| April 2009 - Issue 83
Real People, With Real Solutions. CGA, for the Real World.
Going through a divorce and having just been laid off
from her job, Jacqueline Bernal Andriet found herself
in need of a career plan. She needed sufficient income
to remain in the family home and to support herself
and her two children, aged nine and eleven.
Jackie worked as a nanny for four months then enrolled
in a Federal Employment Program to update her computer
and office skills. Just before graduating from the 10-month
course, she decided that with her training and experience
in bookkeeping, she wanted to start her own bookkeeping
To prove the demand for her skills, Jackie needed to
do market research. The Business Link
Library and its staff were able to help her find the
data necessary to put her plan in place.
Next, she wanted a web presence. Jackie signed up for
web development and other e-business courses offered
at The Business Link. With the knowledge
she gained, Jackie set up her website at www.paperworkbegone.com.
With her business ready to operate, Jackie just needed
to develop her client list. She attended Networking
Events at The Business Link and made contacts
that resulted in several referrals. Bernal Business
Services Inc. was off to a great start.
Now four years later, with a successful business operating
from her home, Jackie is ready to take the next step.
She wants to train bookkeepers and teach others how
to start their own bookkeeping businesses.
As a Certified Professional Bookkeeper and Regional
Developer for the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers
of Canada (IPBC), Jacqueline is in an excellent position
to move ahead with the next phase of her business and
Jackie affirms, "Bookkeeping is a good business
for anyone wanting to work from home; there is a big
demand for this service."
E-Business and the Internet provide a new, wide range
of unexplored business opportunities. However, these
great opportunities can place your company's valuable
Intellectual Property (IP) at risk.
Your domain name is an example of property to which
you have exclusive right. Do you have other words or
designs that you are using to distinguish your goods
or services from those of others in the marketplace?
They should be protected too.
Important legal changes have provided for new business
method patents. For example, selling items at auction
over the Internet was awarded multiple patents that
cover many different aspects of the invention. Do you
have a specific way of conducting business that could
When your company applies for a patent, even before
it has been granted, you have declared your innovation
to the legal system and the business world. This will
provide you with protection should a competitor attempt
to claim the invention was first theirs. First applicant
has priority in the Canadian system.
Read more about Intellectual Property on our website
If you've invented a product, written a book or song,
or just designed the trademark for your business, you're
the proud new owner of some intellectual property.
That property has real value for you - if you know
how to protect it properly and market it effectively.
The best place to find all the facts on what intellectual
property is, how it works, what it does for you, and
how you secure it, is on the website of the Canadian
Intellectual Property Office.
Here, you can read guides that cover all the essential
information on Canadian patents, copyrights, trademarks,
and more. You can even search the databases which hold
the records of existing works registered in all these
After you've taken care of legally protecting your
intellectual property rights, the next step is deciding
how best to bring your creativity to market. For example,
it may be best to negotiate an outright sale to a company
which is able to produce and distribute a new product
Perhaps, there may be better value in a more flexible
marketing strategy, such as leasing the rights of your
new work. In some cases, an inventor or artist may simply
decide to directly market their intellectual property,
using their own resources.
The Business Link Library has a range
of useful books about intellectual property, from the
first step of protecting patents, copyrights, etc.,
to the process of actually marketing new products and
other works. Here's a few titles to start with:
- Canadian Inventor's Guidebook
- The Inventor's Bible: How to Market and License
your Brilliant Idea
- How to License Technology
- Marketing Your Invention
- Secrets from an Inventor's Notebook
- Fair Use, Free Use, and Use by Permission: Using
and Licensing Copyrights in all Media
- 10 Rules for Strategic Innovators: from Idea
- Great Idea to a Great Company: Making Inventions
- Bringing Your Product to Market
- How to Create Profitable New Products
For more information on these books and other business
innovation materials, contact The Business Link Library at 1 800 272-9675.
Position your organization in front of over
11,000 subscribers within Alberta and
beyond by becoming an
E-News! Issue Sponsor.
This and other unique opportunities exist for
your organization to be showcased within a number
of The Business Link's
associated products and services, providing you
with valuable profile within Alberta's
small business community. To explore
the options available for a strategic
relationship with The Business
Link, please contact Jim Ewing,
Business Development Officer at 780 422-7768 or
pour accéder, ou vous abonner à
ce bulletin électronique en français.
