Can Anyone Copy My Business Model?
One of the first concerns that pop up into the minds of innovative business owners is whether their business models can be copied as soon as they are implemented, by their copycat competitors. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case though. Here are some of the things that small businesses can do to prevent such an atrocity:
Accept That There Will By Copycats
Regardless of whether you choose to get service mark protection or not, the fact of the matter is that there will always be copycats who will manage to find their ways around them. Your default position should be that none of the protection measures that you might have taken—including patents—will protect your business from attempts at imitations. Some copycats will even ignore your patents and provoke you to spend a large sum of money for the purpose of filing an expensive lawsuit. Accepting this is the first step for dealing with the competition head on.
Don’t Underestimate the Competition
One of the most important things that you will always need to remember—as a pioneer—is that the market will not reward you for being a revolutionary. Much like the pioneers in other fields and walks of life, you too will get arrows in your back. It is of utmost importance for you to remember that your competitors are in the market to maximize their profits and that they will be willing to be absolutely relentless about it. So, if you find your competitors doing everything within their power to trying and bring you down, you shouldn’t be surprised!
If you are going to be getting into business agreements with potential partners and investors, then it is of utmost importance for you to consider getting a non-disclosure agreement signed between the two parties. Why is this important? Well, let’s just say that it would be smart to have a non-disclosure agreement signed between the parties before you discuss your business plans with them. It is usual for business owners to face a lot of resistance when going about something like this, but it is imperative for you to take a stand for the sake of your business. Do not discuss your business plans with parties and individuals who do not sign the non-disclosure agreement.
Use Common Sense to Protect Your Secrets
While it is common for individuals to get into contracts for the protection of their secrets, the fact of the matter is that a majority of your business secrets can be protected solely on the basis of common sense. What this means is that if you don’t wish for some “secret” to become known, you would be better off if you didn’t tell anyone about it—unless, of course, you absolutely have to. As a rule of thumb, make it a habit of not telling people everything there is to be known. Remember to classify the information that you give to people, and you will find that your business secrets are being protected much better. The secret is only yours to keep until you don’t tell anyone about it!
The Use of Patents
Patents are also being widely used, nowadays, for the purpose of protecting business models. If you are a small business that has got a business model that is extremely innovative and novel, then as the business owner, consider taking the route of protecting the business plan through the use of a patent. However, when it comes to the protection of your business plan through a patent, you should consider if it would be truly worth of your time and money to get it patented. It is because getting a business plan patented requires a lot of time and money and one should only consider going down that path if it is deemed worthy.
Keep On Innovating
One of the greatest ways in which you can keep your competitors off of your track is through continuous innovation. Continuous innovation will ensure that your competitors are unable to catch up on all of the uniqueness that your business plan has got to offer. By the time your competitors know about what you are doing and get a hold of it, you will already have moved on to the next best thing. Such an attitude of continuous innovation, however, requires a lot of work and effort.
So can anyone copy your business model? Yes, they can, but only if you allow them to!