As businesses grow and expand, they have to deal with new problems that were never an issue. Theft is a prime example. Of course, when you start your company you always think about protecting the physical premises and take precautions accordingly. But, there are other types of theft that can be just as damaging that also need addressing. As you begin to share ideas and trust new people, there are a few ways you can prevent people from stealing.
Don’t Reveal Too Much
One of the best ways to stop people from stealing your ideas is to not say anything in the first place. Or, only reveal your idea if it is necessary. For example, if you are pitching an idea, you only need to pitch the essentials, not the dynamics or the small print that make it work. You have to be careful who you trust because some people will take advantage.
Contracts are legally binding and will prevent any theft. A good example is a non-disclosure agreement or a confidentiality statement. These agreements prevent anyone who you reveal the idea to from telling anyone else. Even if they don’t stop theft, they are an important backup plan for when the legal battle begins.
Get A Patent
If you patent your idea, no one can claim it as their own. However, the cost of a patent can be expensive, and a lot of small companies cannot afford the cost. What you can do is apply for a provisional patent that lasts for twelve months and protects your idea for that year. After the year is over, you cannot extend the patent, so you need to get the wheels in motion within that timeframe. Or, get the funds together for a full patent.
Hire An Accountant
Idea theft is a big deal because ideas are what make money in business. But, once you have made that money you need to keep hold of it. An accountant or a small business CPA is a great addition to a firm because they can protect your profits. Professionals understand the world of bookkeeping better than anyone else. As a result, they can see which money is going where and when. You might scoff, but employees have been known to siphon money off the top.
Write It Down
Document as much as you can and keep those documents safe. If you need to consult them, they can be the difference between protecting your company. You should also write down details if you suspect an employee of stealing. Ask them to answer a few questions and write down their answers. There might reveal a few details that they shouldn’t.
Go With Your Gut
It sounds basic, but it is a part of human nature. Once you are in danger, the alarm bells will start to ring. Once they sound, listen to them and act on that feeling. Your instincts rarely lie, and they can be a lifesaver.
Always keep in mind that stealing is more than physical theft, so you need to cover every angle.
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