Small-Medium Business’ Intangible Assets

Michael D. Moberly   March 15, 2010

Generally, my consultancy focuses on identifying ways small and medium size businesses can profit from the intangible asset and intellectual property side of their business.  During initial meetings with management/leadership teams I address, among other things, the key objectives of an engagement, i.e., elevate asset performance, unlock and enhance their contributory value including revenue and sustainability, and the value proposition that will accrue through more effective and efficient oversight and use of intangibles.  

While the initial engagement meetings are with business management/leadership teams and/or board members, its routine, as well as very prudent, for them to pose skeptically oriented questions, especially if they perceive, and they often do, (a.) any subjectivity in the characterizations of deliverables, or (b.) intangibles being portrayed as a silver bullet and/or quick fix to create heretofore un-utilized sources of value, revenue, competitive advantage, and sustainability.

By far, the most common demands expressed by management/leadership teams during initial (pre) engagement meetings are, (1.) prove it to me with examples, and (2.) where’s the value proposition?  

These types of questions are warranted, should be expected, and the answers should not be overlooked because a consultant presumes the answers are self-evident.  Remember, all management/leadership teams and boards do not yet recognize or have yet to act on the economic fact that 65+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, competitive advantages, sustainability, and building blocks for future growth evolve directly from intangible assets. 

Therefore, the consultant must have the experience to articulate a strong and compelling repertoire of relevant, but most importantly, real world, trustworthy, and value proposition-based responses to those important questions.  Absent that, an intangible asset management and protection consultant should not become optimistic about receiving a (second chance) follow-up meeting.

But, I often believe, respectfully so, the way management/leadership team members frame those questions:

1. are not so much oriented to intangible assets specifically as they evolve from one-size-fits-all templates for questioning vendors regardless of the product or service being pitched, and also, they

2. underly various levels of misunderstanding and operational un-familiarity with either the existance or utilization of the intangible asset side of a business.

I engage, on a daily basis, the real world of small-medium businesses, which include founders, owners, management teams, and boards who, in the midst of this recession, are personally skeptical about ‘quick fixes’ or ‘silver bullets’ particularly when their credit lines have been marginalized, if not cut off, and lending sources are moot to their requests and even more likely to dismiss out-of-hand even the best articulated and structured proposals for (intangible) asset monetization or asset backed lending.

Small and medium-size businesses in the U.S. however, are 20+ million in number, deliver approximately 39% of the GDP, and reportedly produce two and one half times as much innovation per employee compared to larger firms according to various sources and studies including the Small Business Administration.  The bottom line is, small and medium sized business produce (possess) intangible assets that deliver value, revenue, sustainability, and serve as a foundations (viable building blocks) for growth and future wealth creation.  It’s time to believe it and act on it!




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