Some entrepreneurs refuse to share their ideas with others. A wide variety of excuses are offered to justify “stealth” mode, but the undertone is almost always that the entrepreneur was the first to think of the idea, and sharing it might jeopardize that advantage. There are so few genuinely new ideas that you’re more likely to get struck by lightning than you are to think of an original idea. What’s more, it’s not about the idea, it’s about the execution. As Thomas Edison said, startups are one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. Think about how much time, effort, and energy you’ve put into your business so far. The person you’re worried about would have to turn his or her life upside down to compete with you.
Being overprotective will prevent you from getting the crucial feedback you need to learn and evolve your thinking. Sharing and brainstorming with others is remarkably advantageous. Especially in the very early stages, almost every conversation will lead to epiphanies or new perspectives that drastically improve your chances for success. In other words, you immediately handicap yourself if you don’t share your idea.
As an entrepreneur, your mission is to turn assumptions into facts as quickly as possible. This process begins with candid, open conversations about the customer pain and how you intend to solve it. Don’t be shy – you have to get feedback to set yourself up for success.