At a recent business event, I struck up a conversation with another businessperson about intellectual property. As we were talking, she said, “My business doesn’t have intellectual property, I’m just a consultant.”
Rather than tell her she was wrong, I politely asked her if I could see some of the materials she used with clients in her consulting work. After looking at a couple of her blog posts and listening to her description of the business framework she teaches to her clients, I realized that she did not understand intellectual property.
I asked her if she would be angry if another consultant copied the customized consulting documents she created based on her 15 years of experience in the business world. She quickly exclaimed, “Yes, those are my materials! I’ll go after anyone who steals my work.”
That’s a normal response. She spent considerable time, money, and effort to create the unique content she uses in her business. That content is unique because it’s based on her own experiences over the past 15 years and represents the proprietary systems she has created.
That’s the definition of intellectual property.
But, since she didn’t think of her content as intellectual property, she wasn’t taking steps to protect her unique content. For example, there were no copyright notices or trademark notices on any of her materials or website.
One thing I told her to do differently was to put a copyright notice on all of her creative content. This is a simple activity, but clearly identifies her as the copyright owner.
She was a little embarrassed when I explained that she did have intellectual property in her business. Although she is a successful business consultant, she was never taught about intellectual property.
This is common.
Many experienced consultants, coaches, speakers, trainers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders don’t think intellectual property applies to their business activities. She was relieved to know that she’s not the only business consultant who had ignored their intellectual property.
She is now a client and we are working through my five-step system to identify and protect all of her intellectual property assets. She understands that her articles, videos, presentation slides, website content, product names, and company logo are all intellectual property assets critical to her successful business.
Most importantly, she now has Peace of Mind knowing that her intellectual property assets are safe – and she can focus on growing her business.
For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, intellectual property is their most valuable asset. Failing to protect these assets can ruin their business.
I’m sharing this story because I see this problem frequently. Too many people think intellectual property is only relevant to technology companies and large corporations.
In fact, any business that’s been around for at least a few weeks has already created intellectual property that needs to be protected.
Your intellectual property assets are critical to your business. Start taking action to protect these assets just as you would any other valuable asset.
Need help protecting your intellectual property? Download my Free Intellectual Property Checklist at http://MyIPchecklist.com