When you have a great idea for your business, your first inclination might be to share the idea with your friends and family, to get opinions, thoughts, and feedback.
Here are some helpful tips for protecting your business idea.
- Keep it to yourself!
I know this seems counterintuitive, but keep your idea quiet while you research and build and refine your ideas and plans.pixa
- Buy the domain name!
Go to one of the many domain name sites like namecheap, godaddy, and more, and go ahead and buy the idea or company name, or your own full name, as a domain. This in an inexpensive way to guarantee that you will be able to have the URL you want if your idea takes off.
- Don’t tell friends and family right away!
This isn’t because I think your friends or family will try to steal your idea. This is because those are the people who know you best. They will ask a lot of questions, and will try to help by poking holes in your plans and giving you criticism. Unless you have refined your idea and have a good grasp on a plan, this kind of feedback is not helpful yet.
During the planning and initial stages, you should brainstorm and think through all your ideas, and research what is feasible, possible, or not yet done. If you tell people too soon and they make you second guess or shoot down un-researched ideas, you may not end up with a fully formed plan. You might miss things that your ideas and research would have led your towards.
- Ignore advice!
Just at first! Again, it comes to you doing the right research and building something yourself. When you are building a business, everyone and their mother is going to have advice, even ones with no business experience. Every Shark Tank viewer and Undercover Boss watcher is going to have different tips and advice for you, and you will be weeding out the bad advice BEFORE you’ve done a lot of research for your target audience, your business idea, and your market.
It is a lot easier to decipher between good and bad advice once you know exactly what you’re doing and have educated yourself in the subject area.
For example, you may have a great idea for a kitchen gadget, and one of your friends watches QVC a lot. They tell you that you have to add a specific feature to your kitchen tool. You think “Sure, why not?” because it seems like great advice. But later, when you build and market it, you find out that now it is very similar to another tool already on the market, or that the tool now costs a lot more to manufacture because of that addition.
Lots and lots of research. Unless you have an MBA and 10 years of business-owning experience, you probably have a lot to learn. We did! A CWD, we figured out invoicing, expensing, and all kinds of back office operations that we had to learn. We knew how to build great websites, but there was a lot about running and growing a strong business that we had to learn.
Don’t be afraid to ask experts for advice, do tons of research, make sure you understand numbers. For example, if you are offering a physical product and not a service, there are a LOT more expenses to consider, like cost of manufacturing, shipping, returns, and more. You have to know how much it costs for you to make your product, so that you can price it correctly to make a profit.
If you’re offering a service, then sales and marketing is a huge piece of growing your business, as you need to inform and educate prospective customers as to your company, brand, and service, and how it will provide them with value.
I don’t want you to keep your ideas on silent to lock out other people, or because I think anyone is going to steal your idea. I just want you to be confident in your idea and your plan before getting advice that may or may not be good. Be wary of random people who offer advice. Everyone thinks they are a business expert, but YOU must be the expert in your business!