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How much is too much: revealing your startup idea

There are particular options in front of entrepreneurs when it comes to securing funding for their startups – small ideas and businesses are often self-funded or funded with the help of a bank loan, but the big and absolute innovative ideas require solid funding from an angel investor or venture capitalist.

Taking risks is an essential part of entrepreneurship, but, as in any aspect of the business world, no one is protected from an idea theft. Stealing an idea is very common event in the business and basically it is the most difficult to prove in court.

While presenting your startup in front of important audience or in front of your employees and friends, you must keep in mind the answer of one very important question: How much is too much or too less to reveal?

Your break through idea must be kept strictly confidential until you have the legal rights on it. Obtaining a license or patent is a must, especially when we talk about absolute innovative ideas. Entrepreneurs must protect their inventions with all the legal rights they can, because the history remembers many cases of an idea theft.

It is good to be careful what and in front of whom you are revealing your ideas. As I mentioned, the history remembers the names behind some breakthrough ides, but also argues about the authenticity behind these inventions. The truth is that even if those ideas were stolen, they were brought to life by the people who have brought value to them and introduced them to the world. When we introduce something new the consumers don’t care much who invented what if it has positive impact on their lives.

But in order to win funding, you need to reveal something in front of the people who will invest in your idea. Reveal what is necessarily plus one extra drop of information. Don’t forget that you are not the only one who is wishing to attract the investors’ attention. To receive what you want and what you deserve you have to be ready to overrun the competition. Win the attention of the investors and they will know when the idea has potential and when they are willing to invest. Most of these people have built a fortune by making lucrative investing decisions and they have a lot of experience when it comes to choosing the profitable ideas. You must know why your idea stands out and to present this part of it. As execution is what makes an idea outstanding, you can spare some of the exhaustive details of how you actually will execute the idea but still be able to prove that the execution is possible and profitable.

Choose your audience wisely. Again, do your homework and know in front of whom you are presenting. You are serious entrepreneur and you need to be careful who you choose to work with. You don’t need simply an investment, you need security.

Your idea must be protected not only when it is officially presented. Hiring agreements with your employees will secure the future problems with people from your team who want to leave the company and…probably become entrepreneurs by themselves. Many startup employees become part of newly created companies to explore the ground in the business and then take their own path. There is nothing wrong with this as far as they don’t take something more than their experience, your ideas for example. Include in your hiring documents a clause which will protect your startup and you will never again worry about protecting your ideas from your employees.

What do you do to protect your startup ideas from theft?

─ December 4, 2014