Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art announced this past week they had found a 500 year-old painting by Hieronymus Bosch; maybe that’s not a Rembrandt, but from a value / collector’s perspective, it’s not far off. In fact, there are only 25 paintings by Bosch on the planet and only 5 in the U.S. The painting, “The Temptation of St. Anthony” is dated around 1500. Apparently, it was sort of a by-chance discovery after some art experts from Bosch’s hometown in the Netherlands noticed the painting in an art catalog from 2003; the last time it had been on display at the Nelson.
Now, this piece of art goes from being a random old painting in storage a few months ago to being viewed as something near priceless today. Apparently, the curators of the Nelson didn’t know what they had it, though it has been in their procession since 1935! This is the type of story you think would be associated with a garage sale or maybe the story line on an episode of Storage Wars (A&E), not a World Class Art Museum. How could an Art Museum overlook an original painting for so long and not know its value? The reality is, it may be easier to do than you think, and your own business might have some good examples as well (maybe not priceless art, but still valuable).
Are there valuables (unnoticed) in your Business Closet?
It sounds like it would be hard to do, yet we tend to see versions of this in businesses all the time. Companies have something that is unique to them but no one really knows about it. It isn’t leveraged to make the company more valuable. Instead, they exist for years blending in with all the business that offers a similar product or service.
The truth is almost every business has something unique about it, something that no other business has, their own “unique work of art”. The older the business is, the more likely you may actually have several of them. Why? Because older, successful businesses are more likely to overlook how valuable their unique offerings are. They have been doing it for so long, they take it for granted.
Three places to look for the Rembrandt(s) in your business….
Your Story: Every business has a story. Often the path to success for a business and why they do what they do is so inspiring and memorable you can’t help but want to do business with them. Chances are there is something unique about your company’s story, too. The roots of the owners, the original location, why it was started, how you have impacted your community or other parts of the world and how that ties into the company you are today; that is your story. Are you telling it?
As an example – check out the Shatto Milk Farm story, it will make you feel good about enjoying their great products.
Your Processes: No companies do everything the same way. What is your business doing that is unique from all your competitors? Maybe it’s a system you have created that reduces waste or improves reliability. Most successful businesses have little tricks they have incorporated over time that have significantly improved the business. The challenge with a lot of businesses is these processes aren’t documented so unless you are trained first hand, your company misses out on the opportunity to leverage the real value of it. Could this be you? Could your unique process be hiding a great customer experience?
Your Products/Services: Depending on your business you may provide one or both of these. If you have created a product or service that is truly unique, you may want to consult with a patent attorney and see if it is patent-able. But even that isn’t the case; there is still a very good chance that there is something unique in how you deliver your product or service. By design, does your product or service generate reoccurring revenue? Do you package a group of services together that fills a certain niche in the market? If this sounds like your company, are you strategically approaching your customers to maximize the benefit for your customers and your business?
What do think? What is unique about your business? Are you maximizing its value? Do your customers know about it? Are you sure? What about the Bosch painting found at the Nelson…have you ever run across something valuable in your own house, on an estate sale/garage sale, using a metal detector, or other? As always we love to hear any comments in the space below.
Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach