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Question about how to start a business without someone stealing the idea?

I have a business idea that I think will be really good. I’ve checked around and there’s nothing like it in my location, although there is something similar in various parts of the country (and they seem to be pretty successful). I asked an old employer of mine how I should go about doing market research to see if this is a viable idea, and he told me to talk with the potential clients to see if this would be something they’d even be interested in – have a presentation ready along with a sample of the product.

I’m in the process of getting ready to do that, but my concern is that the type of biz it is would be very easy to hijack, especially for the clients – they could actually incorporate this idea into their existing business with little to no extra effort. I’m afraid that if I go in and offer this service, they’ll just say no thanks, turn around and do it in-house.

How can I protect myself?
Oh, and btw, “stoner” – get off the pipe man. I came up with this idea *on my own* – and when I began researching it, I found that there was something *similar* in other parts of the country. So no, “dude,” I didn’t steal it. If you had any brain cells left in your head, you’d see that my *main* problem is that I don’t want to go in and basically hand over an idea that I’ve worked to perfect. Now, git on back to that bong, boy, and leave the hard work to the thinkin’ folk…

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8 Responses to “Question about how to start a business without someone stealing the idea?”

  1. L N said :

    Unfortunately you cannot. What you can do is talk with an Intellectual Property Attorney and he can give you tips, depending on the type of business, that may protect it for a while.

    But if it’s thought of and used in other locations, there really is no “patent” to be placed. It’s possible you may be able to get a non-disclosure/non-compete agreement drawn up by the attorney and present this to your potential clients to sign before giving your presentation.

    I have opened 2 business and the competitors were there within one year taking my profit margin from 75K to 25K.

    Recommended Reading: Protecting Your #1 Asset, by Michael A. Lechter, Esq.

  2. serene_ieg said :

    It’s very risky but if you will not take a step in implementing your concept, how will it ever take off the ground?

  3. rhrjruk said :

    I get asked this question a lot by people who want to start a new business. Here are 3 pieces of advice I offer:

    1. If you want to discuss your business idea with someone you think might later steal your idea, then you can first ask them to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (see reference source below).

    2. If nobody else has ever implemented your idea, there is a possibility nobody else has ever thought of it. However, there is a greater possibility that (a) somebody is already doing it, but you haven’t found them yet (b) nobody else is doing it, for good reasons. So make sure you do thorough research about what’s out there and why (and talking about your idea with friends in a bar is not the ‘research’ I’m talking about).

    3. Most importantly of all, if you fret too much about someone stealing your idea, you will sit around fretting and not get started. So do what you need to do to protect your idea, do thorough research, and then get out there and do it better than anyone else could!

    Good luck with your business idea!

  4. stonerosedesigndotcom said :

    There’s no such thing…ideas aren’t protected. If you disagree then I’ll simply point to McDonalds which couldn’t protect it’s idea for fast-food burgers.

    “although there is something similar in various parts of the country”


    Sorry, but it’s silly…you’re going into business to BE SEEN! How can you even think about protecting something that you are actually trying to make as many folks see it as possible.

    “hey could actually incorporate this idea into their existing business ”


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