Why won't a software house steal your idea?

You have a great startup vision and an awesome app idea. Deep down you believe it might turn into a game-changer and become a business hit. This is where the plot thickens, though.

Yet you freeze and put your intentions on hold. More than the lack of income, you are afraid of revealing your business ideas to prevent them from stealing.

Who are you afraid of? Is it the CEO of a multinational company looking for cool app ideas? Or the software house representative/ sales manager/ developer searching for new opportunities? This thought paralyzes you like a nightmare!

Fortunately, as long as the app concept is only in your head, no one can do it, you think. Pure diamond, rough and rare.

Is this a basic human reaction? Probably yes. Is it the right one for a young entrepreneur who wants to develop an app idea from a very concept stage to a success story? No! This path makes no sense, it's a common mistake. Your unicorn has just curled up in a dark corner and started sawing its horn.

Bonus to consider: If all that protects your groundbreaking idea from being stolen is hiding it from people you're afraid to trust, what happens when you show it to the world?

Do you ask yourself how to make sure no one steals your idea?

Let us first clarify you are the first person who can get you into trouble. You can make yourself a target.

Do you feel like showing off your business idea to your network, friends and relatives, and pointing out that it could potentially bring in a nice bit of cash? Do you tell them about your great mobile app idea in public spaces e.g. restaurants, groceries, workspace? Or maybe you have just added a mention on social media?

Now think they will all share this good news with friends, during coffee breaks, business small talks, parties...

The person sitting next to you or simply anybody listening to you or your friends might overhear your conversation. You have no idea how he or she will react, but let's say they decide to turn an honest profit out of it... It's not paranoia, it's just a healthy dose of reality.

Keep in mind that idea theft is often unintentional. People might just take your idea and run with it without realizing they're doing anything wrong. Hit and sunk! You may have just missed your lifetime chance.

And you know what the key thing is in all this? The fact that this person even didn't steal your app idea. He or she just executed on it while you did nothing but talk!

Original app ideas protection vs mobile apps reality

The cold truth is the concept itself has no value. Mobile app idea neither. In the era of App Store and Google Play, it's hard to think of innovative app ideas that have not already been implemented.

More, there are billions of business ideas and good app ideas, including thousands of them comparable to each other, so, frankly speaking, it is difficult to talk about the business model or such app stealing.

Despite your legal efforts, an app idea can be copied very easily. You can try to protect it with patents and copyrights, but these will not prevent others from creating similar solutions if they really want to.

Nevertheless, at this point, it is crucial to understand that even the best app idea is worth less than its execution. The idea is just a tiny part of the process! There are many other things that need to be taken into account.

So don't focus on coming up with a revolutionary idea, put all your effort into making your idea work! What gives it importance is execution, technology and implementation plan, business and market entry strategy, and real value for the audience.

How do we know? Because many other entrepreneurs and startup founders ate their own cooking and shared their insights on best practices and lessons learned on mobile app development and effective mobile app strategy creation.

What is more, as a software house we have proven expertise in startup support at every stage of the growth process, we understand their concerns and difficulties they face on the business path. We are here not to steal ideas, but to help make them a reality!

So, if you're still worried about someone thieving your idea, stop and think about all the work you still have to do. If the idea is just the beginning, then why bother about revealing it to a reliable partner? Mistrusting others is not the solution!

Let's dispel the myth that software houses may steal mobile app ideas

Things don't have to be 100% perfect when working with a mobile app development company, but this objection can be dismissed right from the start.

It is highly unlikely that a software house will steal app ideas, they have no interest in doing so, and we will prove it in a few minutes.

Can you manage on your own? Again, no - there is no one-man-show business with a global win. The software houses have complete teams of qualified, talented people with expertise to work on your project. You should use them as they are! They are essential to success.

Unlike what you might think, there has not yet been a mobile app whose author has become rich overnight. Also, never make the mistake to treat the development of your app as a solo task, no matter what field it concerns. If you do, it will cost you much more!

Money tracking app, augmented reality app, loaned money tracking app, mall navigation app, fitness app, motivation app, social networking app, random chat app, digital receipt app, virtual shopping app, food donation app, gift delivery app, music app, brand identifier app, anti smartphone addiction app or even the application to connect all the security devices and so on... The major thing to remember is that not only do such app ideas have their own rules but also common features in the product development process.

What to do to become successful?

If you're still doubtful whether or not to reveal your idea to a software house, ask yourself this question: "Am I interested in a one-time idea or do I want to see my app idea through to the end and make money off it?".

If you're not sure whether you want to take your great app idea any further, we suggest you keep it to yourself and talk to a software company when you're ready. However, if it's the latter, then there's no reason to worry!

First, if you're ready to take your app idea to the next level and start developing, it would be best to start thinking about finding a reliable partner who understands your business and needs. You can't manage on your own. This is not a flaw, but a must!

Second, as you decided to search for a software house, remember that the key is to trust the partner you are going to work with. You can take into account their portfolio, client base and reviews.

Meet the top reasons why you should put your past fears aside.

Your mobile app idea needs validation.

Does it make sense and solve a problem? Is there somebody willing to 'pay' for it (with money, time, information etc.)? What are its strengths and flaws, and how should the implementation process proceed? What may early users find essential/ unnecessary? There are many more questions to be asked! 

You need to validate your idea with people who have the skillset to do so!

Here's our tip: There is much noise related to startups and mobile apps ideas and even more wasted effort! Life is too short to create 'brilliant' products with untapped potential, so don't waste your time and start verifying your app idea.

Most visions have weaknesses that may be obvious to somebody with an objective mindset and relevant expertise.

