The Six Steps for Registering A Trademark

If you are in business, then you understand the need to have a brand identity. A unique identifying feature in your business name, the logo, or the service is essential to stand out in the market. To achieve this, you have to sell differentiated products and use a name that hasn’t been used by others or rather, a name that won’t bring confusion or ownership infringement feuds.

Though your business name is unique, a trademark to your products or services will ensure that your brand name is upheld. To register a trademark, follow the following steps:

1. Pre-registration

Here, you do not have to sign anything. Before making any important business step, you must ask if there is a critical need for the business trademark. Products and services, only, are eligible for trademarks. Inventions and literally arts cannot be trademarked.

You should also evaluate the need for the trademark. If the business name is enough to identify your company, the products and services you trade in, then you do not need to trademark them urgently.

2. Selection of the mark to trade in

This is among the toughest choices to make once you have ascertained the need for trademarking. The mark chosen should be unique and means to use in business. Descriptive, fancy, generic, and suggestive names will have to be deliberated.

When selecting the mark, you should also consider the graphical strength it possessed. As aforementioned, the trademark is your brand identity. To sell your brand, the format, availability, and the products to which the mark will be applied should be considered.

3. Name search

As you select the trademark, the ones chosen should be run through the US Patent and Trademark Offices database. A name search helps in preventing registration of an already registered trademark that can cost you more in revenue and legal fees later. This also helps to know if your name is desirable or not.

4. Application

After the selected mark is found to be available, you can fill in the application for trademark registration. The registration can be either on the ‘use in commerce’ or the ‘intent to use’ basis. This can be done online or on paper. You should note that there are various trademark attorneys in San Diego who will help in processing your trademark application. The best offer flat fees for registration and at reasonable values that will not cost your business as much.

5. Application evaluation

Once you have presented everything to the US. Patent and Trademark offices, you will be required to wait. This can be a long process, but with an attorney at hand, the process will be smooth. The status of the application can be monitored every 3 or 4 months. An examining attorney completes the review and approves the application. This takes at least 12 months.

6. Rejection or approval

If a registration goes through, then you will be within the legal bounds to use the trademark on your products or services. You should also note that the trademark goes through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board even after its approval by the attorney and it is only certified if this board doesn’t oppose the trademark.

Rejection of the trademark registration can be appealed if the name isn’t immoral, a primary surname, slanders a person, resembles another, etc.

In conclusion, though the registration process can be lengthy, it is your first step to improving your brand image and this can result in an increased return on investment (ROI). To ensure success of the registration process, do not leave blank spaces on the application form, use a valid and active email address, and work with an attorney registered to work in the US.

Social Workers: The Untapped Hub of Entrepreneurs

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In what many might consider the most unlikeliest of places to look for entrepreneurs, social work is actually a hub of entrepreneurial thought leaders.  Residing in this place of ideas for change with little to no funding, social workers are constantly grinding out creative ways to progress human and societal conditions.

Being kind and doing good are now viewed as intelligent and necessary traits to have in the professional world.  However, let’s remember social workers were kind even when it implicitly was taken as ignorant and the reason they were doing good was because of compassion, empathy, resilience, commitment, and determination, so essentially they are trailblazers and natural entrepreneurs.

Social workers have been “doing good” before doing good was cool.

Below is a list of 5 entrepreneurial skills that social workers embody in their everyday work.

Ability to Raise Money

Many social workers work within the nonprofit sector or within the public sector, both of which see little working capital and funding cuts.  Due to this consistent lack of cash flow social workers are constantly figuring out how to come up with funding for their clients, communities and programs.  Due to social workers being committed and determined they are brainstorming different ways to raise capital just like an entrepreneurial venture would do.

Many sectors like to think of social workers as not being financially savvy however in a world where one has to figure out how to best advocate for their clients and communities with the least amount of money, they have learned how to get very creative with fundraising.

Branding/Marketing

Much of what lies behind social work theory is psychology.  Additionally, much of what lies beneath effective and efficient branding and marketing is psychology as well.  Thus, when social workers are attempting to brand or market their program or organization they have a leg up as they can easily analyze what their audience might want by knowing the different psychological theories that already exist. Additionally, social workers are generally speaking, natural empaths.

Yes, some have to work harder at empathy but social workers don’t go into their profession by monetary motivation, they generally go into social work because they are empathetic and compassionate individuals wanting to solve worldly problems.  The ability to empathize with your audience gives you an advantage when branding and marketing because you can easily put yourself into your audience’s shoes to figure out what they need and want.

Self-Care & Resilience

If you research anything about social work, you will most likely stumble upon self-care and compassion fatigue such as Mindfulness, Self-Care, and Wellness in Social Work: Effects of Contemplative Training, Caring for Ourselves: A Therapist’s Guide to Personal and Professional Well-Being.  Once again, social workers were developing and taking trainings and discussing the importance of self-care before all the mindfulness coloring books, meditation helmets and such started appearing in popular culture.  Social workers realize how incredibly important it is to take care of yourself so you can be a more effective professional and person in all areas of life.

