Protect Business Idea using These Tips
# First, create the business plan. A plan structures your idea. It lets you think through your market assumptions, product, distribution, management and financial needs. Even if you never need to raise outside money, now may be your only chance to think through everything from top to bottom and know where and how you’re going. You can also work with a lawyer to choose a corporate structure that’s most suited to your operational and financial needs.
# Next, incorporate. That way, start-up expenses clearly belong to your business and not to you as an individual. Incorporating early will also start your company’s legal history, which can make it easier to get credit and raise bank financing later on. Furthermore, lawyer, a specialist in early-stage deals, points out that incorporating limits your liability once you start dealing with customers. In addition, he says you want as much time as possible between incorporation and outside investment to justify a low share price at incorporation. Your founder’s shares are considered income by the IRS, and it’s hard to value them at a penny per share two weeks before outside investors pay $1 per share. But always check with your own lawyer who knows your situation and your state’s tax laws before deciding when to incorporate. Doing this properly at the start can save thousands (if not millions) of dollars down the road.
# Finally, build your site and market it. Your business plan is your chance to identify your customers, value proposition, financials and the response rates you need to be successful. If you begin building and marketing without the up-front thought, you won’t know if your time and money are going toward the right things. A 3 percent direct-mail response rate is incredibly good, but if your business plan requires a 10 percent response to be profitable, it’s best to know that before you pay for a direct-mail campaign.