“I’m starting a business but I can’t tell you, it’s a secret. I don’t want anyone stealing my idea.”

Just a quick thought as this is often a fear amongst small business owners or new entrepreneurs: don’t be afraid of businesses or ideas that seem exactly like your idea.
A common thing we see or hear when mentoring budding entrepreneurs is, “I’m starting a business but I can’t tell you, it’s a secret. I don’t want anyone stealing my idea.” Secrets don’t get you anywhere, and they definitely won’t get you vital feedback or direction.

Remember this when you feel that nervous anxiety that your idea is TOO good to tell a soul:

  • If your business idea is THAT good, there will be copycats and competitors, it is the proof to your investors and customers this is a viable business
  • Competitors can help you source best practices and gaps in the market
  • Competitors make YOUR business even more visible in the market
  • No one can execute your vision to your precise details, nor can they match your passion if you are truly passionate about it

So don’t cower at the face of competition or copycats, revel that your idea makes sense to other people. Rise to the challenge of building a stronger product or create a different/ better value proposition.
There’s really no need to be whispering, share, brainstorm, build and launch.

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4 responses to ““I’m starting a business but I can’t tell you, it’s a secret. I don’t want anyone stealing my idea.”

  1. There are other reasons for not telling your business idea or your intention to start one to other people. Mine was that I didn't want people to get expectations, or start asking too many questions, think suddenly I would get rich, lose my day job if my boss would get to know about it, or with those in-laws of mine, being flooded with unsollicitated advices and have the explain myself afterwards why I didn't do this or that, contact this person and so on.

  2. Actually today is the official start up oh my own Computer Training & Services Business Called ACTs and this is what happened to me. Last summer my son who that is taking web page design course at a local College and he needed to design a a web page for a made up business as part of a test. I was in the start up faze of my business and he asked me if I could help him and so I did.But I gave the actual name of my business, what my business is about, what the services are and my bio, contacts and so on. He then created the web page and designed it for his course and posted on the Internet for four days as part of the test for this course. That was last August, two months later I stumble across this local ad for a business on an Online Classified site. It was called different then the name I choose, but all the services on this business web site, was almost duplicate to what I am offering. They reworded it and posted it up and it really upset me to see this posted in my same city. Sure I was upset at first, then I remembered something I mentioned in my business training sessions. Competition for Business is good, it just forces you to dig deep and search your heart desires for your own business. I also remember I have a friend who opened up a Computer store just up the block from another and he is doing fine, it didn't stop him. Now with even my zeal, I want to make my business work, in has been on my heart for over five years to start up this business. This other company may have copied my material, but they can't copy my desire and drive for this dream of mine. This is my dream that I will make come true and not turn out to be a nightmare.

  3. Echoing, or agreeing with part of Kathleen's comment. Reasons to keep quiet about it include having to deal with the fallout if I don't go ahead with my idea. I have an idea, but if I tell everyone “I'm going into business as a ________”, and then later on I realize it's not a viable business idea, then I am left having to explain why I didn't say what I said I would do. Then I just look indecisive or scared or like I lack commitment, when in fact I may have made the wisest choice possible, to not go ahead with something which I couldn't make a strong business case for.

  4. Correction to minor typo below. Should read: “having to explain why I didn't DO what I said I would do.”

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