How do you share information in forums such as this one without compromising your market edge or your trade secrets?
I responded to another question that I felt was digging too deep into the way I run my business, I felt that by providing the level of detail that was asked, I would be giving too much away.
Simple, if you even suspect you are disadvantaging your livelyhood - don't.
Nobody is going to heaven here by giving away the real juice. I saw a supposed "innocent" question the other day about "your procedures" and I had to comment... why don't you tell us yours first!
I do love to give advice and share insights but I'm not foolish or stupid and even thought I don't believe this forum is run by the NSA - I'm not tell you how I run my business.
I think that you cannot, in the limited space here or in similar fora, really give away your IP. You can talk about your approach or what you do, but your knowledge of the deep whats and hows far exceeds what you can publish here. You can offer people insights, but they will still need to invest a lot of time and effort unless you are simply confirming what they are already doing.
This is a good question and one that I had often considered also. Of course, the generic answer is going to be “it depends” on the business, so set up some guidelines for yourself. Primarily, consider a few aspects of your particular business and what it considers to be “proprietary information”:
1) What is the competitive advantage?
2) What is the core competency?
3) Does the business strategy require a first mover’s advantage or critical mass to succeed?
Competitive Advantage - If your company’s competitive advantage is knowledge based, relatively easy to duplicate, and involves low capital startup costs, you probably want to hold that information close to your chest. This would be especially true if your business faces intense competition.
Core Competency – Sometimes your core competency and competitive advantage are not the same. In these cases, you are probably safe to talk about how using your particular core competency could help others. Sometimes advice seekers will attempt to create that core competency for themselves, more often than not, however, their core competency will be in another area. As a result, they might seek out your business as a supplier of your particular core competency.
First Mover’s Advantage – when your business model requires a first mover’s advantage to succeed (and you still haven’t moved on your business model), you should never release that information.
Critical Mass – when the business requires critical mass to succeed, again, you need to hold off until your reach critical mass before talking about the business model. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are two examples of critical mass concepts. Their success has made it difficult for Google+ and other social networking platforms to gain substantial traction quickly in the market.
In today's electronic world, there is nothing which you can keep hidden for long. You may feel happy and secure by not sharing but that is like living in fool's paradise. All that matters is the Commitment,Quality and Service you render to your client. People may try and copy you but the it takes time and talent for the same. This is where matter of being smart comes, keep innovating and move with times and you will have new customers/markets and a crowd of copy cats behind you which will give you more publicity since they would be selling what you sold in the past at much higher profit margins.
I've been reading through all your responses, and I must admit, I'm truly inspired by their content, and I thoroughly agree with the concept of sharing.
Please don't get me wrong - I LOVE sharing my thoughts, and I LOVE hearing from others. It's called SYNERGY - synchronised energy - the power that comes from the combination of many sources of knowledge, etc.
I really feel that the questions asked in this forum should be kept at the 'mentoring' level, and not asking for in-depth detail.
That was the main problem with the other question I responded to.
You are all very gifted people! Let's share our knowledge!
Part of our mandate is to answer peoples questions and provide helpful information.
Trade secrets relate more to ones one business rather than the general way of doing things. Teaching people how to sell, or apply basic principles would not come under the banner of trade secrets but perhaps a companys criteria in gaining business might be.
Tara, you hit the central nerve in your comment. In forums such as this, a pitfall can exist in that either disclosure of proprietary info is asked or the forum simply has limits as to what can be asked. I see the questions here as something I can respond to while also being credible. Some see it as a peek inside something or a forum to sell versus advise
I agree Tara. I see the practice of personal development as just that personal. Each client has their own unique set of problems and issues and personalities. What works for one client will probably not work for another. In that regard sharing what we do rather than how we do it is a way around some of these questions. If a client presses me for too much detail regarding the way I deliver results I either turn the tables and start asking them questions or tell them that my processes are adapted to each client and I would be pleased to work with them if they engaged me.
If you can give away your market edge or trade secrets in a paragraph I'm not sure they are that special. I'd think of forums as a tease to your knowledge and experience and have an exit line to take you out of free to proposal. Like, "That's a good question but I'd be more comfortable talking about that in private, here's my contact number if you really want to follow up." From there, you apply your selling process and see if it is a potential client, competitor or colleague and it's up to you what you give or sell.
This is a good question Rob. A simple answer is this, consider- when meeting people for the first time 'You can be friendly or You can be familiar". The same is true on a forum such as this. You can participate in discussions, help others and answer questions that are honest and valuable but are not so specific that its theft-worthy.