Around the globe, April 26 will be celebrated as World
Intellectual Property Day, with the theme of "Green
Innovation". With this in mind, several of our
articles in this issue deal with various aspects of
protecting the innovations that make your company unique.
It's important to identify what really does make your
company stand out and then develop strategies for protecting
those assets. There are many ways to make use of Intellectual
Property knowledge such as licensing your inventions.
For more ideas, see Stand
Out from Your Competitors on the Canadian Intellectual
Property Office (CIPO) website.
With the emphasis being on green innovation this year,
you may want to consider green solutions in your industry.
For more information on events, visit World
Intellectual Property Day.
Don't miss the opportunity to attend FREE Brown Bags
and economically-priced seminars this month! From the
seminar, Starting Your Business to the Brown
Bag, Get Writing! Get Published! this month offers
a range of learning opportunities for the aspiring and
Attend Promotional Strategies: Create Buzz for Your
Business and learn cost-effective strategies for
promoting your business.
The third instalment of the Innovation Series presented in collaboration with novaNAIT, Designing
Products and Services, will cover the processes
involved in product design, prototype development and
Thinking of buying an existing business? Don't miss
the seminar, How to Buy a Business.
Whether you are starting or expanding a business, check
out the complete small business training line-up and
plan to attend "Quick-to-learn" "Quick-to-use"
small business presentations!
| Video-Conferenced Event
To see the entire schedule, click here.
All sessions are held at The Business Link in Edmonton and Calgary unless otherwise noted. However,
through the Entrepreneurship Learning Centre (ELC)
Network, many of these sessions will be available
across Alberta via video conferencing. Visit www.elcnetwork.ca to find a participating site near you.
Pre-registration for seminars is required, and payment
must be made in advance in order to secure registration.
If you are interested in attending a session via
video conference at a location other than The
Business Link in Edmonton or Calgary, please
call that location prior to the session to check availability
and to register.
The Business Link Monthly Networking
Event will be held in Edmonton and Calgary on Tuesday,
April 21, 2009 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Meet prospective
clients and trade business cards and information with
To join us for this event, you can drop into either
250-639 5 Avenue SW
100-10237 104 Street NW
For more information about this FREE event,
contact Jean-Jacques Mitakaro in Edmonton at
firstname.lastname@example.org or Alvaro
Carvajal in Calgary at email@example.com.
Alberta's communities and regions are in a period
of unprecedented change. This change is leading
to both new opportunities and new challenges within
the province. Now, more than ever, it is time
to work together to sustain Alberta's economic
The 2009 Alberta Regional Economic Development
Conference is the foremost economic development
symposium in the province. It will bring together
economic development practitioners, business and
industry leaders, and all those interested in
maintaining Alberta's economic viability, for
two days of extraordinary collaboration. Learn
about and get involved in new and existing initiatives
that impact your business and your communities.
Join us in Sherwood Park, Alberta (Coast Edmonton
East Convention Centre) on May 12-14, 2009 to:
- Develop an understanding of the new economic
realities facing Alberta and its regions
- Discover how some key provincial strategies
will sustain our economy going forward
- Hear about successful strategic economic development
projects and initiatives being undertaken in
- Learn about programs and organizations that
support business development and productivity
Keynote speakers include president and CEO of
ATB Financial, Dave Mowat, CBC's Rex Murphy and
David Beurle of Innovative Leadership Australia.
The Hon. Iris Evans, Minister of Alberta Finance
and Enterprise, will be a luncheon speaker.
For more information or to register, go to www.AREDConference.com.
This is a must-attend conference for companies
looking to improve their productivity. With companies
facing the issues they are right now, this is
the perfect opportunity to start looking at how
to be more productive in order to compete in this
From June 1-4, 2009 in Calgary, the conference
- 7 keynote speakers
- 36 best practice presentations
- 15 plant tours
- 15 workshops
- And much more!
To ensure Alberta companies take advantage of
this great conference, the Government of Alberta
has developed a voucher that will provide companies
a discount on their registration.
There are a limited number of vouchers. The deadline
to take advantage of this offer is April 5!
