Here is a true story of what happened some years back. A man (lets call him Mandebvu) places an advert in the newspapers inviting prospective lessees interested in leasing his land for commercial purposes. Hundreds of people respond and he invites them to an interview. During the interview he asks each applicant what sort of business they would like to undertake at his 2 hectare land along Simon Mazorodze Road.
Each applicant divulges information of what sort of business they would like to undertake, whether its profitable and how they would like to pay rental fees. At the end of interviews Mr Mandebvu promises all interviewees that he will respond to them in due course and will lease out his land to the best offer.
Two weeks later what does Mr Mandebvu do? Instead of leasing land as per the advert and interviews, he decides to implement the best business idea from one of the people he interviewed!!! He turns his land into a truck inn located along Simon Mazorodze…what a fraud! It turns out that he hoodwinked the public, he was not interested in leasing his land but interested in poaching business ideas from members of the public. He got free business information fraudulently!
Now this unethical business practice is said to be happening even in the banking sector where you submit your business proposal and someone within the banking system sees the potential of your business and they will turn down your credit application and go on and implement your business ideas, your business models or projects.
In some cases you are invited to rent commercial properties, once your business is thriving, goodwill developed, reliable clientele base developed and guess what will happen next? Your terms of lease agreements are altered or you are frustrated to leave so that the owner of the property can take over your business ideas.
Even ZBIN has not been spared. We gave funds to a well-known website developer to develop a website for the forum. Instead of registering www.zbin.co.zw under our name what does he do? He goes on to register www.zbin.co.zw under his name and changes the name of the site from Zimbabwe Business Ideas and Network and names it Zimbabwe Business Investors Network lol. He took all the website ideas and transferred it to this copy website.
He was a member of ZBIN who had followed all discussions, all updates of what we were doing and our dreams and aspirations. He saw the potential and unethically diverted our website. This is why ZBIN’s website is registered in USA under the dot.com address instead of dot.co.zw, someone unethically registered our name. Now the problem with stealing ideas is that your business will not last. If you are unethical then it is going to cost you in the long run. Take for example this rogue website developer, he was probably going to get a lot of mileage by associating with us. I had told him to do an excellent job so that more ZBIN members will be inspired and engage his services-so he will not get any positive mileage from us.
So we will encourage our members to exercise caution when conducting business activities be it interviews, potential partnerships or rent agreement negotiations. There are a lot of sharks out there who are looking at poaching business ideas. In next instalment I will talk about intellectual property and registering patents.
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