Archive for April, 2013

Lean Patents Power Start-ups

Posted: April 28, 2013 by Vance VanDrake III in Legal, Planning, Startup


Startups rarely think about intellectual property protection because they believe that comes after the product is complete. These startups should consider a “lean” patent model that mirrors the lean start-up model and shares the same benefits of flexibility, low initial cost, and optimization. This works well for large and small companies to begin protecting their big ideas/.

File a Provisional Patent Application  

Provisional patent applications are cheap to file.  Really cheap.  The filing fee for a small entity (less than 500 employees) is only $125.  Provisional patent applications have fewer filing requirements than a “regular” patent application.  In theory, you can file a Keynote/Powerpoint presentation as a provisional patent application.


UC Chuck MatthewsOne of my all-time favorite examples of the quintessential entrepreneur is King C. Gillette.  He embodies what I like to call the entrepreneur’s 3-D vision: drive, determination, and dedication.  His entrepreneurial journey parallels the timeless challenges facing entrepreneurs then and now.  He epitomizes the three essential tasks of the entrepreneur both at start-up and as the venture matures – creativity, leadership, and communication.

Previously, I introduced the core elements of the entrepreneurship process: focus, environment, the entrepreneur, and the engagement/execution process. Even with a clear focus (product and services, customers and competition), an entrepreneur must continually assess an uncertain and changing environment (business, economic, legal, political, social, and technological factors).

Central to all of this is the entrepreneur.  That the entrepreneur must simultaneously wear multiple hats is legendary in the lore of new start-ups. With so many distractions, let’s take a closer look at how the entrepreneur applies concepts of creativity, lessons of leadership, and achieves clarity of communication.


Startup Right by Swinging for Singles

Posted: April 14, 2013 by Bob Gilbreath in Leadership, People, Planning, Startup

BobGilbreathIt is baseball season here in Cincinnati again, and whether you observe Opening Day as a religious holiday, or get surprised when fireworks explode in the afternoon downtown, one cannot help but join the spirit. We get to enjoy another 162 episodes of challenge and achievement. Of course we cannot help but re-awaken baseball metaphors to analyze and explain the challenges in the business world.

Entrepreneurship has a lot in common with baseball. In both a lone leader steps to the plate with intense pressure to succeed, a team is counting on you to get a hit, and even a 33% success rate is world-class. Unfortunately, too many rookie batters—and entrepreneurs—fail by swinging for the fences instead of legging out a single.

Startup founders get excited about billion-dollar stories such as Facebook, Google, Instagram and Groupon. These companies seemed to come out of nowhere with a killer idea, and we marvel at the fame and wealth that were created in the blink of an eye. The startup blogs and keynote speeches encourage young founders to “think big” and “change the world.” Such stories have pushed a thousand entrepreneurs to quit their day jobs or senior years to create “the next Google/Facebook/eBay.”


Kelly Leon of  WKRC Channel 12’s US Bank Business Watch program interviews Bill Cunningham, Founder of and Shop Foreman for the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association.


Posted: April 4, 2013 by Bill Cunningham in Leadership, Marketing, Startup

Bill Cunningham Bio“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” — Henry Ford

Henry Ford didn’t sell automobiles, he created a great customer user experience that resulted in the tremendous success of Ford Motor Company. Whether you deliver products or services, your customer experience determines whether customers buy and more importantly, whether they will buy again.

The cycle of user experience begins with the first impression of your organization. In Malcolm Gladwell‘s book, Blink, he proves that you make snap decisions within a single microsecond at the start of a user experience and keep that portrait in your mind

Malcom Gladwell

despite evidence to the contrary. You have all heard that you only get one chance to make a first impression. More importantly, according to Seth Godin, is not the first impression, but the realization that you do not know when it will occur. This means you must be ready 24/7 with how customers acquire the user experience with your company.