Go to http://www.manufacturinginnovation.ca/measureup/ to get more information on the program and to
download the very short application form. For
more information on the conference visit the Association
of Manufacturing Excellence website (http://www.ameconference.org/?sid=RXI5Z-TL9WW-87JC7)
Allison Byrne, Manager -- Productivity Enhancement
Alberta Finance and Enterprise
Tel: 780 644-3198
Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) is a
national charity dedicated to growing our
nation's economy one young entrepreneur at
a time. We look at character not collateral,
when providing youth, age 18-34, with pre-launch
coaching, business resources, start-up financing
and mentoring, to help them launch and sustain
a successful entrepreneurial business.
Essential Entrepreneurial Tips for Success:
Mentor to Mentee
By Alex Read
While working to help "1-800-GOT-JUNK?"
grow, I learned several important lessons from
our CEO, Brian Scudamore. He has been a true entrepreneurial
mentor to me. I've been able to synthesize and
pass on many of these lessons through my role
as a mentor with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation
One thing I learned during the journey is that
success does not come from any one single "reaction",
but rather from being consistently pro-active.
The following action tips have had a positive
impact on my businesses and those that I have
been fortunate enough to mentor with CYBF.
- Make your company's message something your
customers "get" in a few seconds.
- Provide a "reason why" customers
should do business with you.
- Create the rules for your business. Industry
norms shouldn't dictate how you work or who
you work with.
- Focus on the 'critically few' activities that
produce exponential results. Don't get caught
up in the details.
- Promote your ideas as soon as possible. The
market response will direct your next steps.
- Measure and track your marketing efforts.
- Remove buyer's remorse by offering meaningful
Up-sell, cross-sell and re-sell to every customer.
It is five times less expensive to sell to happy
customers than find new ones.
- Celebrate victories. It's easy to miss out
on the joy of achievement when you fail to acknowledge
- Make doing business with you FUN!
- Do the unexpected when something goes wrong
so customers feel an urge to 'share your story'.
If you consistently apply these tips, you will
be in an excellent position to overcome the myriad
of challenges that face entrepreneurs every day.
Alex Read is the Founder and CEO of The Business
Growth Hub, home of the "5-Step Profit Maximizer".
He can be reached at www.AskAlexRead.com.
Your product, process, software, or industrial
design gives you an edge over your competitors.
This can make Intellectual Property (IP) the most
important asset of a small business and it deserves
protection. Ensuring this protection may become
confusing when you plan to leave the safety and
security of Canadian borders to venture into another
There are numerous issues in the realm of international
Intellectual Property rights. Here are just a
few you should think about before heading to that
next hot-spot with your product:
Application Process - You will need to
register your IP in countries where you plan to
operate to adequately protect your rights. This
may bring extra costs, including application fees,
translation fees, and legal fees.
Application Timing - In most countries,
there is no grace period from when you publicly
disclose the invention to when you must file for
Patents. However, in the United States, you have
12 months and in Japan just 6 months.
Ownership Rights - The U.S. is based on
the first to invent system, giving priority to
the inventor who first thinks of the idea. Most
other countries are based on the first-to-file
system, where the person who files an application
first gets IP priority. This may affect how you
first bring your product to market in the new
Enforcing/Defending Your IP - To protect
your IP, you will need to enforce it. This means
acting as a 'policeman' for your IP in an unfamiliar
legal system. A strong contract with your business
partner specifying rights and responsibilities
in regard to the IP can often be the best protection.
While your product may have a huge potential
market outside Canada, ensure you are diligent
to protect your ideas and Intellectual Property,
taking full advantage of your international opportunity.
For more information on doing business internationally,
see Export on our website.
The recently released Alternative Agricultural
Markets in Alberta 2008 study examined the growth
over the past five years and growth potential
of four market sectors: farmers' markets; food
grown, made or processed in Alberta; direct farm
retail; and farm activities. All four sectors
experienced impressive growth or exhibit great
According to the study, 90 per cent of Alberta
households purchased local food in the past 12
months and nearly one-third of Alberta households
intend to buy more food grown or made in Alberta
in the next year. More than 1,000 randomly selected
Alberta households were surveyed in the study.
With the increasing trend towards healthy eating,
the rising popularity of local diets and the increasing
awareness of transportation concerns, farmers'
markets are now more popular than ever. The study
also showed encouraging growth potential for farm
activity and direct-farm retail markets.
