10 Sobering Facts on the Business Costs of Addiction

By Laurel Sindewald

1. In 2012, 9.2% of Americans 12 or older were current users of illegal drugs and, of 21.5 million current illegal drug users 18 or older, 14.6 million or 67.9% were employed full-time or part-time. SourceSource

2. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that drug abuse and addiction from the use of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs cost the U.S. over $524 billion each year. Those costs include health care, productivity loss, crime, incarceration and drug enforcement. Source [Read more…]

Thinking of Opening Your Own Restaurant? Think About These 10 Stats

Always dreamed of opening your own restaurant?  Learn more about the market and your competition by checking out these U.S. restaurant industry statistics.

  1. There are 998,000 restaurant locations in the U.S. Source
  2. Restaurant-industry sales projected for 2013 are over $660 billion. Source
  3. Employees in the restaurant industry number 13.1 million. Source
  4. Restaurants are expected to add 1.3 million new positions in the next decade. Source
  5. The consumers of the U.S. restaurant industry declined from 62.7 billion in 2008 to 60.6 billion in 2011. Independent restaurants accounted for 87 percent of these traffic losses.
  6. Source Thinking of opening your own restaurant?Source

  7. Since 2008, restaurant chains have increased by 4511 units while the number of independent restaurant decreased by 7158 units. Source
  8. In 2007, the full-service restaurants in Washington, D.C. reported the highest sales per business ($1.7 million), while it was the lowest in South Dakota ($565 thousand). The national average was $847 thousand. Source
  9. About 4 out of 10 restaurant customers say they would be likely to use an electronic ordering system and menus on tablet computers at table service restaurants. Source
  10. 76 percent of consumers say they are trying to eat healthier now at restaurants than they did two years ago. Source
  11. According to a report by Hudson Institute, restaurants that offered more lower-calorie services experienced a 9 percent increase in food and beverage sales from 2006 to 2011. Restaurants that offered fewer low-calorie services saw sales drop by 16 percent. Source (.pdf)

For more information about the Restaurant Industry Forecast in 2013, including graphics and video, visit Restaurant.org/Forecast.

In addition to the aforementioned statistics about the restaurant industry in the U.S. market, those willing to launch their own restaurants may find the following study very interesting.  This study conducted by Parsa at Cornell University, Why Restaurant Fail (.pdf) explores the reasons for restaurant failures in the U.S.

Elmira Hamidi is a researcher for Handshake 2.0, a graduate student in the Virginia Tech Department of Communication, and a marketing assistant at the Virginia Tech Business Services Office.

We Ask You to Contribute to Cognichoice’s Crowdfunding Campaign

From Anne Giles Clelland, co-founder of Cognichoice:

We have developed a health app that we think will save people from so much suffering – people who are overweight and heading towards type 2 diabetes and heart disease, people who struggle with substance abuse disorders, people whose traumatic experiences now burden them with PTSD. All have to change what they’re doing and manage their behavior to relieve their conditions. That's hard! Cognichoice (TM) is a a new way to help people do what needs to be done and stop what needs to stop – in a mobile app, always there for them.

We invite you to contribute to our crowdfunding campaign - Cognichoice – The App That Helps People Change. – now live on Health Tech Hatch.

We're crowdfunding Cognichoice!The costs in human suffering and to the U.S. economy of our unmanaged behaviors are staggering.  Most of the most expensive conditions to treat in the U.S. – among them heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, COPD – are behavior-related, i.e. if we changed or managed our behavior, we could change our health.  Treatment for heart disease, for example, is the top health expense in the U.S., almost entirely preventable and manageable if we maintained a healthy weight.

For me, getting Cognichoice in the hands of people who need it is a cause. I believe it can profoundly transform the way people handle the challenges in their lives.  When even one person’s journey is eased, the vista of possibilities for each of us and all of us opens.

I am asking you to contribute because I would welcome you joining me and our team in helping get Cognichoice in the hands of people who need help.

Specifically, I'm asking you to contribute to funding the software development and research necessary to get Cognichoice in those hands. Health apps need to be tested!

I'm not asking for a charitable donation – I'm asking you to help "crowdfund" us, a ground-breaking way of getting startups with great ideas enough seed money to grow those ideas into companies in full bloom that change the way things are done - and to hire people to do the work that makes that happen. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia believes that crowdfunding is a “way to change the world.”  We hope Cognichoice may be a way to do the same.

