Innovation and new ideas
I am frequently approached by people who want to share a new business idea with me. Usually the pitch is accompanied by a good amount of mystery and secrecy: “Andre, I’m telling you this because I trust you, but don’t tell anyone; this could be big”. Let me summarize what I tell friends who approach me like that.
First, don’t worry too much about secrecy. Your new idea is likely not as innovative as you think, it has probably come up before in one way or another. And even if it is (almost) that groundbreaking, you will only be able to go somewhere by sharing it with other people who can give you useful feedback and leads. The chances of someone stealing your idea are probably slimmer than you turning it into a business without sharing it with others. Competent people are busy and know how time-consuming and risky it is to start something new. They normally also don’t want to have their reputation ruined by stealing someone’s idea.
Second, ask yourself what YOU would bring to the table. Are you business savvy enough to turn this idea into a startup? Do you have the relevant technical skills to lead the development of this product/service? Money to invest? Relevant network in the industry? Time to dedicate along with the passion (almost obsession!) needed to persevere? If you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions, then great, you should move forward. Try to find the people and resources needed to complement your skillset and hit the road!
However, if the answers are straight “no’s”, I am sorry to say you should probably let go of this particular idea and try to think of another one, where you can see yourself playing a relevant role in the process of turning it into a business. Only then will you be able to mobilize the resources (human and capital) needed to turn your idea into a new venture.
To illustrate this, once a friend came to me with an interesting concept for a mobile app. However, he didn’t have experience in business or in the relevant sector, didn’t know how to develop an app (or oversee its development, for that matter), didn’t have money to invest, didn’t know anyone in the industry, and was not willing to invest a significant amount of his time on it. He actually thought that just by coming up with the idea others would partner with him and do all the legwork.
Don’t expect that someone will start a company with you just because you had a decent idea, especially because the concept will evolve/change as the business matures. The initial idea is nothing but a small spark in the long journey that lays ahead of turning it into an innovative, sustainable business. Planning, building, trying, learning, rebuilding, learning some more, executing – that’s what turns ideas into innovations and innovations into businesses.
Ideas are just ideas… We all have tons of them.
See also Startup Investors Explained. Image: shutterstock.com
Have you ever had a business idea? What did you make of it? Leave us a comment!