Entrepreneur Success, January 2012
Stephen Huggett from the Alchemist explains how Jackie Maguire and Jim Asher started Coller IP:
Five years ago, Jackie Maguire and Jim Asher started Coller IP, a firm specialising in Intellectual Property. IP, then, was not a hot business item. But, they had unknowingly tapped into a growing market – even fuelled by the recession.
“Our business is all about innovation, and protecting it.” says Jackie and nothing brings out innovation more than tough times. “We deal with all the intangible assets of a business, see where the value is and explain it to businesses. So, (we look at) people based assets, intellectual property, also wider intellectual capital such as branding, positioning, reputation, and more- all of which are
necessary and important to businesses. Our view is that for a sustainable business, there is a need to have an element of each of these 3 in place: intellectual assets, intellectual property and intellectual capital.” “We help our clients learn to deal with all the intangible asset issues that will arise over the
life of their business. We analyse where the value is in the business, and then help clients come up with a plan to commercialise, protect, strategise or monetise that value.” says Jackie.
Coller IP was not affected in a negative way by the recession. Instead they found that tough times are a fertile time for innovation. “During the recession everyone was very innovative. We had a number of clients who had been made redundant and used their redundancy money to have a go at starting their own business, or inventing a product. So, in effect, innovation was stimulated by the recession.” says Jackie.
Coller IP has been able to carve a lucrative niche market, that does not conflict with other professional services firms such as accountants and lawyers. It is not purely a law firm but they do have patent and trademark attorneys.
Jackie remarks “Even though you would think we would have competition from
accountants and lawyers, we don’t. In fact, our services are often complementary. Very rarely there is an overlap. We often receive referrals from commercial lawyers”.
Professional services firms usually grow their client base through networking, word of mouth and referrals. Jackie does all that and has also embraced the social media phenomenon to spread the word and stimulate conversation around IP. They blog, Twitter, and have a presence on social and professional platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. They have been able to use them effectively to drive traffic back to their website.
In the future, Coller IP could expand and grow into different divisions, each specialising in different areas of IP but Jackie feels this would derail the referral system they currently enjoy from law firms and accountants that see Coller IP as providing a full suite of niche IP services.
“At the moment, I think we have a one-stop shop and that works for us, but we will keep our eyes on developments,” says Jackie. “Also the further we spread ourselves the more we lose the human interaction with our clients, which is the exact thing that is giving us the quality of our business. We are very comfortable to develop by growing our existing services to meet market needs.”