How secretive should you be with your startup idea?

July 11, 2013

9:00 am

The simple answer to how secretive you should be about your startup idea is that you should not be secretive at all. Of course, you do not want to talk about it to anyone and everyone since they might not be interested, and talking to them will just be a waste of time and energy. However, you do want to talk about it to anyone you believe can potentially invest in your company, or partner with you, or become your customer – or at the minimum, give you great feedback.

A few things to keep in mind with that million dollar idea of yours:


Everyone with entrepreneurial spirits, who you fear will steal your idea, has their own set of ideas. They are certainly more passionate about their idea than yours. Even if they are not building any of their ideas at the moment, chances are zero that they will drop everything and rob you.


If your idea is worth building and there is no one live with it yet, almost 100 percent of the time, that idea of yours has occurred to many others already – and chances are that someone is already building it. You already have competition. This does not mean that you are late. It only means that you are on the right track because it validates your idea altogether.


Unless you can sell your idea almost before you build it, it’s not worth building it. Noah Kagan has a full-blown course which helps you sell before you build. I recommend you check it out. You cannot sell unless you talk to people about the solution you are planning to provide.


A new idea that occurs to you definitely excites you a lot. Mentally, you are all for it and have decided to build it out. Being entrepreneurial, you would also not mind investing a major part of your savings building it and starting it right this moment. At this point, your vision is blurred, and you won’t be able to see anything that can fail this idea. Talking to someone might just grant you the ‘aha’ moment of why you do not want to invest in it or make changes to its execution.

That being said, every entrepreneur is different and has her own style of working. If you still do not want to share your idea with anyone, do ensure you build out a minimal product without spending too much time and money on building it completely right, according to your vision. If you can sell the bare-bone idea, you will certainly have the first mover’s advantage and enough traction to build it forward.

Happy bootstrapping!

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Jinesh Parekh is the CEO of a Ruby on Rails consulting boutique, Idyllic. Idyllic focusses on building web and mobile solutions led by user experience design that solves real business problems. You can reach out to Jinesh at jparekh [at] idyllic [dot] co.

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