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Should business owners keep secrets?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2020 | intellectual property & trade secrets

While managing employees, you have likely distinguished between two diametrically-opposing mindsets. Some show up consistently and do what you ask them to do, without question. And others seek, and potentially require, further understanding about your business operations.

A worker’s position, tenure and advancement prospects may convince you to allow increased transparency. However, protecting your interests is vital. As such, it may be best to require a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before sharing sensitive information.

What is an NDA?

Also called a confidentiality agreement, an NDA may be an essential part of concealing your business information from competitors. Whether this serves to protect your intellectual property, expansion plans or client information, an NDA legally prohibits a worker from sharing information gained under your employ.

Discussions of a potential deal between your business and another may also involve an NDA. In this case, both companies would agree not to release information about the other.

What kind of information would you want to keep private?

Disclosing your proprietary information may be one of the worst things you could do in business. The things that set you apart must remain secret to maintain your competitive edge.

Examples of information you may protect in an NDA include:

  • Trade secrets
  • Computer applications, programs and software
  • Sales and distribution strategies
  • Innovative ideas, research and developments
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Contractor, supplier and vendor information

The nature of your business may determine different agreements among those working in various capacities. And you may want to include a non-compete clause for some of your higher-level employees.

Possibly, you will not experience problems related to information leaks. However, regardless of how much you trust those around you, an NDA will inform your employees about the facts and figures they may not divulge. And should a potential problem surface, you can refer to your documentation to support your case.