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Stealing your business – should you be worried?

In the E-Myth video of Michael Gerber that we show at our Business Development Workshops Michael talks about the threat of hiring the wrong sort of people to work for you and how they may end up wanting to “steal your business”. You need to watch the video or read the E-Myth to fully understand why this is such a threat, but in essence it is about the fact that an E-Myth’d business should, by definition, not depend on you the business owner. Instead you have systems that ensure everything is done to a high standard every time. You may choose to make those systems available to everyone by franchising. Or you may find that the people who work for you have their own “entrepreneurial seizure” and decide to take what they have learned from you and set up their own business in competition. I guess there are two ways to look at this:

  • adopt an “abundance mentality” and give them your blessing
  • see this as a direct threat to the business you have created and your financial wellbeing.

Which you choose will depend on your attitude to a large extent, but it should also depend on the nature of your business and how unique it is. Some businesses depend on one or two very specific systems (usually automated operational systems, such as websites) where the Intellectual Property (IP) rights must be protected legally. But, for the vast majority of businesses, success only comes as a result of having many diverse systems in every area of the business including marketing, finances and leadership AND having the commitment to use them consistently. In practise, it takes far more than just having a knowledge of systems to actually use them to create a great business.

To protect your business, here are some Actions to take:

  1. make sure that you secure legally any IP rights that you can – especially operational systems.
  2. don’t let the fear of theft stop you continuing to systemise and innovate, especially in branding and customer care, which will always be the best protection from the competition.
  3. make sure to recruit the right people who will not steal your business.
  4. share the rewards of your business with the team and make it their business too, so they don’t have any need to go and set up on their own.

Read more from the E-Myth blog that inspired this blog posting. Please tell me what you think about this subject. PS: If you’d like to see the Gerber video, please email us. The first two people to do so can have a free place at the next Business Development Workshop.

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