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Thinking About Your Assets

Take a blank page. Draw a line down the centre. On one side list your tangible assets, things like stock, equipment, products and your website.

On the other side make a list of your intangible assets, stuff like intellectual property, trademarks, brand names, the skills of your team, your customer database, reputation and the trust you have built over time.

Now one by one cross off the things that your competitors can easily replicate or acquire, on both sides of the list.

TANGIBLE ASSETS
Stock
Website
Equipment
Cash Balances
Product Lines
Property

INTANGIBLE ASSETS
Brand name
Logos
Trademarks
Patents
Formulas
Customer Database
Skills

Reputation
Customer Loyalty
Trust

What are you left with?

As we build our businesses, we often work hardest on the things that are replaceable, believing that our advantage is in the tangible value we provide and can demonstrate. The cup of coffee brewed, the line of perfect code written. But in a world where there are six cafés on every street and 200,000 programmers for hire on Elance in two clicks of a mouse we need to think more deeply about what really matters to our customers and clients. People place a premium on the things that you can never hand them over the counter (real or virtual). It turns out that trust is the scarcest resource we have.

If you want to build a truly great business put your energy into the things that can’t be crossed off the list.

Image by Death to Stock.

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