Ask a business owner what their assets are and they’ll list things like buildings, equipment, inventory, cash- anything on the left column of the balance sheet. But business owners may be surprised to discover that they have more assets than they first realized. Your business does, too.
What are they? Your business probably has at least one (or more) of the following assets:
These intellectual assets are worth money. Are they on your balance sheet? You may want to consider putting them there. Now here’s how you can profit from them:
Copyrights: What are you doing with your copyrighted material, including books, articles, audio-visuals, and training materials? It’s possible that you are selling some of them (like books, for example) but you can do so much more: consider collecting your articles together into an e-book and sell that. If appropriate, tweak your training material and sell it to corporations looking for quality, proven training material for their staff. If you or your business owns the copyrights to these products, you can use them with small adjustments to re-sell in different ways.
Trademarks: Trademarks, like your logo or a mascot or some other kind of brand have the potential to make some serious money. Look at Harley Davidson. Although they sell motorcycles, they make A LOT of money selling branded clothing. Does your brand have the same potential? To be successful at this, you need to have a brand that is (or has the potential to be) popular. If appropriate in your business, put your brand on a few pieces of clothing and sell them in your store.
Patents: Patents for new inventions can make you money if you re-license them to another company. You don’t have to give up your patent, but another company may pay you a fee to make and sell whatever it was that you have patented.
Concepts: This is a “catch-all” category that could include the way you do business, a clever way to market, or a new type of service you provide. Many people leverage concepts they’ve developed into their own empires by writing books, consulting, and training on the idea. The whole concept of “Buzz Marketing,” for example, was just one guy’s clever way of defining his unorthodox marketing strategies and now he has leveraged that into a best selling book, huge consulting contracts and other types of sale opportunities. Franchising is another way of profiting from your concepts: if you have a great brand and an effective way of doing business, you can build franchises.
Aside from the opportunities just mentioned, it may also be possible to borrow money based on your brand. As you grow, your brand name becomes more popular and it may be considered by a financial institution as having a financial value, thereby allowing you to borrow against it.
Your intellectual properties are assets, too. Don’t let them collect intellectual dust! Put them to use by leveraging them to make money.