What is an intangible asset? Most simply stated, these assets lack any sort of physicality. More importantly, they are some of the most overlooked and yet relevant assets to small businesses. Less than 1 percent of companies take advantage of their available intangibles (Andrew Sherman, 2011). This is a factor of businesses being products of evolution. In the promotional product industry, the sale of tangibles is the cornerstone to success. As an evolution, our global economic society spent thousands of years with an agrarian makeup, focused on the harvest and distribution of tangible goods. Then economic evolution introduced the industrial society which quickly led to our present information society.
During the agrarian and industrial times, access to physical assets was critical. But the information society is driven by intangibles. Most businesses value their intangibles at greater than 75 percent of their total valuation and that number increases to more than 90 percent for small businesses (Andrew Sherman, 2011).
You buy a new computer. You take it home and open the box and begin to work on the computer. You place immediate value in the tangible asset. But what you may not realize is that the computer came with a two-year help and support membership from the manufacturer. A lot of products we buy come with similar support structures.
A year down the road the computer begins to have glitches. Forgetting all about, or more commonly disregarding, the support membership, you take the computer to a tech hardware repair shop and spend additional funds on repairs that might have been able to be fixed as part of the intangible assets associated with the original purchase, an asset you already accrued but have not accessed.
This scenario is repeated every day in our personal lives and throughout businesses. Between $10 trillion and $30 trillion of these intangible assets are completely disregarded each year.
You are probably guilty of this underutilization, just as most of us are. AIM as a distributor organization is filled with intangibles. The most common intangible assets for small businesses fall into the categories of marketability, brand recognition, and intellectual property. The core fundamental of AIM as a service business is to support those intangibles.
But the goal of AIM as a business is to reduce marketplace limitations by providing access to unparalleled intangible assets. So, it’s important to understand what you might be missing. I encourage you to do a quick audit of AIM services and ensure you are getting the most of your AIM membership as a business asset. Then, repeat this audit as much as you can. In doing so, it will become a habit to better utilize intangibles.
by Seth Barnett, VP Content Development