The 3 step solution for success
Many business owners and managers encounter marketing and strategy phrases such as “Keep ahead of your competitors”. These phrases are often followed with useful, yet vague explanations of concepts to apply to a business strategy.
“Play to your strengths”, “Innovate” and “Think outside the box” are all concepts we understand in theory. But, how do we convert these business concepts into business assets? More importantly, how do we protect those assets?
This article covers the 3 essential steps for leveraging your business assets in order to keep ahead of your competitors.
Step 1: Identify Your IP Assets
There is intellectual property in every business. Intellectual property can be in the form of a trade mark which includes branding for your products and services; the use of your business name and logos as a trade mark to market your products and or services to the consumer public.
Confidential Information and Processes
Intellectual property can also take the form of trade secrets and confidential information. Trade secrets can include the processes your business uses to manufacture products or provide services. Confidential information can include customer lists, internal memos and agreements with customers.
Intellectual property also includes any advertising material, brochures and presentation documents that have been created by you and used to promote your business. The promotional material created by you has wording and images that are protected by copyright.
Products and Services
Your innovative products and services can also be protected by a patent or design. The protection of products and services by a patent or a design gives you, the owner, exclusive commercial rights with your products and services. Other businesses need to seek authorisation before they can commercially deal with these products and services. Most businesses have a combination of different forms of intellectual property.
At Wynnes we recommend that you engage our IP protection services during the initial stage of your brand or product development.
We will conduct an IP audit and identify intellectual property associated with your business. This audit process will provide you with various options in managing your identified intellectual property.
Step 2: Own And Control Your IP Assets
After the different forms of intellectual property have been identified, the next step is to formalise and maximise the value of your IP assets. This includes creating an inhouse register of the intellectual property and obtaining registrations where available for the intellectual property.
The level of protection can be extended to overseas countries and regions should the market of the business extend to those areas. That is, many of the brands and logos can be registered as a trade mark to provide protection against unauthorised use in selected overseas countries. Similarly, your products and services can be the subject matter of internationally registered designs and patents.
With the registered intellectual property and the identification of other forms of intellectual property, you can use your intellectual property to make your own market niche and develop a reputation as being the sole provider of those products and services.
Your business can also negotiate agreements and licenses with other businesses using your intellectual property as the basis of these agreements and licenses. Licensing of your IP develops a passive income for your business. Identifying and registering your intellectual property also increases in value of your business. Your IP portfolio will be one of the first points of interest for investors, as they know that without protection your business, products and services are exposed.
Step 3: Maintain Control Of Consumer Demand
The environment of the business is everchanging with the ebb and flow of consumer demand, technology development and business practices.
It is important for your business to maintain vigilance over your innovations and the consumer demand for your products and services. As a business owner you must take steps to make yourself aware of:
- Technological changes that affect your products and services;
- Consumer feedback over problems or improvements associated with your products and services; and
- Changes in and around your industry that require review of your products and services.
The review of your products and services should occur on a regular basis. This information leads to the development of improved versions of your products and services. These improved products and services can subsequently be the subject of further intellectual property protection including registration of patents, trade marks and designs. In this way your business will keep ahead of your competition.
Protecting your improved product and service and then marketing it to the consumer, helps keep the product and service as the consumer preference and your business as the market leader.