So, you’ve had an amazing idea for a new product or service that you think could be a real money-spinner, but how do you stop your valuable ideas and hard work from making someone else rich instead? Speaking of spinners, did you know that the inventor of the insanely popular Fidget Spinner toys that are everywhere this year is struggling to make ends meet, despite the success of her invention?
Unfortunately, the reality is that without proper protection or planning, even the best ideas can fail to come to fruition and thousands of new businesses collapse every year as a result. Those that do enjoy success can come under attack from other threats such as employee theft or cyber attack. Here are just a few questions that you’ll need to consider if you want to protect your future success by keeping your new business secrets close to your chest…
Have you got legal protection?
If your business is centred around the selling of a great new product or service that’s totally unique to you, before you start telling the world about it, or even talk to potential partners, investors or employees, you should consider putting some legal protection in place.
The type of protection available to you will depend on the nature of your venture and you will need to make an initial outlay in order to secure legal safeguards. Many businesses can find this off-putting because capital is quite often strained at the start of a business journey, particularly if there is a need to invest in staff or premises too.
However, delaying consideration of protections such as design rights, copyright and trademark could mean sacrificing your success before you’re even fully off the ground. To find out about what combination of safeguarding could be appropriate for your venture, check out the Government’s own IP toolkit. The toolkit is designed to help new businesses gain financial support from banks by helping them to show that their IP assets have appropriate protection.
Are you committed to employee education?
Even with the trust worthiest of teams in place, working with others to realise your dreams can throw up a number of problems when it comes to keeping important business information under wraps. It’s worth bearing in mind that no matter how great a company you are to work for, at some point a staff member is likely to move on. This can present problems when it comes to protecting your business ideas, strategies, suppliers and clients.
As a minimum, you should consider incorporating confidentiality clauses into staff contracts, though this is best done with expert advice, as in certain circumstances they can be hard to enforce without prior thought.
Employee education is also fundamental, as many people simply don’t recognise the potential dangers of information sharing. Restricting discussion of work outside of the office environment, following effective password procedures and training to recognise and avoid things such as phishing scams should all be part of your business safety strategy.
Have you considered cyber safety?
How secure are your computer systems? Where do you store your data and what would happen to your business if you lost information or worse still, were hacked? Unfortunately, cyber attacks aren’t just a threat to bigger businesses and organisations.
Criminals can see smaller and new businesses as easy targets for attack because they know that cyber security is often an afterthought in the early stages of trading. With this in mind, hacking to steal business data or even the threat of doing so is now thought of as a good earner by cyber criminals.
Regular staff training to ensure sensible computer use, including data backup, safe site use and avoiding clicking on pop-ups is a must for any company. For 24-hour protection, you can enlist the help of professional ransomware prevention business services. Typically, an expert firm of specialists should be able to help you put effective preventive measures in place. They should also be on hand at all times to offer rapid solutions in the event that your business is targeted.
Who are you talking to?
Speaking to others about your vision is an essential part of getting business ideas, products and services to market, but you should always be aware of the prospective dangers when doing so. Potential business partners and suppliers can be asked to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) where necessary.
After all, you don’t want any associates to share your secrets with your competitors. Similarly, getting press exposure can be a useful catalyst for a new business, but choosing your timing and well-selected publication partners can be crucial for gaining market advantage.