Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

How to Protect Your Business Idea

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Feb 19, 2018 11:59 PM

Pitching your business as it grows is very important. With the search for investors, clients and employees, there will be a requirement to reveal business details to other people. During this process, the theft of business ideas is a growing concern for many people. A competitor can easily snatch that idea and use it to their advantage despite the risk of tainting their reputation through such behaviors. Most people seeking to establish startups are looking for funds to get started. Not many people are out to steal that business idea but there is a possibility that somebody will. To be safe, here are a number of things that you could do to protect your business idea:

Don't provide Every Detail

If most of the details about your business idea are not known, it will not be easy for someone to steal and execute it. When pitching your idea to a prospective client, share with them the details needed to pass on the idea. You don't have to be detailed about everything for example, on how the product works. This is more so when seeking for funding. Give out the only information that will help you secure the funding.

Protection through Non-Disclosure Statements

A non-disclosure agreement is a binding document that requires your contacts not to interfere with your idea in any way including its use for their gain. However, some investors may shy away from signing it. When dealing with investors and prospective clients, you may not use it effectively. All the same, you could still use it but without the need for a signature: print a statement of confidentiality on the business idea instead.

Patent your Idea

Application for a provisional patent is also possible. It will certainly attract extra expenses but it is one of the ways to protect your idea. Learn how to patent an invention prior to sharing it with other people out there. As you shop your idea around, this patent will protect it for some time, say 12 months. You will be safe knowing that you can get helped with your idea within this period.

Establish a Trademark

Trademarks like other business idea protections offer an extra protection layer due to the fact that the name of a company is usually tied closely with the idea. Again, a trademark offers protection when a legal matter involving the idea arises. The documentation needed for trademark registration acts as written evidence that the business idea was in operation at a particular time. The dates will be important in finding out the exact time the idea existed before someone else challenges it.

Study your Recipients

Try to study more about the people you are contacting about your idea. Know your potential clients, contractors, and investors well before sharing any information with them. Get to know more about these contacts to establish their reputation and see whether they would be the best people to engage them in business. Specifically, check to see whether there have been any disputes placed against your prospects in the past. This should let you know whether it is worth doing business with them or not.

Exercise Caution at All Times

Follow instincts as you move around with your business idea. Sometimes you may be carried away by the venture and not remember to do important checks prior to revealing it. However, your natural instincts can help you know when you are plunging into problems. You should be wary of anyone who is into knowing even the finest details of your idea. Know their motive: whether its curiosity leading them that way or they have other interests.

Document It Thoroughly

Put your business idea into writing as much as you can if you don't have a patent. Make sure that the document is well saved and securely kept. With a paper trail, you will have proof of your business idea should it be challenged at a court of law. Maintain a log of each discussion made concerning the details of your concept. This is to safeguard your idea should those discussions end up somewhere. You can't shy away from speaking about the idea otherwise you won't profit from it but keeping a log of the deliberations on it would help a lot.

If you have concerns about the safety of your business idea, there are different ways that you can use to protect it. Here are some of the best ways to go about protecting your concept from theft. This will give you peace as you move around talking to prospective clients or investors. 

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