Stop Trying to Protect Your Business Ideas

There is often a concern among business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs that when they come up with a new idea, they need to protect it so that it won’t be stolen. This mind-set, however, is dangerous.

First of all, the idea (probably) already exists. There are very few truly new ideas – most are an improvement or a different take on an existing one. Therefore, regardless of how much is new, the chances are that if a person or company has thought of it, others have as well. Secondly, being new can be a problem: Having a truly new idea can, in many ways, prove a serious disadvantage. Being first to market means one has to educate consumers, and that can be expensive. Next, the value is not in the idea. The competitive landscape is very different than it was 30 years ago, back when ideas had some merit on their own. Now, there are so many businesses out there, and so much information, that an idea by itself is worth zero. Last but not least, sharing ideas makes them better: businesses often believe they produce great ideas, only to take them to market and find they don’t resonate as desired. Sharing ideas helps with acquiring feedback and making valuable tweaks.

But most of all, companies and entrepreneurs should remember that the idea will do not do them and their future customers any good if it’s never left out in the open.

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