Who to trust with your business plan?

ikehillikehill Posts: 3subscriber
edited December 2006 in Business Planning
I wrote a business plan about 5 years ago for a new business in the technology industry. The idea is unique and there is still a need for this new "bright" idea. I am actually surprised no one else has thought of and created such a business. It is a high revenue business (justifiable sales projections of over $1bill in the first 36 months).
My dillema is, who do I share this business plan with and how do I know I can trust this person/investment company/angel? I do not have the money or resources to start this business on my own, I definately need outside investors and a great management team. I know (or have been told) that confidentiality agreements dont work. I just dont know where to start???
I was highly recommended to SuN and I am hoping to find a good solution to my situation.

Comments

  • ikehillikehill Posts: 3subscriber
    Thank you all for the replies. I will go to an attorney and discuss the options. I am thrilled that I found this site, I believe it will be a great guide in going forward with this business plan. I have been in my industry for 11 years and have successfully grew 2 companies from $1mill in sales to over $20mill in annual sales and look forward to sharing my success stories with you guys as I grow this company to a over a billion annual revenue.
  • Steve58Steve58 Posts: 1subscriber
    If the idea is any good you will probably have to ram it down their throats. I have heard of many plans like this (great idea how do I show it and protect it...) make sure every document you send out has "Commercial in Confidence" in the footer or as a watermark across the page.Get a confidentiality agreement drafted (should be cheap enough) and have each organisation sign and date it in your presence before you hand it over or do a presentation (cover your BUTT!)Check out Guy Kawasaki`s web site and do the 10 slide presentation he talks abouts its a great way to ensure you have things right when it comes to presenting to prospective investors etc.
  • brainsbrains Posts: 0subscriber
    Thanks Raisecapital01 for the clarification, ideas cant be patented, as I wrote the post I was thinking more along the lines of code, software, production methods or black box/dongle technology that could be protected.  Anything really that could be used to raise barriers to entry for competitors or as leverage points in licensing discussions.
  • pepperlegalpepperlegal Posts: 2subscriber
    I typically advise my clients to do a few things.  Patents are not always cheap or easy to obtain.  A comprehensive confidentiality agreement and copyright notice are important, and if you`re sending your business plan electronically, you can use digital rights management functions through Microsoft Word to limit who can view, receive and print the plan.I also like to evaluate the recipients of the business plan to get a comfort level about their reputation, and depending upon your "idea," you may be able to hide certain portions of it such that a recipient wouldn`t be able to use your idea without seeing those portions.Good luck!
  • JAMESJAMES Posts: 0subscriber
    Greeting I hope it really works for you Good luck James
  • sallygraysallygray Posts: 1subscriber
    Hi Ike Hill,

    I faced the same concern. I was so worried someone would take my idea
    and run with it that I held on to it tightly. I talked to people about
    my new venture in riddles, hinting at what I was about to do, not
    wanting to give too much away.  Then, one day,  I opened up a
    bit more with someone I felt I could trust. She said something very
    eye-opening and comforting to me. It was this: If this is what you were
    meant to do, then it`s yours to do. It takes a lot of time, effort,
    energy and want to to get something going and not everyone has the
    capacity to move forward and do what it takes ... even if it is a
    billion dollar idea. The idea may have come to you because it was yours
    to do. She actually encouraged me to talk about it because, in doing
    so, you never know what kind of connections and or resources are
    available to you. It`s uncanny how things have been happening for me
    and I have been very surprised by how many people want to help me get
    where I`m going rather than slow me down or compete with me. You can
    patent or copywrite ideas, products, etc. but that doesn`t mean you`re
    magically safe from anyone coming along raining on your parade anyway.
    You may be in the right legally, but so what. How long would it take to
    go through the courts etc.? So, I say no matter how many people you
    talk to, if it`s yours to do, your calling or passion, then you have
    nothing to worry about. That`s only my opinion, and I`m sticking to it.
    SG
  • sallygraysallygray Posts: 1subscriber
    To All:

    While I`m here, let me tell you what I am now facing on my journey.
    It`s a matter of ethics. Surely you gest ... ethics in business. Where
    would that be?
    My point exactly. Here`s the deal. My new business, a spa for dogs with
    a twist, is something I could do as I home business if I converted my
    garage and part of my yard. I called the planning and zoning department
    for my city and found out the process how to go about discovering if I
    could run that type of business from my home. I would have to fill out
    a pre-submittal (how can I submit before I submit???) form, fax it to
    them, come in for an appt., then a board gets to discuss it more with
    me and they make the thumbs up or down decision. Here`s the thing ... I
    would be outing myself by giving my name and address and plans and if
    they said no, I could not do it here without risk of I don`t know what.
    BUT, if I played it dumb and just acted as if everything was OK and
    just converted anyway with no concern for zoning, then I`d be home
    free.  If I got found out I could plead ignorance and possibly pay
    a fine. BUT I may not get found out. So, what to do. It could be that
    it would be OK to have a business at the house, but I`d be risking it
    should I fill out the papers and do it their way. Comments,
    suggestions? SG
  • muttmutt Posts: 0subscriber
    put together a sales pitch, put on your best suit, go out to potential lenders, business partners etc and sale your idea. You may want to have a lawyer help you with a patent, or you can go to www.gatesfondation.org</A>. Just some suggestions.
     
  • hardknocksmbahardknocksmba Posts: 1subscriber
    Being careful about who you show it to is more important than having an NDA, a patent, etc., at this stage, etc. Reputable VCs aren`t going to steal your idea. They have ideas stacked up three feet high on their desks. If they like yours, and you are at all reasonable (and it sounds like you are), there`s no reason for them to end run you. Ditto for angels. Maybe somewhere, sometime, a VC stole a business idea, but it`s only slightly more likely than a Bishop carjacking someone`s car.That doesn`t mean that you shouldn`t have a plain vanilla NDA (that doesn`t keep them wrapped up forever, where you designate clearly what`s sensitive, where you don`t require them to forego all other software businesses, where you don`t require a vow of chastity) or talk to a patent attorney. Neither of those does you any good, however, unless you want to go to court. It`s more important to deal exclusively with people you know to be honest.The real problem you are going to have is getting in to these people with your idea, because they don`t generally take off the street traffic. You need to work your trusted circle of contacts and friends to see who knows someone who knows someone that might be able to help you. If you`ve been in the software business and have deep industry knowledge, that will help a lot; if not, it`s going to be a tough thing to establish credibility.The idea of doing a private stock offering is, in my opinion, ludicrous. You end up showing your idea to a lot of people that way, not all of whom are reputable. (The whole industry that offers to raise money for entrepreneurs as a service is, in my opinion, more than a bit suspect in its ethics, but that`s just one cranky guy`s opinion. I would avoid them all if you possibly can.)Don`t, by the way, overestimate the value of an idea. Ideas are cheap. It`s all in the doing it, and once you are doing it mainly in the execution. As Edison said, one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration. If you get funding, get a lot more than one percent, but don`t confuse the idea with the business.
  • onlineeateronlineeater Posts: 16subscriber
    If the idea is any good you will probably have to ram it down their throats. I have heard of many plans like this (great idea how do I show it and protect it...) make sure every document you send out has "Commercial in Confidence" in the footer or as a watermark across the page.Get a confidentiality agreement drafted (should be cheap enough) and have each organisation sign and date it in your presence before you hand it over or do a presentation (cover your BUTT!)Check out Guy Kawasaki`s web site and do the 10 slide presentation he talks abouts its a great way to ensure you have things right when it comes to presenting to prospective investors etc.Steve,Do you have a link to the 10 slide presentations???Thanks,John
Sign In or Register to comment.