It wasn’t really an ordinary day anyway. It was bring your child to work day, intended to interest kids in what their parents do for a living and give them career ideas. The noise level was much higher than usual when I came in, all the kids were chattering and being shown around the office. I went straight to my desk, not having a child of my own to bring in yet. Things settled down slowly as parents took their offspring back to desks and started explaining what they actually did all day. There were scattered complaints of boredom.  The questions of how grown ups could stand to do this every day that triggered stifled snickers from the nonparents in the office. Looking back we should have been paying more attention to the bored kids.

How Does That Work?

Actually it was only one bored kid that caused the trouble. Eleven-year-old Tom, who was with his dad in the cubicle next to mine, was to the point of kicking his feet on the cubicle wall and asking about the fire extinguishers and the sprinklers in the ceiling. I took advantage of his trip to the bathroom to make a call without the background complaints. My phone call was interrupted by the shriek of the fire alarm. Startled I looked up to see Tom balancing carefully on the corner of an empty cubicle by the door. He was holding a wad of flaming toilet paper and towels from the bathroom right underneath an emergency sprinkler. I wasn’t the only one to notice him right about then. I heard Tom’s dad shout his name with all the force an angry parent can summon. Tom dropped the still flaming blob of burning tissue and lost his balance.

Not Part of Manufacturer Specifications

In his panic Tom grabbed for the nearest thing available to try and keep his balance. Unfortunately that happened to be the sprinkler hanging from the ceiling. Tom’ s feet slid off the cubicle walls and he dangled for a few seconds before he came down. The sprinkler was still clutched in his hands. Water gushed from where the sprinkler had been. Apparently the system took that to mean that there was a true emergency and all the sprinklers in the building came on. Everyone grabbed for jackets or files to as a shield against the deluge, hitting the off switch on anything electrical before dashing for the exits. I helped Tom’s dad carry him outside with the rest of the evacuation. His fall had snapped his ankle.

Roll Cameras

I don’t know how the local news station heard about it but there was a shot that night of everyone out on the lawn looking like drowned kittens. The headline was Water Damage, Cincinnati Office Eye of the Storm. Both the company president and Tom’s father refused interviews. It took several weeks to get the office dried out and back to normal. The next year the boss neglected to announce bring your child to work day. He banned Tom from the building for life, though. By Heidi Grover

Bio

Heidi Grover often writes about mishaps at work. She always gets nervous on bring your child to work day. She has sent recommendations to engineers about designing emergency sprinklers that will hold a person’s weight. She also writes on behalf of clients like Water Damage, Cincinnati.

 

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All You Want to Know about Trademark

Trademark serves the purpose of indicating that products and services offered by an individual or a business organization are unique and different from those offered by other entities. A trademark is often accompanied by symbols such as TM, SM and a circled R. While TM indicates that the trademark is an unregistered one used for promoting the goods, SM promotes services. Circled R indicates that the trademark is registered. Coming to the form of trademark, it can be anything such as a name, logo, design, symbol, image or any combination of these. Some other trademarks are different from these and are based on abstract qualities such as color, sound and smell.

Most of the countries require a formal registration for the usage of trademark and the owners of these registered trademarks can initiate the legal proceedings against the person who made unauthorized usage of it. However some countries like USA and Canada do provide protection to those trademarks that are widely in use but not registered. Though most of the times mark, logo and brand are used as synonyms to trademark, there are many other things that can be used as trademarks. For example, the shape of a good, or its package, sound, smell, color or anything that can distinguish a product or service from that of others can be used as trademark. The trademarks also have some specialized types such as certification marks, defensive trademarks and collective trademarks.

Unclear on the Concept

Origin

The origin of the trademark can be found in the Roman Empire where blacksmiths used trademarks to distinguish the swords made by them from others. Another important trademark that can be quoted here is Lowenbrau’s lion mark which is use since 1383. The above two are the examples for unregistered trademarks. The other type known as the registered trademarks are those registered with the government of a respective country. In UK, the first registered trademark was used by Bass Brewery. Their trademark included a red triangle with the words “Bass” written under it. This was the first registered trademark registered under Trade Mark Registration Act, 1875. In US, a rope making company by name Samson had the first trademark in 1884 which is in use by that company even today.

Proprietary Rights

Trademark can be considered as a property as per the law and one can acquire proprietary rights to it either by using it in the market place or by registering it with the trademarks office. However, the trademarks in use are not protected under all jurisdictions and also the owners of them cannot make proceedings against those involved in trademark infringement. Often in these kinds of disputes, the verdict will be in the favor of those who filed the complaint first instead of those who started using it first. However in some countries like Germany, protection is available to the unregistered trademarks to certain extent only when the products and services are quite known in the market or occupies a significant market share of more than 40 percent.

Registration

Registering a required trademark involves various steps the first of which is applying for it. The application is then placed for scrutiny by the examination attorney only in the order in which the applications are received. The application is then checked for the fulfillment of requirements and also the required trademark is checked if it similar to the already existing trademarks in any manner. Then the application will be published welcoming any opposition from the third parties affected by it. The Trademark Trail and Appeal Board will decide if the case filed by the opposition is valid or not. In case no such opposition arises within the time period allowed for it, the applicant will get the required trademark registered.

Even before forwarding the application, the individual or the organization can search if the required trademark is already registered by anyone from the database of registered trademarks maintained by the concerned authority which is USPTO in case of the US. Often it is advised to go to take the assistance of licensed attorney while searching for the trademarks that are already registered. In many jurisdictions, the proprietary rights associated with the trademark expire if it is not used for a long period of five years.

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John Smith is a business writer and businessman who helps to set up businesses in Thailand, and an expert in Thailand trademark law.

 

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Don’t Bite the Hands that Feed – Your Customers Deserve Better

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It has been a tough couple of years out on the high street. We are still managing to survive yet we have had to make some changes into how we operate. Cutting back on spending has been our focus along with improving our sales through marketing, excellent customer service and reliable products. One of the ways we have managed to keep trading while others around us have closed is by being flexible and making cutbacks, such as moving into a cheaper property.

Moving to a smaller shop was never going to be easy for us but it was a step we needed to make in order to keep our doors open. The reduced cost in utility bills and rent have meant we could afford to cut back on our prices to keep serving the customers excellent quality goods while they also struggle to keep their heads above water. It’s a war out on the high street but one that can be won with careful planning and even more careful spending.

The Doorway Caused Instant Problems

Sadly when we moved to the new premises we noticed that there were some problems that needed to be fixed right away. The door to the shop was a huge problem as it was small with a step up to it. We serve items to everyone and there is no way we want to turn anyone away from our store so we had to address the issue of access so that all our customers, new and old, would be able to enter and exit the shop without any problems. The door was a problem and so we set about sorting it out right away.

We contacted some access consultants and spoke to our landlord. Thankfully the agent was more than willing to help us to make improvements. We were given permission to replace the door and add a small ramp to the exterior of the property. The landlord even chipped in with some of the costs which was not something that we were expecting to happen.

Why go to so much Trouble?

Why did we go to the trouble of sorting out the access? You may think we were silly spending our money that we didn’t need to while making cutbacks everywhere else. When you think about it carefully it does make perfect sense. We make our living by selling to the public. Our product range includes items for men and women of all ages, so we have to be able to welcome men and women into our store. Without them we can’t make sales, which would result in us having to close down and only focus on online sales.

The new doorway and ramp now meant that everyone had the ability to access our store. People that use wheelchairs, mobility scooters, mums with pushchairs and prams and anyone else who might have problems with a small door and a step can now come and go without any problems. The door only needs a slight nudge for it to then open on its own, meaning it’s easy for everyone to open. Shoppers overloaded with bags don’t have to battle with the door anymore!

