I own a software development company and receive regular meeting requests from entrepreneurs and smb’s looking to get their idea developed. Unfortunately most of these meetings never take place because there are so many people who think they need to protect their idea by asking me to sign a non disclosure agreement.
Whenever someone asks me to sign an NDA, my standard response is that I wont sign one. This always leads to the question “Why not?” – So here are the main reasons why I won’t sign an NDA.
#1 – Your NDA creates a legal liability for me and my other clients.
What If I was already working on a similar idea with another client or for myself? I’d be legally obligated to cease my work. What if the project didn’t move forward and someone came along the next week with a similar idea? I’d have to decline it. I’m pretty sure you know where I’m going with this. It makes zero sense for me to sign an NDA to help guide you through your business.
#2 You show a lack of seriousness and business acumen.
You should not need any kind of legal protection in place to discuss your business in high-level terms. If you feel the need to legally protect yourself from me in an initial meeting, it tells me a that you don’t own your Intellectual Property and are not far along in your processes. At this point my guess is you need some business consulting, which I’d be happy to charge you for.
#3 Your idea isn’t worth anything without development.
I have a dozen good ideas that I haven’t executed yet. Almost everyone has a great business idea in the back of their mind and the reality is that most ideas already exist in some form or another. What you need to understand is the value of your business idea is zero until you execute on it.
Wrapping it up
I’m a busy guy, with a busy company and we have no time or need to steal your idea. We’re busy winning the internet in our own way. If you have done significant R&D, already have a product in place and need additional help or have very confidential personal data that is exposed, I’d likely sign an NDA that speaks specifically to those things. If not, just know that my answer to you is that I won’t sign your NDA.