Business Productivity

What if someone steals my business idea?

- April 21, 2015 2 MIN READ

When you have a great business idea, it can be easy to feel protective of it. Your idea is your baby, so you don’t want anyone to take it from you, claim it as their own, or harm it in any way.

The fear of having someone steal your business idea is a very real one for many soloists. But it’s also a fairly irrational one. One that can be likened to the fear of being eaten by a shark or getting struck by lightning.

Let me show you why.

A shark attack is something many people fear immensely when it comes to stepping foot in the ocean (especially in Australia). The thing is, these fears aren’t founded in statistics – the chances of a shark attack are 1 in 11.5 million.

This is much the same with your protective nature over your idea.

Without your hard work and determination, your idea isn’t worth all that much; any idea is just as much execution as it is innovation.

This makes it pretty impossible (like 1 in 11.5 million impossible) for anyone to steal your idea because they’d also need to steal your hard work and determination, not to mention your strategy for going about your idea.

Ultimately, while someone may appreciate your ingenuity and your business idea, it’s highly unlikely they’ll have the time or the energy to give it the same support as you will.

So, why are people so scared of idea stealing?

Maybe for the same reason they’re afraid of being attacked by a shark: personal stories are more memorable than statistics. Everyone and their neighbour has seen The Social Network or knows of a horror story about a startup idea being co-opted by a venture capitalist or a big ‘somebody’ with deeper pockets. And all you need is that one story to instill that fear!

So is there a way to protect your business idea?

Well if you’re really concerned about someone stealing your idea, you could consider applying for a patent or trademark.  This isn’t a cheap option as patents can be expensive, but if your business is quite unique this could be worth considering.  For more information on this visit IP Australia online.

Is there anything to be gained by putting my idea out there?

Yes! Lots! It allows you test the market and determine what your best minimum viable product might be. It puts you in a position to get feedback that might shape the execution of your idea in a way you’d never thought of yourself.

But what if someone DOES steal my business idea?

While it’s rare, it does happen. Ultimately you have two choices:

1. Proceed with the execution of your idea anyway and assume that what you bring to the execution is going to be better than the person that stole it.

2. Move on to your next idea. You’re a soloist with an entrepreneurial mindset – you always have more than one idea on the go at any given time anyway right?!

Have you ever had someone steal your business idea?