Your Customers are Your Lifeline

Providing excellent customer service includes welcoming people from all walks of life into your shop. Investing in making your property more accessible makes perfect sense. We saw an increase in footfall immediately and all of our old customers who couldn’t access our new shop were thrilled that we went to the effort to welcome them in. A simple change to the entrance can result in a dramatic rise in sales, something worth considering I think you’ll agree.

Aki Hashimoto specialises in writing, providing DDA Audit and disabled access news to businesses in the UK. Find out more by following @EqualityAct2010 on Twitter.

 

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Physical Machine to Virtual Machine Conversion using VMware Converter

In this article, we will explain the physical windows system conversion into virtual machine using VMware Converter step by step:

  1. Start the VMware Convertor. Click the import machine button. As we are going to convert a Physical Windows System machine to Virtual machine, specify the source type as Physical Computer, in source login, select this local machine and in source data step select the drive.

2. In the next step of the Virtual Machine Name and Location Page of VMware Convertor Import Wizard, provide the virtual machine Name and click on browse button to specify the path where this machine will be saved. An easier way it to try to choose a network location , for instance the folders made with the name of Virtual Machines on the platform on which VMware Hosting server is implemented ( e.g.  newly created Linux / Ubuntu device )

3. Under the type of virtual machine to create: select Workstation 5. X or VMware Server or VMware Player and click on Next:

4. In case the desired destination directory is protected with a password, you have to provide the credentials like username and password.

5. In the next step of VM Options Page it asks you how would you like to create and use your disk, a nice option is to select is “allow virtual disk file”:

6. As you click on next on VM Options step, VMware Converter checks some settings:

7. On the Networks Page of Wizard method, configure various network preferences for the virtual machine as shown.

8. In the Modification stage you are able to do few customizations, however it’s not essential. In that case check out Next :

9. At the Ready to Complete Page, validate every preference once more , when these are fine, decide to click Finish :

10. The conversion process will start which will several hours depending upon the host machine speed, so please be patient.

11. Following screen appears after the conversion is finished:

12. To examine the information of the conversion, you might click on the activity progress tab.

13. Get started with Your Virtual Machine

Next check out the machine on the server where VMware Hosting server is present, e .g. Your current Linux PC or perhaps another Windows 7 laptop.

(Manuals for setting up VMware Hosting server on Debian Sarge as well as Ubuntu Dapper Drake are available over the Internet)

Import the Windows XP Virtual system into your current VMware Hosting server, then start this machine. Assuming everything proceeds properly, the Windows desktop will appear in VMware Hosting server:

14. A windows desktop screen will appears after windows loading is finished.

15. You can use this window virtual machine over the server just like your physical machine.

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Learn more about VMware please visit www.netwind.com

 

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How To Revamp Your CRM In 2013

As 2013 rears its head you may want to start thinking about revamping your loyalty marketing program. Really take the time to see what worked in terms of profitability, customer satisfaction and customer retention. Clearly identify the weak links. Find out what part of your loyalty marketing is making little to no impact on your business. Then take the time to consider what can change. Here are some ways to boost your CRM for the next year.

Social Integration

If you haven’t included social media into your loyalty program, it is time to really evaluate how you can. Find out which social media channels fit into your overall program. Facebook is a great tool for many companies but might not be the right one for yours. It may even do some damage. Really take a look at all the options that will naturally fit your brand by identifying what your core customers already use.

Cleanup Your Look

It is important to balance evolution with consistency in your loyalty program. Don’t stay stagnant for too long because other companies are sure enough changing their look every year. Every year you should polish up your website, add new elements and fine-tune your program’s colors. This can lead to a whole new program for re-engagement and offer you benefits into the next year.

Cut Your Losses

Make the holiday season your last ditch effort to push inactive members to re-activate or reinvest. If you haven’t seen or heard from them by January, cut your losses. Use your time and energy getting new customers who will generate revenue.

