When you have a business idea, it is best to protect it as much as you can. Don’t tell everyone about your idea before securing it, especially your competitors who could steal it right from under your nose, when you are not paying attention. If it is not patented, your competitor can use the idea and there is nothing you can do about it.
Remarkably enough, though, most competitors won’t resort to any underhanded tricks because it could ruin their reputation. Nonetheless, you should protect your idea at all cost. If you want to start a business and have a unique idea, you can seek funding to get it off the ground. However, care should be taken when doing so. Here are a few steps to follow:
Avoid Giving Away Too Much
To keep your business idea safe, it is best to keep it a secret, but if you are going to seek funding, then you have to divulge information, but not all. Provide only information that is necessary to explain your idea such as the benefits that your product or service idea will provide to the consumer. However, if you are going to pitch to investors, you may have to give more details because of the possible financial risks associated with a new business venture.
You can protect your idea from most people with a non-disclosure agreement. Many investors or potential clients might not want to sign this document, so you may have to relinquish this idea. Instead, you could add a confidentiality addendum statement onto your business plan.
Patents can cost you a lot of money when starting a business. While you are looking for funding for your idea, you could get a temporary patent for protection for one year, after which you would have to get a full patent.
Once you choose a name for your business, get the business name trademarked. This provides added protection because your business name is usually closely linked to your business idea. If there were any legal problems, the trademark could protect you.
Anyone who is getting extensive details about your idea should be researched. This could be a possible investor or client. The person’s reputation will have to be investigated. When searching, pay attention to the possibility of any business disputes that the investor or client may have had.
Listen To Your Gut Feeling
We all have natural instincts or gut feelings. Follow those feelings when you have done your research and seen any signs of possible mistrust. If an investor seems too inquisitive before a deal is struck, dig deeper to see why. If you are dealing with a successful business man, be weary of that person being too interested enough to steal your idea.
Put Everything In Writing
Make sure you document everything. You will have a paper trail to prove that the idea was yours. Log any discussions that you might have had with an investor or client. You want to cover your tracks well enough to account for your idea.
With all of this said and after you have followed all of these steps, you shouldn’t live in fear of someone stealing your business idea, but you still have to be careful when it comes to your concept. However, you may miss out on some opportunities if you keep it all to yourself. In the end, you must trust your instincts.