Your business model may be to sell an app to your customers at whatever conditions you deem profitable. But you probably wouldn't like to discover your product won't work as conceived after launching in App Store or Google Play. Remember mobile users are more and more challenging!

That’s why this is where you have to step out of your comfort zone for the first time. You should be aware that there is always startup inherent risk, but you can't keep mobile application ideas secret and execute them simultaneously. What you can do is to be smart and thoughtful with who you talk to.

Search for professional support - the best development companies offer consulting hours and creative workshops to outline the concept and define the vision in great detail.

Also, as software houses meet lots of app concepts (they get pitches from current and potential customers - everyone with 'brilliant mobile app ideas', 'creative app ideas' or 'unique app ideas' in their mind, which can be not so outstanding, that's a different story, though), you may be sure they have seen great successes and spectacular failures.

You should expect clear and valuable feedback (or even critical analysis) that will help you improve your mobile app! You can use this precise data to improve your idea, make it more user-friendly, or change the focus, and users' access - but it's best to do this with a development partner you trust

To summarize, software houses are good at what they do! So please remember that the Product Team needs to know your plans to perform its duties to the best abilities, otherwise, it won't be able to verify new mobile app ideas and then turn your dream into code. 

Don't worry, your concept will remain safe!

If you're in the initial stage of choosing a business partner or advisor, and you won't share any sensitive data (as your mobile app idea isn't defined and ready for execution yet), any special legal protection might not be required.

However, for more specific conditions where disclosure is essential, such as mobile app development (where source code, cloud-based data or other sensitive technical or business information is transferred), NDA may be useful to prevent startups' intellectual properties from leakage.

That is why common practice is to sign an NDA (a non-disclosure agreement, also known as a confidential disclosure agreement) before revealing trade secrets.

Most software houses offer to sign NDAs before you start cooperation. It is a common practice to protect your mobile app concept and get legal protection. NDA ensures confidentiality and set out the basic rules of how you and your software house will work together.

Such agreements usually specify that any specific project-related information cannot be shared with any third party for a certain amount of time.

What is more, it's not just about idea protection. NDAs help avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts further down the line.

NDA agreements describe the financial and legal consequences of breaching the parties' obligations (you can read more about free ways of IP rights protection tips here).

Software companies are aware of breaching consequences and do care about their reputation and financials. Your IP is protected and you have your idea behind a closed door, so you can discuss your concept without worrying.

Mobile apps require technology

You must define the technologies required for your product. You either need to learn them yourself or hire someone with expertise in product development, UX/UI, testing and startup scaling. You can't avoid doing one of these.

If we may suggest, don't waste your time on choosing a technology. The software house will advise you on the best technology stack for your purposes and build your product by suggesting the most effective mobile app solution.

Instead, focus on your idea and target audience to convince them of your product's value.

Remember, software companies work for your success! They need customers (and their capital) to breathe. They want to get money, so they cannot burn their boats!

They focus on receiving good ratings to win the next best new clients. They can't make it shine without you. You will let the world know if you got nicked, right? That is why they need you to feel happy and safe. They will not take away their customers' mobile app ideas but give them an outstanding appearance.

And here's the thing: building the app for your business concept requires time and effort. Software houses must balance profits and costs (including high salaries). They can obtain funds either by invoicing you (fast, secure and honest way - perfect!) or by stealing new app ideas with lots of legal, financial and business risks on the way (high monetary compensation, losing ratings and both current and future customers and projects - no sense!). 

You should find not only app developers but reliable partners

You will get shot painfully soon if there is nothing more than the vision you bring to the market. It is a top of an iceberg or a good skeleton of the future product, but it's still just an app idea.

Business requires engaging in entirely different areas. To achieve your dreams, you must have at least good industry or even niche-related skills, network strength or other leverage that will push the scaling machine and give you an edge. Agree?

Domain expertise, financial awareness, analytical thinking, management, emotional intelligence, team-building, networking & marketing skills are more than welcome. If you are not well-prepared, begin to think about it.

Let us stress this one more time. You may be conceiving the next great innovation, however, brilliant app ideas are useless if you don't have the skills to build them or a willingness to take the advantage of a reliable partner to execute them.

Look at it this way: as a customer, you're the one who prays the app will bring money (or at least your investor). At the end of the day, the market future of your app is your concern and your risk (software companies don't participate in your financial success or failure; which is another reason why they have no interest in stealing mobile app ideas!).

However, as it was already mentioned, your success is their success. Software houses aim to move forward together with their clients developing the business and app ideas further. That is why the customer-oriented software houses support their clients not only in product development; they don't put the dot after writing a code.

It would help if you searched for an end-2-end partner who will guide you from the fundraising (e.g. by polishing app ideas so they can be sure it is ready to be pitched to investors), through the startup, to the scale-up stage (yes, here in Pragmatic Coders, we customize our offer to your background so you will save money and decrease many risks of handovers).

Of course, it doesn't mean software companies will operate via your industry as well as you do, but they can draw your attention to the critical factors concerning not only app development. 

Let's get started!

To sum up, anyone can have an idea, but only the brave ones dare to execute it!

The problem with revolutionary ideas is that they are so well guarded that even their owners often do not know how to bring them to fruition. Inevitably, someone will come up with this idea out of nowhere sooner or later. The only question is, how much time will it take for this to happen?

Don't miss your chance! Too many would-be startups are crushed because of excessive secrecy, so stop worrying about revealing your idea to the software house. Instead, get ready, build your business and trust professionals.

Stay up to date! Contact us for an initial discussion or to explore your idea further. We'll be happy to help!

Article author

Martyna Jach

Finance & Administration Specialist

Back Office Consultant experienced in working with private sector entities, associations and educational institutions. Specialized in connecting the dots between finance, accounting, legal and operations.

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