Small business owners often believe they don’t have any kind of confidential information that needs protection—but they’re wrong! Although you may not be developing a product that will be the best thing ever invented since Post-it notes, your company has information that would best be kept private. Why? Because if it would go beyond you, your business partners, contractors, and vendors, it could jeopardize your competitive position in the market—and ultimately the success of your business.
You’ve worked hard to start your business, so it makes sense to protect your company’s confidential information. That’s why you should consider asking the people and entities you do business with to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement).
Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) Basics
NDAs are generally simple and to-the-point contracts that bind someone to not disclose your company’s secrets to others. As you share things like marketing strategies, financial data, competitive analyses, or other sensitive data with vendors, partners, contractors, etc., an NDA serves to gain agreement that you’re in a confidential relationship and private information shouldn’t be revealed to anyone outside of that relationship.
Anyone to whom you plan to give access to sensitive information should sign your NDA when you start sharing information with them. That’s generally at the time you start working together or when you hire them to do work for you. Sometimes you may want to ask for it even earlier if you’re disclosing details during the process of exploring whether or not you want to work with each other. Because NDAs are usually very simple, straightforward documents and a customary part of doing business, you will likely get no pushback when you ask someone to sign one.
What Your Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) Should Include
Most NDAs should specify…
- The kind of information that should be kept confidential. Although many people keep this very broad, I recommend being as specific as possible to ensure parties are clear on their obligations and restrictions on sharing information.
- The length of time information should remain confidential.
- What will happen if there’s a breach of the contract.
- What method of resolution will be taken in the event of a breach.
What to Do If Someone Violates Your Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA)
Again, I advise that your NDA details how you will address disputes or breaches. Many small businesses choose arbitration over going through the court system to reach a resolution. Although that may work well for some legal matters, I believe in this situation it’s best to retain an attorney. A lawyer can help you in recovering any damages. And if the other party is found guilty of breaching your NDA, they can be held responsible for covering your attorney fees.
Where to Get a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) For Your Business
You can find samples and templates for NDAs online (for example, on sites such as Upcounsel). Various small business resource organizations, like SCORE, also have NDAs you can use as a starting point and modify for your specific situation.
Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s) Are A No-Brainer!
As I shared earlier, requesting people to sign an NDA has become a normal part of doing business these days. With very little reason not to use one, I encourage you to ask every new vendor, contractor, and partner to sign an NDA. Realize, however, that NDAs do not absolutely guarantee someone won’t mistreat your sensitive information. You still need to exercise caution and maintain a healthy dose of common sense as you share details with other people.
Are you ready to protect your company’s confidential information? Call CorpNet at 1-888-449-2638 and order your copy of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) today and start asking the people and entities you do business with to sign your Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)!