As an entrepreneur or inventor, it’s hard not to feel protective over your big idea.

What if someone comes along and steals it, along with your dreams of starting a business?

But to give your idea wings, you need to tell everyone about it!

Potential employees, investors, bankers, partners, customers…

You’ll also want to take advantage of feedback from business mentors and industry experts and get their advice for your business.

After all of this sharing, it’s reasonable to feel a bit fearful that someone might steal your precious idea.

What is an entrepreneur to do?

Use these powerful (and inexpensive!) tips to safeguard your intellectual property and launch your new brand.

1. Know the Individual Before You Share Your Idea

Most people you in counter, will of course, be of no threat to you. But to make yourself feel better, always research clients or manufacturers before you meet to discuss your business plans. Do an online search of the owner’s name and companies to learn about their previous business deals. Review their social media profiles, forum posts, and any articles containing their name. This will tell you if they’re dependable and have practiced business ethically so you can decide if you want to work with them.

2. Do Not Tell Them Everything

When you talk about your product ideas, keep a few essential details and production procedures to yourself.  Crafty cooks often don’t mention a key ingredient when they share recipes. From the beginning phases of interviewing, investment pitches, and job applicants, complete disclosure is neither required nor advisable. As you continue toward hiring or accepting investor capital, you can start using legal documents, such as a non-disclosure agreements (NDA) to protect your business ideas legally.

3. Approach Investors Confidently

Angel investors and venture capital firms tend to be secure parties with which to talk about your thoughts because they have such a reputation at stake. This will make them a lot less likely to consider stealing your business ideas.  If venture capitalists stole inventions, they’d go out of business fast.

4. Get Competitors on Your Side

Your competition can help protect your intellectual property if they have a vested interest in your success. Make them a part of your team by hiring them as sellers or distributors. This way they want to protect your trade secrets, since they may also benefit from your success. The existing firms in your industry will be most likely to steal your idea and bring it to market with their connections and resources.

5. Utilize Non-Disclosure Agreements

An NDA is a legal document that keeps your intellectual property confidential. It’s a contract between you, the owner of the intellectual property, the business idea, or invention, and the individual to whom you’re disclosing your ideas. By signing this agreement, they agree not to disclose or instruct anyone about your design or plans. Then you should include a copy of this NDA inside the business plan that you will distribute to buyers and investors.

Follow these tips to understand which areas you should worry about and other areas in which you don’t, and then enjoy your new adventure!

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor should it be viewed as legal advice. No one should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information in this website without seeking the appropriate professional counsel on his or her particular circumstances.

Marsha Kelly

Marsha Kelly

Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She shares hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her blog,

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