Additionally, resilience is something that social workers have to recognize, assess and teach within many of their client populations such as mentally ill, abused and neglected and impoverished. Due to consistently working with the most disadvantaged in our societies and seeing and teaching that resilience, it has become an innate trait for any professional social workers to embrace.

Social workers experience many failures with clients, programs and organizations but it’s that compassion, grit and resilience that keeps them doing their job everyday waiting to change even 1 person or 1 community. The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries addresses many entrepreneurial obstacles and how to overcome them, one of them being failing fast and failing often to get to success.

Building Cohesive Teams

One thing that many social workers have to develop or at least review is called a strengths and needs assessment for individuals and/or communities they are serving.  Many decades ago social workers started realizing that only identifying and treating needs of persons and/or communities wasn’t treating the issue as a whole and in the most viable way. By identifying the strengths of the person, organization or community you can then more effectually address the issues.  Many entrepreneurial articles (Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Inc.) talk about the need for building effective teams as one of the most important steps in a successful venture.

Due to that being a skill set already learned by social workers, as well as some of their background training in psychology and their ability to empathize as spoken about earlier, social workers can build some of the most empowered and potent teams out there.

They realize the importance of different learning styles and how to communicate your message.

Ability to Sell

Last but certainly not least is the ability to sell.  Most everyone would think that sales could not be further from social work.  However, if you have ever read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie you will quickly realize that empathy and sympathy are 2 of the most effective traits to have in order to be successful in dealing with people. Additionally, having that grit, determination and resilience are other characteristics that social workers have that help them pick themselves up and keep forging on after a failed “sale”. Many social workers may not even have thought of themselves in sales before, however they actually have to “sell” themselves to their clients quite a bit.

In social services you have many untrusting people due to things such as life experiences or mental illness.  Social workers usually use the terminology “gaining people’s trust” however it is a matter of semantics because the social worker is essentially “selling” themselves or services to someone.  You have to make them believe that you are trustworthy, dependable and honest in order for clients and/or organizations to open up to you. Gaining people’s trust is one of the traits social workers have that help them “sell” their service and or product just like in entrepreneurial ventures.

So next time you are out looking for a founder, co-founder, partner or for investors looking to invest in social impact products or services; don’t look past the social worker.

Gone are the days of social workers “just” being a bleeding heart or “just” being kind…like kind implies ignorance?

Many entrepreneurial ventures that are solely motivated by money will fizzle out because they don’t have many of the other necessary skills that make a venture succeed.  Social workers naturally have these skills in them by virtue of the profession, so take a look and see what social workers have and are still accomplishing these days that could help your entrepreneurial venture out.

Evenlyn’s Journey: Every Social Worker Needs a Red Carpet Dress

Evelyn is a kind of woman who has never worn a red carpet dress.

Her whole life she has been in service of others. As a child she played with the kids who were bullied. As a teenager she volunteered in the animal shelter. When she became a social worker, she found her mission in helping disabled children. You could find her at the office even after working hours because of an emergency.

red carpet dressEvelyn’s sister made other choices in her life. At school she was a luminary in mathematics, and she got a well-paying job at Apple. Her working agenda was filled with parties, retreats, and conventions. Even on several occasions, Evelyn’s sister wore a red carpet dress.

Evelyn was a bit jealous. Just a bit, but at the same time she was proud of her choice to serve needy people instead of making money. Who needs a red carpet dress anyway?

Since Evelyn became unemployed two years ago, she started longing for a red carpet dress. Her desire to be successful grew every new day of her unemployment.

Sitting on her couch looking for a job on Linkedin, she felt more and more invisible. Her own shiny moment, walking the red carpet with a glamorous dress and killer heels, seemed farther away then ever.

As Evelyn’s frustration got stronger, a new thought came up in her mind which initially made her feel anxious and uneasy. This thought came right out of her heart and was so strong that she couldn’t hide from it.

There was this tiny voice, smooth but crystal clear,  “you are a social worker, show up and share your passion, there are needy people out there waiting for you”!

But I first need a job!’ Evelyn said. Do you? Do you really need a job to help others? Have you ever thought of creating your own job? Have you ever thought of becoming a social worker entrepreneur?

Evelyn had never heard of a social worker entrepreneur. Sure, she knew some social workers with a private practice, but she never ever considered herself as an entrepreneur.

Suddenly, Evelyn started dreaming again, and her heart started bouncing as it did before. In her imagination, she saw happy clients, her own website, a lovely office, and a good income. She also thought from her first paid invoice she would buy a gorgeous red carpet dress!

But, this thought also made her feel anxious and uneasy. ‘How do I get clients? How do I make a living? Who will pay me? How do I get the money to start my business? Can I do this on my own? Will there be support?’.

Evelyn realized that becoming a social worker entrepreneur was something she didn’t learn at school. On the other hand it might be the solution to living her passion again, to be of service again, and contribute to a better world.

One day, Evelyn made a very social worky decision. She decided the only way to find out if this would truly work is to do some research.

From this point, Evelyn’s journey became really exciting! She discovered a whole new world of marketing, branding, selling, and even the red carpet dresses every social worker needs.

More about Evelyn’s journey in my next article.

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