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Find Your Company's Most Valuable Asset

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 7, 2011

Give your business a makeover by getting the right strategic mix of hard assets such as property and equipment, and soft assets such as knowhow, name recognition, customer lists, and reputation. Because assets are illiquid (don’t change easily), they tend to lag behind strategy and hold the business back. Don’t let your assets become an anchor to future growth. Ask yourself which assets are most vital for the future, not from the past.

To identify your best assets for growth, look at your business as an outsider would. What would someone else be eager to pay for? This question narrows the list—sometimes to an alarming degree.

For example, a high-end restaurant and bar specializing in the well-to-do dinner crowd was no longer making a good profit for its owners. The menu and the name, both sources of pride, were no longer valuable assets because they had stopped delivering crowds and profits. The most valuable asset turned out to be the lease because the location was good with ample parking and high visibility in a popular downtown area. The owners promptly jettisoned the menu, costly chefs, sophisticated name, and upscale decor, and reopened as a reasonably priced beer-and-burger joint that immediately started to post triple the profits of the old restaurant.

Nostalgia is not bankable. Be practical about what your best asset is and how to put it to use in today’s economy. Sell off or discard any asset that won’t work hard for you in 2011.

Alexander Hiam
Amherst Fine Art
Amherst, Mass.

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