Sharing a Start-up Idea
I have met several aspiring entrepreneurs who feel very possessive about their idea. They want to get feedback, business advice, opinion on their ideas; but they are not willing to share the idea in detail. I tell them one thing, ideas are for free, but the execution is what really matters.
Ideas can be broadly divided into two categories,
– Improve the world
Enhance an existing business model by solving some specific problems in it whether it’s around new features, user experience, customizations, service model, costing etc. Also it removes the myth that an idea should be new or unique in order to become a great business. We will cover later how the improvements in various existing business models have actually led to the most successful companies around.
– Change the world
These are the ideas which are typically revolutionary, more futuristic, disruptive, and exploratory. Such revolutionary ideas are tougher to execute and succeed. They can more challenging and exciting, and highly successful if they work. Very few entrepreneurs and investors operate in this category ideas’ execution and investing.
Getting an idea is easy. We can dream, look for inspiration around, look for potential problems and their solutions, try and foresee how the future should be, etc. and come up with an idea. Typically the next step is to validate whether it is a good idea and can become a sustainable business, or whether it can be exciting enough to explore. This needs some brainstorming and thinking in the dark, with several known unknowns, and unknowns unknowns at the early stages of analysis. Executing the idea and converting it into a business is the most tough task. Most leaders are comfortable sharing their plans for the future; they are happy to discuss and debate with others how things may look like. Because the idea itself is not necessarily the distinction factor, but execution of the idea is. We all may have had similar ideas, but the only person who went and executed the idea has always mattered.
Some additional thoughts on why sharing the idea maybe a useful process:
– free advice and feedback is always useful
– sometimes you can sense who is excited by your idea and it can lead you to potential investor (s) / team member(s) etc.
– if somebody else executes your idea after you had shared it, it’s not a bad result either. It means that somebody else believes in your idea, is willing to invest into its execution, educate the market, and you can start at a later stage and enhance the idea’s execution further. Many a times not being the first one to execute an idea can be very useful. In general, there tend to be less first time execution success stories.
-Google was not the first search engine (alta vista, and various others had existed before), but Google has dominated the internet search business
– iPod was not the first digital music device (creative and various other companies had such devices in the market), but iPod has clearly swept the market in the last decade
– Facebook was not the first social network (MySpace, Orkut etc. had existed from before), but Facebook has become the most used social network
There is a great quote here on ideas sharing by great people, “Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things and small people talk about people”