One of the most common phrases that you hear from first-time founders is “But what if I share my startup idea, and someone steals it?” We are here to tell you that that’s the least of your worries in the early stage of developing an idea.
Here are 3 reasons why you shouldn't be afraid that someone will steal your idea:
1. Ideas don’t matter, the value comes from execution
You are an entrepreneur, not an inventor. While your idea might be the best one you’ve ever had, the idea is worth nothing without execution. As a founder, the real value comes from turning that idea into a business that makes money. That's why investors often say that they invest in the team, and not in the idea. With that being said, while someone might think your idea is interesting, it takes a lot of hard work and many years to turn that idea into a business.
2. Your first idea will develop, evolve, and change
Once you have an idea, your job is to go out and find out whether that idea is any good. While it might be a great idea, chances are, it will change and evolve as you learn more about your customers and your market. More often than not, the first idea that founders have is not the idea they end up building, but rather some version of it, or you might even end up with a completely different product in the end.
3. You will experience competition and they will steal your idea
Let’s say that you’ve kept your idea a secret, you told none about it until you already had customers on the market and you were ready to tell the world. Few months into the business, you are doing amazing, and suddenly competition comes in. They’ve seen how well you are doing and they've decided to build the exact same thing. What now? Will you close your business because someone stole your idea? No, you will get comfortable with the fact that competition exists, and it will always be there in one way or another. Your job is not to focus on them, your job is to focus on your customers and deliver value to make sure they choose you over and over again.
How do you share an idea, and get something out of it?
There’s a skill in sharing your idea in those early days. And the goal is not to show off how great your idea is, but to learn from as many people as possible whether that idea is worth anything. Building something in the dark without telling anyone rarely (if ever) results in a successful business. One way or another you have to get out there and test your hypothesis. The best way to do it is to get an understanding of whether people are facing the problem you are trying to solve.
You can do this by turning your idea into a hypothesis that you will test in the market. That means that you will try and understand whether the problem you are trying to solve exists. Let’s say you want to build a new cooking application for an iPad. Instead of telling people “Look, I built this amazing cooking app, how do you like it?”. Ask people “Do you cook? How do you get inspiration for recipes? Do you use cooking apps? Do you have an iPad? How often do you use it? What do you like about it? When was the last time you checked a recipe online? How did you end up looking at that website? …” You get the point.
So, next time you have a great idea and are afraid to share, just think about what’s more valuable. Learning whether your idea is worth anything, or building something in the dark that none wants to buy?
Our Startup School for Women Entrepreneurs in the Nordics is now open for applications. You can apply by visiting the link https://www.wpurpose.org/startup-school