Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2010

By Jeff Bowman

It happens every so often, that something strikes me as a little odd. Okay, it happens a lot.

The other night, I awoke to nature’s beckoning.  I stumbled to the bathroom and answered the call. It took a minute or two, but as my eyes became accustomed to the surroundings, it struck me that everywhere I looked, there were lights. The GFI switch in the bathroom has an LED, as I walked to the hall I could see the lights in the kitchen to the left of me and lights coming from the bedroom to my right.

It occurred to me then, that we have become accustomed to the many light emitting appliances, switches and electrical devices that permeate our every night life. I thought to myself that when I was a child, I grew quite accustomed to counting the steps to the bedroom door, and down the hall to the bathroom.  I had to, it was always pitch black.  I had no night lights, lighted switches, radio or cable box LED lights to guide my passage.

I decided to go to the kitchen, where of course, the microwave lights and the stove lights provided a dim hue. The smoke detector was glowing faintly in the hall. Despite it being very late at night, there was a border of light framing the front window blind from outside. I walked over and opened the blind and looked down the street. Aside from the street lights, the lawns and houses were lit up like, well, Christmas trees.

It reminded me of Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  There were lights as far as I could see. Not just lights, thousands of lights, inflatable snowmen, reindeer and Santas, a globe with blowing snow and a penguin inside. The lights and the fans and the mechanical lazy susans, which drive the movements spinning the wheels on the hydro meters.

In my day, downtown Flowertown was nicely decorated with sparse strings of lights over storefronts with tinsel and decorative balls adorning doors, as were the majority of homes. A nighttime drive on Christmas Eve to see the lights in other parts of the town was a tradition. 8 or 9 strings of lights together was a real show, and if they blinked, well that was something.

Fast forward to today, holiday decorations are a booming industry. The bigger the better and you have to have more lights than your neighbors! I thought that we were all supposed to conserve electricity? The old 7 watt screw in bulbs have all but been replaced by LEDs, and because they are energy efficient we can use hundreds of them to create light displays that can be seen in space.

I love Christmas, the lights are spectacular, the decorations are amazing, and I guess maybe I’m a little jealous of what we have today compared to when I was younger.

As I walked back to my bedroom, I noticed the clock on the radio flashing brightly at me. I had been up almost 20 minutes staring into the lighted neighborhood.  It was a beautiful sight to behold. I climbed back into bed and drew the blankets up around me. I closed my eyes and realized that darkness is hard to come by these days. I guess that illumination is progress!

Did Edison ever imagine this?

Reposted from The Marketing Pad

Jeff Bowman is a Sales and Marketing Specialist with The Marketing Pad Inc.. Follow Jeff’s blog at Blogpad or visit www.themarketingpad.com.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

By Bryan Watson

It is widely known that angels have a strong focus on exit-dependent investment models.  But ever since the exit environment went under pressure in 2007, investors started looking at differing investment models – one being “royalty based financing”.

The idea: “Instead of buying equity, you buy a percentage of the company’s future revenues.  So, rather than having to rely on an exit, which could take years to (or might never) occur, you receive royalties (typically between 1% and 10% of the company’s revenues) from the company every month until a negotiated multiple (e.g. 3x to 5x) of your original investment has been returned to you.”  Refer to the following article for more details.

[Editor Comment: This article speaks to the flexibility of angel capital. One model does not fit all, which can be a boon to both investor and entrepreneur!]

Reposted from National Angel Capital Organization

Throughout his career, both in Canada and the UK, Bryan J. Watson has been a champion of entrepreneurship as a vector for the commercialization of advanced technologies. Upon his return to Canada in 2004, Bryan established his venture development consulting practice to help emerging-growth companies overcome the barriers to success they face in the Canadian commercialization ecosystem.  Visit Bryan’s blog and the National Angel Capital Organization.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Read Full Post »

By Joseph Wilson

Over the last year, we have been leading workshops across Ontario designed to help entrepreneurs with the basics of business development.

The ideas coming out of Ontario cover an impressive range of technologies, from cleantech manufacturing solutions to online platforms for innovative services.

Yet we found that the entrepreneurs often had the same challenge: they were unable to explain the value of their offering in a clear and concise manner. We also hear this comment from venture capitalists and investor relations professionals — that entrepreneurs spend too much time thinking about technology and not about value.

Watch this video to see how scientists are often so passionate about their technology they can’t articulate the value of their offering.

A value proposition is essentially an answer to the question “what do you do?” The temptation is to explain the technology that your business is based on, but the reality is that there are very few industry-specific people who care about your technology. People want to know what the value of your technology is.

Values can be vague and very personal, but when people pay for products, the same patterns keep cropping up. When engaging in B2B sales, for instance, potential customers are often drawn by promises of saving time or money. These aren’t the only things that get people buying, however. Products and services can be sold on the promise of higher quality, convenience, lowering risk or enabling productivity.

When selling directly to consumers, values are often harder for customers to articulate. Instead of being rational and business-driven, consumers make emotional decision based on latent values, such as status, aesthetics or newness.

The next step is to find out exactly which values matter to your target customer. When you craft a value proposition, it should speak to a very specific market segment. Even if you have a wide-ranging “platform technology,” you need to start selling your product to a specific target customer and then expand later.

The best way to find out what your target market values is to get out of your office and ask them. Observe them at work, read their publications and get into their head to find out what problems they are trying to solve when they go to work. You can use other tools, too, like Alexander Osterwalder’s Customer Empathy Map or the Day in the Life Scenario in our Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Market Strategy Workbook.

When you’re finally ready to draft your value proposition, use these points as a guideline:

  1. What are you offering?
  2. Who is your target customer?
  3. What value are you bringing your target customer?
  4. How is your product unique?

If you can get those four points into one sentence, you’re finally ready to talk about your product in a way that investors will understand.

Downloads and resources from the Entrepreneurship 101 lecture on value proposition:

Reposted from MaRS

JosephWilson is currently an education advisor at MaRS. He also writes on issues of technology and culture for NOW Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Spacing and Yonge Street. He is the Executive Director of the Treehouse Group, dedicated to fostering innovation by hosting cross-disciplinary events.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Read Full Post »

By Glenn Laba

Has Lean Manufacturing run its course? Innovation is the natural stepping stone to growth.

The patient has been stabilized, but where’s the rehab? According to Industry Canada’s November Ontario Economic Review, the manufacturing sector is losing some of its momentum for a recovery from the recent recession, because of a modest 1.7% increase in GDP in Q2 2010 compared to a gain of 5.0% in Q1.

The health of Ontario’s manufacturing sector is still fragile. It might be out of intensive care, but it still needs help to leave the hospital. The important question remains: what prescription is best for the health of Ontario’s manufacturers?

Lean manufacturing has become the mantra of many Ontario companies, enabling them to reduce costs and maintain profit margins. In doing so, their health has become stabilized.

The first question I pose is: how much more will lean techniques help manufacturers recover? Pareto’s Law holds that eighty percent of all problems are the result of twenty percent of the major causes. So once Lean techniques have overcome those major causes to manufacturers’ problems, there will be diminishing returns to their Lean efforts to remain competitive.

The second question I pose is: do “Lean”  techniques help manufacturers increase sales? Generally speaking, the answer is no. Lean helps maintain stability, but it does not stimulate growth. From his study of fifty plants in six industries, Wickam Skinner pointed out “there are many ways to compete than producing at low costs”.

Manufacturers that have achieved “Lean” manufacturing ideals must now come up with new and better ways to design and manufacture products. They have to innovate. Manufacturers must now try to balance their diet between Lean and Innovation. Because innovation requires resources be freed from other tasks, early adopters of Lean principles have moved on to adopt new technology, create new products, develop new ways of marketing and build global relationships. Only in doing so, can Ontario manufacturers leave the hospital with renewed strength to compete globally.

Glen Laba is the newest member of the RIC Centre Team. In his role as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, his aim is to provide personalized support to SMEs in the manufacturing sector to help them innovate and grow their business.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Read Full Post »

By Krista LaRiviere

Most business leaders I talk to sell their products and services into other countries and all list organic search as an important part of their online marketing efforts and web presence. More frequently I hear this scenario, “My UK Sales Rep says we don’t show up at all in Google, but I see we’re ranked #1. What is he talking about? ”

This is a prime example of an international organic search issue. Once you’ve identified you have one then you need to figure out what to do about it and how to manage it.

Find out how to take control of and improve your organic search results in countries where you’re trying to do business.

So what is happening here and what do you need to know?

