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.
Hi Rob, the best way to share information on forums such as mosaicHUB is to keep the advice general to the question asked. You can reach out and suggest to the person asking the question if they need more detailed assistance to PM you. This way people who are more serious can develop a working relationship with you and possibly become a client, without you giving away too much information.
Agreed...... give, give and then give more.
There is no secret to what anyone knows...the secret sauce is the person, their delivery, service, and traits/qualities they bring to it.
I am one in a zillion business consultant/coaches but do not consider I have competition...as we each have something to give and share, not every customer is looking for me or someone else, and there is enough to go around. Don't execute in desperation... execute in abundance and you will receive back.
You would excuse me if I will answer you using part of my P&D work, but I have really little time now (my baby is crying) and I want to share my opinion. This is what it has been called "The Dark Side of Online Knowledge Sharing"(Smith et al., 2012).
"Classic literature is focused on overcoming communication barriers in order to stimulate cooperation, but it can also leaks knowledge (Brown & Duguid 2001). Collaboration create the problem of the property rights that are affected by the same information/knowledge sharing. This cause at individual level information/knowledge jealousy, at organization level, common used problem-solving forms (alliance) can reinforce information/knowledge outflow (Ajzen 2001; Ouellette & Wood 1998; Sparrow et al. 2011).
Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa & D. Sandy Staples (2001) found that beliefs about property rights affect information/knowledge sharing. Factors analyzed (information vs. expertise/internal vs. external sharing) are those that generate the individual's beliefs about the organizational ownership of knowledge that he has created. It was found that a belief in self-ownership was positively associated with organizational ownership suggesting a collaborative type of ownership situation for both intimal and external sharing conditions. Organizational culture and the type of employee influence the beliefs of organizational ownership in all circumstances analyzed.
Recent researches have investigated online forum users behaviors of professionals programmers (Smith et al., 2012), these professionals use forum such as Stack Overflow as a problem-solving source. Even if findings are particularly related to the potential release of confidential information in these forums, some conclusions are useful to understand psychological dynamic behind the use of forums.
• commitment relates positively to online forum participation. Relationship between the trust components and online forum participation suggests a reciprocal, reinforcing pattern of continued use.
• forum use frequency is positively related to the likelihood of posting confidential information, indicating an important positive relationship between participation and likelihood to post.
• users tend to automatic, problem-solving behaviour (Ouellette & Wood, 1998), automaticity found is similar to that expected when recalling information during internet searching (Sparrow et al., 2011),
• security policy awareness significantly influence reducing the likelihood of posting confidential information."
If you need more info please let me know.
Sometimes, I feel the same way. In fact, most answers are either tactical or strategical ones. For "tactical" questions (specific problem) you do not give away too much about your business as a whole, and it is sort of giving back to community, where find answers for other questions. For "strategical" ones - they are too abstract and most of them have 3-5-10 different approaches, without the one that's the only truth.
But if the same person starts coming once a week, trying to advance in the area above his/her competence with my help, that's wrong. In this case, it should be either a consulting contract or friendly reminder about the communication being equal, not one-sided information flow.
There is a fine line between mentoring someone and giving away intellectual property. I think your question is a good one. We, at Exxtreme, started a Maximo for Beginners group were we can provide solutions to questions and direct their learning back to IBM. We also offer a proprietary learning management system, but we only provide access for those who want to pursue employment with our organization.
I believe in adding value and that value will be returned to me. Keep the answer relevant with some key points and enough information to have been of assistance. Leave the finer details and your processes out of the answer.
I look at answering questions on here and/or LinkedIn Groups two ways. (1) To help steer people in the right direction. Since our client base is in the A/E/C (architectural, engineering and construction) industry, where margins are typically thin, there is a tendency to want to 'give it away' in order to secure the contract. I pound it into my client's heads, 'Do not work for free!'. So there is a fine balance between working for free and sharing enough to invite inquiry.
The second way I look at sharing information on here is just a goodwill measure. Calling it karma or reaping what you sow...if I have time in my schedule, I enjoy jumping on here and LinkedIn Groups and just sharing thoughts and ideas that may help out a fellow entrepreneur.
If you are good at what you do then sharing your expertise only embellishes your self worth. Everyone is unique and even if you reveal your special talents it is unlikely that anyone else can duplicate it in the way in which you do it. If that weren't the case then we would all be copying each other and there would be no difference between us. For example, I have developed a proven model for success in the way I run my business, which others can try to duplicate but I have not seen anyone do it the way that I do. I share my techniques openly knowing full well that no one else is exactly like me.
I believe each individual needs to respond at a level they feel comfortable with doing. Clearly, you won't want to give out trade secrets such as specific "processes" or client data. However, for a "sharing" forum like mosaicHub to work for its members, more is always better. Like Joe Gedgaud replied "Its a community and we should act like it". In addition, I believe that my clients hire me because of the specific attributes that I can bring, including specific knowledge, experience, references and the relationships I develop with my clients. Though someone else might be able to take the exact tools and presentations that I have developed (which I am happy to share), they wouldn't be able to present, work with or relate to them as I can. Most clients hire people not companies!
One place to start is by acknowledging to oneself that all, at least most, that we may consider or define as giving us a "market edge" and of being a "trade secret' is not so, more in the public domain than we generally care to admit to....Best to be sincere, transparent and generally most open about how we have learned our skills, and how we strive to improve constantly through collaboratively engaging and interacting with those that we willingly seek out to meet and exchange thoughts and experiences with through forums that we chose to participate in....otherwise, somewhat difficult to build new relationships with a sense of trust and integrity.....just some thoughts, hope they are helpful.
Keep it light...mention a few topics, but not the detail. This helps people by pointing them in the right direction but doesn't directly transfer your depth of experience and competitive advantage.....that will always need the reader to put in the same leg work that you did.
I doubt anyone on this website is a direct competitor and I think it would benefit more people to help out others and they will return the favor. If we always skim the top then we won't learn much because anyone could spend five minutes on their favorite search engine and get the same answer. MasaicHub is a place to truly help one another.
I understand that people have a responsibility and obligation to some information like clients and such. That being said I do think we can all go more in depth and give each other advice and "secrets" because when the tides are turned you will need the same back. Not getting answers for your question does no good on this site. Its a community and we should act like it.
It is problematic especially when the question is specific e.g. "how do I price my services" and you want to go beyond a generic "look at the competition" to which the questioner would probably think "duh!".
I guess one way is to keep your answers on point and cover more the "whats" and not the "hows".
If you answer is to long then that is probably a sign you're going too far.
Well, the idea of how to start and when to stop. You can always site examples on the "How-to's" and then let the person try for himself the things you had mentioned, if it works for him, then it's good, if it don't, perhaps the strategy or technique is just not right for him. Besides even if you had told them information to a level that you think you shouldn't have, always think that there are strategies that may work for an individual, some may don't. It all depends upon one's application of the information learned.