Before you even start thinking about protecting a business idea, you need to know if the idea is actually even unique or worth protecting.
There are many levels of protection of an idea, but many people think their ideas are more unique and more valuable than they really are.
Assuming you do have something of value or a different way of doing something to anyone else, here are some things you can do.
Trademark – use this to protect your business or product name – don’t stop at a business name as this won’t protect you.
Patent – certain things can be patented, so check out the patent website in your locality and see what they recommend.
First and Fast – Al Ries and Jack Trout published a book a long time ago called the 22 immutable laws of marketing. Two of those were ‘be first’ and ‘be fast’ – or in their words FIRST MOVER, FAST MOVER.
One of the best ways to ensure you get a good return from your idea is to develop and market it first and then grow as fast as possible. The better you become known and the more customers you get, the less that are available for anyone to take away from you. And you’re in the public domain so people will know it’s your idea.