I am also asking you to contribute to let me and others know that you think this app is a good idea.  I envision 2680 funders at an average of $25 each = $67,000, our funding goal (here's our proposed budget). Those 2680 funders and their dollars say "Yes, indeed!" to our target markets in the health care industry.

Please contribute to our cause – our crowdfunding campaign – Cognichoice – The App That Helps People Change.

If you want to help us fund Cognichoice, we invite you to contribute, tweet, post, share and forward this link to the crowdfunding campaign to others who also want to help people make healthier choices.

https://www.healthtechhatch.com/project/cognichoice-app-helps-people-change

Questions, feedback, comments?  We welcome them!  Email me, anne@handshake20.com, or call me, 540-808-6334. 

For background on crowdfunding and Cognichoice, these posts may be of further interest:

We invite you to contribute to Cognichoice – The App That Helps People Change.

Crowdfunding Campaign for Health IT Startup Cognichoice Launches 1/15

From Anne Giles Clelland, co-founder of Cognichoice:

We think our health app, Cognichoice, can change the world of ways people can help themselves change.  Senator Mark Warner of Virginia thinks startup crowdfunding may be a way to change the world. 

“Virtually all of the net new jobs that were created in America over the last 30 years have been created by startups,” Senator Warner said.
– Senator Mark Warner, Crowdfunding a Startup

This equation makes a lot of sense to us:

Cognichoice + crowdfunding = helping people change + helping create jobs

Here are highlights of our crowdfunding campaign launching Tuesday, January 15, 2013:

Cognichoice - The App That Helps People Change

  • We applied to, and were accepted by, Health Tech Hatch for crowdfunding our startup’s mHealth app Cognichoice.
  • We chose to apply to Health Tech Hatch to increase the likelihood of health app crowdfunding success – I met founder Pat Salber at the mHealth Summit, she’s an M.D, and she’s on the executive committee of the National Crowdfunding Association.
  • Our crowdfunding campaign – Cognichoice – The App That Helps People Change – opens 1/15 and runs through 2/15.  It’s not live now, but this will be the link to the campaign.
  • Our business model is B2B, scalable, global, and targets the health care industry.
  • Cognichoice is for companies and organizations in the health care industry who could offer it to the patient communities they serve with common problems – type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, alcoholism, drug abuse – any condition that requires people to change and manage their behavior.
  • We’re running a donation-based crowdfunding campaign to raise $67,000. 
  • Here’s our budget for how we’ll use the money.
  • Here are our thank you rewards for donations (still in progress, not yet final).
  • Cognichoice is not just a great idea – it’s an evidence-based product that’s built and operational.  Test it for yourself here on our Cognichoice web app version demo site. (And we’re running a lean start-up – please give us feedback and we’ll grow and evolve Cognichoice to meet the needs of our users!)
  • We’re not among the 95% of health apps submitted directly to consumers without testing. An academic research hospital has approved a pilot study for the use of Cognichoice with a population of its obese and overweight patients.
  • We seek funders to donate an average of $25.  2680 people donating $25 each = $67,000.  If we have 2680+ backers, that shows the health care industry that our market test through crowfunding shows demand for our product.

Here’s our video about crowdfunding Cognichoice:



Questions, feedback, comments?  We welcome them!  Email me, anne@handshake20.com, or call me, 540-808-6334. 

We would welcome your support!  “Cognichoice – The App That Helps People Change,” our crowdfunding campaign on Health Tech Hatch, launches Tuesday, January 15, 2013.

Follow our crowdfunding story in the Cognichoice category on Handshake 2.0.

Of further interest:

The Who, Why and How of Crowdfunding:  What Is Crowdfunding?
4 Ways to Increase the Likelihood of Crowdfunding Success, an interview with Patricia Salber, CEO, Health Tech Hatch
Cognichoice Crowdfunding Project on Health Tech Hatch Announcement
10 Facts about Health Tech Hatch

4 Ways to Increase the Likelihood of Crowdfunding Success

From Anne Giles Clelland:

I so enjoyed meeting Patricia Salber at the mHealth Summit.  I was impressed by the credentials backing her launch of a health crowdfunding site and engaged immediately with the authentic, expert way she discussed the mission and operation of her site and the possibilities she envisioned for our health app, Cognichoice.  And I am thrilled that Health Tech Hatch approved Cognichoice(TM) for crowdfunding

Patricia Salber and Anne Giles ClellandPatrica Salber, M.D., M.B.A., is the founder of The Doctor Weighs In, the founder of the crowdfunding site for health technology startups Health Tech Hatch, and Vice-Chair of the National Crowdfunding Association (NLCFA).

