Top 10 Marketing Books for Small Business Owners

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Concerns When Choosing a Clinical Research Organisation

There are many areas of the world where clinical research is being carried out for a range of different pharmaceutical companies studying numerous innovative treatments. Particular areas of the world where trials are on the rise include Latin America and Asia, which offer large populations that are often keen to participate in this kind of research.

Of course, for many pharmaceutical companies carrying out the clinical trials this requires finding a reputable company that can do so in the region of the world where they wish to conduct their research. This is important not only to ensure the quality and validity of results, but also that national regulation is followed.

There are several indicators of working with a quality and reputable third party clinical research organisation. The first one of these is that the organisation in question can offer highly experienced and qualified investigators for the studies that it conducts on behalf of pharmaceutical companies.

For any company seeking out an organisation to carry out clinical trials, this should be top priority as the results will only be as good as the investigators working on each project. Regardless of the organisation that each pharmaceutical company decides to work with, it is essential to check all necessary expert credentials before handing over the project.

In addition to ensuring that the team is fully competent and fully qualified, language is also another major consideration to make. This may seem almost trivial in a world where there are interpreters and translators, but ensuring that communication is fluid, easy and clear is essential to ensure a positive outcome.

This is because the clear details of a project are essential in order to ensure a positive outcome and that guidelines and procedures are followed correctly. In return the results and reports must also be clear and concise for the purpose of being used and analysed by the pharmaceutical company.

When dealing with an overseas clinical research organisation therefore, it is essential to ensure that language is not a barrier. Before deciding to work with any given organisation, each pharmaceutical should carefully vet the language skills of the research body to ensure that clear and accurate communication is possible.

The next thing that those looking to hire a clinical research contractor should be aware of is whether there are ample and well-equipped research facilities on hand. In addition to this, these facilities should also be able to stand up to the particular demands of the pharmaceutical companies.

This might mean that certain equipment is to be used or staff with certain qualifications or skills are to be employed. The more that the company can meet these demands the better, meaning that high quality and useful results will be produced.

Finally, it is important ask what the clinical research organisation does to ensure a high level of participation in its trials, and also how it retains participants. Each country will have higher or lower participation rates, not to mention retention rates.
Some areas – including Latin America – have high sign up and retention rates, as cultural and economic aspects are conducive to this. Other world areas have more positive, more negative, or more mixed results. In all cases, this is something worth considering, and it is important to know what the organisation does to improve both these rates.

These are just a few of the concerns and considerations that need to be made when a company is looking to carry out clinical trials in any corner of the globe. Ranging from the expertise of the staff that will be conducting the research right through to the retention rates of research participants, there are many different factors to consider that can have a huge impact on the results.

Short Run CD Printing Project Packaging Considerations

When you begin to look into the packaging requirements for your project, you will discover that there is a huge array of different types of CD packaging available for a wide range of purposes. Your choices range from very simple, inexpensive packaging, such as plastic or paper wallets; up to expensive, premium packaging types such as jakeboxes and bespoke printed metal tins.

Once again, the project budget will dictate the type of packaging you use but you will need to consider the intended end use of the packaged CD. Also, you will need to decide whether or not you will use a professional service to pack your CDs and this depend upon the quantity of CDs you are hoping to package as well as the packaging type. For instance, packing 500 CDs into plastic wallets can be done by hand in a couple of hours but packing 500 CDs into jewel, inserting the necessary paper parts and then wrapping each unit with plastic overwrap would take days if you tried to do this by hand. Most short run CD printing companies will have automated CD packaging facilities that can do this sort of packaging job very quickly.

The next section of this guide will help you to decide upon the best method of packaging your discs according to your particular short run CD printing project requirements:

Plastic or paper wallets

As mentioned, these are the cheapest option available and they offer little protection to the disc. They are obviously very lightweight and slim which means that they are most often used when a disc is to be included in some sort of printed media such as a magazine or brochure. They can be secured to a page within the media using glue spots to stop the disc and packaging from falling out but protecting the page from damage when removed. They are also useful if the CDs are to be given away at an exhibition or conference due to their low cost.

Card Wallets

Card wallets are a popular CD packaging choice due to their versatility. They are more robust than a plastic or paper wallet and offer better protection for the disc. The thicker the card stock used to make them, the better the protection offered. They can be digitally printed and either matt or gloss laminated to give a really premium feel to the packaging.

Most CD card wallet suppliers will offer a range of variants that will hold either a single or multiple discs. These variants are made using different templates; some hold the disc in a horizontal “pocket” type slot and some hold the disc or discs between two layers of card, the discs being inserted via the open end of the packaging.

