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Importance of having a registered office address

Posted on November 28 2011 | Author: Admin

Business success is largely about building consumer loyalty; and consumer loyalty lies in the ability to identify with a company that communicates trust and confidence. Having a physical office space for your company defines your company image, and helps establish a stronger corporate brand.

Most start-ups don't have the funds available to rent or purchase commercial real estate. Being cost effective is important, but compromising quality to save a buck will only hurt your bottom line in the long run. Here's why...

In today's world, working from a home office is often stigmatized. Consumers often get the idea that a home-based business isn't a substantial one.

While starting out in a home office is one thing, consider that having a registered office address gives a persona of professionalism and success before tossing the idea of obtaining an office space on the backburner. Working in a community environment also increases drive and creativity, which often lacks in a home office.

So what can you do if you can't afford an office rental but want to give your business a more professional approach?

Co-working is typically less expensive than traditional office space. It can be a good first step out of a home office for many. Wikipedia defines co-working as a “social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space.” Do an online search of "co-working in xxxx", xxxx being your city, and you'll find websites that list various co-working facilities, such as Co-Working Toronto.

Office space by the hour:
The concept of renting a meeting room for an hour or a day is catching on with start-ups and entrepreneurs. The services usually provide a business address, mail service and 24/7 access to office space on a pay-per-use basis. It's a variable cost as opposed to a fixed cost of thousands a month on a lease.

There are solutions out there to give your start-up or home-based business a professional edge, and taking full advantage of them will help your business reach new potentials.

Emily Prange
Marketing and Events Assistant, Bioenterprise


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Pondering Intellectual Property

Posted on November 24 2011 | Author: Tom Dowler

Intellectual property (IP) often forms a strong foundation for technology companies. And that it should, given the millions of dollars of R&D that build the foundation behind technology and product development for bio-economy based companies. However, along with the value that patent filings and trade secrets may bring to your company, you must also be aware of the inherent risks and expenses brought about by your IP protection strategy.

Patenting is by far the strongest method of protecting your technology from being legally duplicated on the market in the countries you file. In short, a patent is an exchange between an inventor or their legal representation and the public. The owner of the patent exchanges the knowledge of the valuable intellectual property they have conceived and reduced to practice in exchange for the right to solely manufacture and sell it in that country for the term of the patent.

The competitive advantage that your patent provides may be the most valuable edge you have in the market over your competitors.  However, with this strong statutory protection for your IP comes unavoidable cost.

When asked in the past, I’ve estimated the MINIMUM cost of having a patent issued in the US alone at $20-30K. However, depending on the complexity of the technology and pre-existing knowledge in the area, you may be looking at much higher costs when all is said and done. Based on a quick scan of the opinions of others with experience in IP protection, the cost of filing to issuance of a patent could be anything from $10K-100K. That is quite the range to prepare for.

So, the take home is that patent filing may be integral to your business strategy, but it is not cheap, and these costs need to be accounted for when forecasting costs your business will face.

A patent may be a strong mechanism of protection, but a trade secret may get you to where you want to go without giving up knowledge of your intellectual property to your competitors. Foregoing the need to file a patent also allows you to direct your business dollars to other activities. However, this means your “special sauce” must be kept a secret through non-disclosure agreements and management of information, which comes at a cost as well. The question that needs to be asked when considering whether IP should be kept a trade secret is “Can my idea or product be reverse engineered?”… that is, will the competition be able to understand the intellectual property from the product you sell and use it for their commercial benefit?

When deciding on your IP protection strategy, you also need to take into account other factors such as barriers to market entry, whether the benefits to your company are worth the costs of patenting, and regions the IP may be useful for either manufacture or sale of product.

To determine the best IP strategy for your company, it is certainly worth working out the pros and cons of each with a trained professional. Having an introductory conversation with a patent agent with a strong knowledge in the technology and market your products will enter into is a very good investment.

Tom Dowler
Senior Business Analyst, Bioenterprise

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Posted on 2012.01.04 | Author: Chianna

Very valid, pithy, succinct, and on point. WD.

The Importance of Communication

Posted on November 22 2011 | Author: Laura Millson

"Keep in Touch"...