I asked Patricia Salber this question during a phone conference on December 13, 2012. :

"What is the top advice you would give  beginning crowdfunders on how to increase their chances of getting funded?"

She kindly answered:

1. Prepare.

Read and follow the crowdfunding site's directions, paying attention to every detail, write great content, and develop strategies for all aspects of your project – business model, network connection strategy, marketing strategy, every strategy. 

2. Activate your network.

Let members of your network know beforehand that you are going to crowdfund, personally invite them to donate and to share your project with their networks, continually update them, have new things to say in your updates, and thank them.

3. Be specific.

Express exactly what the money is for and what you would do with it.  Your network – and their networks – need to know from you what you're doing and why before they'll donate.

4. Benefit your target market.

Draw the picture of how your donors are going to directly benefit if your project is funded.  Let them know how donating to your project will ultimately be about them.

. . . . .

Thank you so much, Pat! So looking forward to crowdfunding with you!

Health Tech Hatch

Of further interest:

Cognichoice Crowdfunding Project on Health Tech Hatch Announcement
What Is Crowdfunding?

To follow the unfolding story of the crowdfunding of Cognichoice(TM) and our launch on Health Tech Hatch on January 15, 2013, please check out our category, Cognichoice on Handshake 2.0.

Challenges Facing a Mobile Health App

From Anne Giles Clelland:

As I prepare to attend and present at the mHealth Summit, these numbers and statements make me thoughtful. Challenges and opportunities abound for mobile health apps.

  • 13,000 health-related iPhone apps were available for consumer use by the summer of 2012. (Source: Oracle citing MobiHealthNews, May 2012)
  • Most of the 95 percent of the mobile health apps offered directly to consumers have not been tested. (Source: Clinical Advisor citing Julie Kientz, PhD, director of the Computing for Healthy Living and Learning Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, November 2012)
  • ‘Virtually any app that claims it will cure someone of a disease, condition or mental health condition is bogus,’ says John Grohol, an expert in online health technology, pointing out that the vast majority of apps have not been scientifically tested. ‘Developers are just preying on people’s vulnerabilities.'” (Source: Washington Post, November 2012)
  • “At $.99 per download, we would need over 100,000 paid downloads to break even on our labor…” (Source: Handshake 2.0, How Much Does a Mobile App Cost? A Case Study, June 2012)
  • Only 10% of smartphone owners have downloaded health apps. (Source: Mashable citing Pew, July 2012)

The challenge for a mobile health app is meeting the overlapping, sometimes conflicting, needs of stakeholders:

  • users / patients who long for the app to help them, to not reveal their private information, and to be affordable – the app, the mobile device, and the connectivity,
  • clinicians who need the app to be evidence-based and research-proven in order to have confidence in the app to use it with patients or prescribe it to them,
  • mobile app development companies – or mobile development divisions within health care companies or organizations – that need development costs covered, the app to be used by users, and the project itself to have a sound business model, whether by generating profit or cutting costs,
  • all of us need the infrastructure to make mobile health access and reach possible locally, nationally and globally.

These challenges, of course, also represent opportunities in the mobile health industry.  I look forward to learning about both at the mHealth Summit whose mission is “Connecting the Mobile Health Ecosystem.” With an anticipated 400+ speakers and 4500+ attendees from 50+ countries, that mission is accomplished.  Congratulations to the organizers of the mHealth Summit and I will be delighted and honored to be among the 4500+!

Barriers to Entry: Why We Win and the Competition Loses

From Mike Drzal, partner with LeClairRyan:

One of the standard components investors expect to see among the fundamental tools in the fundraising toolbox – an executive summary, business plan and slide deck – is "barriers to entry." Some entrepreneurs are confused by this item and think that it refers to the barriers they face in advancing their company or moving a product into the marketplace. 

What are your competitors' barriers to entry?Actually, what investors are looking for is some barrier to entry that makes it more likely than not that the entrepreneur’s company beats the competition either by getting out into the market first or being able to keep the competition from entering afterward.  When you think about it, this makes sense because investors don’t want to put money into a company that gets left at the starting line by a competitor that is bigger and better financed. 

What constitutes a barrier to entry?  It can be one of a number of things.  Patented or otherwise protectable intellectual property can thwart a competitor by denying them access to the best embodiment of an innovation.  Proprietary know-how or trade secrets can work just as well as patented or copyrighted intellectual property.  A significant lead in development is another potential barrier to entry. For example, if your IT company has an 18-month lead on the competition in writing code, it means your company can launch and begin to grab up market share before the competition can react.  Locking up key channels of distribution with exclusive contracts works as well – if the competition is denied the most efficient pathway to the market, that gives you the opportunity to become the market leader. 

These are just a few of the potential barriers to entry that will excite an investor. What matters is that you have a credible barrier to entry to beat the competition that you can articulate in a convincing way during your pitch. 

Read more from LeClairRyan on Handshake 2.0.

LeClairRyan specializes in high-tech corporate law.LeClairRyan is an entrepreneurial law firm with offices from Virginia to New York to California, providing business counsel and client representation in matters of corporate law and high-stakes litigation. The Blacksburg, Virginia-based office of LeClairRyan offers venture capital, angel investor funding, and intellectual property law services for startups, entrepreneurs, and technology-based companies.  It also offers Outside General Counsel services covering the full gamut of clients' corporate, employment and business litigation needs. For more information, please contact Jim Cowan or Mike Drzal at 540-961-2600.

LeClairRyan is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Are Non-Compete Agreements Dead?

From Brian S. Wheeler, attorney with LeClairRyan:

When hiring employees, especially critical employees who have access to customers, confidential information and trade secrets, companies often try to protect themselves from unwanted competition by requiring the new employee to enter into an employment agreement containing a covenant not to compete or non-competition agreement. Because covenants not to compete may have a real world impact upon an individual’s ability to earn a livelihood, Virginia courts have become less and less inclined to enforce them. 

Brian S. WheelerAre covenants not to compete dead in Virginia?  The short answer is no, BUT such covenants will be narrowly construed to ensure that they are protecting an employer’s legitimate business interests. 

The question asked will be this:  Is the covenant not to compete reasonable in its scope? 

When determining whether a covenant not to compete is reasonable in scope, courts generally consider: 1) the function and scope of the restriction in light of the employer’s legitimate business interests, 2) geographic scope, and 3) duration.     

A covenant not to compete is much more likely to be enforced if it only prohibits an employee from working in the same or similar capacity in which she worked for her previous employer.  This is especially true if the covenant not to compete is necessary to prevent an employee from taking a position where she can use the customer, pricing, trade secrets or other confidential or proprietary information of her former employer to the benefit of her current employer.

Likewise, when looking at the geographic and durational scope of the covenant not to compete, these must be no greater than necessary to protect the legitimate business interests of the employer.  
 
Finally, provisions in employment agreements which restrict a former employee’s ability to solicit the customers and prospective customers or the employees of the employer are more likely to be enforced.  While the law regarding covenants not to compete is changing to favor the employee, such covenants may still be enforced if it protects the legitimate business interests of the employer.  The key is not to be greedy.           

Given recent court rulings, emloyers are encouraged to contact their attorney to update any  existing  covenants not to compete currently in place  and to ensure that any additional covenants will be enforceable under current law.

For more information, contact Brian Wheeler at 540-443-3308.

Read more from LeClairRyan on Handshake 2.0.

. . . . .

Mike Drzal, partner with law firm LeClairRyan, is a GAP 50 Regional Ambassador for the GAP 50 Entrepreneur Awards, a program designed to identify and celebrate Virginia's next generation of entrepreneurs in the areas of life sciences, technology and energy.  Nominate Virginia entrepreneurs here through September 20, 2012.

