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Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Update by Zack Duncan,
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How Your SMB Can Use Stock Images Without Getting Sued

Images are a quick and easy way to add color, life and personality to your business, whether being used for your website, new products, marketing materials or in presentations. However, simply copying and pasting from Google Images or from other sources online could result in lengthy and expensive legal battles over correct image usage. Despite a wealth of stock image providers hosting millions of images, companies of all sizes are regularly facing legal issues for failing to question whether they are legally entitled to use images for their own purposes.

In January this year, the Court of Appeal upheld a ban on Topshop selling a T-shirt featuring an image of pop star Rhianna. Taken during a video shoot in 2011, the image was obtained without her permission. It was the first successful celebrity case of its kind and Topshop’s parent company was sued for £3.3 million.

Without the appropriate release in place, the organization left itself vulnerable to this expensive and embarrassing lawsuit, showing that even huge corporations can suffer from a lack of consideration of image usage laws. 

In another example, Nestle was forced to award $15.6 million in 2005 to a model whose image was used on Taster’s Choice coffee product labels without correct permission. Following the original photo shoot in 1986, the model had signed a contract stating he would be paid $2,000 if the image was used in Nestle’s marketing. Although the image wasn’t used until 2002, ignoring the conditions of the release was a costly mistake for this international brand.

What Is A Release?

A release is a signed document which ensures that the people or property (works of art, trademarks, brands or buildings) included in an image or clip are safe to feature. While most stock image collections clearly identify where a release has been signed, further limitations may be in place so it pays to always double check. At Alamy, we make it clear as to which images have had releases signed, we’ve also developed an infographic to help ensure you don’t find yourself in trouble. You can view or download this here.

Key Facts About Image Copyright

There are some commonly held misconceptions around image use – we’re hoping to set some of these straight for you below:

  • Changing the image by 20% does not make it safe to use: If you use someone else's copyrighted work in any way you are violating the copyright and potentially liable for a lawsuit, even if you've changed the look of the image. 
  • Google's image search is NOT public domain: Copyrights last for 70 years past the owner's death, so it's likely that most images online will still be under copyright. Never use an image from a Google search without the correct permission from the owners.
  • Crediting the owner for the image does not override copyright laws: Check carefully before using an image, particularly for commercial use and, if in doubt, contact the image owner directly for permission.

Using Stock Images Effectively

We've put together some tips to help you get the best out of your stock images:

  • Do your research: You don't want to spend money on an image to features as part of a campaign or on a product if it has been used in a similar capacity before. Check to see where else it has been used. Google Images is a good resource for this. 
  • Make sure your image is relevant: You might fall in love with a picture, but always check and double check if it's relevant to your content. There's no point in spending money on an image which you won't be able to use. 
  • Check whether you need a release, and ask if you're not sure: It is your responsibility to make sure that the image has the necessary releases in place. 
  • Ensure your chosen image(s) has the appropriate release in place: It should be clear on the site as to whether this is in place or not. If in doubt, call and ask or check with your lawyer.

Copyright and IP law is complex and you don't want to find yourself in hot water after you've spent money and time building up your business. It's easy to get carried away when you've found the perfect image but getting the basics right is important to make sure your SMB is a success!


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Friday, April 17, 2015
Update by John Beagle,
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Familiarize Your SMB with Online Forms

By: Chad Reid is Director of Communications at JotForm

Running a SMB doesn’t have to be tricky business. If you’re running your own company, every tool at your disposal counts; especially the ones that save you time and hassle. Crafty small- and medium-sized SMBs utilize web forms to drive revenue and reveal key insights.

Let online forms do the heavy lifting for gathering customer insights, generating leads, collecting payments, finding new talent and keeping your employees happy. Here are the types of forms that can help your company thrive.

The Feedback Form

Master this style of form, and use it often. Knowing how your customers, former customers, employees and prospects feel about your organization is crucial to staying afloat. Include scales and radio buttons to see trends in response data, and keep questions with written responses open ended (“How do you feel about ….?” for example). The more you know about how your SMB is perceived, the better decisions you can make your about company’s future.

The Survey Form

A great use for surveys is for your employees. Build a survey so your employees can vote for employee of the months, where and when a company party should take place, and even to collect sandwich orders for a company lunch. There’s no easier way to gather data.

The Application Form

Are you asking applicants to send résumés to your email address? Creating an application form lets you manage all of your applications in a central login, and allows you to consistently collect all the pertinent information from each applicant. It’s easy enough to set up, and ensures an applicant's’ initial point of contact with your company is a professional one.

The Lead Generation Form

A great lead generation form can turn your small SMB into a money-making machine. Customize your call-to-action button, and make your form visually appealing to get even higher conversions.

The Contact Form

If your website doesn’t feature a contact form, it’s time to give 2015 a try. A clean, clear, and functional contact form is the professional way to gather customer information, and to receive comments and concerns. Posting your email address is a dangerous gamble, and it can even be off putting to site visitors.

The Payment Form

Did you know you can collect payments for service using a simple form and a PayPal account? If you don’t need anything fancy - or your own full online store - then using a form for collecting payments for services, donations or subscriptions is a great way to go. Other than a processing transaction fee, setting the form doesn’t usually cost you any money.

The great thing is that anyone can create awesome, custom forms. Using an easy-to-use form builder, you can knock out a fantastic form in just a couple minutes. Form builders are tools that any SMB can use, and it’s something that will save you loads of time and money down the road if used effectively.

