Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links
There is no business without a solid idea that sells. The art of finding a profitable and engaging idea is a long and difficult journey for professionals. Contrary to popular culture, nobody wakes up with a fully formed idea. Most people never experience a “Eureka” moment. Ideas take a long time to develop. It’s ultimately what makes them so valuable for the business. They are the result of hard work. And therefore, the last thing you want to happen is for your idea to be used by someone else. Aside from the anger you might experience when you realize, you also need to be pragmatic about your design. Does it make sense to claim it as yours?
Protect your ideas
Your business idea falls under the realm of IP consulting. Indeed, IP, or intellectual property, rights are vital as they set your business apart, whether they relate to trademarks, patent protection, or even design and copyright. There’s nothing fun in researching and developing a profitable idea just to see it stolen from you. But, more to the point, your IP rights allow you to share your idea with others, earning royalties by licensing it and allowing resellers to import your products. In other words, intellectual property acts as a safeguard against the commercial and creative use of your business asset.
But don’t be afraid to share them with those who can help you
Admittedly, while you don’t want to be careless about your commercial designs, you also need to be open to sharing your thoughts and plans with others. Indeed, your IP rights can serve as security for commercial loans, for instance. You can also pitch your idea to investors at the start of your business existence. For startups and SMEs, a confident pitch could be the guarantee of financial backing for growth. However, it relies on your readiness to expose your idea. You can’t afford to waste investors’ time by demanding they sign an NDA at the beginning of the pitch at this stage.
Believe it or not, people notice when you’ve stolen an idea
Just as your idea is precious, other people’s ideas are too. As a result, your audience expects you to stay true to your creative direction. While you may be tempted to turn into practice ideas you’ve spotted in your competitors’ activities or at a trade show, you need to be careful about repurposing an existing concept. Indeed, your customers expect brand consistency from your business. If the “borrowed” idea doesn’t fit your mission and values, you’re likely to lose your audience.
There is no I in team
Lastly, you shouldn’t be too attached to your personal ideas. Indeed, when working in a team, you need to be ready to share and transform ideas to develop a profitable concept. Reluctance to engage in creative exchange for the sake of protecting your ideas may be damaging to business growth. A good team can work together and collaborate in the creative process as smoothly and freely as possible.
In conclusion, ideas are volatile assets that need to be calibrated to your business needs. First of all, you can’t afford not to protect their rights. However, it shouldn’t stop you from sharing your ideas in an appropriate environment. And finally, ideas need to be relevant to your business; don’t be tempted to take a shortcut by using someone else’s creativity!