LeClairRyan specialized in high-tech corporate law.LeClairRyan is an entrepreneurial law firm with offices from Virginia to New York to California, providing business counsel and client representation in matters of corporate law and high-stakes litigation. The Blacksburg, Virginia-based office of LeClairRyan offers venture capital, angel investor funding, and intellectual property law services for startups, entrepreneurs, and technology-based companies.  It also offers Outside General Counsel services covering the full gamut of clients' corporate, employment and business litigation needs. For more information, please contact Jim Cowan or Mike Drzal at 540-961-2600.

LeClairRyan is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Why It’s Good Business to Know a Good Banker

From Kelly Kendrick, Assistant Vice President of First Bank and Trust Company:

In Three Reasons to Build a Relationship with a Banker Now, I shared with you why you may consider developing a relationship with a banker. 

Anne Giles Clelland, Handshake Media, and Kelly Kendrick, First Bank and Trust Company

If you still aren’t convinced, here are three more reasons to add a banker to your circle of trusted advisors:

  1. Bankers are active and involved in the communities in which they work and live. As a result, they are also well-connected.  They could personally know your “dream client” and may be willing to do a mutual introduction.  By knowing you and your business, they could also be a potential referral source for new customers.
  2. Bankers can help you surround yourself with a “dream team” network of professional advisors such as CPAs, attorneys, trust officers, wealth management advisors and other consultants.  These professionals will work together to help you and your business succeed.
  3. Bankers keep up to date on the economic environment and regulatory environment.  Your banker may be a wealth of information for questions you may have about the economy or business environment.  With many changes taking place by way of new regulations, your banker can keep you up to date on new regulations, how they affect your bank and how they affect you. 

Regardless of whether you’re in the market for a bank loan or not, most bankers are willing to share advice and to support you as a fellow member of the business community.  A good relationship with a banker can be a huge advantage to you as a business owner and can play an important role in your success.

You’re invited to read more from First Bank & Trust Company on Handshake 2.0.

***

First Bank and Trust CompanyFirst Bank & Trust Company, one of the top community banks in the United States, is a diversified financial services firm with office locations in southwest Virginia – serving Blacksburg, Christiansburg and surrounding areas – northeast Tennessee, and the New River Valley and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Financial objectives are addressed by offering free checking products for personal and business accounts, and assessing lending solutions managed by mortgage, agricultural and commercial lending divisions. Comprehensive financial solutions are available through trust and brokerage service representatives. For businesses, First Bank & Trust specializes in business services, including online banking and online billpay, and business loans.

First Bank & Trust Company is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Need a Bank Loan? Then You Need Skin in the Game

From First Bank & Trust Company:

Diverse sources attribute coining of the phrase "skin in the game" to Warren Buffet, although the New York Times reports he denies first use.  According to Investopedia,  Warren Buffett did use the phrase to refer to a situation in which highly-ranking insiders used their own money to buy stock in the company they were running. Putting money into a project, company or activity shows commitment and is the ultimate vote of confidence.

When applying for a business loan, why do you have to put money in to your company, your investment or your project?  Why can’t the bank just loan 100%? 

Business bank loans take a teamBecause you should have "skin in the game."

  • Not confident or don’t believe in it enough to put your own money in?  Why then should a bank be confident they get back what they put in?
  • Risk sharing -  A bank may be more willing to take on a little risk when you share the risk. 
  • By putting your own money in, there’s less of a chance you’ll walk away from it.
  • When you put money in, this reduces your debt service and allows you to more easily qualify for a loan.  Therefore, less stress is put on the business to turn an immediate profit so it can service the debt load.
  • The more money you put into it, the less interest you will pay to the Bank.
  • Putting money in will ultimately help your financial situation by adding to your net worth.

If you have "skin in game" when you apply for a business loan, you and your bank can be on the same team.

***

First Bank and Trust CompanyFirst Bank & Trust Company, one of the top community banks in the United States, is a diversified financial services firm with office locations in southwest Virginia – serving Blacksburg, Christiansburg and surrounding areas – northeast Tennessee, and the New River Valley and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Financial objectives are addressed by offering free checking products for personal and business accounts, and assessing lending solutions managed by mortgage, agricultural and commercial lending divisions. Comprehensive financial solutions are available through trust and brokerage service representatives. For businesses, First Bank & Trust specializes in business services, including online banking and online billpay, and business loans.

You're invited to read more from First Bank & Trust Company on Handshake 2.0.

First Bank & Trust Company is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.