As an entrepreneur, you need to take a couple of roles simultaneously – you are a developer, the customer representative, and the salesperson. That is one major role to play when it comes to the success of your business. It’s always a good idea to outsource some of these roles or hire others who will fill these positions, but if your business is still a young one, there probably isn’t much room for that yet.
Although this multitasking may make you feel like a Superman, the most important thing you need to be aware of is that you don’t have immunity from the law as a small business owner. The business size doesn’t matter, and yours will be regulated by the same laws that guard big businesses. And precisely because you need to have the knowledge about the law and how to handle legal issues – so you can protect your business.
When your business starts to grow, pitching your ideas becomes extremely important. You need to draw the attention of clients, employees, and investors. That means you must reveal details about your company to others on a regular basis, there’s no way around it. This could easily lead to idea theft where it can be snatched by a competitor. That’s why we’ve put together a list of ways in which you can prevent this from happening.
1. Concentrate on the need, not the product
The best way to prevent theft is to avoid revealing too much, sharing with others only details that are absolutely necessary. But lenders and investors will want to know everything about your new product or they won’t be ready to take a financial risk on it.
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So how can you perform a proper pitch without revealing all the details? Well, what will convey your idea is not a precise explanation of how the product works. The essence of every product’s success lies in the question of how is it going to fulfill the needs of target customers. If you know the answer to that question, you’ll have a perfect pitch with a professional secret intact.
2. Secure your online space
In these modern times, when every business has gone online, your website is like the heart of your company. At the same time, it could be your weakest spot since online thievery is the most common one.
You’ve probably invested a lot of time and money to make it look good and perform even better, and all it takes is a few additional steps to make it secure. First of all, no matter how strong you think your passwords are – change them regularly. Passwords and usernames are the gates to the operating system of your business, and the best way to keep them close to Internet thieves is to change them on a monthly, even weekly basis.
If passwords and usernames are your gates, then ISP is your wall, so choose it carefully. The most common mistake that inexperienced business owners make when choosing their Internet service providers is that they only look at the price and speed. The first thing you should look for is the built-in security features and then it’s time to think about connection speed and affordability.
Don’t think that your business is still not ‛valuable enough to be targeted by hackers. If your customer’s information gets compromised in any way, you’ll be in for some harsh legal consequences, not to mention losing the trust of your clients. So keep all of your customer data encrypted from the start and for a financial one it would be a good idea to outsource the e-commerce of your business to sites such as PayPal.
I think that we don’t need to talk about the importance of anti-spyware and anti-virus programs, but we’ll just mention that purchasing one is not the end of the road – you need to update them regularly and this simple process takes just a minute.
3. Put it on paper
Okay, back to people. You’ll inevitably come to the point where you’ll need to reveal the details of your idea to the investors and lenders who have agreed to invest. But the fact that they’ve agreed doesn’t mean that the possibility of fraud is the thing of the past.
That’s why a non-disclosure agreement is mandatory so you can protect your idea before revealing it. And you shouldn’t require a signature only from investors but also from employees and other associates. So every relationship with a new business partner, service provider, or a client needs to have its terms set up in writing. This way doing business won’t end up in a potential lawsuit.
4. Stay up to date on paper – and off it
In most cases, being careless with your paperwork leads to getting charged with fraud. If you’re just opening your company handling your taxes and the documents attached can be pretty confusing at the beginning. You’ll eventually get a hold of it, but there will already be a hole big enough for a couple of lawsuits. That’s why it’s always best to spend a couple of hundred bucks on a professional that will sort it out.
If you think that having a lawyer protecting your business from fraud is expensive, you should know that charges for frauds can come up to 250 000 bucks. Since young founders have been conditioned to handle some quite mentally challenging and complex tasks it is understandable why they find record-keeping and tax filing rather mundane. This is their shortcoming because things can get pretty confusing and take the wrong turn. So if paperwork goes on your nerves, hire a professional who’ll keep it up to date and pay attention to see how it’s done.
But your paperwork is not the only thing you should stay up to date with. Why do you think experienced lawyers are able to take care of it much more easily? Because they’re familiar with all available business laws. If you have the right knowledge and information you’ll achieve results in the simplest possible way. That’s how Sydney lawyers have built their indisputable reputation – with their ‛Simplified Steps, Great Results’ moto. But that doesn’t mean you should depend on professionals forever.
You need to equip yourself with adequate information on business laws regulating your business’s particular operations, and the SBA website is a good place to start. Of course, getting acquainted with all business laws – employment and labor, intellectual property, financial, marketing and advertising – will take some time so having the right legal advice during that period is highly recommendable.
As you can see, there are many ways of retaining professional secrets and keeping away from legal traps. Talking about customer’s needs instead of the specific product and sealing the deal on paper has proven to be quite effective. If you’re aware that internet space offers as many possibilities for fraud as it offers for growth you already have the half of the things covered. Now you just have to keep both – your papers and your knowledge – up to date and not to hesitate asking for legal advice when you’re in need of one.