Starting a new business is exciting and scary and
brings with it a lot of necessary planning and research
to be successful. Trademarks, logos, domain names,
business plans, patents, and communication links
with employees and customers all play a part in the
process to build a profitable business.
If you’ve got that one-in-a-million idea, be sure and check to see if someone else just got a patent on the
same one. FreePatentsOnline provides auto alerts on new patents, gives you browse capability by
categories – finance, software, paper products (think Post-it notes) – completes searches for patents,
and has information on top patent companies – HP, Apple, IBM, etc. The FreePatentsOnline advanced
searches sort time ranges chronologically, look for words stemmed from other words, and more. Users
of FreePatentOnline can download patents in PDF, subscribe to their RSS feeds, and attach FPO patent
searches to the Google Toolbar.
Start-up businesses are faced with a list of challenges; business contacts are one of the largest.
Networking with companies and knowing who to contact within those companies,
can be make-or-break moments for contract awards, proposals,
or getting through the door with you product line.
Jigsaw, an online service, takes users inside company information that will
help them access the right department and the right person for their pitch.
With six (6) million plus business contacts within 300,000 companies,
the Jigsaw data base is where newbies need to start.
An easy to use, cost effective choice for positioning a company for growth,
the process is surprisingly simple. After sign-up, users can browse through
companies sorted in alpha order or by industry, states, cities, and
submit requests for a specific contacts.
If it’s in the database, Jigsaw gives you details such as name and title,
address, telephone and email info. Their payment system is based on Jigsaw points.
For each point purchased, you pay $0.20. Your other option is to “earn” points
by submitting new contacts or make a correction to a contact in the Jigsaw database
and get ten (10) points. You start with the fifty (50) points that Jigsaw gives
you for registering.
An international source for patent information, Patents.com is a web
based service listing over 450 million patents in fifteen (15) languages.
Information-rich with FAQs and other research specifics on basic and advanced
patent details, Patents.com has four options for searches – simple, advanced,
expert, and bulk. Within those options, users can browse by keywords, terms,
etc. Patents can be viewed in text or images and are available
4: Google Patents
Google Patents is an online service that provides details on patents registered
in the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office. The huge database has over seven (7)
million patents. Patent searches provide data on the holder of the
patent, important patent dates, classifications of the patent, and other parties linked to it.
Individual patent product claims are included in the searches, along with any thumbnail
images attached to the patent. The complete file on the patent can be downloaded and
saved as a PDF. More detailed information within a patent can be collected.
Advanced searches can be done using multiple filters.
Business plans are a necessary evil if you want your new business to start
successful and stay successful. If you need a cash infusion, all business
lenders require a business plan. Enloop, a web based service, has a
basic template to assist you with a business plan personalized to your
industry, location, owners, funding, market, etc. The business plan
can be downloaded to your computer as a PDF document.
Enloop has its own scoring feature (EPS) which scores your business plan
as you develop it. EPS is an algorithm that predicts your business idea’s
potential for failure or success from the details of your business plan.
After you use Enloop for one business plan, there are two
fee-for- service plans to choose from.
6: Reward Card Wallet
People with wallets straining at the seams with a pile of loyalty cards
and/or coupons or key chains filled with loyalty tags, take heart.
There is Reward Card Wallet.
This online service also provides a welcome way for businesses to market
through smartphones, pushing up sales and branding.
Reward Card Wallet integrates with services like Living Social and Groupon,
making it easy to store loyalty card details in digital format on
smartphones. Through push notifications or location SMS, users of
Reward Card Wallet receive an alert when there is a store nearby
where you have a loyalty card on file; you also get alerts if that business has posted a
promotion or sale in the Reward Card Wallet database. Customers save money.
Businesses add to their bottom line. United States only.
Ensuring that the trademark you’ve chosen for your new company isn’t
already on the market will save you financial and legal headaches.
The Markify web based service will search their databases in the U. S. (USPTO data)
and Europe (CTM data) for trademarked company names using keywords the
same or similar to yours. The search reveals if the keyword’s domain name
is open for use and provides you with a list of similar trademark
names in the U. S. and Europe. The more unique your trademark the less
confusion there will be with other products. Free.
A quick way to create an abbreviated business plan, PlanCruncher
is an online tool that guides you through the process.
The basic steps are: Complete six sections on the
PlanCruncher template – Business Idea, Product, Revenue,
Funding, and PartnershipEnter additional, brief info as requested
Read your new business plan that PlanCruncher creates with your information.
At your request PlanCruncher will critique your business plan and
give you suggested changes. Your business plan can
be downloaded in PDF format.
Something a little different, Remindo is an online intranet for small
to medium sized businesses. It helps company employees, managers,
and customers all stay in touch confidentially while completing
collaborative projects efficiently. Remindo gives each company a unique
URL and will add the company’s customers to the dashboard.
Its basic intranet communication tools include file hosting
to expedite communication, instant messaging, and private tweets.
- Remindo has extra benefits with their project management tools.
They include individual tasks, alerts, milestones and status
activity, and feeds. The free plan has 3GB of space for storing files.
GeoDomainMap is another tool GoDaddy has added to their arsenal of
convenient online features. Users can search for potential domain names
by location (city, state, zip code, or map zoom), name, or keyword.
If available, you book your choice on the spot or put the name on your wish list.
In addition to producing a list of domain names available,
GeoDomainMap lets you view the domains on sale with purchase options.
Most new business owners don’t have extra cash to hire someone to
do trademark searches, yet the last thing you want to do is infringe your
logo or slogans on someone’s trademarked ones. Trademarkia, a web based
search engine, will search all registered trademarks in the United States since
1870 to ensure you are not imposing on another company’s rights.
Searches can be filtered by names, logos, brands, themes, products,
services, companies, etc. The search includes dead and active trademarks.
Another web based tool to research the availability of domain
names and company names, Wordoid moves a step ahead and makes
suggestions for names based on the search terms you use.
Your search will include both domains with .com and .net tags
and their availability, and the frequency the name you chose
appears on the Net. Wordoid works in four (4) languages –
Spanish, Italian, French, English – and registers the
names through GoDaddy.com.