My mom encourages me to become an entrepreneur. We are both quite fascinated by tech and the Internet. But being a 90’s kid, I am around the same age as the Internet, so me and mom have obviously grown up in significantly different times. She thinks that if I go around talking to people, someone might steal my idea.
Observing the evolution of the mobile phone from the untimely classic of Nokia 3310 to today’s Iphone 6, I have always appreciated but perceived as something completely normal my access to the World Wide Web and all the wonders that one can find there.
Consequently, my generation doesn’t know what the world was before the Internet. In our minds, it is nothing unusual to be able to go on Google and learn about absolutely anything. Instantly and for free. We are used to transferring and downloading all kinds of data just the same way. Maybe we take it for granted which we shouldn’t do as in 2014 more than 4.4 billion people still don’t have access to the Internet.
Just as the Internet (and all the knowledge and information that it provides) should be accessible to everyone, entrepreneurs genuinely believe in sharing all kinds of know-how, experience and contacts between each other for free. They are more than glad to help anyone who is facing something they have already been through and never get tired of sharing their idea with the next person they meet. (The “they’re going to steal my idea” thought never crosses their mind.) Why?
Because they know that you never know what your vision can do to the person in front of you. Even if it’s a complete stranger that you’ve been talking to for the past 3.6 minutes, maybe this complete stranger will be your tech co-founder you’ve been struggling to find or the product specialist you need in your team or even your next investor? Or he might as well tell you about the entrepreneurship contest he had won that looks surprisingly like the perfect next step for the development of your own startup. Never underestimate the sweet nature of serendipity.
A lot of times the person in front of you won’t be your next UX designer or the volunteer who falls in love with your project and suggests to somehow get involved, but in order for the world to learn about your idea you have to talk about it ALL THE TIME. If you don’t do it, then how are you going to validate your idea and get any customers?
Use every opportunity to find what people think about your business concept. Carefully remember their reactions and questions because after all you are building something for them. You want to see how people’s faces change when they hear about your product and you want them to want to use it.
I’m sure that being a founder of an early-stage startup means pitching, pitching and some more… pitching. I reckon it might get a bit tiring to repeat the same things again and again. But if you feel that this really is your mission, you won’t get tired of it and people will see the* spark in your eyes* that doesn’t go away even after making the same presentation that introduces you, your company and your team for the 1000th time.
Moreover, we all know what people mean by* iteration.* It’s the constant improvement of your product while building features, receiving customer feedback (which is the #1 driver of a successful customer experience strategy according to this study) and going back to change and polish. By talking to literally everyone about what you are doing, you are creating an endless human network to test and criticize your work. It is up to you to get the maximum value out of every conversation and win the attention of the person so that they want to keep an eye on your future development.
So when my mother tells me to keep things to myself because someone might steal my idea (she says that with a most serious tone), I can’t agree. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I wasn’t ready to passionately share my vision with every person I meet. Go out today and talk about how you think you can change the world. Even if you haven’t started building anything yet. Ask people if they are facing the same problem as you and about the way they are currently dealing with it. See how they feel about your solution. Start from there and see what happens.