Many entrepreneurs working on new ideas, seem to live with this assumption that Idea Sharing = Idea Stealing. That is, if I as an entrepreneur share my idea with others, they will steal it and make it their own. Garnering this notion, they fail to share details of their project, about what solution they are building or which the real problem they are solving. This does not give an opportunity for the person on the other side, however competent he is, to give constructive feedback or be the devil’s advocate. Hence, entrepreneurs may land up working on their idea in vacuum.
This approach leads to a lot of lost opportunities, such as, missing out on opportunity in getting:
- any relevant information
- useful contacts
- feedback, approval or criticism
or even a missed opportunity in creating a genuine relationship. All of the above are fairly important for an entrepreneur working on a new idea.
Here is another and better approach, which as entrepreneurs we believe in and propagate:
- Just an idea is not worth any value
- True value is derived out of the team that works on the idea, the planning, knowledge and the final execution
As founders and the core team, the secret lies in your strategy. However, this needs validation and refinement from various kinds of people:
- Potential investors: They can give us feedback from the investors’ point-of-view, thus helping us refine our idea or pitch. Also, since these guys, interact with a lot of young companies and entrepreneurs with ideas; they are in a position to tell us if our idea will work or if any such thing already exists.
- Entrepreneurs: These are the guys who are brimming with ideas and who will always have a word of wisdom or two. They are well networked and update about the startup world. These guys can help in validating the idea and refine the thoughts.
- Potential customers: Who best to learn from than the end user?
- Other people: People in general, who do not have the domain knowledge about what you are doing. Try selling your idea’s power to them. That experience will surely teach you a thing or two.
You can always choose not to talk about some sensitive/confidential parts of your business. Other than that, the more you talk about your idea that much more refined the concept / pitch will get, as we tend to improve our pitch with each sharing. It is a natural mending method that helps crystallize our thoughts. So, all you entrepreneurs with idea; share them!
Also would love to build the discussion, so go on comment on either of the blogs..
Couple of good posts about why “VCs don’t sign NDAs”, before entrepreneurs share the ideas: