What is intellectual capital?
Intellectual capital can be a bit elusive to define; it is the expertise and knowledge you have. It can come in the form of your business structure, processes, manager know-how, patents for research and development, etc. It is usually the knowledge of the people leaving the company every evening and returning every morning. Intellectual capital is often an underrated asset for small businesses, and one not being leveraged to its full extent.
How can you make your intellectual capital more profitable?
Intellectual capital must be developed and managed to create a more successful business. This may include things like providing training for your employees on a regular basis, or imparting your wisdom and experience with key team members. Many small business owners are looking for ways to overcome the natural limitations on intellectual capital (time restraints), by turning it into a tangible product like a book, a whitepaper, a piece of software, or something else that can be produced, reproduced, and sold that does not require the actual person with the know how to be there. To make your intellectual capital more profitable, create a product that puts it into a concrete form, that can be sold, distributed, used to train employees, etc.
Although often underrated, the Small Business Administration (SBA) does recognize the importance of intellectual capital, and as a result, the SBA provides entrepreneurship training to foster partnerships with community colleges, universities, and others. The SBA has set up programs for small business owners to gain more knowledge, and share intellectual capital in order to improve the community as a whole, create new jobs, see increased growth rates, and potentially even create new industries.