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June 16, 2008

Maximizing the Returns from Products / Services

I am continually surprised by how much income protection is overlooked within the consulting industry. There is an almost endemic attitude that first to market wins, and that "we will be able to out-pace/out-sell/out-execute our competitors."

Yet, with a little attention to protecting the income stream of the business you can gain phenomenal leverage over the services and products that you already have. One of the best, and least understood, areas of income protection is that of protecting your intellectual property.

IP as revenue

When I was still learning "the craft" I was fortunate enough to work with, and close to a guy called John Moubray. John was an expert in the reliability engineering field and has left a mark that is still noticeable several years after his passing.

What made John unique, although I didn't realize it at the time, was his business model.

Almost all of those people who thought of him as a competitor competed with him in the technical and client sales arenas. Yet, implementing reliability wasn't his business at all. In fact, if you went to his office there were no additional consultants, just people processing orders for training materials.

His business was training consultants!

This took me a while to work out. What he did was franchise the right to use his intellectual property. And due to his outstanding abilities as a street smart marketer, he had attracted some of the larger players in that field of business at that time.

How did this work? John had carefully constructed an I.P. management strategy that covered his book, his articles, his presentations and more. And he did this through careful legal planning, contractual savvy.

When he passed away he was recognized (grudgingly by some) as a leader in his field, and was the undoubted leader in coverage of his methodology throughout the industrial world.

Not a bad business model, but just one of the very many examples of how careful I.P. management strategies can help to produce high returns from your existing products or services.

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