I am involved as a cofounder in a tech/software company. My associate is bringing initial funding and is conversant with finance/accounting, facilities/infrastructure and general organizational matters.
I will be bringing in the technology strategy and leadership, business strategy, initial business contracts as well as a stable of contacts with promise of business for the future.
I believe I have a well-worked out business vision and strategy, which, when executed, will work very well for us as the years pass.
Strategy or vision, while being essential for a startup, is rather abstract and invisible, except when executed properly to fetch revenues. However, I'd like to see if there is a way in which I can obtain and preserve credit for coming up with a well-documented business strategy which is a key component of my foundational input.
What instruments do I have for obtaining such protection? Copyright? Patent? What else?
Has anyone among you sought such protection for your business ideas before?
Short answer: no, but...
Long answer: Sorry, there really isn't a tool in IP law to protect "business ideas". Practically speaking, though, it sounds like what you're looking for is attribution: recognition as the person who developed the style of doing business. One solution may be authoring some articles in influential trade magazines or presenting a paper on it at a conference.
Besides that, protecting the idea as a trade secret may be the only other option for you.
Copyright protects only fixed expressions of an idea; not the idea itself.
Trademark protects designations of origin: company or product names, colors, etc.
Patent theoretically can protect "business methods", but this is a very expensive and specific area which is under constant change lately, and thus uncertain.