Capitalize on Your Know-How

Your business success is about more than what you can do--it's about what you know.

By: Chia-Li Chien | Published 04/29/2010


Most business owners don't know how to capitalize on their know-how or intellectual properties. Let's take a look at someone who does.

One of my favorite shows is Rick Bayless' cooking show Mexico--One Plate at a Time, featured on PBS. Let's examine how Rick capitalizes on his "know-how" or "intellectual property" in the restaurant/food industry. Taking a look at Bayless' business chronology, we'll name each of his intellectual properties as IP-1, IP-2, etc.

* Bayless is a fourth-generation restaurateur. He spent six years in Mexico to perfect his skills, from 1980 to 1986.
* In 1987, Bayless opened the successful Frontera Grill restaurant in Chicago.
* IP-1: In 1987, Bayless published his first cookbook, Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking From The Heart of Mexico.
* In 1989, Bayless opened another successful restaurant in Chicago, Topolobampo.
* IP-2: In 1996, Bayless published the cookbook Mexican Kitchen.
* IP-3: In 1996, Bayless launched the Frontera line of salsas, chips and grilling rubs, which has been sold at Macy's since 2005.
* IP-4: In 1998, Bayless published the cookbook Salsas That Cook: Using Classic Salsas To Enliven Our Favorite Dishes.
* IP-5: Bayless' PBS cooking show Mexico--One Plate at a Time is in its seventh season.
* IP-6: In 2000, Bayless published the cookbook Mexico--One Plate at a Time.
* IP-7: In 2005, Bayless published the cookbook Mexican Everyday.
* IP-8: Bayless releases seven different DVD programs.
* IP-9: Today, Bayless is a restaurant consultant, teaches authentic Mexican cooking throughout the United States (like the Culinary Institute of America), and leads cooking and cultural tours to Mexico.

Do you think Bayless effectively created value or wealth for his business? Of course he did, and he continues to do so. He not only successfully captures his intellectual property, he diversifies his overall business revenue streams. Do you see his success formula?

1. Create businesses
2. Write books
3. Create product lines
4. Teach on TV
5. Become an industry consultant

The result: Now customers find him, not the other way around. But do you also see how long takes for him to create and capture the intellectual properties?

You may say, "Well, I don't have the time to write book. I don't want to teach, etc." The point is that there are many ways to capture your intellectual properties. With readily available technology, many businesses are doing so.

The question is: Do you have a paper process yet? If you do, you're on the right track to automate your business to run it more efficiently. If you don't, you really need to rethink the amount of risk you take to create your business. Ask yourself, "Am I being equitably compensated for the amount of the risk I'm taking?" It is not about the salary you take from your business. It is about the return on your investments in capital, time, energy, and your heart and soul.

Perhaps you will say, "I am not ready to retire" or "I will keep doing what I am doing to keep my brain sharp." That is nice, but a lot of pressure comes along with these activities. Is it really worth the hassle?

No matter which business cycle you're in (e.g., early, growth or late stage), you need to make capitalizing on your intellectual property part of your long-term value growth strategy. No one creates value overnight for a business. Prioritize your long-term business strategy and help yourself build the value for you. Ultimately you can be equitably compensated by the amount of risk you take in building your business.


Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; helps women entrepreneurs to convert their business into meaningful personal wealth.  She is the author of Show Me The Money and columnist for & Fox Business online.   She is available for consulting, speaking engagements and workshops.  She can be reached at or


Women Entrepreneur Magazine URL:

Fox Business online URL:


Copyright 2010 by, Inc.  All rights reserved.