Thinking Like An
Last month, we talked
about the benefits of thinking like an entrepreneur. Instead of
identifying yourself by the products you sell or the title your industry
gives you, you define yourself as an entrepreneur with a specialty in a
This shift allows you to come up with creative responses to others’
needs — opening you up to the possibility of doing anything that will
create value, not simply acting as a channel for industry goods and
services. It also allows you to shift your focus to your biggest asset:
your existing relationships.
From Wisdom To Intellectual Capital.
All the things you’ve learned from your experience in business and all
the things you know about your clients and customers represent a great
body of wisdom. The first step — thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur
— lets you capitalize on that wisdom to create value.
For many, all that wisdom is a loss-leader, the thing they give away for
free in order to sell an otherwise undifferentiated product.
Unfortunately, this still leaves them at the mercy of a commoditized
marketplace where competitors can undercut them based on price.
Thinking like an Intellectual Capitalist is about seeing, valuing, and
charging for that wisdom as your primary business activity. Only at this
level are entrepreneurs truly able to free themselves from the constant
pressures of commoditization and competition. This is because, instead
of selling a commoditized product, they are now in the business of
selling a Unique Process™ of their own creation.
What do we mean by a Unique Process? Just as ordinary capital is
property that can be leveraged, intellectual property is a specific
thinking process with demonstrable value that you can sell. Your wisdom
creates value by responding to your clients’ and customers’ dangers,
opportunities, and strengths. The trick is to package what you do that’s
unique and turn it into a product that you can sell.
Packaging gives others a way to perceive, expect, and value the
experience they have with you. You can turn this experience into capital
by naming it, offering a graphical overview that demonstrates how it
creates value at each stage, and ultimately giving this Unique Process a
life that’s independent of you. Once your process is packaged, you don’t
necessarily need to be present at every sale because the packaging helps
others understand, communicate about, and refer your process.
Eventually, you may even choose to license this process to others.
Clients in The Strategic Coach Program™ are doing this in many different
industries. Without exception, those who have chosen this path end up
feeling more in control of their futures and more energized about the
possibilities for growth and innovation that a Unique Process opens up.
The Intellectual Capitalist Statement.
Thinking like an entrepreneur begins with a statement: “I am an
entrepreneur with a specialty in ...”
Thinking like an Intellectual Capitalist starts by being able to say, “I
am the creator of The [X] Process.”
Here’s an illustration: Imagine two people sitting beside each other on
an airplane. One asks the other a typical question: “So what do you do?”
The other answers, “I’m an independent financial advisor.”
“Ah,” answers the other passenger.
But what if the answer were different?
“I’m the creator of The Money Simplification Process.”
“Oh?” the other passenger asks. “What’s that?”
It’s a more open-ended answer, and as the entrepreneur explains the
various steps in the process and the value they create for participants
in the process, the listener could very easily imagine what it would be
like to be in that process. They may even enroll themselves in the idea
without the entrepreneur ever having to do any “selling.”
Questions about what products are sold and who provides them don’t even
come up, because, really, these are not things most people genuinely
care about. What they want are solutions for their problems, not
specialist industry information. The value in this exchange on the
airplane is all about the entrepreneur’s wisdom and the relationship
between the two people.
When your unique, packaged wisdom is your primary identity in the
marketplace (with commodities as secondary by-products), you become an
Intellectual Capitalist, not a salesperson. You enjoy a special
The first step is to identify how you create value. The second step is
to package and sell this value creation. And next month, we’ll talk
about the third step: making your process so unique that you ultimately
transform your entire industry
© 2007 The Strategic Coach