Review Your Goals

Take a look at your bottom line and see if your goals are what your company needs. This may involve a huge overhaul in your company’s CRM but will yield terrific results in the next year. Often taking a look at the building blocks of your loyalty program can really help you identify its weaknesses.

Experiment

Although you may have a solid program base where customers know how things work, it may be time to shake thing s up a bit. Experiment with subtle changes to see what really hits a nerve with your customers. It could be anything from a new benefit or a simple “Thank You.” Test on a small group of customers and see what works and what they appreciate. If you get any feedback, negative or positive, you’ll be more aware of what your customers like.

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Article courtesy of customer retention agency, Kobie Marketing.

 

 

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Five Tips for Making a Positive Online Impression

jobs_that_pay_40_per_hourJust because you’re running an internet business and not meeting your customers face to face, it doesn’t mean good service is unimportant. On the contrary, with so little to distinguish between so many faceless online operators, giving your customers something positive to remember you by is absolutely essential. But what can you do to make sure your customers recommend rather than forget you? Here are five ideas to give your business a boost!

1. Make sure they know what they’re getting

Buying online is not the same as buying in a shop: you can’t pick the item up, read the box, check the size or colour or ask the sales assistant for advice. Unless it’s a widely available product which people can find out about elsewhere, you’re going to be the only source of information they have. And, of course, if they have to go looking for information elsewhere, they’re just as likely to buy elsewhere – probably more so! Last but not least, make the description accurate, because if your customers don’t get what they’re expecting, they’ll just return the item. Then you really will be out of pocket, as you’ll not only have to refund the cost of their purchase, but you’ll still have to pay delivery charges both ways.

2. Offer them an incentive

People like to feel they’re getting a bargain – check the prices of your competitors and make sure you’re competitive; offer quantity discounts to encourage people to spend more; you could even give away a free gift with every order – it doesn’t have to be an expensive one, but it’s the sort of thing people remember!

3. Keep them informed

Make sure people know the status of their order at each stage of the process. Send an email to confirm you’ve received it, with an estimate of when you’re likely to dispatch their purchase. Send another email when you do dispatch, so they’ll know when it’s likely to get to them, also telling them whether they’ll need to be at home to sign for it.

4. Deliver to them safely and on time

You may not be making the actual delivery yourself, but you’ll still be held responsible if it goes wrong. Find a reliable courier that you can trust to make your deliveries on time and to treat your goods with respect. Good quality packaging materials are also important – even the most careful courier can’t guard against every eventuality. Going for the cheapest option in either case will nearly always be a false economy, because the money you’ve saved will soon be dwarfed by the lost sales and replacement costs incurred by a lost or damaged delivery.

5. Ask them to provide feedback

There are many places where your customers can tell the world about the service you’ve provided. If you’re selling on Amazon, for instance, you’ll probably already know what a positive effect a good rating can have on your sales. If you get a bad review, don’t ignore it – a well-handled complaint can make as good an impression as a perfect transaction, because it shows you care what your customers think. Other sites like Trustpilot are also good for generating positive word of mouth about your business, while social media sites allow you to engage with customers and let them know about new products and special offers.

About the Author: Dave Smith is lead copywriter and blogger at Davpack packaging suppliers. At the time of writing, Davpack has a lifetime rating of 96% on Amazon and a 97% rating on Trustpilot.

 

 

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5 Hottest Niches for New Business Startups

Oklahoma Health Care Authority

Oklahoma Health Care Authority (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The desire to start a business is just the first step in success. Choosing the right business to start can mean the difference between success and failure. For those looking for businesses that are more likely to succeed, it may be helpful to look in these high demand sectors for startup ideas:

 

1. New Tech Trends

 

The face of the Tech industry is changing rapidly. New trends are moving toward iPhone apps and online services, rather than boxed software and game specific hardware. Sales of console games have been steadily declining while phone gaming apps and social networks have gone viral. Even office software suites are now online as a service and not installed on computers. Printing has changed as well. New 3D printers are selling well as print quality increases to a whole other level.

