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Care Enough To Protect Your Intellectual Property

The UK’s Daily Telegraph recently published ran a column in its business and finance section entitled SME Masterclass: How to stop competitors copying your ideas.

The author offers her readers eight ideas to help companies and innovators establish a strategy for protecting their valuable intellectual property. I’ll list the bullets, but encourage you to read the entire column to get the details:
• Protect your intellectual property [with available legal means]
• Run an annual check [to ensure protections are current]
• Create a strong brand [to discourage blatant copying]
• Consider becoming the face and figurehead of your business [they can’t copy you]
• Make customers feel loved [invest in great customer service]
• Work out why customers buy from you [and focus on reinforcing those behaviors]
• Find a niche [owning a category is strong protection… think Band-Aid]
• Innovate constantly [it’s harder to hit a moving target]

And, a last bit if advice to close the piece: don’t get so obsessed about the competition that you lose focus on your own business.

Is any of the above breaking ground by offering some new twist on brand protection or the security of intellectual property? No, but it does serve as  a good reminder that businesses are vulnerable to IP theft and that there are simple ways to safeguard the ideas and innovations on which your business depends.

Yet, simple as these bits of advice may be, it is more difficult to protect some IP than others—particularly for the sole proprietor, consultant, or small business that doesn’t yet have the time or money to invest in a legal team.

And what if your intellectual property isn’t a patented product or distinctive logo? What if it is an idea, but one that has allowed you to find a niche and provide a service that makes your customers feel loved?

What if that idea needs to be shared with your customers or prospective customers in order for them to understand the value of your service?

That’s where HoGo adds a ninth bullet to the list: protect the documents on which your articulated ideas have been recorded.

By making the effort to protect a document you send a message to the recipient that, “This document is important to me and I have taken the extra step to safeguard its contents.” That signal alone may be enough to dissuade someone from thoughtlessly sharing the information (which, with HoGo, they can’t do anyway).

Whether it is a legal document, business plan, manuscript, personal information, or other information you value, make sure those with whom it must be shared understand that it is worth their respect as well.

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