Home Customer The Backlash of NDA’s and Keeping Your Ideas Secret

The Backlash of NDA’s and Keeping Your Ideas Secret

by Ashley Zimmerman


You may have heard the sayings before: All you need is one big idea.  Ideas can be more powerful than guns.  Ideas can change the world.

Naturally, you may feel the same applies to your business idea.  It may be a genius idea that solves a problem or something that has never been done before.  Maybe there is a key aspect that makes your idea different from the rest.  It can be a very exciting feeling.

What should you do with that idea?  You may have been told or assume you require what is called a non-disclosure agreement, which sounds pretty powerful, professional and glamorous in itself.

A non-disclosure agreement is a legal contract that protects the confidentiality of ideas, knowledge and information between two parties.  This sounds and seems pretty necessary.

The ironic downside is, requesting one is an obvious sign of inexperience and may even encourage business relations to fizzle fast.  Why is this?

Professionals know the weight of a non-disclosure agreement and frankly, it is no more than the paper that is signed.  For one, it is nearly impossible to prove who has leaked your idea.  Even so, you will have to spend time and money fighting a legal battle for years – time and money that could be devoted to your idea in the first place.

So knowing this, why wouldn’t they be signed anyway just to make you happy and feel secure?  They probably could, but let’s put it this way: If you were going on a first date, would you ask them to sign a prenuptial?  On top of declaring the elephant in the room (trust issues), your date would probably run away!

If anyone were to sign an agreement, they would then be legally bound to your idea – and any others they may hear like it in the present or future.  If ideas or even approaches ever overlap, you are a risk. Why should a company take this risk?  You may have a great idea, but they do not know how it will be implemented yet.  They do not have anything concrete to validate the reason for their own risk.  The most important aspect of an idea is not the actual idea, but how it can or will be executed.  You will not be able to prove or show this before discussing your idea.

The benefits of discussing your idea far outweigh the possible negatives.  The goal is for people to be excited.  By discussing your idea, you can see reactions to it. You may gain valuable feedback, opinions and facts you did not have knowledge of previously.  In turn, this will also allow you to build future business relationships and even a team.  These are precious valuables for the future of any business.

If you are just getting started, you cannot afford to keep secrets.  Keep in mind your focus should not be threats.  You need to have a successful business first in order to have anything worth protecting.  Concentrate on business plans and relationship building; those are the next steps to focus on after you think the idea you have is something to put effort into.


John February 4, 2012 - 9:38 pm

Great advise for anyone who has great ideas and is afraid to take it to the next level.

Non Disclosure AGreement June 8, 2012 - 5:57 pm

We are such a free society, but have to suffer the rise of the Non-disclosure agreement


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