Posts Tagged ‘intellectual property strategy’

Importance of Small Business Strategic Planning

February 28, 2011

Although most business owners understand the importance of having a business plan, they often overlook their marketing and intellectual property protection strategies. In order to conduct business development in the most efficient and effective way, it is important to target prospects strategically. Therefore, it is imperative to have a marketing strategic plan. If a small business is seeking to serve as a government contractor, then a government contracting strategic plan is necessary. Further, once a business begins to brand itself in the marketplace and create new products and business processes, it is important to protect the intellectual property assets that the business owns.

Marketing Strategic Action Plans

In the business to business market, the key to developing a strong marketing strategy is to fully understand what products and services you want to sell; to whom; and where. First list what products and services you want to sell. Next, ask yourself who is likely to buy these products and services. Think about this in terms of demographics: gender, race, income. Write the pain points down. What pains these folks and why would they buy your products and services in order to alleviate their pain.

Before you move on to where you want to sell your products and/or services, research the market. Find out who your competitors are and find out as much as you can about the competition’s pricing and sales revenues. Marketing research is an extremely important portion of a marketing strategic action plan.

Now, decide on your geographic market. It is recommended that you begin close to home and then branch out. Start with the city your business is located in. Venture out into your county. Next, consider adjacent counties and counties in your region. After you research and market to prospects in your region, continue to venture out throughout your state. Know your demographics and where your prospects are centralized.

Begin to create and acquire lists of prospects. This will be the beginning of the sales plan subset to your marketing plan. Once you have your targets listed out, begin to use email marketing, social media marketing, direct mail, and calls for appointments.

Intellectual Property Strategic Action Plans

As businesses develop their brand in the marketplace and create new products and business processes, it is important to protect their intellectual property. As a registered patent attorney and former technology transfer specialist for research universities and federal labs, I can attest that intellectual property protection can be very costly. Therefore, businesses need to have a strategy to make sure they do not waste time and money.

An intellectual property (IP) strategy requires an IP audit. The business name, logo, website, employee manual, employment agreements, consulting agreements, sales agreements, nondisclosure agreements, copyrightable work, products, and business processes should be audited to determine the type of protections that need to be put in place. IP protection can come in the form of trade secret, trademarks, service marks, copyrights, and patents.

In conclusion, using the shot gun approach to marketing and intellectual property protection can be very costly. In these economic times, that can be catastrophic. Small businesses in particular simply cannot afford to waste time and money.

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.
Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Contact Clovia at http://tinyurl.com/32cqcj9 or follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans

Dispel the Noise and Develop Strategies

January 17, 2011

We small business owners get a lot of advice from a lot of sources. We have friends, family members, mentors, coaches, trade articles, and blog posts. A friend of mine said that all she is hearing is “noise”.

Small business owners can choose to get stuck in the quagmire or sort out the bits and pieces and develop a Strategy.

I believe that every business owner should have a Strategic Marketing Plan, an Intellectual Property Protection Strategy, and a Sales Plan with clear sales goals. This article describes how to develop a Strategic Marketing Plan in 5 easy steps.

1. Decide on your geographic markets – which states, which cities
– target the familiar
o consider your past history – pull out the photo albums, scrap books, year books, resumes
 Education: elementary, high school, college,
 Family: where your family resides
 Work: where you’ve lived and worked
o Consider your travel budget

2. Conduct Research to Develop a Network of people in your geographic market
– Go after fans – develop a fan base of folks to cheer you on
o alums from elementary, high school, college, past jobs
o past co-workers
o family members
o close friends

– Go after prospects with budget
o Inc 5000 or better
o Government agencies that have historically bought the products and/or services you sell
 Research what these agencies call the products and/or services – learn “government speak”
 Research who the small business advocates and buyers are

– Go after teaming partners
o folks with extensive networks
 established business coaches, mentors, counselors
 clergy
o media
 journalists, writers
 radio
 magazines

3. Develop a List – all organizations should have a list of prospects. If you own a nonprofit, the prospects are philanthropic agencies and individuals. If you own a for profit business, the list contains potential clients.

– Who to include in your List
o include alums from elementary school, highschool, college
o include Inc 5000 or better firms
o government buyers
o teaming partners
– What to include in your list – set up fields
o Contact’ s name, organization, profession, email address, birth date, trade organizations you share, whether you are connected online (Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook), mailing address
o Any other helpful information you can gather

4. Develop ad copy

There is a lot of sample sales copy and ad copy online. New copywriters can use the samples, go it alone, or hire professionals.

5. Distribute ad copy

Let the folks on your list know what you are trying to sell or about your fundraising efforts. The worse thing to do is to not work the list and let folks know what you are in business doing. Small business owners can let prospects know by email marketing; microblogging (posting information in Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter); blogging; and using direct mail.

Yes, this may all be painstaking. But, it will save time and energy in the end. Years ago when I first started my business, two small business counselors told me not to shotgun it. It is easy to fall into the error of going into a lot of different directions seeking sales. So, kindly dispel the noise by having a strategic plan and implementing the plan. No one has a magic pill to give you to alleviate the pain of building a business, or a magic seed that will instantly grow your business.

Madam C.J. Walker wrote that “There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it. For if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard.” Henry Ford wrote “The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.”

So, work hard and go on to make your business better. You can do it yourself or hire help.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o