Do you have a startup idea? That’s brilliant.
But are you afraid that someone is going to steal it? That’s natural. Everyone’s running the rat race. So, if you don’t act first. You will be left behind, far behind while someone is living your desired life making money with your startup idea.
Let’s look into a couple of ways how to protect your startup idea.
First thing first. Avoid revealing too much, unless absolutely necessary.
While it is not necessary to share every detail about your idea, it might be required of you tell the investors a great deal of it. However, you can tell the prospective customers how much ever you like. Either way, it should be a risk you are willing to take.
Research. About the idea, the industry, the people who are about to get involved with. Research extensively.
Apply for a patent for your startup idea, they are issued for the protection of your idea for a specified period of time. You can apply for a provisional or a nonprovisional patent(utility patent) depending on your preference. But, keep in mind that the provisional patent expires in 12 months. However, patent registration and the subsequent processes can be time-consuming as well as heavy on your pockets. So for those startups which are bootstrapping, the better alternative would be confidentiality agreements which will not just protect your startup idea but also any other intellectual property.
This agreement commits the person who signs it to confidentiality. It can be one way where just you make the other parties sign it or it can work both ways when both have something to contribute to the idea.
This agreement commits the person who signs it to not start a business in competition with you or do anything that would threaten your idea in an established status.
This agreement commits the person who signs it according to your terms, make sure you establish that anything the make under you, you own provided that you mention their name in the patent.
Give it a trademark, it acts as an extra layer of protection. Just like bubble wrap. It also protects you in case legal issues arise. Talk to your lawyer and get all the documentation in order. So, when there is a need, it can act as a proof and you won’t be caught up in a legal hassle. Trademark is branding your idea. Who wouldn’t that? Build your brand and do it fast.
Put a face to the idea. It’s a universal fact that people relate to people they can see and know of their journey rather than people who they have never seen. So, it is essential that you share your struggle and journey of the startup. Another thing you can do is build relationships with your competitors.
They say to make your competition your friend and life will be a lot easier. While we are at it, also build strategic partnerships. How much ever you think that it is a bad idea and believe it could be counterproductive, there is something good that is going to come out of it. You help them, they aren’t going to see you as a threat and sabotage your business.
Data Security is essential. If you store all your idea’s information, business plan and strategies in an online storage facility like the cloud or the drive, then it is important that it must be protected. Otherwise, you are at risk of exposing all of it to the online world.
What is the Worth of your Idea?
“Less than you think” is the honest answer. Good ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. I’ll give you a multi-billion good idea: waterproof phone, wireless charging, dual SIM, two-day battery, break-proof screen, best of Android and iOS features, sold through dedicated stores with knowledgeable staff. How hard could that be? A big issue with the fantasy of “All I need is a good idea” is that you can only know something was a good idea after it’s successful. At inception, it’s impossible to know—every time an entrepreneur starts a company or an investor writes a check, they all think it’s a good idea. And yet 99% fail. I can shoot down every company that has succeeded and tell you why they weren’t good ideas. I can also tell you why every failure could have succeeded. In other words, it’s a crapshoot. When you’re shooting dice and your number comes up, you can say you “knew” it was going to happen. You just don’t remember all the times you crapped out instead.”- Guy Kawasaki
Yes, with a startup idea there is always a risk that someone is going to steal it but don’t let that get you down and off your game. If you have an idea, act on it. All the ideas might not see the light of the day, invest in ideas that are difficult to copy and build your brand fast.