Last week I mentioned how I had found my purpose after committing to think about it by regularly revisiting the question.
This took several months. Part of the reason it might have taken so long is that the question was bound up with how I could turn my intellectual property work into something which includes my interest in business and branding.
I have always been interested in the commercial side of life, which is why I became an in-house lawyer at Reuters.
I’ve been very into marketing, business, and branding since founding Azrights too. So, dealing purely with intellectual property felt like I was only addressing half the issues many of my clients faced.
True some of my clients need purely intellectual property legal work. However, even they have teams to educate on IP, and there is currently no solution on the market to enable them to do this and protect their IP on an ongoing basis. So, I saw a way to add value to them that is not purely about traditional legal services, namely, via Legally Branded Academy 2.0 described below.
Those that are starting new ventures, or growing their businesses would often really benefit if I were more involved, such as with their branding.
I can add significant value in areas that are intertwined with intellectual property law. Often a deep understanding of IP is needed, and I’ve realised that a multidisciplinary approach best serves clients.
As I pondered all this, I wondered what I would offer. I didn’t see that I would add sufficient value by offering branding, so I gradually worked out that I would able to offer value by offering an online course or a one day workshop to begin the process of educating clients.
Also, I can provide a process to make it very easy for branding and other business advisers to get multi-disciplinary input into their projects.
Legally Branded Academy 2.0
Gradually over time the online Legally Branded Academy course I had been working on, turned into something quite powerful.
It’s the first intellectual property system that provides a process approach to IP protection and team training.
I’ve spent years thinking about how companies might best manage IP issues if they don’t have a dedicated inhouse IP resource, which few have You see the very early actions a business takes often have the most significant IP implications from a risk management point of view.
It can already be too late once the business turns to its lawyers to protect its IP if there is a deficiency in its past actions. Legally Branded Academy isn’t a law course, and as such is relevant to the international audience.
It replaces expensive one to one legal advice with processes which embed IP best practice and education. By implementing and using the processes a company trains team members, and protects its IP seamlessly
For example, the course includes a copyright process involving the use of a template at the start of projects to secure ownership of the IP.
As well as basic IP information, there are explanations on issues like IP holding companies, and use of IP symbols including internationally that companies need to know
There are explanations about what types of name are desirable to choose and why from a trade mark perspective. It also covers how to do basic research on a short list of names.
Marketing departments, entrepreneurs, and design agencies that only choose one or two new names a year need access to this sort of information so they choose wisely. A solid process is provided for them to follow when selecting a new name. The information includes “over the shoulder” style instructions on how to pick the classifications to search and how to do basic IP register checks. This sort of assessment of a name is vital before handing over to lawyers for final clearance searches and registration.
This is most certainly not a course about replacing lawyers or doing your own legal work. It’s simply the best way for organisations to manage IP risks and opportunities and avoid mistakes.
Legally Branded Academy 2.0 is the most cost effective way to protect companies in the early stages of any project, such as when they’re trialing new concepts, starting up new businesses etc. Following the processes gives the business ongoing day to day protection so they grow on solid foundations using processes.
They can ensure their teams learn what they need to know about IP, and save time by not needing to undo earlier ill-considered actions and decisions
Legally Branded Academy is my flagship online IP course It reflects a methodology I’ve developed to help organisations introduce simple processes to ensure their IP is protected on an ongoing basis as the business grows and expands.
IP is where the value lies
Intellectual property is invariably where the value of a successful business lies, albeit sometimes the IP in some assets may not be initially appreciated. To avoid unpleasant hidden surprises that might, for example, prevent a business exploiting a valuable asset, involves introducing simple measures to secure IP in business assets as these are created.
Legally Branded 2.0 solves the problem of how organizations might put in place solid foundations to manage their IP protection on a day to day basis. Process is the way to do it.
The final point that helped me to arrive at my purpose was down to the changes I’d made to the Azrights business since 2016 when we moved the firm towards remote working.
It’s a journey that has not been without its difficulties and I will probably end up getting offices again soon, but the move to remote working has strengthened the firm considerably and gives us new approaches which we would never have discovered without making this change.
Remote working is still a controversial and complicated topic with a lot of people keen to list the cons.
I outlined our experience of remote working at Azrights in a recent blog and will explore this topic more in future posts given that companies like IBM and Yahoo, both big tech companies, have reversed their positions on employees working remotely.
What message does it spread to the rest of the business world, with regards to this form of working?
Although, I’ve had challenges with remote working, and recruiting the right team members, for myself personally my productivity and satisfaction has benefited enormously from remote working.
I’ve been able to fall in love with my business once again thanks to remote working, and as mentioned, it’s given me the gift of time and the freedom to get on with the task of running the business, and creating new offerings, rather than simply managing the office.
But I do understand why these large corporations have changed their minds on a practice that they once couldn’t get enough of. Not all employees are suited to remote working so remote working can come at a detrimental cost to the business.
What is for sure is that you need to work hard at building the sort of culture change that is needed for successful remote working to be effective.
Reading David Heinermeler Hansson’s book Remote it’s clear that you need to maintain good communication and ensure that employees have complete clarity as to what is expected from them. It’s also desirable to have regular physical and online meetings. Some people even suggest 3 online meetings a week, as well as short 10 minute daily ones!
New Azrights office in Hastings
My purpose is to help businesses succeed by better positioning themselves in the market, and protecting that positioning with IP protection. I want to give businesses greater security to grow knowing they’ve protected their assets and underpinned their business with intellectual property processes to protect their IP.
I’m intending to amplify my message by seeking more speaking opportunities, producing more content and creating more partnerships with other businesses and professionals.
I’ll be expanding the Azrights business when I personally move my home from London to Hastings next month.
The London office will remain our headquarters. However, we will also have a Hastings office, and this is where I intend to recruit team members.
Realising how hard it is to find people who are suited to remote working and who can be trusted to remain productive when working remotely it remains to be seen how easy it will be to grow the team.
Certainly, I’ll be looking for local people who can work closely with me. I’m intending to find an admin who might become a trainee solicitor in due course, and also a marketing/sales manager.
I’ll be trying out some new ideas when I engage new team members which includes meeting every week as well as having 2-3 online meetings a week to keep everyone accountable and working towards the good of the business.
The next step now is to meet as many businesses as possible in Hastings. I would love connections to law firms, accountants, design agencies, business coaches, and others. If you know any who might be interested in our launch party do put them in touch. I’d be most grateful.