~by Donya Zimmerman~
Being an entrepreneur in the 21st Century has many advantages and disadvantages at the same time. Entrepreneurs today are not afraid to take the risk of going out on their own to start a new business.
Many small business owners have made countless personal sacrifices in order to start their own business. But at the same time, there have been innumerable individuals who have decided to not start a business because of fear of failure. The most successful business owners understand the risks of starting a business in this day and age, but they go for it. Nearly all successful entrepreneurs understand that there are some serious risks with starting a business, but they go for it anyway. Astute business owners will prepare themselves for the possible problems or issues they may face with becoming their “own boss”.
Here are 3 risks that the 21st Century Entrepreneur deals with on a daily basis:
- Risk #1: Cyber Security. It’s become necessary to establish a good cyber security system to protect your business. Cyber crimes have become a major problem for small businesses, big companies and governmental agencies. There are computer criminals out there who make it their personal mission to destroy and disrupt our everyday lives. Major companies like Target and Home Depot have recently faced issues with computer criminals hacking into their major computer systems, who then steal customers’ personal information like credit card numbers. But, cyber security corporations try to stay ahead of these cyber criminals by improving the security systems of many companies both large and small. Many cyber security companies are hiring the very criminals who have committed cyber crimes to teach them how to stay a few steps ahead of the criminals. Small businesses are starting to realize the importance of setting up good security precautions to protect their business computers, personal information of customers, and their products or services.
- Risk #2: Identity. Many small businesses have a major problem with their identity being stolen and copied by another business, and this trend is growing. One major problem that entrepreneurs may face with social media is individuals pretending to be them on social media platforms. Some people will pretend to be another person to commit criminal activities or just to be a pain. Small business owners are starting to see the importance of protecting their personal image by trademarking their brand. There are scores of impostors out there who have no issue with pretending to be someone else. That is why it is extremely important for entrepreneurs to protect their personal brand and market their brand by trademarking their business names, business brands, company products and services, and company logo.
- Risk #3: Intellectual Property. Entrepreneurs often fail to understand the importance of protecting their intellectual property. The business owner must protect all of their business ideas, materials, products, services, and goods from infringement by other businesses. Trademarking, patenting, and copyrighting will protect all of your hard work from being ripped off by someone else.
- Trademarking involves protecting the following: any name, word, symbol, or device used by a business to identify their goods and differentiate those goods from goods being sold by other businesses. The trademark will indicate the origin of the goods or services. It is always good to register your trademark with the Patent and Trademark Office in your country. In the U.S., the trademark is only recognized by the U.S. government and not in other countries. Trademark registrations are good for about ten years and you have to renew the trademark during the ninth and tenth year of the trademark.
- Copyright is a form of protection for authors and writers of their original writings, whether it is literary, musical, artistic, or other types of intellectual works. A copyright is secured automatically upon creation. You have to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, and the copyright is valid up to 70 years after the author’s death.
- Patent: This is the grant that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gives to an inventor to a particular invention which gives him or her certain rights concerning the invented item. The patent is good for about 17 years from the date the patent application was approved.
Meet the Author: Donya Zimmerman
Donya Zimmerman is a business consultant, mediator, and legal professional with over ten years of experience. Donya is also a public speaker and aspiring author.
She is owner of Family & Community Mediation and Business Consulting (FACMBC) and Powerful Biz Woman (subsidiary of FACMBC), both of which are based in Baltimore, MD.
Services provided by FACMBC: Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services; Business Registration Assistance; Business Plan Drafting Assistance; Business Certification Assistance; and Business Organization Assistance.
If you are thinking about starting your own small business or non-profit organization, do not hesitate to contact me because I can show you how to do so.
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