Startups do what they do mostly in complete isolation, alone, taking on the world with an army of one for many reasons. I think this is not the best approach if you want success in your startup.
Working with entrepreneurs in the startup scene I found the reasons for doing everything on their own to be caused by many different factors.
Yes, yes, I know cash is tight and it will be if you are employing people to do your work or to build your business. Have you thought about creating new businesses with other startups? Most startups do not. I have done it a lot and with a good rate of success and spending very little money.
People steal ideas! Really?
Most conversations with startups consist of a large portion of “how do I protect my idea” and the paranoia of them losing their billion Dollar idea. I see this as the biggest cause of entrepreneurial loneliness but I also see it as one of the biggest issues holding back the creation of successful new businesses.
I wrote an article in July about the fear that everyone will steal your idea and so I will not repeat what I have said there: http://www.willemgous.com/will-i-really-steal-your-brilliant-idea/
The immovable rock
Many entrepreneurs have a good “first idea” however the problem arises that their idea will remain as it was birthed until the entrepreneur runs out of money. They are not there to take any honest, real world feedback about their idea. When you talk to them about maybe changing it to fit a market better they simply start ignoring you. They are like religious zealots with unshakeable faith that their idea is the only true successful idea and that the world will eventually convert to their view if they only try hard enough to preach that to the world. They forget the world of commerce and working with customers is a two way street. I remember a conversation I had with a two-man startup a while back and I asked, “What would make this idea of yours fail?” to which they replied “Nothing! There is nothing that can make this fail!” Needless to say, I did not get involved with them in trying to make that business a success. They are like love struck lovers in these romantic movies that only see the good in the other and refuses to see the reality and rather build something lasting on reality but rather stick to fiction. That brings me to my following point.
The Doctor Evil effect
In the movie Austin Powers the writer Mike Myers created a villain by the name of Doctor Evil. Needless to say Doctor Evil wants to rule the world and do so from his evil chair in his evil lair. HE WANTS EVERYTHING! HE WANTS THE WORLD! THE WHOLE WORLD!
In essence what they want is 100% of their idea and not share anything with anyone else. For them anything less than 100% would mean they capitulated to some external force and that makes them less of an startup. So at all costs, even their houses, marriages and time with their children, they try to make sure that they retain 100% of their idea to maximize the Doctor Evil effect.
Let’s stop doing this all alone! Please.
All of these above mentioned problems can be overcome and with great benefit to all.
An idea is your reality
The ideas you have are shaped by your reality and the brilliant idea speaks to your reality, only your reality until you stop and listen. Have you thought how does it speak to someone else’s reality? Does it even have a place or reason for existence in their world? Sharing and discussing your idea with others will help you see if your idea stands only to benefit the world you live in or benefit the world that millions of people live in.
This is almost like playing Lego. You are testing your Lego brick (idea) to see where else it will fit.
Staying with the theme of playing Lego and seeing your idea as a Lego brick I want you to start getting other people to build your idea with you. Everyone who has ever had a business idea basically is walking around with a Lego brick. Why don’t we get together with all of our bricks and see what we can build. I was watching Bloomberg TV the other night and they had an interview with the CEO of Lego and he pointed out that a with 6 Lego brick of 6 x 3 measure you can have more than 915million different ways of putting them together. What will happen when you put 6 people each with a business idea together in a room? What can come from that?
A world of ideas
Letting go of your fear around having your idea stolen and trying to become a self-made millionaire (bwahahahahaha. I cannot stand the lie people tell in saying they are self-made millionaires.) could lead to an amazing startup experience of exploration and creation. You just have to make that choice of sharing and creating with others.
Mostly driven by fear of loss and feedback we are trying to change our financial futures alone and reducing our chances of success in the process. Learn to create with other. Together we can build something bigger than what we could ever build on our own. So go out and take another startup for coffee today.
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