Also, there is something very, very weird about the phenomenon of 'ideas'. Those who are innovators will agree with this- the idea that You think is so very unique - and it may be- even when You have never ever shared it, if You wait long enough You will see it created by someone whom You do not even know.
Ideas and thoughts seem not to be contained in one's head per se but seem to float around in the ether alighting on people's consciousness. I say this because I have experienced this and I have had both friends and clients who have too.
So while, I Am not saying that You ought not to treasure your intellectual property; I Am only saying that with enough wisdom and discernment You can still share with; and demonstrate to others Your expert status without loss or compromise.
Peace +Much Love
just give hints No one will true whole truth , keep in mind if you tell whole things information you l never get customer
My motto... share knowledge without expectation.
I'm a coach... mentor... human being... not a magician, or chemical engineer designing the next best gum... so I don't believe there are "trade secrets"
Ask a direct question... get a direct answer.
Business revenues have doubled in the past year... no concerns.
I've been training for 30 years. Having worked WITH and CO-TRAINED with most of my training friends, there is room enough for all of us.
We've all given and received from one another - it's called growing. It's called Networking. It's called being in business.
If you chose not to share, then you chose not to grow and be in business very long.
Sharing is important to learn from each others mistakes. Will you compromise yourself? It's unlikely. People do business with the people they like to do business with. Marketing is style and personality sensitive. What works for you may not work for me. I generally prefer that the person I am sharing with will be working some other area far enough away that we would not trip over each other. What I do someone else may not be willing or want to do to market themselves. We all have likes and dislikes. In return what they share with you may help you or possibly not be of any value to you. I have been lucky to have some very sucessful associates share without reservation. It's up to you. how secure or insecure are you?
I believe in giving value to get value. I look at the question and try to provide the best answer I possibly can without giving away the farm, so to speak. If I can't do that, then I don't respond.
I agree with both Paul and Tara. What I would recommend is that if you do indeed have bonafide trade secrets, then those should not be shared in a forum such as this. Also, should you need to disclose or share these trade secrets, then you should wait for the appropriate time and the appropriate forum and ensure that those with whom you are sharing the information sign Non-disclosure agreements.
Hi Rob ~
Like most of the other responders to this question, I feel that when my expertise can facilitate another's journey, whether business or personal, I'm honored to share. We never know how or by whom our information may be used. I've published hundreds of articles, blog posts, newsletters, etc. over the years, yet many of the questions I answer on mosaicHUB call up areas of expertise I may never have shared publicly in this kind of forum, so to me it's a win-win: a way to showcase what I know in service to others.
Obviously, if you have proprietary information, such as a product design or formula, it makes sense to keep this private. Share as you feel called to, and everybody benefits.
We have 320,000,000 Americans. There is plenty of business for everyone and very few people would even think about using your full product/service ideas. When you can fully consult and collaborate, you will get as much as you give. There was a man who invented something like the Snuggie. He was so worried about someone stealing his idea that he lost the opportunity because the inventor of the Snuggie moved faster than he did. And, they had never met. I heard this from the Daymond John Academy.
Rob, the key to living a full, meaningful and compelling future (now!), is to live in your truth 100% 24-7. That is where you naturally attract those who need you and are willing to pay you full value and on time. You're worth that, aren't you now? That's right.
Or one can select to live outside of that space, as you have described above. . That is where you get and stay 'stuck', repeatedly held back by constantly fighting demons-that-don't-exist in the shadows of your story (that you write for yourself).
How soon will you decide right now which reality you desire (Einstein said it best: reality is just a construct of our imagination).
Here's how to access the first one, to live in your truth, naturally, easily and effortlessly:
First thing, Consciously cease limiting yourself with self-created judging/labeling/analyzing labels such as 'without', 'compromising', 'too much/little',
And if someone finds this Consciously difficult to do (and those who find themselves stuck do so), then consider this: ALL change, ALL Behaviour and ALL learning is UNconscious. Nothing conscious about it. Nor any access from the conscious. This explains why few benefit from sHelf-help materials ;-)
So, tell me now, how soon now will you decide to empower yourself with the results-achieving strategy I've shared here. Right now. Guaranteed.
Here's your barometer:
Living in your truth means, you Consciously acknowledged your gratefulness for my strategy and started to notice other areas where you can apply it productively. Perhaps even already applied it there! Awesome!
Otherwise, that means you dug in your heals, attempted unsuccessfully to justify your unproductive 'story' and dismissed my strategy without a thought. How's that working for you?
Either way, I support you - how can I be of further service to you now?
The key is to just give it all away. If someone is inclined to use what you have created, then you must have something special. In many cases, people do not use everything that you offer. They may take some of your great ideas, however.