An invention can be patented, but an idea cannot. To learn all the rules and regulations, visit www.uspto.gov, which is the site for the US Patent and Trademark office. It can be challenging to protect an idea. I suggest you meet with an attorney to see if a non-disclosure agreement would be of benefit to you.
Even if you're still in the planning stages for your new enterprise, it's never too soon to start thinking about these six operational issues that will impact and contribute to the success of your business.