Entrepreneurs fear that their new ideas will be stolen and their dream of starting a business will be crushed. However, the dilemma is you need to discuss your new business idea with bankers, investors and potential employees to start your own business. You will want to take advantage of industry experts and business mentors and show them your new product ideas. But you are scared that someone will steal your valuable idea. No worries beginner entrepreneur, read on to learn seven ways to both protect your business idea and build your new company – without the expense and delay of a patent.
Getting a patent to protect your new business idea is great but often unobtainable for most entrepreneurs due to high costs, legal regulations plus the long waiting time for issuance of a patent. Some entrepreneurs with significant startup budgets use formal and costly methods, such as provisional patents and trademark registration most startups don’t have the capital at their onset.
Smart bootstrapped ventures Instead use these creative tips, most which are free to both protect your intellectual property and also get your new business launched.
Get To Know The Person First
Before you meet with potential suppliers or investors take time to research them online as individuals. Input the owner’s names into search engines and read about them and their past business dealings. Find out if they are trustworthy and have practiced good business in the past. Start online and see what you find. By reading their social profiles, forum comments and news articles, you can get a general sense of the type of business person you are dealing with, and if you want to do business with them or not.
Get Competitors On Your Team
Believe it or not, your competitors could be your best partner in securing your business plans if you make them part of your success team. Hire them as manufacturer or distributors so they have a vested interest to keep your secrets since they will also profit from your success.Existing competitors are the people most likely to steal your idea. Also, they can bring it to market quickly, so get them on your side for a win-win outcome.
Remember An Idea Is Not A Business
While a good idea is the start of a great business, it is not yet an actual profitable company. Likewise, not all great companies were born of brilliant new ideas. The Starbucks franchise company did not invent the concept of the local coffee shop. Instead, they innovated and improved upon a winning idea already in existence. Liken your business idea to the grain of sand that over time, and with lots of work on the clams part become a pearl. Nobody is going to steal grains of sand.
Not Everyone Wants To Be An Entrepreneur
New entrepreneurs wrongly think that because they are excited about starting a business with their idea most of the people, they need to disclose their ideas to are not. Bankers, venture capitalists, and managerial candidates are not inclined to change careers and become business owners, it is just not in their nature, nor are they interested in being business owners.
Investors Are Your Safest Investment
All professional investors, whether Angel investors of Venture Capital firms are a reasonable place to discuss your ideas because their good reputation is at stake. If they stole business ideas, they would be out of business in a heartbeat, so they don’t even consider such treachery. However, keep in mind that when you talk about your idea, perhaps someone else had a similar idea last month and told these investors.
Don’t Tell Them Everything
When you speak about your product idea don’t reveal every detail and manufacturing process. Keep important fact to yourself as your protection against theft. In the initial stages of investment pitches and interviewing job candidates full-disclosure is not necessary nor advisable. As you proceed with investors and employees, then you can discuss more details and use legal documents such as a non-disclosure agreement which is presented below.
Use Non-Disclosure Agreements Wisely
The standard legal document used in these cases to maintain secrecy is called an NDA or Non-Disclosure Agreement. It is a legally binding contract between you the owner of intellectual property, your new business idea, and the person whom you are telling. By signing this agreement, they agree not to disclose or tell anyone your idea. Be warned that most professional venture partners will not sign an NDA and will balk when asked. You could sour a promising business partnership by being overly paranoid. The best way to get around this is to include a copy of this agreement in our business plan that you distribute at pitch presentations.
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