Their lightweight, slim characteristics make them ideal for sending CDs through the post and, very often, if you order a CD online you will receive it in this sort of packaging. A card wallet can also be used where the disc is to be included with some form of printed media, especially where the inclusion of instructions for use of the CD are required and where indication or promotion of the contents is a project requirement.

For musicians who are selling audio CDs from a merchandise stall at a gig, CD card wallets are perfect as a large quantity of discs don’t take up too much room in the tour van but a good design and good quality wallet still means the purchasing fans are receiving a premium product.

Again, although more expensive than plastic or paper wallets, they are also great for giving away CDs at exhibitions if the project budget allows for it.

Jewel Cases

CD jewel cases are the standard packaging type most commonly associated with audio CDs purchased in a high street music shop. They are made of a clear polycarbonate plastic and are roughly square in shape. They offer great protection for the disc and can accommodate an information booklet. This is particularly useful for audio CDs where the artist wants to include song lyrics and acknowledgements, and also for software discs where instructions for use of the software are required. The standard jewel case is designed to take a booklet with up to 16 printed panels which equates to 4 sheets printed on both sides, folded and stapled along the spine.

CD jewel cases are a great presentation method for CDs but they are not particularly good for sending discs through the mail. This is mainly due to their increased bulk compared with a card wallet, but also because they are prone to shattering under heavy impact – particularly at the hinge points between the front and rear parts of the case. They would need to be well padded before sending through the post defeating the object of lowering postage costs.

If your project has encountered a requirement for additional storage and needs to be spread over multiple CDs, then there are jewel cases available that will accommodate up to 6 CDs. A case to house 2 discs will have a swinging disc tray that can hold a disc on either side and will be no more bulky than a standard CD jewel case. Cases housing more than 2 discs will have a thicker spine as they need to hold more than 1 CD tray inside. Conveniently, the paper parts still tend to be the same dimensions as those for a standard case.

Slim-line versions of the CD jewel case are also available, some of which do not require a printed rear CD tray card, should the project budget not stretch to a full size case or a thinner case is required for posting out a disc. Be aware, though, that the slim-line cases tend to be less robust than the standard cases.

DVD Cases

These are the type of case you would normally associate with a DVD movie or PC/console game. They are generally about 190mm x 135mm with a 14mm wide spine and are usually seen in black or clear form, although they are available in a wide range of colours. The DVD style case has the added advantage of being able to accommodate a larger information booklet than a CD jewel case. They are made using polypropylene plastic which is more flexible and less susceptible to impact damage than the polycarbonate jewel case.

DVD cases have a plastic liner adhered to the outside which allows them to have a printed wrapper inserted on the outside of the case. A case with a 14mm spine can contain up to 6 discs and there are also slim-line versions available that can contain from 1 to 4 discs with a 7mm spine. There are many variants of this type of case which are commonly available and will suit most short run CD printing projects, whether you need a case for a single disc with a large amount of printed material to accompany it, multiple discs or a combination of discs and printed material.

Clamshell cases or Trigger Cases

These CD cases are made from a polypropylene plastic material that is flexible and very robust. They offer great protection for the CD and the discs can be packed into them very quickly.

The trigger case has an ejection trigger in the top left corner opposite the open end of the case where the CD is inserted. This mechanism has 2 functions. Firstly, it holds the CD inside the case and when pressed, the trigger mechanism pushes the CD out of the case just enough that it can be grasped between two fingers and removed from the case. The trigger mechanisms are usually brightly coloured and the cases are usually clear plastic so that the printed CD surface can be seen through the case.

The clamshell case has a hinge along one edge and one half has a moulded in stud which has 2 functions. The stud holds the CD securely in place and the 2 halves of the case clip together over it. Clamshell cases are available in a range of translucent colours but are most commonly seen moulded in clear plastic to allow the CD print to be seen through the case.

These types of case are great for sending CDs through the post as they offer reliable protection for the disc and they are slim and lightweight. The clamshell cases, in particular, can be obtained relatively inexpensively and so are also great for handing out CDs at an industry show or exhibition.

Premium Packaging Types – Jakeboxes and Metal Tins

A jakebox is a card CD packaging type which contains a clever mechanism for securing the CD in place, and when the box is opened, the CD is presented to the user held in a cardboard claw. It’s a very impressive type of packaging which can be fully digitally printed to give the end user a real WOW factor. The drawback is that they are expensive and are generally only used for special or limited edition releases where the user needs to be given something extra for their money. Metal tins can also be printed and can be formed into the desired shape, either a simple round tin, a DVD case sized tin or a shape of your choice relating to the contents of the CD. Again, this is an expensive packaging type as a mould needs to be made before hand to produce the tins and the material itself is more expensive than card or plastic.


