Here’s what happens when you talk about your idea:
- People give you ideas on how to improve it
- You find out where people would expect to buy it
- You find out how much people might be willing to pay
- You find out if anyone besides you and your mom think it is really a good idea
- You find out if something like it already exists that you just didn’t know about
- You find out if something like it was already tried and didn’t work out
- You find out if it is possible to even make it
- You find out whether or not you could actually get it in front of your intended market
- You can decide whether or not to keep working on it without spending much time or money
Of course, by talking about it, there is a very small chance one of the people you talk to could decide they like the idea so much they want to steal it. Now, 99% of the people you talk about it with will have so much going on in their own lives, even if they wanted to steal it, they just don’t have the time, passion or money to do anything about it.
For the other 1% (or less, more likely) who might consider stealing it and would have the ability to do so, you can do several things:
- Ask them to sign a non disclosure agreement
- Don’t disclose all the info, only enough for them to evaluate the specific question you are asking
- Don’t show it to someone obviously in a much better position to act on it, with a ready willingness to do so
Although, there is the risk you interpret the above list to literally and don’t show it to exactly the industry people who you most need to get an evaluation from.
The fear of theft is a mental block that many entrepreneurs have a hard time overcoming because they are so emotionally invested in their idea. But you have to try and be logical and look at the odds.
The odds of an idea being stolen are so much lower than the odds of you succeeding. Without getting valuable feedback from people who can help you take your idea and shape it into something that can actually sell, you are really handicapping your chances. Not taking the chance to test your idea is simply foolish, and drastically increases your chances of wasting your time and money on something that won’t work the way t is.
It might have worked, had you gotten responses and made changes, but now you are out of money and your ability and motivation to do it a second time is gone.
That is what happens when you don’t talk about your idea because you are worried it will get stolen: you develop it in the dark, and come out with something too expensive, or to awkward, or that not enough people want, or that can’t get to market, or any other of a million flaws, any one of which will keep it from success.
You have to get over your fear of talking about your startup idea, or else be willing to accept much, much lower chances of success.