Author’s Bio:

Chad Reid is Director of Communications at JotForm, a popular online form building tool. He’s written for a myriad of publications, including the Cincinnati Enquirer, recruiter.com, and multiple Patch sites. 


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Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Update by John Beagle,
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SMB HR: LinkedIn isn't the best way to Recruit Employees

by John Reed

7% of candidates that come through referrals account for 40% of total hires

As a source of new, competent staff, employee referrals have no equal. There is no other source for candidates that generate the same ROI; in fact the 7% of candidates that come through referrals account for 40% of total hires.

New data show that employee referrals provide better candidates, higher retention rates and help companies hire faster.

Referrals are the number one source of high performing employees.

Applicants hired from a referral begin their position quicker than applicants found via job boards and career sites (after 29 days compared with 39 days via job boards and 55 via career sites).

Referral hires have higher retention rates – 46% of employee referrals stay for three years or more, compared to only 14% of those hired from job boards.

Challenges to employee referral programs

Recruiters and hiring managers realize how important and effective employee referrals are, and every large enterprise today has referral programs to stimulate their existing workforce to help identify quality candidates within their network. Companies use monetary incentives, in some cases several thousands of dollars, to get employees to refer candidates for critical open positions.

The HR question is: why do only 7% of all applications come through referrals? What is stopping employees from referring more candidates?

Recruiters declare that especially for senior roles, the peers that could make an introduction to the right candidates are usually senior managers or directors with a very busy schedule and little or no time for browsing through a company’s open positions and then identifying great candidates within their network.

The other problem is that sometimes even though a first attempt is made, employees forget to follow up, and the referral doesn’t go further.

Make referrals easy for your employees

The best way for recruiters to quickly identify great candidates through referrals would be to source talent within an employees’ network and identify candidates upfront. Once the passive candidate has been identified, the employee’s job is to simply make the introduction and let HR follow up with the talent. In order to implement and manage this process, recruiters have to:
1. Access employee’s network upfront
2. Leverage automated notification and customized messages
3. Track in real-time the status of referrals

Stalking passive candidates on LinkedIn is a least favorite activity for recruiters

If you are a recruiter you certainly know the pain of receiving hundreds of email requests from job seekers, and definitely don’t enjoy doing the same to candidates.

How can recruiters access employees’ networks and avoid LinkedIn stalking?

One option is 1-Page. 1-Page takes LinkedIn search out of the recruiting equation. The company creates customized company clouds with profiles of professionals connected to their employees. Leveraging the a large employee referral network (820+ million profiles) 1-Page allows recruiters to search candidates by job title, companies and location and see instantly those who match the criteria. The platform also identifies the employees that can make an introduction and enable HR to automate the referral process and follow up with candidates directly.

 

About 1-Page

1-Page provides a one-of-a-kind cloud-based human resources Software-as-a-Service platform, currently employed by leading global and US companies. The Enterprise Challenge-based Assessment and Engagement Platform is a patented, HR tool which enables companies to individually rank and prioritize candidates for employment positions based on their ability to solve real-time business challenges and achieve strategic objectives.

Ranked as one of the top 3 HR technologies in the US, 1-Page changes the dynamics of hiring: leveraging candidate’s solutions, sent in the format of one page job proposals, the platform applies new predictive data to rank the most suitable candidates for the interview.  By streamlining the recruiting process and identifying candidates while displaying the greatest desire and capability for the role, 1-Page greatly reduces talent acquisition costs and significantly increases employment retention rates for enterprises, especially those with large staffing requirements. More information about the company is available at: www.1-page.com.


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Friday, March 13, 2015
Update by Zack Duncan,
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Atlanta SMB Named To Top 40 Tech

 

The 2015 Georgia Technology Summit (GTS) is coming up soon, set for March 25, and will be held at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) will be on hand to present its list of the Top 40 Innovative Technology Companies in Georgia. The Technology Association of Georgia is the state's leading association dedicated to the promotion and economic advancement of the technology industry in Georgia. 

The Top 40 Awards from TAG are given to tech companies based in Georgia for their innovation, financial impact and their efforts in spreading tech initiatives from Georgia throught the globe. One of the recipients of this award is HiLumz USA. HiLumz USA is a multinational lighting company and prides itself on offering customers LED and other lighting products that have longer life cycles, lower costs and smaller sized fixtures and components. 

According to President and CEO of TAG Tino Mantella, "The 2015 Top 40 finalists are an elite group of innovators who represent the very best of Georgia's Technology community. The 2015 Top 40 finalists are shining examples of what makes our state such a hotbed for technology and and we applaud them for standing out as leaders in Georgia's technology community."

The Top 40 companies for this year's award were selected from over 100 applications submitted by companies from all over the state of Georgia. The elite companies selected for the Top 40 will be showcased in an exhibition at GTS 2015. "Our eleventh year of the Top 40 was an overwhelming success, based on the number of truly innovative companies that aprticipated in the competition," according to Dennis Zakas, founder and partner of Zakas & Leonard, LLP, Chair of Group Office Buys, LLC, and chairperson of the Top 40 Selection Committee. "The Top 40 winners demonstrate the depth and breadth of Georgia's technology community," Zakas added.

The 2015 Georgia Technology Summit itself is expected to draw in over 1,300 C-level executives, entrepreneurs, technology professionals and academia. The summit will recognize and celebrate Georgia's technology community and will include presentations from some of the best technology influences in the country along with the induction of the newest members of the Technology Hall of Fame of Georgia.

 

Content originally published here


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