By Jared O’Toole
I had a conversation awhile back with a young entrepreneur that frustrated me beyond belief. It went something like this…
“I’m looking for some advice on this amazing idea I have but I can’t tell you anything about it. All I can say is we will be competing with sites like eBay and when this idea gets out everybody is going to try and take it. I mean seriously its amazing and there is nothing like it out there where it’s a win, win, win for everyone involved. We’re projected to do about a quarter of eBay’s business in 2 years and eventually make them irrelevant. We will be launching in 6 months and I mean it will be a no brainer for people to use it. I just can’t tell you anything about it.” – Extremely excited young entrepreneur
Now I’m not saying this kid doesn’t have a brilliant idea or he isn’t the next Mark Zuckerberg but a conversation like this sets off a million alerts in my head. I’ve seen it all before and while it’s passionate, it’s a mindset that sets you up to fall off a cliff. Here are 10 things that go off in my head when I have a conversation like that.
1. Being super secret
You may think you have the greatest idea in the world and if you even give a single hint at what it is everyone is going to steal it. The reality is that no one cares about your idea until it makes a million dollars. Odds are most people won’t have you vision or understand why your solution is that much better than what’s already out there.
Now there may be certain parts of your idea that make it special but that doesn’t mean you have to give it all away. You have to be able to get feedback, advice and thoughts from your potential customers but that doesn’t mean showing them the nuts & bolts of your algorithms. You will do a lot more good than harm by letting people in rather than blocking the entire world out.
2. All knowing
Every young business owner makes the mistake that they have all the answers and knows more than mentors or even their customers. No one else has this great idea or has done it before so how can they be able to help?
The best thing you can do when starting out is seek all the advice possible. Even if its not directly about your business you need to learn about the industry, the leaders and everything you can about the business world. You have to be learning everyday to succeed in business.
3. Dreaming of a billion before $1
Who doesn’t have a billion dollar idea? Ask any group of first time business owners and you will have multiple people proclaim their company will do just a billion dollars or so in the near future. Many of them will make claims of being the next Facebook, eBay, Amazon and so on.
Now it’s important to dream big because its those dreams that get you through those long nights and days of work before you ever see a dime. Just understand you have a long way to go before a billion, million or even a salary that supports you should be mentioned. Where, when, and how is that first dollar being made?