How to protect your business idea
Whether starting a new business or wanting to ensure that your well-established company stays safe, it is important to ensure that all assets are protected. These include not only physical assets, but ideas and intellectual property. Of course, protecting physical and financial assets is still necessary if you want the idea to remain viable as a profit-making business.
Ideas, Concepts and Intellectual Property
There are a number of ways that abstract assets such as ideas can be protected. This might include inventions and technological innovations, creative ideas, or things that relate specifically to your brand such as logos and service names. There are a number of legal structures in place to protect ideas from misuse by competitors.
Technological innovations are protected by patents. These give you the exclusive right to make use of your invention until the patent expires, and you can take legal action against any other businesses that try to make use of it without permission. Copyright, which is often confused with patenting, largely protects creative assets such as text, music or artwork. Where patents have to be applied for, copyright is automatic.
Branding assets, such as logos, slogans and even the name of the business must be protected by trademark. This must be applied for at a cost of £200 for the first class of product or service and then an additional £50 for each further class.
Financial and Physical Assets
In order for your business idea to remain profitable, you will naturally need to protect its financial and physical assets. One of the simplest ways in order to do this is through business insurance. An insurance plan will help protect you from unexpected damage to equipment, premises or products. Some plans may also compensate you for any interruptions to trading that this will cause.
When taking out credit for your business, it is important to fully understand all of the implications. Loans are not a way to cover long-term cash flow problems in the hope that things improve. However, they can be an excellent way to support expansion and improvement of your business and its financial circumstances.
In order to ensure that a loan has a positive impact on your business, it is important to form a clear plan of how the money can be used. It is also necessary to understand the terms and types of finance on offer. This information can be found online, for example "the Everline 'business loans explained' page" is good starting point for understanding your options.
Lastly, it is necessary to protect yourself from any adverse trading conditions that might affect your business. If your business or industry involves a particular financial risk, you might want to make sure that your own personal finances aren't in jeopardy.
If you are currently operating as a sole trader or in a partnership, you will likely be personally liable for any debts incurred by your business. This could endanger your savings and even your home. Changing the structure of your business and registering as a limited company or as a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) will limit your personal liability and keep your private assets secure.