Only the strong survive. We’ve all heard this before, so I don’t need to convince you of this truth.
This axiom has carried many determined souls over the finish line of life. And while surviving is perfectly acceptable, most of us want more. We want to thrive. These truths apply to people for sure, but these concepts also apply to businesses too. Most of us want our businesses to thrive, but only S.M.A.R.T. businesses can get there.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym I use for businesses that can Secure the Means and Approach Risk Timely. Companies that survive manage the day to day, with little planning or regard for the future. Firms that thrive plan for future growth by securing the means of value and competitive advantage while at the same time, approach risk head-on and in a timely and meaningful fashion.
S.M.A.R.T. businesses are businesses that identify and protect value, especially a company’s intellectual property. Firms that do this best recognize the value of ideas, relationships, designs and data to their operations. Whether large or small, companies get S.M.A.R.T. when the value is protected by patents, trademarks and copyright protections.
Let’s profile a couple of thriving businesses that are S.M.A.R.T. Recently, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission announced Shandong Ruyi Technology Group would open manufacturing in Arkansas, creating 800 new jobs. If you look at the SRTG portfolio, you will find many registered trademarks and a number of active patents. SRTG is an excellent example of a S.M.A.R.T. business poised to thrive through the creation of intellectual property protections that can safeguard the value of the company well into the future.
Another example of a S.M.A.R.T. thriving business is Wal-Mart Stores. Wal-Mart is a company poised for growth and transformation. The company is planning to compete vigorously for retail customers, and hopes to dominate the retail e-commerce market. Wal-Mart is the holder of hundreds of patent records and even more trademarks designed to deter competition.
Wal-Mart is a good example of a company willing to invest in protecting the intellectual property associated with the company’s growth initiatives.
Although all companies have some form of intellectual property that could be protected, not all businesses are “IP-intensive.” IP-intensive companies are considered to be the computer, chemical, electrical and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries, among many others. IP-intensive companies directly account for 30 million jobs and indirectly support 45 million jobs, which is about 30% of all employment.
Furthermore, IP-intensive workers continue to earn significantly more than those in non-IP-intensive industries to the tune of about 46%.
Transforming a business from surviving to thriving involves getting S.M.A.R.T., and particularly committing to protect the company’s growth engine for the future — its intellectual property. Protecting a company’s products and brands through patents, trademarks, and copyrights can be one of the most important decisions a business can make to help position it for lasting future growth.
Editor’s note: Angela Grayson is the principal and founder of Precipice IP, a legal firm in Bentonville. She is a registered patent attorney and is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. The opinions expressed are those of the author.