Entrepreneurs: Talk About Your Idea, No One Will Steal It!


On the occasion of our recent workshop ” Innovate as a startup “, on February 9th, we covered the techniques and attitudes that allow us to go faster: to find an idea faster, to create a product faster. , to arrive faster on the market.

Several tips and practices generated a lot of feedback from participants, founders of startups, established business leaders and marketers working in large companies. Among the questions that have emerged, an issue that comes up very frequently in all our exchanges with entrepreneurs and startups:

“But if I talk to everyone about my idea, I’m afraid they’ll steal it from me!”

Then there was a very interesting discussion between the participants (it is one of the richness of these workshops!)

The fears to unveil his idea are natural. However, if one looks frankly and objectively on the issue, one finds that entrepreneurs derive many benefits to widely share their idea around them. Including that of saving time!

Error # 1: “I’m not talking about my idea until it’s finalized”

In fact, it’s the other way around that you should do. Share your startup idea, your new product or service project with as many people as possible. On the one hand, it’s a great training for a pitcher, that is to say, present your idea quickly and convincingly. If you have in mind to solicit investors, as you prepare with a public more “tolerant” before you embark on the course of the big. On the other hand, by talking about your idea with a large number of people, you collect their feedback, their reactions, their suggestions. So much way to test your idea to improve your idea or transform it if it does not seem to convince. Testing your idea up front helps you avoid wasting time on an idea that will not sell.

Error # 2: “My idea is too innovative and unique for me to talk about it”

Sorry to disappoint you but no, clearly no. As proof, many similar products or services already exist. And it is also very likely that if you had this great idea, others are also working on this idea – or a similar idea. It’s like that, it does not matter and it’s pretty good: it means there is a market! What will make the difference between them and you, it is not the originality of the idea but the way to execute it, to pass from the idea to the reality. It involves many factors and skills far beyond the idea itself: building a team, managing a project, setting up processes …

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Mistake # 3: “I’ll steal my idea as soon as I talk about it”

Entrepreneurial paranoia is a scourge for the entrepreneur. Your idea has a very low risk of being stolen. If by chance, most of the people you talk to find it excellent, a tiny part of these people might want to sting you. On this tiny part, few have the talent, the resources and the real motivation to do it. And among those – or rather the one – who would take action well equipped, the fact to have spoken widely around you will have allowed you to collect information, support, and ideas for improvements to get ahead. You will have received more help. The risk of being robbed of his idea is actually a false problem.

Mistake # 4: “I can talk about it but by signing confidentiality agreements to everyone”

The famous NDA (non-disclosure agreement), a very formal confidentiality agreement that surrounds your idea of secrecy and formality. One of the participants in our “Innovate as a startup” workshop is developing mobile applications. According to his experience, none of the projects on which he has signed an NDA has come into being. This is an experience that we also share with My Marketing Manager. Why? Managing the communication of your idea – which does not yet exist at this stage – considerably slows the creation process by putting a “legal” obstacle. You force a partner / potential client to contract with you. We are not talking about showing pieces of code but only about talking about an idea.

Why should you talk as quickly as possible about your idea to as many people as possible?

As you can see, keeping your idea secret is a bad idea. The reality is that we do not succeed alone, despite a myth still very present of the “self-made” entrepreneur. Sharing your idea as widely as possible has many benefits for the entrepreneur:

  1. Clarify and refine your idea by collecting reactions, feedback, and suggestions from others
  2. Test your idea to validate the interest of potential users (or not)
  3. Find a community of supporters, the most convinced people (early adopters)
  4. Work your pitch to become more and more convincing
  5. Attract stakeholders, i.e other actors who will help him to start his business or his product more quickly (partners, support, talents, etc.)

And if you steal your idea? Do you say one thing:

” If someone steals your idea, he will never have the same passion as you because it does not come from him ” – Joel Gascoigne