How you treat your business’s intellectual property speaks volumes about you and your business. The more business owners I meet, the more parallels I see between their approach to trademarking and to doing business in general. Indeed, as T. Harv Eker put it, “how you do anything is how you do everything.”
I have written books and countless articles, as well as given many lectures and presentations about various technical aspects of trademarking. This post is different, because it’s not really about trademarks. It’s about you and your business.
We are taught to emulate successful people. This is why books like Think and Grow Rich and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are so popular. Well, guess what, all successful businesses protect their intellectual assets. This is not a coincidence.
Robert Kiyosaki is a great example. After his Velcro wallets company went bust because he hadn’t bothered to protect the IP, he chose not to repeat his mistake and securely protected several brands around his Rich Dad Poor Dad series and the Cashflow game before they were fully validated by the market.
Think of a hundred successful brands. I’d be surprised if you can find one that is not trademarked.
When I see an entrepreneur who runs a business under a great brand but refuses to get it trademarked, I know that whatever the excuse is, the real reason is always the same. They don’t believe in their ability to build a great business. Their dream is to build an OK business. Their #1 task is not to make a costly mistake. Their motivation is to avoid looking silly because they’ve invested too much in a business that failed. Will their friends laugh at them because they trademarked the brand for a business that went broke? What will their loved one say?
The real problem is that they don’t truly believe that they deserve to be recognized for something amazing.
If you ever learned or taught someone else to ride a bike, you will know that it is impossible to get anywhere if you’re only looking at your feet turning the pedals. You must look up in the direction you’re going.
Running a business is like riding a bike. Granted, you must deal with operations and day-to-day challenges (turning the pedals), but you won’t get very far unless you know exactly what you’re building (where you’re going). At best, you’ll be going in circles. At worst, you’ll get a vertigo and fall.
Never make decisions about trademarking based on where your business is today. These decisions must be made based on where your business may be if you’re really successful.
The Coca-Cola Company trademarked its brand (which is now valued at 80 Billion dollars) long before it became a transnational corporate giant. Filing the trademark application was one of the first things the company did in 1892. Why? The owners believed that they could build a business that one day might become a transnational corporate giant. Could this investment have been a waste of their money? Of course. But compare the risk of wasting a few hundred or even thousand dollars (in today’s money) to the risk of failing to protect what will be worth tens of Billions of dollars one day!
Let’s say that, for one reason or another, you choose not to protect the brand you developed for your business. Remember, when you’re out there networking and spreading your business cards with colourful logos and catchy taglines, you are sending a very clear message to your customers, business partners and competitors. The message is, “I am not sure if my brand or even my business will still be around in 2 years!”
Will every business be a tremendous success? Of course not. But why would you play a lose-lose game? Why not give your business a chance to grow into something huge?
I want to make one thing clear. As much as my firm is interested in new business, I’d rather you file your trademark applications yourself or through someone else than see you squander your brand! Why? Because to me, protecting your ideas and covering your assets® is not just a way to make a living, it’s both my passion and my mission!
So if you are running a business that is mildly successful or that you hope might be successful one day, here’s what you should do. It’s a simple, 3-step action plan:
1) Figure out if your brand is trademarkable. Head out to http://freeTMsearch.com right now and order your free registrability report. Yes, we offer this service completely free of charge, with no strings attached.
2) Figure out if you should trademark your brand. Not only will we send you the trademark search report, we’ll be happy to talk to you on the phone and help you build your brand protection strategy, so that you have complete clarity what needs to be done now, what can wait, and what can be safely ignored. This consultation is also free.
3) Finally, if in the back of your mind you know that you have something trademarkable that should be trademarked, stop procrastinating. Just do it!
Entrepreneurs who have built multiple successful businesses have automated the “come up with an idea—come up with a brand—trademark the brand” process the same way most of us have automated “wake up—wash face—brush teeth” process. Trademarking is truly a habit of highly successful business owners
Are you going to be one of them?
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Tags:CollectivismPhilosophySmall BusinessNew Copyright ActFair Dealing