Value Your Intellectual Property

Economies grow when money is transacted for something of value. Most small business owners don’t think about the value of their brand, their logo, their customer list or even their unique products and services.

Key Questions:

Q: What is intellectual property?
A: The people we interviewed for this episode all gave us their definition of intellectual property. George Borkowski said it is, “Intangible creativity. It’s either ideas or it’s manifestations of ideas, often concepts. It is not something you can see, feel or touch usually. You can see the expression of it often but the thing itself is often almost invisible and I think that’s one of the problems sometimes people have understanding it.” He went on to say, “Fundamentally it really is the creative impulse or creative idea that’s manifested somehow and once it’s manifested, the challenge to protecting it becomes important.”

Mark Litvack said, “People often say intellectual property is the driving force of this country. Be it software, movies, games, or music. It is really your creative thought process. Something that you own because you have taken ideas and either put them to words, music, art. It’s not like real property or personal property. It’s not a chair; it’s not my house. I can share it with the world.”

Most small business owners don’t think about the value of their brand, their logo, their customer list or even their unique products and services.

Q: How do I teach respect for intellectual property?
A: If your products or services can be obtained online, often the best way to engage users and slow piracy is to make it very easy to buy your product or service.

Many online membership services or products are offered up in levels to the user. The user can access basic functionality for free and if they want to continue, they must buy. They call this strategy “try-buy.” Another “try-buy” method is to allow users to test your full offer for a few days or a few uses. After the free offer expires, the user can be given the chance to purchase. This builds trust with the customer in both your product and your company. There may be ways that you can meaningfully let people explore your products online in order to build trust before asking them to buy.

We’re old enough to remember this as the “Puppy Dog Close” in selling. If you own a pet shop and let the customer take the puppy dog home, there are huge odds that the customer will come back and buy that puppy.

Q: Why do we have to give something away in order to make a sale?
A: It’s about trust. Many Web users will never meet you face to face because you are a global company the minute you put yourself on the web. The old analog way of buying and selling was done in person.
The best way for you to win thousands of new customers you would never be exposed to without the Internet is to give them an opportunity to test your product or service risk-free. The other reason is that all too often if people can’t get something easily in a legitimate way, they will steal it.

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