A Tale of Two Clients.
I just got off the phone with a client who wanted to discuss her next business steps. Let's call her Jane. Jane's strategy revolves around capturing and capitalizing on her intellectual property. She has worked really hard to get her business to where it is but she understands that she can't work this hard forever. Jane knows that at some point, she's going to have to find a way to work smarter.
Jane believes in her business and the value of her ideas. She understands that her creative ideas, which she has acted on, are how she has made her money so far and its how she'll make even more money in the future. Jane has many competitors but she has been taking a series of small steps to differentiate her company through branding.
Jane is slowly but surely establishing her unique brand and providing excellent customer service. She is creating a reputation for her little tiny company that has people from around the country ordering her goods despite the fact that many competitors offer a very similar product in practically every city. Jane is carefully capturing every bit of intellectual property by registering trademarks and through other means so that she can eventually corner a significant share of the market.
On the other hand, I have spoken to another business owner who, like Jane, has invested thousands of dollars and thousands of hours in sweat equity to build up his business. Let's call him Joe. Joe did not think it worth the money to protect his brand through registered trademarks. Unfortunately, a bigger company doing the exact same work as Joe has come along and hijacked the exact name of his company.
Not only does this dilute Joe's brand, the other company is in the process of registering the trademark for the company name, which will significantly limit Joe's ability to use the name of his company. Joe is horrified at the thought of battling it out with this company and heart broken at the thought of losing the value of all of that money and energy he has invested in establishing his brand. Sadly, this is a battle that could have been avoided. I wish I could say Joe didn't know the risks but I had advised him of the value of protecting his brand a year ago. He told me he was waiting for the right time.
What is your business worth?
These are not uncommon conversations. I talk with business owners who get it. And I talk with business owners who have to have something bad happen to them before they get it. Be the type of business owner who gets it. Don't be the business owner who has to see everything they worked so hard for put at risk before they understand the true value of their business.
If you won't spend a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars on protecting your business, its revenue and brand so you can capitalize on them, it tells me something. Maybe you don't really believe in the value of your ideas. You say you do but in reality its not even worth a couple hundred bucks to you.
Or maybe you're naive. You think your ideas, your business and your revenue are untouchable. They are not. You have thousands of competitors and sometimes its the most unlikely, unforeseen opponent that robs you of precious business assets.
Most likely, its that you don't see the power and potential of your teeny little business. You forget that giant powerhouse businesses started out as someone's teeny little idea. Its the steps you take after you have that idea that determine your success. Don't let your current state of affairs determine your businesses future. Dream big and act like you are on your way until you really believe it. When you take the steps to protect your bootstrapped business, you're also taking steps to establish its lucrative future.
Make no mistake, I AM telling you this to scare you. I want you to reach your goals. I want you to make ooogobs of money. I want your business to have a major impact on the world. I want you to be like Jane and take steps to protect and grow your business. I don't want you to be like Joe, who had to learn the hard way.
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A Tale of Two Clients.