Have you identified your business’s intangible assets?
As the economy shifts to being primarily knowledge-based, intangible assets that lack physical substance are becoming ever more important. Whilst tangible assets, such as equipment and financial assets are still important, the emphasis is changing.
Intangible assets can include:
- Branding – e.g. product names, terms, designs, symbols, and features that identify your goods or services as distinct from those of others.
- Company values – e.g. supporting education, charities, research, local communities, corporate social responsibility, and/or diversity & inclusion initiatives.
- Customer or client lists – e.g. details of other businesses interested in your goods or services.
- Franchises – e.g. giving rights to another person or business to sell your goods or services using your brand.
- Goodwill – e.g. the value from your brand, customer base and reputation associated with your intellectual property.
- Intellectual property (IP) – such as copyright, registered or unregistered designs, patents and trademarks.
- Key relationships with stakeholders – e.g. your suppliers, customers, or clients.
- Know-how of your employees – e.g. technical information, data, procedures, studies, processes, or methods.
- Legal agreements – e.g. licences for or from other businesses relating to IP.
- Research & development (R&D) – e.g. the results from R&D programs.
- Software – e.g. custom programs for analysing data.
- Trade names – e.g. the official name of your business.
- Trade secrets – e.g. confidential information that is not known outside of your business.
These assets can be considered either disclosed (e.g. patents or design rights), or undisclosed (e.g. know-how and trade secrets), and both types can be some of the core possessions of your business.
Whilst intangible assets don’t have specific recorded value, and can be hard to valuate, they can hold long-term value and add to your overall company worth. For example, such assets can be commercialised and used to generate revenue and growth for your business in an ongoing, sustainable manner.
Identifying your intangible assets is an important task that requires dedicated consideration. Overlooking such aspects can negatively impact the progress and future of any business and potentially undermine its value. Note that intangible assets can be created or acquired, and it is therefore important to not only consider your own assets, but those of competitors you may wish to acquire or license to grow your portfolio.
Intangible assets can be critical to your success and it is therefore essential to identify and value them, so that they can be appropriately protected. Mathys & Squire, together with Mathys & Squire Consulting, offer unique commercial expertise; particularly in identifying and protecting IP and intangible assets of most commercial value.
For more information on the importance of intangible assets for your startup, as well as their potential value and methods of protection, read our article here.
Written by: Andrew White and Lindsay Pike