Tuesday, October 16, 2012

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Ideas--

As Chicago Ideas Week came to a close yesterday, we found it important to shed some light on the cautions creatives should take when moving forward with their ideas.  Whether you made it to Ideas Week or not, you might have an enterprising idea you don't want stolen or left by the wayside.  This can apply to products, processes, or businesses.

Here are some quick tips:

1. Do your research.
Make sure your idea is original and not just re-crafted from something already in existence.  All ideas come from some sort of inspiration, but if something is already out there, you run the risk of lawsuit or other action, when poaching on someone else's creative territory.   Start with a simple Google search and make sure you have something new.

2. Get the right support system.
Sometimes your contribution is the idea, and you need the talents of others to execute it.  If this is the case, make sure you get people around you who can be trusted.  Make sure their talents will help your idea flourish, and be certain they won't claim it as their own.  Signing partnership and non-disclosure agreements might be necessary.  

3. Plan steps carefully.
After confirming your idea is original and having the right people in place, you're ready to move forward with making your idea a reality.  Determine how you'll take initial steps, create a comprehensive business plan to stick to, but allow for flexibility.  

4. Seek legal and other experienced counsel.
We know lawyers and other consultants can be pricey, but the price of counsel in the beginning could save a lot of money in the end.  Also, a lot of cities have legal aid organizations offering free advice.  If you find the right attorney, they may be willing to help you for a reduced rate. Seeking an accountant is suggested as well, to be sure your finances and tax filings are in order.  

5.  Put it in use.
Even if it is not complete, put your idea out for public notice.  Use social media to create buzz about what's coming and get people excited.  This also works to publicly claim the idea as your own, alerting others not to steal it.

We hope these tips are helpful to your ideas.  Share any other suggestions you might have with us. 

All the best!

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