Idea stealing is a discussion I often have with independent service professionals and business owners afraid to participate in group type learning environments or entrepreneurs who feel certain that they’re in possession of the next big whatever.
The independent service professional or business owner – “Why would I come to a session like the one you’re proposing where I don’t know the other attendees? I don’t feel comfortable sharing my ideas. I’d much prefer to have a one on one session with you.”
Budding entrepreneur “You have no idea how Trinidadians are Giselle. There is no ethics, no integrity. Someone sitting on a bank roll will see your idea, like it and just hire people to develop it. You have to be VERY careful this rounds!”
While I understand their fears my concern is that this type of thinking keeps them stuck and if they wait around long enough they probably WILL see their idea manifested – just not by them!
Dan Kennedy tells us that without exposure to others’ thinking your own range of thought shrinks. Soon, you’re a MENTAL MIDGET. Your range of thought narrows, like your range of motion shrinks if you don’t move and stretch. Napoleon Hill insisted that part of the Think and Grow Rich Formula involves forming a Master Mind Group. Yet we’re afraid to do this too for the same reasons shared earlier.
Here is something that you need to remind yourself of regularly: There is no shortage of ideas, everyone has a good idea; it’s THE EXECUTION OF THE IDEA that is key. People often focus and put too much value on an idea when what is valuable is the process of turning that idea into a real and viable product or service that makes money. And therein lies the fulcrum point of differentiation.
Next – take a Sharpie and make your own wall poster where you will stick up somewhere where you’ll see it EVERYDAY, saying “THEY MIGHT STEAL MY IDEA BUT THEY CAN NEVER STEAL WHAT MATTERS!”
What matters is your vision. They might steal your idea but they don’t know anything about where you’re taking this idea of yours, what you see in one year, five years, or ten years down the road. They have no idea what your business model is either. It’s like the guy who steals your stuff and sells it for far less than its worth. He is hustling. He does not recognize the REAL value of what he’s stolen.
How did you come by your idea? What was the process? Was it born out of some frustration you saw others experiencing; frustrations that you experienced first-hand? You built your idea from a deep understanding of the problem. The person who steals your idea will never have this insight.
You started on the road to bring your idea to birth because of your passion to see whatever it is come to life right? Jason Baptiste, CEO of Onswipe says “People stealing ideas are often followers. They are a product of the passion and vision you have displayed to them. They may often get passionate about the idea for a few days, but that passion will surely fade almost instantly once they realize the difficulties that lie ahead. Since an idea is just a snapshot, they will often lose passion/energy once they find themselves lost as to what lies beyond that one snapshot.”
They may steal your idea but they cannot steal your talent. What you’re good at, why customers do business with YOU cannot be duplicated. They cannot steal your brand – that which is unique to you and you only. How everything is put together – how you think, process, analyse; your values, your purpose cannot be duplicated. They’ll soon realize post theft that they don’t have the skills required to implement the idea. Think about Zappos. They sell shoes. If someone were to try to copy Zappos they’d be setting up an on-line retail store to sell shoes. What makes Zappos different is its unique way of delivering service. It takes a certain kind of person to work at Zappos. Their HR methods are distinct. They even give tours to the general public where people can see employees on some days dressed in costumes. You can mimic everything that you SEE on the surface but not be able to duplicate the essence of a brand. Don’t EVER forget that!
Want to test your fear level? Do as Chris Dixon, Investor at Andreessen Horowitz suggests “If you want to start a company and are working on new ideas, here’s how I’ve always done it and how I recommend you do it. Be the opposite of secretive. Create a Google spreadsheet where you list every idea you can think, even really half-baked ones. Include ideas you hear about (make sure you keep track of who had which idea so you can credit them/include them later). Then take the spreadsheet and show it to every smart person you can get a meeting with and walk through each idea. Talk to VCs, entrepreneurs, potential customers, and people working at big companies in relevant industries. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn. The odds that someone will hear an idea and go start a competitor are close to zero. The odds you’ll learn which ideas are good and bad and how to improve them are very high.”
If you’re still not convinced, be comforted by the fact that the majority of folks are not DOERS. Sure they’ll steal your idea but only if it’s easy to implement and can make quick money. But if you find yourself sticking because you’re afraid of possible theft, just remember that your idea itself is worthless. Only if implemented will anything happen. There are rewards only for those who are DOING something.
Consider Dan Rockwell’s advice “Forget about one. Think two. An ancient proverb says, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labour.” Everyone needs a “with.” Who can you stand with? Who can stand with you?” You have to TRUST somebody.
You have to ACT on your idea. Dan assures “Courage is taking action while thinking of reasons not to.
- Start small.
- Start now. Starting is the most important thing you’ll do today.
- Start “with.”
Courage needs a next step; fear needs a guarantee.