It is important before applying for a trademark to make sure that it is not the same as, or similar to, one that is already in use. A preliminary screening is conducted to make sure that the proposed trademark is not similar in look, sound, or that it does not convey the same overall commercial impression. It is also important to be as comprehensive as possible.
A simple word search can be done to retrieve all trademarks that contain certain words.
Two preliminary steps – asking for and checking references, and asking for a letter of self-introduction – will help you screen out the obviously-inappropriate contacts which you will receive.
If the seeker has had any prior contact with the Pagan community, they may be able to supply you with references. While it’s unfair to reject a new person for simply being new, and without prior contacts, when references are available, they can be very helpful. How much weight you should give to a reference will depend on your opinion of the person who provided it. Consider:
- Is the reference honest? It pays to have some independent notion of whether or not the person providing a reference is trustworthy. Sometimes people will provide good references for a problem student, simply to shift the burden of dealing with that person on to some other teacher.
- Is the reference insightful? Sometimes a person will be quite honest but not particularly insightful — some people have an ingrained aversion to expressing any sort of criticism of a third party, thinking that it is somehow unfair or not socially acceptable. All of us have our blind spots, which can reduce the accuracy of our references as well as our own screening. Judy, for example, is a notorious sucker for musicians.
- Does the reference have similar criteria for a good student as you do? They may have a different notion of good character or relevant talents than your own. No matter how well they know the seeker, they may not know you or your group well enough to judge how well you would fit together.
- You can safeguard against this pitfall by asking specific questions. The answer to “would they be a good student” depends on what you mean by “a good student.” Instead ask about what you think a good student should be. “Can they keep a confidence?” “What is their sense of humor like?” “Are they self-motivated learners or would they expect spoon-feeding?” If you’re choosing new members for an existing group, it’s good to get experienced members’ suggestions for some of these questions.
Some teachers (such as Gwyneth with her Canadian study group) take the references one step further by asking the seeker to provide the name of a sponsor into the group; the sponsor can provide both an initial reference check as well as ongoing support for the student, in the event that the student is accepted into the group.
Remember, simply asking for references is not enough. You must always check references and verify that the person is actually aware that his or her name has been used.
Letters of self-introduction
You may want to ask seekers for a letter of self-introduction. This is a good idea because it allows a seeker time to be thoughtful about their responses. Also, it gives you a record of the seeker’s early self-presentation and your own first impression. If you begin to notice inconsistencies later, you will be able to check whether or not this is just a trick of memory.
Here are some things you may want to ask the seeker to include in their letter:
- Contact information: name of seeker, mailing address and telephone number, e-mail address (if available), along with any cautions about using this information. (e.g. do they share an answering machine or mailbox with people who should not know of their Pagan interests?)
- References if they have previous contact with any reputable elders (and if you have not previously asked for, received, and checked the seeker’s references.)
- Practicalities: the seeker’s age, any health concerns (e.g. allergies or mobility restrictions), distance from your meeting place, car or public transit access, work or school schedule, child care concerns. Very important: if the seeker is mated, how does the mate feel about this involvement? If you are interested in astrology, you may also ask for natal data, so that you can construct a birth chart.
- Religious background: What is the seeker’s religion of origin? How does she or he currently feel about it? What other religious paths (if any) have they explored? What attracts them to a Pagan path? What has been their Pagan exposure up to now? What do they consider to have been the strongest influences on their spiritual development up to this point? Encourage them to go into as much depth as they feel comfortable with in this response. Likes and dislikes, and the reasons for them, are particularly important. Also encourage them to discuss any part of their secular background that they feel is relevant to their spiritual quest.
- Current desires and hopes: The most important question of all – what are they looking for now in a group or teacher. What would they like to learn or how would they like to develop during the next stretch of their path? What attracts them to you or your group?
You can put some of this into the form of a questionnaire. If you do so, be sure to ask open-ended questions, and to end each section with something like “is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?” You might also suggest that they use the questionnaire as a basis for a more free-flowing letter of self-introduction. Blank questionnaires can conveniently be posted on the Web or distributed at gatherings.
Letters of self-introduction are particularly important when you’ll be making a referral. Sometimes referral is the only possibility, as when somebody far away gets in touch via the Internet. You can only learn just so much about a person through correspondence, without a face-to-face meeting, of course. Still, your correspondence may have given you a good enough impression that, if the person were local, you would have been willing to meet with them.
If you also know of a reasonable teacher or group in their area, you can forward the seeker’s letter and any references to that local contact. The local group is free to follow up or not. They may not if, for example, your apparently pleasant correspondent has a dubious local reputation. If they decline, their privacy has not been compromised. Similarly, even with a local referral, sending along a letter of self-introduction from the seeker leaves the other teacher or group free to choose whether or not to respond.
Feasibility studies aim to objectively and rationally uncover the strengths and weaknesses of the existing business or proposed venture, opportunities and threats as presented by the environment, the resources required to carry through, and ultimately the prospects for success. In its simplest term, the two criteria to judge feasibility are cost required and value to be attained. As such, a well-designed feasibility study should provide a historical background of the business or project, description of theproduct or service, accounting statements, details of the operations and management, marketing research and policies, financial data, legal requirements and tax obligations. Generally, feasibility studies precede technical development and project implementation.
Five common factors (TELOS)
Technology and system feasibility
The assessment is based on an outline design of system requirements in terms of Input, Processes, Output, Fields, Programs, and Procedures. This can be quantified in terms of volumes of data, trends, frequency of updating, etc. in order to estimate whether the new system will perform adequately or not. Technological feasibility is carried out to determine whether the company has the capability, in terms of software, hardware, personnel and expertise, to handle the completion of the project when writing a feasibility report, the following should be taken to consideration:
- A brief description of the business
- The part of the business being examined
- The human and economic factor
- The possible solutions to the problems
At this level, the concern is whether the proposal is both technically and legally feasible (assuming moderate cost). For example, some automobiles contain parts connected within small spaces, where most 11-year-old girls (with small hands) could reach between the parts to adjust (or check) the assemblage of components. However, in regions with child labor laws which prohibit employment of 11-year-old children in such jobs, the task might not be legally feasible.
Economic analysis is the most frequently used method for evaluating the effectiveness of a new system. More commonly known as cost/benefit analysis, the procedure is to determine the benefits and savings that are expected from a candidate system and compare them with costs. If benefits outweigh costs, then the decision is made to design and implement the system. An entrepreneur must accurately weigh the cost versus benefits before taking an action.
Cost-based study: It is important to identify cost and benefit factors, which can be categorized as follows: 1. Development costs; and 2. Operating costs. This is an analysis of the costs to be incurred in the system and the benefits derivable out of the system.
Time-based study: This is an analysis of the time required to achieve a return on investments. The future value of a project is also a factor.
Determines whether the proposed system conflicts with legal requirements, e.g. a data processing system must comply with the local Data Protection Acts.
Operational feasibility is a measure of how well a proposed system solves the problems, and takes advantage of the opportunities identified during scope definition and how it satisfies the requirements identified in the requirements analysis phase of system development.
A project will fail if it takes too long to be completed before it is useful. Typically this means estimating how long the system will take to develop, and if it can be completed in a given time period using some methods like payback period. Schedule feasibility is a measure of how reasonable the project timetable is. Given our technical expertise, are the project deadlines reasonable? Some projects are initiated with specific deadlines. You need to determine whether the deadlines are mandatory or desirable.