Are You Ready to License?
By Susan A. Friedmann
“I like work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”
Jerome K. Jerome's famous quote may have been intended as a tongue-in-cheek celebration of laziness -- but there's a gem in there that Nichepreneurs™ can profit from.
Licensing may not be the first word that comes to mind when you're considering your career, particularly if you've made your niche in the service industry. However, creating a license based on your Expert Identity can be a very lucrative revenue stream. Nichepreneurs™ who create licenses based on their products and services can increase their profitability without adding to their workload: a great spot to be in.
Identifying the right time to consider licensing one's expertise will be different for every Nichepreneurs™. However, there are five common factors others have used to make the decision:
More Work Than One Office Can Handle
Are you booking appointments six months out? Do new clients have to wait weeks and weeks before getting to meet you? Have you expanded hours, opened up on the weekend, and still don't have enough time for everyone?
These are all signs that you've got more work than you can handle. Mind you, this is a good position to be in -- but clients won't wait forever. If you can't handle all of your business in a timely fashion, changes have to be made. Rather than lose these clients to a competitor who can see them quickly, why not funnel them to one of your licensees? That way you continue to profit from the relationship, without adding more to an already overloaded schedule.
Word of mouth is a wonderful thing, and there's nothing better than having your clients tell all of their friends how great you are. However, when those friends live far beyond where you're willing or able to travel, someone's bound to be disappointed.
Licensing can be the ideal solution when customers want your services yet are further afield than you're able to travel. By creating licenses, you can expand your geographic range, creating a far larger footprint than you'd be able to on your own.
Be realistic with yourself when considering this criteria. With relatively cheap airfares and a strong drive to succeed, more than one Nichepreneur™ has gotten into the habit of living life on the road -- traveling cross country, often several times a week, for client meetings. If you enjoy this kind of commute, great! However, if you are starting to resent the sight of your suitcase, it might be well worth considering if slightly diminished profitability is worth being able to forgo the weekly flight.
Nichepreneurs™ or not, there are only 24 hours in a day. That's all the time you have to run a business, have a family, and perhaps even eke out a little personal time. You can't work all of the time, unless you're willing to forgo the other two categories -- and that's not a healthy balance.
Licensing allows you to make the most of the limited amount of time we all have. If you're having real trouble meeting all of your professional obligations and keeping a good balance of family and personal time, it may be time to consider how you can make your practice more efficient. Licensing is one tool that you can use to capitalize on the finite number of hours in the day.
Desire to Increase Profitability
Every individual has unique financial goals. If you're not reaching yours, licensing might offer an opportunity to get closer to that target number.
License arrangements vary: some Nichepreneur™ sell licenses outright, where others enter into ongoing arrangements allowing affiliates to use the name, logo, and methodologies you've created in return for a monthly fee. You'll want to consult with your financial advisor about what arrangement best suits your needs and will help you realize more profit.
Interest from Would Be Licensees
Interest from would-be licensees is a great signal that you may be ready to license. Sometimes others can see the opportunities that we're blind to: either because we're too close to our own businesses or just too busy to notice the profit waiting to be realized.
Be cautious at this point: just because someone has expressed interest in entering a license agreement with you doesn't mean they're the ideal person to carry your name. There's a lot of legwork and research that goes into creating a license relationship: however, the enhanced profitability often makes it all worth it.
Written by Susan A. Friedmann,CSP, TheNichePreneur Coach, Lake Placid, NY, internationally recognized expert working with service professionals to increase their niche marketing potential. Author: "Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market" and "Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies." http://www.richesinniches.com