News From the Louisville SBDC
Four Essentials for Owning Your Online Property
Attending the 36th Annual America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) conference in Orlando, Florida September 19- 23, 2016 was filled with fond memories, camaraderie and lots of networking. My conference experience started with my Louisville SBDC colleagues and I accepting the State Star Award and concluded with me wishing my SBDC colleagues farewell.
Between the noteworthy conference events, I attended some supercharged professional development classes. My favorite course was taught by Eric Spellmann of Spellmann & Associates. Eric is a website developer, and he has the uncanny ability of making the nuances of website development simple. I took some fairly comprehensive notes during his class and thought I would share some of them with you. These are Eric’s essentials for assuring that you own your online property.
Own Your Domain—Sounds simple enough. However, if you hire a web developer to build your website, you may not be listed as the registrant for your domain. Whoever is listed as the registrant, legally owns the domain name. Do a Who is search on Google to see who owns your site.
I used this tip with a client recently. She was a bit bewildered that she had fully paid for services rendered but her developer was still listed as the registrant. I suggested that she speak with the developer to get it transferred. BTW- To do a who is search you can use whois.godaddy.com.
Own Your Website – Now I am proud to say that I was aware of this tip. The elusive yet prodigious Intellectual Property waiver. This document is elusive, because I have had some clients struggle with getting their developer to sign this document. (My advice find one who will sign). It is prodigious because it has an immense impact to ownership rights.
An intellectual property waiver releases the rights of the website developer to owning the site. Therefore, have the upfront discussion with the developer that a waiver will be executed once the he/she receives full payment for services rendered. BTW—The web developer might ask for credits to use your site to promote his/her services. If this happens put a deadline date of when credits cease.
Note that some website builders that offer templates for you to build your site for free or inexpensively may not sign a waiver because you are using their proprietary code for developing your website. When using these types of website builders, you typically own the content and photos that you upload, but the site belongs to the company. There are some website builders that will transfer ownership. Read the fine print.
Own Your Photos– This blew my mind. You need to make sure that you are listed as the author for a photo in the metadata. What’s metadata? Metadata for a photo file includes information such as the author’s name, color space, resolution, copyright, and keywords applied to a photo. Essentially this information determines and identifies who owns the photo. If you are using stock photos, be sure that you have a contractual right to use them.
Own Your Content– In our cut and paste world, copying content is a snap. But copying content is plagiarism. Check to make sure that your website has not inadvertently committed this taboo act. Use an online plagiarism detection site such as www.copyscape.com to check your website content.
If you hire someone to develop the content for your website. Get him/her to sign a waiver to release his/her rights to the ownership of the content. One more tidbit about content: To avoid legal issues, you should consider writing your content from scratch.
Now that you have got these four essentials under your belt you are ready to start working on developing your online property.
Your Louisville SBDC will be offering “How to Create a Successful Online Business” workshop on Saturday, November 12th from 8am-3pm. Call 502-625-0123 for more info.
Buying Local: Being a Citizen as well as a Consumer
Eight years ago, I was having lunch with Summer Auerbach of Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Markets. We had worked together on lots of projects in the nonprofit and for profit world, and she was getting involved with a new project that she was very excited about: the Louisville Independent Business Alliance. So that’s where the keep Louisville weird stickers were coming from!
I asked her what in the world she was talking about – I could understand wanting to promote her own business, but what was the deal with a group of independent business owners getting together to say ‘buy local’. What kind of public good was this serving?
First, she told me about a study that showed significantly more money stays circulating in the local economy when spent at an independent business. That was a surprise, but it made sense to me right away: all the owners and employees are here, and they purchase from many other local businesses for services like accounting, legal, printing, etc.
Lunch was over, but the message stuck. I started paying more attention to where I was making my purchases and seeking out the locals who could offer me a unique experience. Three years later I started working for the organization.
The Louisville Independent Business Alliance’s (LIBA) message is simple but has a lot of layers. Our slogans are ‘keep Louisville weird’ and ‘Buy Local First’. You may notice it is not ‘Buy Local Always’ because we realize chains and franchises have a place in the world. But we are asking people to think of themselves as citizens rather than consumers when they are making purchasing decisions. Every dollar we spend is a vote for the type of community we want to have.
In 2012, LIBA worked with the American Booksellers Association to commission a study from Civic Economics that showed for every $100 spent at a locally owned independent business in Louisville, $55 is reinvested locally, whereas only $14 is reinvested when that same money is spent at a national chain. A market shift of just 10% from chains to independents would retain an additional $416 million in the regional economy every year.
A wide variety of independent businesses, each serving their customers’ tastes, creates greater overall choice for all of us. Not only do independent businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue, they also are the customers of local printers, accountants, wholesalers, farms, attorneys, etc., expanding opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses. They also generate more tax revenue per sales dollar. (Sources and text from www.amiba.net/resources/localhero.)
This holiday season, LIBA is offering another great reason to buy local: you could win a $1,000 shopping spree at our member businesses. Our hoLOUdays Contest is underway and the rules are easy: collect receipts from member businesses, then text, submit online, mail in or turn in at one of our sponsor sites (Feeders Supply or Heine Brothers’ Coffee), and you’ll be entered into the drawing to win $1000 in gift certificates to LIBA businesses. (Once receipts are verified, they are returned to the owner.) The winner will get to choose from over 850 LIBA businesses where they wish to spend their $1,000.
Many small businesses will be celebrating Small Business Saturday on November 26th. You can spend the day shopping with a neighborly, community-minded approach to thoughtful gift giving.
For more information on the hoLOUdays Contest and an entry form, visit www.keeplouisvilleweird.com/hoLOUdays.