Tips to Protect Your Startup

When you're building a startup, you're generally excited about your great idea, so excited that you want to share it - often before it's ready and often before you've built your brand. While the attitude is brilliant motivation and likely to help propel you through the startup process, it's also the prime time for lazy copycats to take your accidentally wholly publicised and unbranded idea, repackage it and sell it as their own. 

We've assembled four quick tips to help your protect your startup in the early days when you're most vulnerable: 

1.) Build hype without giving it away

Build a contacts list so that when you're ready to launch, you have an established customer base to directly market to. This can be done by using a landing page on your website where people can sign up to be the first to hear about your product or service, build hype about the brand without releasing the details of what it is or what your product or service is, just find your target demographic and market directly to them.

2.) Once you're ready to launch, hit the ground hard and fast

 Plan your PR ahead of time- whether it's through social media, print, guerilla, press releases or a combination of all, get a marketing strategy ready, schedule posts, prepare releases and make sure you hit the market with a bang. Not only does it help you launch to an excited public but it also deters copycats.

3.) Protect your brand

It's important in the early stages to plan your Intellectual Property Strategy. The early days are where you're most vulnerable to copycats, before your brand is fully developed, before your customer base knows your brand, knows what it represents. Be proactive - ad have teamed up to provide a veritable font of IP knowledge on the site with easy to follow infographics and how-tos to help you work out what needs to be protected and when. Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents are your friend when you're just starting out.

4.) Put a face to your brand

Customers (and suppliers) want to know who they're dealing with. Especially so if you're a small business. Whether you're a brick and mortar brand or an online presence, if your customer base is familiar with who you are- the face behind the brand, they're not only more likely to identify with your brand but also more likely to defend it when the second rate replicas come out of the woodwork.

IP 101 from IPONZ and

Finally for the small business owner and large scale entrepreneur alike, the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) and have partnered to give you the lowdown on your business' Intellectual Property, how to protect it and the misconceptions commonly associated with it. 

In an email release about the new content,, manager Matt Kennedy-Good explains: 

“IP is for everyone and there are lots of easy, cost-effective or even free things that small business owners can do to protect themselves...whether it’s knowing to put a copyright notice on a website before launching, or just realising why it’s so important to keep a great idea secret, this content will help business owners work out what the best IP option is for them.”

When you're building a new company, you're of course considering business strategy, marketing, financing, a business plan that maps out your intentions and your methods to achieve the goals you've set out, but many companies ignore IP strategy entirely, when it should be built into the initial planning stages.

Intellectual Property isn't just for big business, the big tech companies needing to patent inventions or software and it isn't just for trademarking a logo or business name. Intellectual Property protection helps businesses in a myriad of ways, creating market advantages and opportunities for expansion, allowing your company to grow or enable you to license products and onsell them, it protects your business and its reputation and knowing your business and its IP is protected becomes highly attractive to any potential business buyers

On the website, you'll now find an entire section dedicated to Intellectual Property and because they know that as a business owner, you don't have time to read through pages and pages of information, they've turned it into simple infographics like the one below and we absolutely love how they've created brilliant how-to guides that spell everything out with checklists, grand simplicity and infographics for the most time-starved or newbie entrepreneur. 

Well done and IPONZ, you get the JAGGAR seal of approval!