After many months of late nights and early mornings spent in the garage, your brilliant one-of-a-kind startup idea has finally come alive. Except there’s just one little problem: No one has ever heard of you or your product, and no one wants to use it. All the hard work you spent keeping your innovation under the radar from sneaky tech giants ready to rip you off, has led your company missing out on all of the important steps necessary to properly go from idea to conception.
Startup Misconceptions: An Overview
Entrepreneurs are often time afraid to share their new ideas with the world for many reasons. For one they believe their idea is too unique to be shared and will eventually be stolen. Another reason being, they are afraid that their product or idea still needs to be refined and is not ready for the main stage. An entrepreneur is destined to fail if they abide by these misconceptions. In order to create a successful startup you need to understand what the market values, as well as be able to create a buzz around your product to form a great team and attract investors. In order to do this you simply can’t keep your idea a secret.
The Fear of MVP’s
In Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup, he talks about the many benefits of building a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP is used to gain valuable feedback from early adopters in order to better develop a product. It’s important for an entrepreneur to be able to share a low quality in-progress version of their innovation to early adopters in order to quickly cycle through the build-measure- learn feedback loop. Reis stresses the importance of validated learning in order to build a product that people want. In order to grow your business into a sustainable enterprise the entrepreneur must learn as quickly as possible what the marketplace values enough to pay for.
Adapting quickly will lead to faster and more productive building, which leads to more measuring and even more learning. If the entrepreneur is afraid of imperfection at this stage in the process, he should fear even more releasing an official version to the world full of bugs and features that deter users. Even worse, imagine investing tons of time and money into an idea that no one even wants or cares about.
A great example of entrepreneurs who didn’t fear perception of an initial rudimentary and low quality idea, is Groupon’s two pizzas for the price of one concept. If the founders would have disregarded their idea, and not shared it with the world, they would not be able to learn what the market values and build a product that is valuable. It’s important to embrace MVP’s and understand what the market values. You simply can’t do this by keeping your idea a secret. Your product shouldn’t be perfect at this point, and it’s necessary to share your innovation in order to quickly learn and continue building.
Why No One Will Steal Your Startup Idea
The harsh reality is that most people probably won’t even care about your idea. If you’re afraid of a big company stealing your idea, stop worrying. Large companies are already building the next big thing, and if your idea is not included in their plans then they probably don’t see your idea as being worthwhile in the first place.
In the Lean Startup, Ries, confident that your idea will not be stolen, encourages you to call up the relevant product manager at a well established company and pitch them one of your ideas. He guarantees almost nothing will come about doing so. He explains how managers at these large companies are too busy prioritizing their own ideas, and won’t be able to execute a specific idea as fast as a startup can. If you are afraid other entrepreneurs in your startup community might steal your idea, it’s likely that they are busy themselves working on their own ventures and won’t stop their long progress to knock off your idea. However, sharing your new idea with the startup community can open doors and help you build a solid team needed to succeed by attracting talent willing to work on your idea.
The reality is, that you’ll more than likely need other team members to help put in the 90-hour work weeks with you. Lastly, it all comes down to execution. There are numerous similar products on the market today, but the ones that survive are the ones who know how to execute their plans the best. For example, Uber and Airbnb were not the first of their kinds, but saw success due to their planning and execution. The hardest part is even getting your startup noticed in the first place. So stop remaining in stealth mode and share your startup idea the world. The benefit of doing so is invaluable.
About the Author
Nate White is a full-time undergraduate student currently pursuing a degree in business at UNLV. Having briefly worked as an intern for an early-stage startup in Philadelphia, Nate knew he wanted to continue down the path of entrepreneurship. Nate plans on starting his own business, and loves gaining more knowledge about the other side of entrepreneurship---venture capital.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RVF or UNLV. In addition, thoughts and opinions are subject to change and this article is intended to provide an opinion of the author at the time of writing this article. All data and information is for informational purposes only.