How to grow the 10 most valuable assets in your business

Request your free strategy briefing


In 1882 an American pastor by the name of Russell H. Conwell delivered the first of what would become one of the most popular and famous speeches in the history of public speaking.  So popular in fact that he delivered it – pretty much word for word – more than 6,152 times all over the world.

Conwell died in 1925, but his speech and its core message lives on and has been repeated and mentioned thousands more times in books, essays and lectures by other public speakers and authors.

You may have heard of Conwell’s speech. It’s called Acres of Diamonds.

The heart of the Acres of Diamonds speech is a story about a farmer who had constant dreams of becoming very wealthy in the diamond mining trade.  The dreams consumed him so much that he sold his farm and ventured off all over the world in search of diamonds and riches.

So what happened to him? Unfortunately – after many years of searching – the former farmer failed to find any diamonds and died a poor, broken and defeated man.

Sad, but that’s not where the story ends.

One day the farm’s new owner took his camel for a drink at a stream on the farm.  And while there he noticed something glistening in the stream.  It was a rock.  Curious as to what he’d found, the farmer retrieved the rock from the stream and took it home.

Several days later the farmer learned that the rock he found was a valuable diamond, and that the farm upon which it was found was littered with them.  The new farmer was rich beyond his wildest dreams.

The former – and now dead – farmer sold his farm in search of riches.  But, he was living on a fortune.

Conwell’s key message?  There are acres of diamonds right under our noses, if we but look closely.

The acres of business diamonds sitting right under your nose

Did you know that you have acres of diamonds in your business?  Little and big gems that are just waiting to be discovered and polished?

Yes you do, and you probably don’t even realise it.

When it comes to developing and executing business strategy, these diamonds are the crucial element that many business owners overlook.

What are they? Intangible assets, also known as IA or intangibles.

Not only are intangible assets crucial to business strategy, they are the core creators and generators of business growth and value.  More importantly, when you focus your business growth efforts on intangible asset development and performance, the results could be obscene.

So what are intangible assets?

As the term suggests, intangible assets are non-physical assets that have intrinsic or economic value. As intangible assets are non-physical, they are different to tangible assets such as plant, machinery and buildings.

As well as having intrinsic value, the most valuable intangible assets also share these qualities:

  1. They generate a return
  2. They are saleable (i.e: can be bought and sold)
  3. They appreciate in value over time

You may not be aware of it, but since the 1980s there has been a seismic shift in the way that businesses are valued, and in the recognition of the types of assets that drive this value.

It used to be that tangible assets – such as buildings and capital equipment – were the main source of value in a business.  That is no longer the case.  And these days as much as 90% of a firm’s value can be attributed to its intangibles.

For example, this valuation study of the S & P 500 – which represents 500 of the largest companies listed on US stock exchanges – shows the value shift from tangibles to intangibles over a 40 year period:


And which intangible assets play the biggest role in your strategy, and are the biggest creators of value?  They’re called The 10 Diamonds.

The 10 Diamonds are 10 classes of intangible assets that generate the bulk of the value in a business.  And collectively, these assets form your intangible asset portfolio, which is no different to a portfolio of shares, collectibles or real estate.

Bottom line? To grow your business you need to prioritise the development of your 9 Diamonds.  And to do that you need a 10 Diamonds Strategy.

Want to know more?  Request a free strategy briefing.


What is a strategy briefing? A strategy briefing is part education and knowledge-sharing session, and part-consultation.  It is where we impart our knowledge on a particular topic.  But just as importantly, with a strategy briefing we show you how to apply that knowledge to your specific situation. 

Available to you and your leadership team, the 10 Diamonds Strategy Briefing will give a more comprehensive overview of intangible assets, and outline why they are so important.

We’ll explain in even more detail exactly what the 10 Diamonds are, and how they drive and grow business value. 

Here’s a sample of what you’ll learn in the strategy briefing:

  • Why 20th century business valuation is obsolete.
  • Why some businesses sell for 10x, 30X and even 100x revenue.
  • An introduction to the castle and moat – the foundation of every good business strategy
  • Team brand and culture – and how it grows and reduces brand equity
  • The secret technique to add value to a product or service.
  • The no b.s definition of a brand
  • An introduction to human capital

Again, with the strategy briefings we also show you how this knowledge can be applied to your specific situation.

Our strategy briefings are available by video call, or in-person. They are 45-75 minutes in duration, depending on your feedback and questions.  They can be attended by just yourself.  Or you can have some of your leadership team attend as well.

Also, there is no charge for strategy briefings.

To organise your strategy briefing, email ben (at)

In the meantime, if you haven’t yet done so, complete the form below to get your subscription to The Bartlett Lessons newsletter.