Consider the intended end use for your short run CD printing project before selecting a packaging type and do your research on-line to work out costs. Speak to suppliers for quotes and weigh up the cost of your time and effort if you’re intending produce the packaging in-house, compared with an outside supplier cost.

DVD Printing and Duplication – A Customer’s Experience

A DVD Duplication Requirement Arises

Sam works for a company that provides businesses with safety documentation and equipment as well as performing risk assessments for all kinds of eventualities. The business has recently started to move into the field of supplying safety information videos and has employed the services of a local video production company to film and produce the safety videos for them. Upon speaking to existing clients about the new video products and arranging a viewing for a select few companies, it became apparent that there would be a sizeable demand for video products and they would need to be able to supply them with copies of applicable safety videos as well as using them to promote their own company to other businesses.

So, they found themselves in need of a DVD printing and duplication company to assist with producing copies of their safety videos in bulk. Sam was assigned the task of finding a reputable supplier as she has a good technical and I.T. skillset and the necessary experience. The existing clients were very keen to receive the videos on DVD as soon as possible and the Managing Director was also keen to begin mailing out DVDs along with promotional materials to win more business for the company. They allowed themselves 2 weeks for the project from start to finish.

Approaching DVD Duplication Suppliers

Having had no experience with the DVD printing and duplication business before, Sam began with an internet search to see which companies turned up for the searches “DVD Printing” and “DVD Duplication”. She was surprised at how many companies there were in the UK offering these services and the scale of some of their operations. Sam had been under the impression that digital downloads had decimated the CD and DVD production industry but her research proved otherwise. The team had decided upon an initial run of 500 copies for each of 20 different videos, a requirement of 10,000 discs in all. Sam began by requesting quotes from the top ten companies on a finalised list. All these companies had very good, informative websites and good customer feedback, so she decided to use the quotation process as a customer service gauge.

Seven out of the ten DVD duplication companies on the list got back to her within an hour of the quote request and three of those followed up with a call. Sam spoke to a customer manager for a company during one of these calls and was very impressed with his courtesy, respectful approach and level of knowledge, so she decided to use this company. They didn’t supply the cheapest quote but she is a big advocate of the saying, “You get what you pay for” and this company gave her the impression that they cared and would supply a high quality product which was essential as she wanted to create a brilliant first impression with her customers, in turn.

DVD Artwork, Templates and Masters

The project manager for the chosen company, who’s name was Mark, suggested a meeting and was keen to show Sam around their DVD printing and duplication facility. As they were only a 30 minute trip from the offices, she accepted and went to meet him at 2pm the following day. During the meeting Sam was introduced to the bewildering array of printing and packaging options available for DVDs but things became much clearer once she explained what the project was about, the project budget and what was needed to get across to the clients. Sam decided upon a lithographic print for the DVDs as she had some great still shots from the video production sessions which would make great DVD printing artwork and DVD packaging artwork. As she was good with Adobe Photoshop, Mark suggested that he should supply Sam with DVD templates and packaging templates for her to produce the artwork for the DVDs herself as she had a good idea of what she wanted to see on the finished product.

They discussed the differences between printing techniques for DVDs; screen printing is good for artwork featuring blocks of colour and text and lithographic printing is best for printing photographic images onto the DVDs themselves. The DVD packaging is digitally printed and so regardless of whether the image is black and white or all singing and dancing full colour, the printing costs are the same.

The DVD Duplication Suite

Mark then showed Sam around the DVD duplication suite at his company where the copies of the DVDs are produced. The suite consisted of many duplication towers all linked into a central controlling master unit. The duplication drives themselves are the same as those found in a desktop PC and the towers house as many as 20 drives. In order to maximise the efficiency of the suite there were many of these towers running simultaneously and loading and unloading of the DVDs from each individual drive was performed by a robotic handling system rather than manually. Performing the task by hand would obviously have been extremely laborious and prone to human error. The robotic system minimises potential damage to the surface of the printed DVDs as they are lifted using a series of small, rubber vacuum cups. The loading and unloading process is very fast enabling the suite to duplicate many thousands of DVDs very quickly to reduce project lead times.

The DVD Master and a Format Issue

Following their quick tour of the duplication suite, they discussed the DVD masters and how the videos were to be presented to clients and potential customers. Their discussion revealed a serious issue with the DVD video files. The video files were in an AVI format and were split into chapters for each of the 20 DVDs but each DVD needed to have a menu graphic and to provide the option for the viewer to select the chapter that they wanted to watch. This meant that each DVD needed to be re-mastered to include the menu system and the format altered so that the DVDs would play in a standalone DVD player as well as on a PC or laptop.

Suddenly, two weeks was looking a bit tight for the project as all this had to be done for 20 different DVDs. It also added to the project cost but Sam really didn’t want to cut corners with the presentation of the DVDs and so she modified the budget and made a mental note to remember to consider the DVD mastering for the next project.

The DVD Packaging

There is an amazing array of different types of DVD packaging available but Sam settled upon a simple, clear standard DVD case for this project as this allowed her to include an 8 page booklet inside the case on the left hand side which was held in place by moulded plastic clips. The DVD case printed cover then slots down inside the clear plastic sheath on the outside of the case.

The Production of the DVDs

Sam spent the next two days producing the artwork for the DVDs and learnt a lot about producing artwork for printing, such as making sure that the photographic image is not too dark as dark images do not print well and also about keeping any text well inside the edge of the print (allow at least 4 to 5mm clearance). She also learnt about the requirement for a 3mm bleed zone around the edge of the artwork to allow for printed image bleed during the process. The masters were produced and verified by the end of the week which left about 4 working days for the chosen company to produce the DVDs. They were cutting it fine but the supplier managed to come through for them. The supplier had committed to delivering some of the DVDs on the Friday of the following week and they made a delivery on the Friday morning. The final products were great and Sam was satisfied that she had made the right decision with regards to the supplier who were very supportive throughout the project.

The DVDs proved to be extremely popular and were all gone within the following two weeks. Thankfully, as the supplier had all of the information on file they were able to produce another run of 10,000 in only 3 days. Mark and Sam then discussed the possibilities of producing the next run of DVDs using the replication process rather than the duplication process as the quantities would be higher and Sam could make a saving on the unit cost at the expense of a little more production time.


Sam’s first experience of the DVD printing and duplication industry was a mostly positive one largely due to having found a good supplier but there were several points where better planning was required or experience would have assisted. She makes the following recommendations to anyone else who finds themselves in the same position:

Do some thorough internet research on potential suppliers
Make a judgement on the kind of customer support that you can expect by asking for a quote
Ask about templates if you’re going to do the artwork yourself
Discuss what works and what doesn’t with your supplier, don’t wait until 3 days before you need DVDs
Make sure that your master is correctly formatted for maximum player compatibility
Don’t try to do everything last minute, that’s when mistakes are made and money is wasted

Designing Your Life: Unlocking the Infinite Possibilities

It’s the dream of every person to make the most of his/her life. Unfortunately, few are able to live the lives that they always wanted. This article is going to teach you what you need to do to unlock the infinite possibilities in your life:

Get rid of fear

Many people have big dreams, but very few chase after them. The main reason for this is: FEAR. People fear executing their business ideas as they are afraid that they will fail. Others fail approaching women of their dreams for fear of rejection.

You will never exploit your full potential if you are always in fear. To get rid of it you need to understand that fear is nothing but a false belief. Before coiling your tail behind your legs understand the actual and perceived risks involved in what you are doing.

Whenever you come across a situation that gives you fear, talk back to your negative thoughts and analyze the risks involved. If you are scared of executing a business plan, what are the risks involved? You will probably fail and learn an important lesson.

If you are scared of approaching a woman of your dream, what are the risks involved? The worst she can do is say: NO.

Get rid of fear and you will be on your way to unlocking infinite possibilities in your life.

Surround yourself with the right people

People are the most precious resources you can have in your life-but you need to surround yourself with the right ones.

As rule of thumb you should get rid of people who don’t have the same ambitions as you. Analyze your close friends and see whether they add value to your life. To unlock infinite possibilities, surround yourself with people who will help you reach your goals.

If you want financial success, surround yourself with financially successful people. There is no point of hanging around broke people as you will never learn how the rich make their money, so you will remain broke.

Unleash the power within

We all have a lot of potential within us, but most of us don’t realize it. The late Myles Munroe used to say that there is no wealthier place than the grave. This is true as most people die without exploiting an ounce of their potential.

Investing in yourself is the most effective way of unleashing your potential. Read books, attend seminars and conferences, and have role models that will help you unleash what is in your inside.

Change of environment is another way of unleashing the power within. It’s often said that not every environment is right for growth. You need to find an environment where you have the right resources and challenges to exploit your potential.

If you are born and raised in the rural areas, and you feel that the environment is limiting you, move to the urban areas.


Conquering your fears, associating yourself with the right people and unleashing the power within are three things that you should carry with yourself wherever you go. Execute them and you will definitely unlock the infinite possibilities in your life.