Starting at zero, my partners and I created a new software product, rapidly built a business around it, and sold that business for $6.2 million in just 17 months.
What was our “secret weapon”? Leveraging other people’s assets.
From day one, we agreed that we would use as many established channels as possible to increase our speed to market. Here are three of the most important ways we accomplished this that you can use to exponentially increase your own sales and profits.
- Leverage Other People’s Customers. The most difficult aspect of any business is building a loyal customer list. It can often take years to establish a strong list of loyal, repeat customers. We didn’t try to do this on our own. Instead, we identified the largest providers to customers in our industry and struck deals with them to offer our software for 50% of the profits. This generous proportion of profit sharing motivated our partners to become strong advocates of our product. For no out-of-pocket expense, the highly trained sales forces of our alliance partners went to work selling our software to their customers.
- Leverage Other People’s Employees. We hired a high level employee from the largest company in our industry as our Vice President of Business Development. He exceptional academic and professional credentials, her deep list of company contacts, and her exceptional presentation skills — coupled with her industry reputation — immediately positioned us in the minds of prospective customers as a company that should be taken seriously. Before, when one of our sales people called a prospect, there was a 50/50 chance their call would be taken. But when she called a prospect, it was almost guaranteed that her call would be taken every time.
- Leverage Other People’s Reputations. Here’s an example of leveraging an asset that most people might not consider. Because our product was unique, we took full advantage of all the trademark, copyright and patent protection we could secure.
But our CEO had the foresight to take things even further. He had our intellectual property rights reviewed and certified by one of the top intellectually property firms in the country.
What was the benefit of this additional step? The firm we used was recognized as one of the top three patent litigators in the country. By using this well known patent litigation firm to certify our rights, we positioned our company to avoid having our rights infringed. It also signaled any potential acquirers of our business that they didn’t have to worry about unfair use of patent claims coming back to haunt them.
There are dozens of ways you can leverage Other People’s Assets to increase your sales and profits, and the value of your company. All it takes is a little time and effort to identify those assets that are specific to your business and then use them to gain a powerful advantage your competitors can’t ever hope to match.
Bob Serling has helped dozens of companies create new products that fulfill their customers’ precise needs and position their products for greater profits. Bob holds a patent on an advanced testing software suite that he and his partners developed and sold for millions in just 17 months, and has patents pending on a consumer product and a business service.