Google has multiple properties (.com, .ca, .uk, .fr, be,de, etc.)  where the properties represent countries (US, Canada, UK, France, Belgium, Germany, etc.).

When you search on a keyword phrase Google wants to return to you relevant search results. ‘Relevance’ changes based on a couple of factors:

1. Which search engine property are you starting your search from (i.e., Google.com versus Google.ca versus Google.uk)?

2. How you are connected to the Internet? This isn’t a post about how the Internet works, but basically you’re connected to the Internet with an IP Address. That IP Address is assigned to an ISP (Internet Service Provider like Verizon or Rogers). The ISP then assigned an IP to you to surf the web. Those IPs are known to belong to a particular country. Google can then conclude you are connected to the Internet in Canada, the US, the UK, France, etc.

3. Are you logged into Google in any way (Gmail, Adwords, etc.)? If you are logged into Google, then they are collecting data about your behaviour on-line and are going to return search results that are more relevant to you. Yes, this is scary!

So, when you are physically located and logged onto the Internet in the US searching for your product in www.google.fr you will obtain a different set of results then if you are located in France looking for your product in www.google.fr. The implications of this are that you might think you are ranking #1 for something, but to your prospects, located and searching in France, are not being exposed to your company’s organic ranking at all. The further implication is that you are likely losing out on leads and sales.

What should you do? Firstly, don’t give up. Secondly, I have to tell you that international organic search is humanly impossible to manage and gain insight into on a daily basis. The reality is, you really do need an automated way to deal with this. Software exists that gives you the ‘raw’, non-skewed ranking results independent of country and IP address so that you can obtain timely insight into your web presence and position in countries where you’re doing business.

Reposted from gShift Labs

Krista LaRiviere is the CoFounder & CEO of gShift Labs. This is Krista’s third software start-up having successfully exited from the previous two. Having been in the Internet marketing space for over ten years, Krista is able to identify trends and gaps in the daily lives of Internet marketers. gShift has web presence optimization software that is  demystifying, simplifying and standardizing organic search. Her vision is to change the way people think of and perform organic search optimization.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Read Full Post »

“Innovation is the key to helping businesses not just survive, but thrive in today’s competitive environment. Innovation may involve new ideas, new markets, products or new ways of thinking about things. The essential thing to remember is that any business can be innovative; it just requires an open mind and a willingness to change and adapt,” says John Switzer Chair of the Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre.

The RIC Centre, in association with the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies presents a program to teach budding entrepreneurs about how to turn ideas into successful products, processes or services and add economic value to organizations and society.

Beginning in January, the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies will launch a new Certificate in Innovation Management designed to equip participants with the tools, methods and techniques need to be successful in taking innovations to market.

“If you’re not innovating your business, beware ……someone else is,” says Andrew Maxwell, UTM professor and head of the Canadian Innovation Centre and an instructor in the new Certificate program.

The program will involve case studies, experienced instructors and guest speakers to guide students.  The program will introduce participants to the elements and attributes of the innovation process as well as the key factors that allow organizations and their workforce to harness this process. The benefits for participants include

  • Competitive advantage in the knowledge required  for the practice of innovation management
  • Understanding of the challenges facing organizations throughout the innovation process, from early research to market launch and  commercialization
  • Taking leadership in turning good ideas into revenue-generating products and services

“RIC is pleased to partner with UTM as well as our other community partners in working closely to raise the profile of innovation in our community. Our ultimate goal is to help entrepreneurs get their technology to the marketplace,” says Pam Banks, Commercialization Director RIC.

For registration details on the Foundations of Innovation Management visit: http://learn.utoronto.ca/bps/imc.htm

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Read Full Post »

By Jeremy Grushcow

An article in the Hindu Business Line says the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association is lobbying heavily to keep data protection and other innovator-friendly IP provisions out of the free trade agreement being negotiated between India and the EU. But, with Glenmark and Jubilant on the rise, and with even Biocon carrying the R&D water in its deal with Pfizer, demands for IP protection from domestic constituents are bound to be increasingly loud.

Keep an eye on the progress of the free trade talks, continuing with the India-EU summit this week. Apparently, the main gaps are: the percentage of tradable goods that are tariff-free; a sustainable development clause; and the IP issues noted above. We’ll see how hard India pushes to keep IP out of the picture.

Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »