As we already mentioned, protecting your business ideas is an important part of protecting your personal assets. This article will talk about some easy ways to do this!
There are several types of protection you can use for your business idea including patents, trademarks, and copyrights. All three of these protect against other companies using similar concepts or taking credit for your creative work.
By registering your business with the appropriate authorities, you increase the chance that others won’t try to take advantage of you. On the contrary, people who have registered their ideas gain credibility if someone tries to copy or steal from them.
Protecting your intellectual property is one way to prevent your ideas from being ripped off and used by another company. While expensive, IP laws exist to help make sure original creators get paid for their hard work.
Protect your company
A lot of entrepreneurs start their business with an idea or a concept that they are very passionate about.
They may have spent months researching and developing their product before launching, but now that it’s here, how can they protect their ideas?
This is especially important if you already shared your idea with someone else!
If something happens to your partner, friend, family member, or even yourself, your rights as an entrepreneur will suffer. You could be completely left out when money is being thrown around, there might not be anyone to take over day-to-day responsibilities, and your own personal commitments could get in the way.
It’s totally normal to feel nervous about protecting your company, but don’t worry — we’ve got some great tips for you.
Protect your assets
Even if you’re not actively running your business, it is still very important to protect your assets. This includes protecting your income stream(s), assets that will facilitate growth of your business, and protection for your intellectual property.
It can be hard developing these protections when you are just starting out, but don’t worry! There are several strategies that can be put in place, and most come with ease-of-use guides or even free apps.
Know your customers
As mentioned earlier, protecting your business idea includes knowing your audience. Who are these people that will be using your product or service? What types of products and services do they already use?
Talk to as many people as possible to find out! You can ask direct questions about their experiences with similar companies, or you can gather information by looking at their things (we’ll talk more about this later) and then asking directly if they used company X before so you can get some insight into why they chose them over others.
Do not share your business idea
Even if you have no plans to sell, it is important to keep your business ideas private for now. If you do decide to eventually launch or market your product, doing so will give you more time to prepare!
Business owners often feel compelled to tell people about their businesses. This feeling comes from two sources.
First, many entrepreneurs start their business with little preparation. They may put off developing their business concept and marketing strategy until they are ready to go public.
Second, some business owners develop a close relationship with friends and family who see them as “self-employed” and therefore assume that they work for the same company all day every day.
This assumption can breed competition, which could negatively affect your business long term. Your colleagues might try to beat you by offering similar products or services, or even take advantage of you in bad ways like sharing your business idea or investing in you.
Both situations can be damaging to your business and personal relationships.
Consider the legalities
Even if you have not started your business, it is important to be aware of how you can protect your ideas. You may already have protected them, but it is worth making sure!
If you are able to secure a written note or memo detailing your idea, this could help preserve what you have as well as provide proof that you had knowledge of the concept.
By protecting your ideas, you give yourself more time to start working on your project before needing to legally defend your concepts. This gives you more time to prepare for any potential challenges!
There are many ways to protect your ideas including by using non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and even copyrighting them. By doing so, you gain additional protections in case someone tries to take credit for your work or use your ideas without giving you proper compensation.
Business owners should always keep an eye out for other entrepreneurs similar to themselves and determine whether their ideas seem familiar. If they do, there’s a good chance that one was inspired by yours and therefore, might deserve some form of compensation.
Let’s look at an example.
A few years back, one of my favorite stories was about a guy who spent his life in business trying to come up with new ways to market soft drinks. He invested thousands of dollars into research and failed miserably. It was so bad that he gave up and stopped marketing sodas altogether!
He then started selling meatball subs and advertising it as healthier than eating fast food hamburgers and hot dogs. The product sold like crazy and now he has a successful restaurant chain built around his initial idea.
His success came from being willing to keep experimenting and changing his products and services depending on what works. He never got too attached to any one concept or strategy, instead continually moving on.
This is something most entrepreneurs don’t do. They get really attached to their ideas and concepts and they rely heavily on them, which can be disastrous.
Why? Because if your main weapon for self-marketing is no longer effective, you may end up without a job!
The chances are high that you will feel very discouraged when your current tactic doesn’t work. You might even give up completely because you believe there isn’t anything else you could try.
But you have to remember that this is only thinking inside out. Thinking outside of the box is a cliché but it is true – we often limit our perception of possibilities by how familiar we are with things.
Get a business insurance policy
Even with all of the resources available to you as an entrepreneur, protecting your business ideas can be tricky. You may not know who has what coverage and how they will respond when things go wrong.
As such, it is important to have adequate business insurance. This includes policies that cover liability, errors and omissions, professional malpractice, and more.
It’s also worth noting that most businesses in Canada are required to carry certain types of liability insurance. It’s up to you which ones you choose to include in Your Plan, but making sure your risk level is appropriate is still crucial.
Here at The Insurance Bureau of Canada, we hope you enjoyed this article! If you would like to read more about how entrepreneurs can protect their business ideas, please visit our website again soon or check out one of our other blogs.
Update your website
It’s easy to get distracted with other things when you run a business, but staying focused is important if you want to keep developing your company. If it takes too long for you to put in an hour of work every day, then chances are you will never make progress.
You need to set time aside each day to do some kind of marketing- whether that’s doing social media, writing online content or taking pictures and putting them up on Instagram. You can even start by setting an appointment on yourself to check out Pinterest or read through old blogs for ideas.
It’s also worth considering how you organize your services. For example, instead of offering both logo design and web development, why not focus on just one? You could offer cost effective ways to update your own site, or use software like free websites builder sites to improve your personal style.
If you’re already working hard on your business, protecting it is something you should be thinking about.