It’s a phrase we use loosely but an important invitation in both our business and personal relationships.

Communication can bring opportunity, connection and success to entrepreneurs who stay connected to sources such as Bioenterprise, which has a vast and varied network of resources.

I have come in contact with many entrepreneurs here. Some have sent a brief email inquiry or arrived in person for establishing meetings. Others are contracted clients who have moved on.

“Keep in Touch” is just that: an open invitation to communicate with us and stay connected to Bioenterprise by sharing updates, changes and developments, media coverage, product development, or design changes or just letting us know how you are doing. This is news we like to hear and would like to promote.

We have recently redesigned our website (bioenterprise.ca) and incorporated social networking tools that will allow us to tell your story to a greater network. The benefit to you, of course, is the greater awareness of your innovative company. So stay in touch. Your success is our success, and we are here to help you.

Stay in touch. Stay networked.

Laura Millson
Entrepreneur Services and Office Operations Coordinator

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Cash Flow

Posted on November 09 2011 | Author: John Pickard

...the only thing that counts.

I learned about cash flow the hard way, as most do. The good news is that it wasn’t by writing cheques on my business account and then realizing that there wasn’t any money there. I wrote my first business plan completely and on my own using an online template. The template walked me through revenue calculations, expense calculations and forced me to research employee benefit costs and payroll taxes. When all was inputted into the template, the magic happened and out came a ream of documents including the P&L, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow statement. The beauty of the template was that it gave monthly cash flows for 3 years out based on my projections.

As a non-financial manager, I was glad to have all of this data, but I really only understood the P&L as I had created all of the inputs myself. However, biz plan in hand, I marched off to BDC to see what they thought about lending me some money for my venture. The meeting was short. The first question that I was asked was “how much money do you need”. After an awkward pause, I said that I didn’t really know. Within minutes I was back on the highway headed for home. That meeting became my wake-up call. It forced me to come to terms with my financial data. Back I went to the template and began to play with it. I soon learned that if I tweaked revenues and expenses, then my cash flow situation improved or declined with each tweak. I also realized that my biz plan showed months where cash flow was negative and I’d effectively be out of business without ready access to loans or investment at the right time. A bit more figuring helped me realize the exact month(s) that my business would need a cash injection and how much that injection needed to be for me to stay solvent. Furthermore, I was able to calculate the cost of the projected cash injections in terms of interest, etc. Low and behold this all affected the Balance Sheet. I was seeing how it all came together.

Having seen a few hundred entrepreneurs in the past 3 years, I find the component most often missing is financial awareness. If the entrepreneur is not trained as a financial manager, then the financial piece of their business plan is usually a few paragraphs of text and a basic Excel spreadsheet showing “hockey stick” revenue coming right out of the gate. As I so directly learned, this is a sign of a failure in the making.

If you need help with your financials invest in good business plan software (make sure it is relevant to the Canadian market) or check these links out:

  1. http://www.bplans.com/business_calculators/
  2. http://www.bdc.ca/en/advice_centre/tools/business_plan/Pages/default.aspx
  3. http://www.fileguru.com/downloads/cash_flow

My key learning was that nothing is more important than cash flow. I said NOTHING! Learn how your revenues and expenses relate to one another and how they drive the financial documents necessary for your business. If that task is beyond you, invest in a professional who can produce, understand and explain the financials to you. Make that person a part of your team. Treat that person well.

John Pickard
Entrepreneur in Residence, Bioenterprise

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Posted on 2011.11.24 | Author: Chynna

Gosh, I wish I would have had that information earlier!

Solar Trash Bins

Posted on November 08 2011 | Author: Admin

High-tech Trash.

In our cities, waste collection can be pretty wasteful itself. Garbage trucks have to make near constant trips to keep public trash bins from overflowing—contributing to traffic and pollution. To keep our cities in harmony, we'll have to figure out a better system for urban waste collection. The people at BigBelly Solar already have one solution.

Watch our Innovation Video of the Week:

Produced by Eve Marson and Max Joseph

Source: GOOD Magazine

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Posted on 2011.11.24 | Author: Audel

Hey, kliler job on that one you guys!




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