What are your thoughts, ideas and homegrown processes worth to your business? It very well may be that you can give your firm a distinct competitive advantage by monetizing your ideas and building an intellectual property portfolio.

**This post was originally published on Iconic Woman.**

It is no secret that small businesses drive the economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 99.7% of all employer firms and employ over half of the U.S. workforce. We’re talking 40% of our scientists, engineers, and tech talent. But there is an underlying reason for small businesses being able to employ technical and creative talent – intellectual property (IP).

What is Intellectual Property?

Let’s start with the basics here. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has this to say:

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.

We’re talking about ideas. Thoughts. And more than just fueling your daily actions, your ideas – some of them, at least – have market value.

 

Why IP is important for Woman-Owned and Minority-Owned Businesses

IP can boost the value of your company. Intellectual property presents a huge opportunity for minority business owners who may be cash-strapped but idea-rich. Women entrepreneurs actually seek outside funding far less than their male counterparts. Adding intellectual property to your portfolio can not only help you build multiple streams of income but a collection of copyrights, trademarks and patents boost the value of your company.

IP can give you a fast and firm market advantage. Intellectual property can also help your firm gain the advantage over your competitors by bringing new innovations to market. What business owner wouldn’t want to be responsible for an invention that helps her dominate her market and have a patent in place to ensure her competitors cannot duplicate her processes?

Inventions and patents aside, the Internet is built on intellectual property. If you want to remain competitive in tomorrow’s market, minority-owned businesses should start adopting the practice of creating content – videos, books, articles, social posts, podcasts, courses, and other intellectual property – today. In our web-driven, search-engine-fueled economy, a business will have a hard time surviving without it in the coming years.

IP can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors. Intellectual property also strengthens your ability to differentiate yourself in the market. As a consumer, whom would you rather patronize: A professional who works a 9 to 5 and does the occasional lecture at a nearby college campus, or the expert who has invested so much time and effort into mastering their profession that they have produced half dozen books and training courses to present and sell at the occasional lecture?

If you miss the live event, you already know you can buy the recording on her website in a matter of days or weeks. IP makes the difference by allowing you to meet your targets right where they are.

The U.S. Economy Thrives on Intellectual Property

Small businesses may be paying everybody, but intellectual property is creating the jobs. A report released by The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and The Economic and Statistics Administration offers insight on just how valuable intellectual property is:

“The entire U.S. economy relies on some form of IP, because virtually every industry either produces or uses it.” – Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus

The United States is not exclusive in its mission to perpetuate innovation by offering creators protections for their ideas. These protections – delivered in the form of copyrights, patents and trademarks – encourage creators to market and monetize their ideas. The more great ideas we are able to turn into profitable businesses, the more economic stability the country can enjoy.

Look, I grabbed this report published by the World Intellectual Property Organization called Intellectual Property for Business. It contains very valuable information, insight and strategies for how small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) can get ahead by using intellectual property.

If you’ve thought at all about formalizing a process or creating and selling multimedia content, I urge you to download Intellectual Property for Business by clicking here.

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