Why Should Everyone in Business Care About Intellectual Property?
Intellectual Property is essentially a legal right to prevent competitors from doing stuff. Patents enable you to prevent others from making, using, or selling your patented technology. Trademarks enable you to prevent others from copying, trading on, or diluting your brand. Copyrights enable you to prevent others from copying the written, visual, or audio embodiment of your ideas. And trade secrets enable you to prevent others from misappropriating the business secrets that give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Why should you care about any of this? In a word…sales. Sales fuels everything in business. If your sales reps aren’t selling, there’s no money for lawyers, accountants, engineers, chemists, marketing and customer service professionals, senior managers, or anyone else. If your sales reps do not sell your products and services, you don’t have a job, you don’t have a company. For so many reasons, the world of business professionals can be broken down into those who sell and those who support those who sell.
With this in mind, what do sales professionals need to sell…a lot? They need products that are better, faster, or cheaper than competitive products. If your products are merely good, fast, or cheap, your reps will lose the sale to better, faster, or cheaper competitive products every time…and you’ll be out of business.
Keep in mind, when I say better, I mean you have something the marketplace wants that your competitors cannot deliver. It could be superior quality, stronger brand, or useful and unique features. Perhaps your product is easier to pour or mix, or it looks and feels better, or it lasts longer, or it smells nicer, or it’s less sticky; it’s better.
When I say faster, perhaps you’re faster because you have a superior distribution model, or a more rapid manufacturing process, or speedier delivery of price quotations, or over-the-top customer service, or same-day shipping.
When I say cheaper, it could be because you invented a more cost-effective manufacturing process, or a more innovative purchasing system, or less expensive ingredients, or more efficient space-management in warehousing, or automation, or geographic optimization.
So, how do you become better, faster, or cheaper? Well, you do that with a collision between two things; innovation and the power to prevent competitors from copying your innovation. Innovation alone is not enough. Because even if you employ the world’s most brilliant innovators and they develop earth-shattering, life-changing technology, if your competitors can copy you, your just good, fast, or cheap; not better, faster, or cheaper. Simply, intellectual property puts the “er” in better, faster, and cheaper. IP enables you to prevent competitors from copying your features and functions and processes and brand and everything else that elevates you from good, fast, or cheap to better, faster, or cheaper.
So, invest in growing sales by investing in intellectual property development…so you can put the er in your products and services!