Since 2004 the average spending per visit to
a farmers' market has increased from $35 to $45,
a 30 percent increase that is well above the rate
of inflation. Annual spending at farmers' markets
rose from $317 to $449 per household. Farmers'
markets in Alberta now have an estimated $380
million in annual sales, up 63 percent from $233
million in 2004.
Direct farm retail purchases and involvement in
farm activities both soared in the last five years.
Participation in farm activities grew 40 percent,
while per trip spending increased from $124 to
$174. Revenue from farm activities is estimated
at $62 million, up 21 percent from 2004.
Consumer spending at direct farm retail is on
the rise, up from $109 to $116 - a 7 percent increase
since 2004. The direct farm retail sector is currently
valued at $181 million.
Food grown or produced in local-markets dominated
customer purchases. Approximately $4 out of every
$5 dollars spent at farmers' markets and farm
retail was spent on food grown or made in Alberta.
The top three benefits of buying local food were
taste, support for the local economy and support
for the local farmer.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development's Local
Market Expansion Initiative explores new market
opportunities for producers, improves market access
and enhances profitability at the farm gate. For
more information call a New Venture Specialist
at the Ag Info Centre, toll free at 310-FARM (3276)
or visit www.agriculture.alberta.ca/localmarkets.
Be sure to check out The Business Links Agriculture Info Series Brown Bag presentations;
this series and this article are brought to you
by the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF). This
month features "Keeping the Tax Man Off the
Farm" on April 23.
Intellectual property (IP) is a legal
issue that encompasses more than just
patenting your businesses invention. It
includes everything from protecting a
company's name and logo, client listing,
trade secret, tag-line, business process,
and product line. As an entrepreneur or
small business owner, IP provides a valuable
asset for your venture. It is important
to understand the various types and how
they can be leveraged within your organization.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office
(CIPO) defines intellectual property as
"creations of the mind, such as inventions,
literary and artistic works, as well as
symbols, names, pictures, designs and
models used in business." Patents,
trade-marks, copyrights, industrial designs,
integrated circuit topographies and plant
breeders' rights are all examples of various
classifications of IP rights.
Intellectual property can benefit your
business in the following ways:
Provide your business
with the exclusive rights to an innovation
Strengthen your image
and presence in the marketplace
Give you a competitive
edge in a particular industry
Generate revenue by
being sold, licensed, or traded
Distinguish your wares
in brand recognition
While it is important to recognize and
protect your business's own intellectual
property, it is equally important not to
infringe on the rights of others. Be aware
and take precautions to not copy the IP
rights of those around you.
If you would like to learn more about intellectual
property and how it can add value to your
business, see Learn
about IP on the CIPO website.
In conjunction with novaNAIT, The
Business Link is offering a small
business special series which you can learn
about on our website.
For this month's "Future Watch", we
have selected predictions for "
and beyond" from the editors of Futurist magazine in their Top
10 Predictions for the Next 20 Years. We have
chosen those ideas with best business potential
for the innovative entrepreneur.
- Access to electricity will increase by 83%
by 2030. Living standards will grow as will
the access to the world's products and services.
- The automobile will change dramatically--we
are already seeing this change. Government policies
will restrict how many vehicles a household
can have, communication technology will make
most travel unnecessary and robotic methods
(delivery drones) will be developed for the
delivery of goods.
- Knowledge in the professions will be outdated
by the time it is acquired. Continuous education
and retraining demands will pressure a major
portion of the labour force to be in some kind
of training at any given time.
- There will be growth of specialized education
such as strategic intelligence, sustainable
business, and nanotechnology.
- World law may be networked so that "opportunities
for peace and international understanding"
are possible. Global Legal Information Network
already has 50 countries and is expected to
grow by another 50 by the end of 2010.
- People will continue moving to cities so
by 2030, 60% of the world's population will
be in urban centres. Epidemics with global warming
may grow due to crowded conditions and increasing
levels of carbon dioxide output.
- As biological technology becomes more available,
new uses will develop, both for construction
and destructive purposes.
- Security issues will continue to grow in
importance so that nanotechnology products for
surveillance will become a very large market.
The Futurist editors make us think about
the changes occurring in the world and the trends
that may affect Alberta.
As an innovative entrepreneur, what services
or products could you provide to local or international
clients in response to these anticipated changes?
For more ideas on trends and innovation, call The Business Link at 1 800 272-9675
and talk to a Business Officer or ask for the
Library for more information on this and related