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6 Retail Inventory Management TipsIf you are running into problems because your current inventory setup is not delivering, Scott Gregory is holding a webinar help you implement a better system.

Gregory is a 17+ year expert with QuickBooks software, including a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a Certified QuickBooks Enterprise ProAdvisor. He also happens to have over 30 years of experience in accounting inventory.

In the webinar, Gregory will show you how to track inventory in QuickBooks Pro/Premier/Enterprise and increase your confidence so you can use the applications every day.

This includes deep dives into the different inventory reports in QuickBooks so you can get a better understanding of how they work.

The webinar will start at 11:00 AM and end at 12:30 PM (EST) on Thursday, December 13, 2018.

Click the register button now and enter discount code 20Off to save 20% on the webinar.

Register Now

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Basics of Tracking Inventory in QuickBooks Pro/Premier/EnterpriseBasics of Tracking Inventory in QuickBooks Pro/Premier/Enterprise
December 13, 2018, Online

This event features a live demonstration of the QuickBooks item list, inventory items, non-inventory items, and much more relating to inventory. Learn how the inventory flow works from purchase order to customer shipment. Register today and follow @qbguy!

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20Off (20% off on all tickets)

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This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends.

You can see a full list of events, contest and award listings or post your own events by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.

This article, “Track Your Inventory and Increase your Confidence with this Webinar” was first published on Small Business Trends

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By Amy Shim

When there’s competition, intellectual property management is a vital component of a modern business plan. Stolen product and process designs can steal market share and profits from your company, while holding a patent offers exclusive rights to produce and sell an invention and, as a legal declaration of property, also becomes an asset to your business.

A patent may seem like a one-size-fits-all solution to protect your intellectual property, but there are several important caveats to keep in mind before you send in your patent application:

1. Patenting your idea involves publicly releasing your secrets

While the intent of a patent is to protect your invention, the act of procuring one actually involves divulging your design’s inner workings. If this seems counterproductive, at times it can be. All full patents, even those still in the application process, are published online and are available for everyone (including your competitors) to see. If another company decides to rip off your idea, they could steal valuable market share before you’ve become established.

Because of this, some entrepreneurs opt to guard their invention’s secrets and forgo a patent altogether. Search engine algorithms, for example, are not patented processes, and instead remain trade secrets, which provides them better protection than a patent ever could.

2. Applying for a patent is expensive and time-consuming

Unlike copyright protection, patents must be filed legally and accepted by a governing organization. The patent application process, however, can be drawn out and costly for a new startup. Spending tens of thousands of dollars and waiting several years before receiving a patent can be a bigger investment than many startups are able to make. So instead, some startups choose to put their money and effort toward product development. Taking an idea from good to incredible, and achieving overwhelming brand loyalty can provide its own form of protection.

Not ready to bypass the protection of a patent entirely? You can also apply for a provisional patent, a sort of middle ground. This option grants you 12 months of protection, while keeping the details of your invention private during that time. If you choose not to apply for a full patent at the end of this period, the coverage will lapse, but you will have bought yourself another year to develop and market your product.

3. Your patent application could be denied

The requirements for filing a patent are detailed and strict, which is why it’s important to have an attorney work with you. But even with an attorney, there is still no guarantee that your application will be accepted. A great deal of effort and expense goes into patenting a product, and if the application doesn’t go through, it could significantly set back your efforts.

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4. Patents don’t guarantee your idea won’t get stolen

Being granted a patent does not make it impossible for others to steal your idea. Instead, it gives you legal ground to pursue a lawsuit if they do. Many companies with patented products have their designs ripped off by manufacturers and competitors. When this happens, the burden is on the company to hire an attorney and seek damages from the offender. And if the defendants are overseas, that increases the cost of litigation.

When is a patent advantageous?

Although patents may not be the best investment for every inventor, patents can be powerful security for certain inventions. After pouring millions of dollars and years of hard work into a piece of equipment or technology, you want to be assured that your investment is protected.

The key factor in determining whether a patent is worthwhile for your product is functionality. In order to receive a utility patent, you must prove that your invention is novel, nonobvious, and useful. Highly innovative, unique products or processes that have a demonstrable use are good candidates for patents.

With so many variables to consider and so much at stake, it is highly advisable to consult with experts to determine whether a patent would be suitable for your unique situation. Gaining an outside opinion can also give you other useful insights, such as market research that examines the commercial potential of your offering. A third party will also be able to complete an objective and informed SWOT analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing your company to help you make the best decision.

Patents aren’t inherently helpful or hurtful to a business. The true judge of a patent is whether it is a value-add to your company. If your patented design is protecting your intellectual property and boosting your balance sheet, it can be a beneficial investment. If, however, you discover that your property will be better guarded as a trade secret rather than being publicly disclosed, a patent may not be the best choice for you.

Intellectual property management is complex, but vital to your company’s success, and should be given the attention and consideration that such an important decision deserves.

RELATED: 3 Tips for Evaluating the Commercial Potential of Your New Startup Idea

About the Author

Post by: Amy Shim

Amy Shim is director of client services at Tekcapital, and has played a key role in providing service and support to large U.S. institutional investors and technology companies. Prior to Tekcapital, she was responsible for account management, and institutional client relations at Western Asset Management. Previously, she worked within the corporate finance group at Moody’s Investors Service in New York, specializing in issuer relations. In that role, she was involved in the development of the infrastructure and processes used to create Moody’s global middle office operations.

Company: Invention Evaluator
Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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Hi Elizabeth – You might try searching the web (particularly to see if there are any jobs offered in those areas. Search under “work at home” or similar titles. Otherwise you might put together an impressive resume of the skillsets you have to offer, and shop them around to small businesses. There are millions of online business who hire freelancers to do specific jobs. If you can get just one, you can build on it by adding others as you go along. That will enable you to move into it gradually, and at your own pace and comfort level. Good luck!