It’s often said that any great business starts with a great idea. So every business needs to be very vigilant when it comes to their ideas. Whether it’s a product, a service, or a method of production, it needs to be protected.
Big businesses don’t seem to be able to protect themselves from leaks or theft that often, though. So how can a small business possibly be expected to keep their ideas safe? This sort of thinking might tempt business owners into being a bit lax when it comes to this sort of security. But that’s a big mistake.
Is my idea really in danger?
It might sound like something out of some fictitious action thriller. But corporate espionage is very real. The biggest and best companies are always stealing ideas. Of course, this might not seem that new or scary to you. It’s true that if you’re just starting out, then you may not have, say, insiders trying to spy on you. But if you’re making waves with some of your success, then you will certainly have eyes on you. It might not even be competitors, though. It could be journalists looking for a hot story on a slow news day.
Playing it close to the chest
One of the best ways to keep your idea secret is, of course, to keep it on the down-low. You want to avoid revealing too much about your idea to anyone unless its absolutely necessary to proceed. This is especially important if you’re revealing a product to the public that is quite far away from completion. Talking about your best feature might see some other company make a cheap knock-off before you can finish your product.
Got eyes on it? Get agreements signed
You’ll need to have people looking at it behind the scenes at some point, right? After all, you’ll need to get the interest of investors and clients somehow. If you want to ensure that people are legally bound to secrecy, get some contracts signed. A non-disclosure agreement, or an NDA, is classic and effective. Potential investors might get a little iffy about signing such contracts, though.
Take action if theft or leaks occur
Is there evidence that a particular idea is yours? Has someone gone and stolen it? If this is going to affect your sales, you may have a legal case. Of course, you can’t just let your bark go off without some bite. If someone has crossed you in this way, take action. Legal action is the repercussion that potential thieves and leakers are scared of. Make sure you have an effective process service to ensure they’re notified as soon as possible that they’re in trouble.
Perhaps the simplest way of protecting something abstract like this is to get a patent. You may even have been saying it out loud while reading this article. Why haven’t they mentioned patents yet? The problem, of course, is that patents aren’t cheap. But did you know you could look into provisional patents? These are cheaper, but they only last about a year or so. Still, that could be all the time you need to get the necessary interest and funds for further protection!