8 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Put Up Walls and Keep Their Ideas Safe
Your ideas are your life as an entrepreneur. That’s why you need to protect them as much as possible. The moment one of your core ideas is stolen is the moment your startup’s future is imperiled. Here are eight ways you can keep your business safe from theft:
1. Copyright and Protect It
The most essential thing you can do to protect your intellectual property as an entrepreneur is to get the paperwork filed. Copyright and patents seem like time-consuming efforts, but they’re a lot easier to obtain than you think. They’re also easily worth any effort that you’ll put in. Consult with an intellectual property lawyer who can guide you through the Trademark registration process.
2. Present It Publicly
One of the best ways to protect your ideas as an entrepreneur is to publicly present it as your idea. This can serve as proof that you were first to have and utilize the idea. While this action alone cannot serve as direct legal protection, it can help supplement your case in potential IP-related lawsuits.
3. Establish Your Personal Brand and Authority
Protecting your product ideas sometimes goes beyond the legal proof. It involves showcasing that the idea originated with you. Becoming an expert in your product’s field and developing your personal brand by speaking at events can go a long way towards accomplishing that.
4. Limit Discussions of Your Idea
Sharing is part of modern society. It’s what made social media such a powerful marketing tool. However, public sharing is something you need to tamp down when it comes to your startup ideas. The more you discuss details, the more you risk prompting others into developing something similar to your product. Limit discussions just to potential investors and partners, and make sure they sign non-disclosure agreements.
5. Get Legal Support
Legally protecting ideas can be challenging. To do that, you need a professional trademark lawyer. Hiring an intellectual property attorney can help ensure that you are as covered as much as possible, even from angles that may not be apparent. Even if you can’t retain a lawyer at the onset, a brief interaction for some advice can lay the foundation for a professional relationship later on.
6. Get the Startup off the Ground
Proof is a powerful part of protecting your ideas as an entrepreneur. Fortunately, there is something you can do that will move your agenda forward while simultaneously protecting it, and that’s to get your startup off the ground. While not bulletproof, having a business surrounding the idea does provide added protection that could tip the legal scales in your favor.
7. Create Dated Proof of Your Idea
While ideally, you should avoid lawsuits and legal battles entirely, the fact is that sometimes that’s not up to you. One of the best ways to protect yourself in the courtroom is to have proof that you came up with the idea first. One common practice some entrepreneurs do is emailing themselves the details of the concept, as that email will date it. Others create unlisted videos on YouTube as proof.
8. Get Someone Who’s Been There to Help You
There are a lot of things about protecting yourself legally that may slip your mind. One of the best ways to protect your company from any surprise pitfalls is to be prepared for them in advance. Connecting with a mentor, i.e., someone who ran a startup and faced similar intellectual property issues (like a trademark or copyright infringement), will be beneficial for your business. They can guide you through the minefield and help keep your startup safe.
Following these tips should ensure that you have a strong foundation for protecting your ideas and keeping them as safe as possible. While someone may eventually find a way to imitate your startup’s products, your goal is to protect your ideas for as long as possible. Follow these tips, and you will improve the odds of your startup surviving and thriving in the long run.