 

Best Tech Ventures

 

  • iPhone Apps
  • Software as a Service
  • Online Gaming Platforms
  • Social Network Gaming Platforms
  • 3D Printer Manufacturing

 

Online and Phone driven trends help small developers deliver apps without having to manufacture, package and market physical CDs. The entirely online format creates a far more level playing field for individuals and small businesses to compete with huge corporations. The timing is perfect for independent developers to create fun and useful programs to present as online services, games and apps in 2013.

 

2. Think Green

 

While most construction and materials have suffered a serious slowdown, sustainable green building is the one exception. With huge increases in the cost of electricity and traditional fuels, saving energy has become a means of economic survival that will rapidly pay for itself. No matter what effective means a family uses to increase energy efficiency, it will pay for itself in less than eight years.

 

  • Sustainable Green Construction
  • Green Remodeling and Home Improvement
  • High R-value Insulation
  • Green Building Materials
  • Green Energy Production
  • Energy Saving Devices
  • Aquaponics Technology
  • Solar Panel Manufacture

 

There is room within the green sector for a wide range of skills. Construction workers, craftsmen, would-be farmers, tech developers, inventors and engineers can all find a niche under the green umbrella. Most people find being part of the green revolution intensely satisfying as well as profitable.

 

3. Health Care and Wellness

 

America’s aging population has an ever-increasing need for health care services. Unfortunately, health care and insurance is very expensive. The demand for affordable health care services, wellness measures and ways to reduce health care cost is overwhelming. Hospital security technology and data management are also in demand. The interest in yoga has risen sharply in the 21st century. Millions of American doctors are actively indorsing yoga as an important step toward wellness.

 

  • Yoga Lessons, Books and Merchandise
  • Wellness and Holistic Care
  • Home Health Care
  • Online Glasses and Contacts
  • Generic Pharmaceutical Manufacture and Sales
  • Health Care Technology
  • Medical Data Management and Security
  • Cognitive Fitness Apps to Combat Alzheimer

 

There are opportunities for people of many different backgrounds and educational levels to build businesses around good health. Both holistic and traditional medicines are in demand. The main point is affordability. Of course, all health care businesses must be safe, legal and appropriately licensed or certified.

 

4. Education and Consulting

 

The need for training and specialized expertise has increased dramatically in the last two decades. Many people are seeking new career fields, struggling with new technology and seeking a bit of motivation as well. It is hard for most people to adjust to the vast and rapid changes taking place. People long to be reassured, encouraged and advised by someone they feel confident in. There is also a need for educational materials including books and instructional videos.

 

  • Trade Schools
  • Universities
  • Education Technology
  • Self-Improvement
  • Motivational Speaking
  • Business Consulting
  • PR and Damage Control

 

There are many opportunities in the area of education and consulting. People should consider their experience and hobbies and then create courses and educational materials to help others learn new skills. Much of this type of work can be handled online, creating yet another work at home niche.

 

5. Food Products and Distribution

 

While traditional restaurants are a tremendously high-risk investment, many other food related opportunities are presenting themselves. The demand for candy, hot sauce and low-cost alcoholic beverages is soaring. Another trend is toward food vans and food trucks that serve fast food on routes. Taco trucks, hot dog trucks and burger trucks are very popular in large cities. Small casual fast food restaurants are also popular.

 

  • Candy
  • Low Price and Wholesale Alcoholic Beverages
  • Fast Food/Casual Restaurants
  • Food Trucks
  • Hot Sauce Manufacture

 

The key to selling food in 2013 is low cost. Keep costs down by providing a streamlined menu and low-cost ingredients. Providing wholesale distribution of foods and beverages is also a great option. Don’t forget about health inspections and all necessary state and local licensing for each food related venture.

 

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Eb5investors helps entrepreneurs with EB5 Visas, a program that ensures investment in the U.S. economy and more jobs for US residents.

 

 

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