As a small business owner you must protect your intellectual property and your list. But this is getting harder to do. Today, it is easier for people to steal your content and hijack your friends. This is wrong. But, I see it happening every day. It is typically a new business owner or social media user who commits the faux pas.

Below are the latest acts of desperation I see people committing daily.

1. Copying business model – we all love having fans. However, fans need to remember that they should not steal or copy the exact business model of those they follow on social media. They can take what they like about a particular model but they need to then put their spin or personality into the business model and make it unique for their niche.

2. Hijacking friends – this is a big no- no. Recently, I held a live event. Imagine my surprise when my sponsors were solicited by someone from my LinkedIn list. The person had adopted a very similar platform for hosting a radio show as mine. Her pitch to my sponsors was filled with exaggerated claims and benefits for the sponsors. To add insult to injury the hijacker had not even taken the time to establish rapport with my sponsors. She had hijacked my sponsor list and was attempting to use it for her personal gain. In the end she just ended up wasting her time.

Another example of hijacking is when a person contacts people from your list and attempts to sell a product or service to the people on your list. This is not nice. Again, in the majority of the cases the person has not taken time to establish any type of rapport. They are just spamming your list in act of desperation to make a sale.

It is ok to friend your friends - friends but only if you make time to establish rapport and have a sincere interest in getting to know the person.

3. Stealing Intellectual Property – now that people are busy blogging, writing articles and posting status updates on social media it seems that people do not have a problem reposting the persons intellectual property as their own. This is stealing. If you wish to use someone’s intellectual property you must get permission first and provide the authors name and contact information.

Copying, hijacking and stealing from others online will probably not land you in jail. But, it is not ethical. When others discover what you are doing and yes they will notice; you will have ruined your reputation and tarnished your brand. Many business owners will sell you the private label rights to their programs, business models or Ecourses if you ask nicely. Do not steal, shoplift or hijack someone’s intellectual property. It may seem harmless but in the end – cheaters never prosper. You will lose.

Author's Bio: 

Dream Catcher, Business & Life Coaching is a Veteran Owned Business. Coach Jaynine is a retired United States Marine and former psychotherapist who works with Veterans and those on Active Duty. Jaynine will show you how to increase your visibility while developing your expertise. Whether you are a Veteran Business Owner or still on Active Duty, Coach Jaynine is the coach for you. She will teach you the systems and strategies needed to grow your business, have a successful military career, or transition into civilian life. You can start turning your dreams into reality by signing up for her free ecourse My 5 Secrets to Networking Success