Can Business Plans Be Copyrighted?

When it comes to business – specifically running one that is successful – it is important to establish a business plan to help guide you through the process. 

Can Business Plans Be Copyrighted

This can be useful for a number of different reasons, and also doubles as your pitch when seeking potential sponsorship or investment opportunities.

What’s more, it is an important representation of your intended goals and ideals, which is why it is important to protect them from outside influences. 

But can you actually copyright a business plan, and if so, how do you do this? 

What Is A Business Plan? 

Generally speaking, a business plan is an actual written document detailing your proposed business idea, company goals, and your forecasted trajectory that you want to achieve within a specific time frame. 

The exact specifics of your business plan can vary, and likewise, business plans can also change should you discover that your original plan is not feasible. 

Business plans can also highlight the business model – i.e. what products or services you wish to offer – as well as any financial requirements and projections, desired outcomes, and any strategies you might have thus far in the process. 

What Are Business Plans Useful For? 

Within the running of a business, there are many uses that a business plan can have- particularly when getting a small business off the ground. 

Attaining Financial Aid

Should you need financial aid – such as a bank loan, or outside investors – then a business plan can be a great way of ironing out what you intend to do, how likely you are to achieve your goals, and what exactly you require financially to make that happen. 

A solid business plan can instill confidence in investors and banking institutions, standing you in better stead when it comes to receiving the money and support you need. 

Business plans can also be catered and honed for this exact purpose – focusing more on the facts and figures, as well as the sufficient evidence as to your track record, and the success predictions of your business model.

To do this, there are also various templates available from online sources – and these can be a big help if you are unsure where to start. 

Maintaining Focus

Like any plan, business plans take all of the swirling information you have in your head, and lay them out in order to make them more manageable.

By and large, this can make a previously difficult undertaking seem much more doable, and can help to restore and maintain focus and drive when starting your own business. 

Just as investors and banks will need to see proof and planning to feel confident, so do the owners themselves, and this can be a good way of reminding yourself how airtight your idea really is. 

Connecting With Goals

It is also a good way to document your intended goals, the paths you intend to take to meet them, and the time frame for your prospective achievements.

This can not only be a good way to motivate yourself early on – as it helps you to envision a successful future – but it can also be a good way of reminding yourself of your plans and goals when you inevitably hit a wall, or feel doubt, further down the road. 

As with any plan, it will be full of the clarity and optimism that you started with, and this can be invaluable to those who are entrenched in the first year of their business with little idea of where to turn. 

Making Predictions

After making plans, and hopefully seeing those plans begin to fall into place as the timeline progresses, you can also use these plans to forecast predictions for the future too. 

This is not a necessity, but it can help you should you need to attain more funding, find sponsors, or just give yourself the confidence you need to make informed decisions for the future. 

Can You Copyright Business Plans? 

Can You Copyright Business Plans 

When it comes to protecting your business plan, there are several things you first need to consider.

Firstly, you need to really ascertain whether what you have written is sufficient enough to be copyrighted in the first place. This ultimately comes down to the length of the plan, and the detail of the content. 

One sentence regarding your business is unlikely to attain such protection, however, if you have an extremely detailed plan of your proposed business, then you might well be eligible for copyright protection to ensure no one steals your ideas. 

How To Copyright Your Business Plan

If this is the case, and you wish to protect your plans from outside influence or theft, then you will need to look into getting your work copyrighted. Luckily, this couldn’t be simpler, and there are various resources available to help you along the way. 

Step One

The first thing you need to do is check the validity of your idea – specifically whether or not it can feasibly be copyrighted. 

To do this, you will need to make contact with the US copyright Office, which offers eight distinct categories within which your business would most likely fit. If it does not fit into any of those categories in any shape or form, then you might not be able to attain a copyright. 

However, if your business cannot be copyrighted, you can also look into getting a patent – although this can take more work to achieve. 

Step Two

You then need to make sure your idea is presented in a way that perfectly spells out what you intend to do, what you think you will achieve, and the timeline by which you foresee this occurring. 

It is important not to beat around the bush, and to focus on presenting the facts clearly in a way that can be understood. 

Also, for some business models – namely a creative idea or program that you intend to start – you will need to actually create the idea (or organize it) in some form to obtain a copyright. 

Step Three

You then need to fill out the appropriate paperwork. This can be found online, and is fairly standard and straightforward for this kind of thing. 

This is where you give your details, and fill out the necessary information pertaining to your business idea, and what you want copyrighted. 

Step Four

You then need to submit the form, along with the document itself and any registration fees you might need to supply. 

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about business plans, and whether or not they can be copyrighted. 

It’s true that business plans can be incredibly useful – especially for those looking to start a small business, or engage with self employment ventures – and can really help to give you some perspective as to your trajectory and goals.

However, it is also important to protect your plans from outside influence – especially if you have a niche that you want to corner as you progress in business. So, if you are looking to protect your business plan, then be sure to follow this handy technique.

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