Consider Upcycling Your Knowledge

How to use your business expertise for greater impact

Upcycling is a re the regeneration, refurbish or re-manufacture of an item. As we’ve become more conscious of waste we began creating amazing products. Products that are both beautiful and functional. Thinking that upcycling is for junk or waste products is a very narrow perspective. It’s possible to use your business expertise in different ways to create a bigger impact . With a little creativity you can find alternative ways to share your experience with others.

One of the biggest wastes in most small business is not energy, materials or byproducts. The hidden waste is in the Intellectual Property. This accumulated expertise and wisdom can often be harnessed (upcycled or recycled) to help others. Instead of being unused or abandoned or which is the equivalent of throwing something out.

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Plugging into a different A.P.I.

The number of small business owners who manage to sell their existing business when it’s time to retire is very low. A successful exit is hard to come by especially for professional services. The business is all about the owner. Their knowledge, expertise and relationships with their clients. Deep relationships that they’ve built up over many years. Without a succession plan all this expertise is wasted. There isn’t an impact on landfill, like the garbage we throw out. However, it does mean that someone else has to re-learn all this information. The hard way by trial and error.

Upcycling is a trend in physical items but also in intellect. Owners can use their business expertise in several different ways. Mentoring, coaching, courses, books, seminars and Mastermind groups. These are all a form of upcycling knowledge. Similar to the computing term API. This application programming interface allows programs to talk to each other. To extract information seamlessly. This short cut also applies to knowledge. Buying an A.P.I. (Another Person’s Intellect) allows you to learn in 6 hours, 6 days or 6 weeks. Information that may have taken someone 6 years to accumulate. Faced with the option of attempting to learn something all by yourself can be daunting. So leaning the best parts of an expert’s knowledge, experience and intellect is a short cut worth taking. Right now the knowledge industry is estimated to be worth $533 million dollars per DAY! And is continuing to grow.

The rise (and rise) of Mentors

The increase in business complexity and the proliferation of content, without context has created a demand. A growing demand for mentors to pass on their experience and wisdom. Everything from paid mentors to pro-bono mentor sites are flourishing. Founder Cory Warfield says “ Mentor You is kind of like a social network that allows users to promote their services on our marketplace while also offering pro bono coaching, consulting and mentoring ”.

The upward trend for more and more experienced business people to give back. Instead of retiring to spend all day on the golf course. With 92% of business owners agreeing that a mentor’s business expertise would be helpful for them.

Without A Plan

Without a plan your intellectual property will be lost. For over 35 years my in-laws ran a successful photography studio for decades. Yet when they retired all that expertise went with them. My father in law was the creative artist but my Mother in law as a fabulous salesperson. Able to handle objections, screaming children, couple dynamics whilst remaining in control. The ability to achieve great sales, despite all these distractions. Plus the ability to upsell, create empathy and not judge who was most likely to make a large sale. All skills that she honed over an extensive period. Financial planners help people plan for retirement yet there are very few business coaches that specialize in helping baby-boomers plan to exit their business. And there are even fewer that show them how to capture that expertise.

Related: How to Be a Leader of Significance in Just a Few Seconds!

The Picasso Sketch

There are many urban myths around that explain the concept but the most famous one (although possibly untrue) is the Picasso napkin story.

Picasso is sitting in a cafe in Paris when an admirer solicits the artist for a quick sketch on a paper napkin they provide. Picasso agrees and quickly draws a dove. He gives it to the admirer but also asks for a large sum of money. The fan is flabbergasted. "How can you possibly charge that much for just 30 seconds work?" To which Picasso allegedly replied, “No, it has taken me 40 years of experience to produce this"

To the inexperienced untrained eye some things seem really easy. But that is because the expert has achieved mastery and makes the complex look simple. So long before you retire and end up closing down your business and letting your most valuable asset (your Intellectual Property) go to waste. Consider upcycling your knowledge. How can someone else use your business expertise? Sharing with others who could benefit from your wisdom.

Ronan Leonard helps service professionals create a different ROI – Return On Intellect.