When first launching your small business, you may be hesitant about telling friends or family for fear of judgement and doubt –and I don’t blame you. In my experience, most conversations involving a new business venture or “big idea” is met with silence or skepticism. While you may not want to deal with negativity, you absolutely shouldn’t keep your business a secret.
Here are 3 reasons entrepreneurs want to keep their startup a secret – and why they shouldn’t.
Waiting for the Right Time
Some may think it unwise to discuss their business until everything is finalized, but that’s not necessary. Whether your business is offering a service or a product, you don’t need every single nitty gritty detail figured out before you begin promoting your business. You can launch your business before certain things are in place, such as a solid social presence (shocking, I know) or even before your domain is purchased and tied to your website.
There is no “right time” to start sharing your business with the world. In fact, it’s wiser to start promoting your business before you know exactly where it’s headed because you may find partnerships or investors along the way that want to help shape your business into a successful one. With that being said, however, it’s not wise to begin putting money towards promoting your business if you don’t yet have a product to sell or the time to launch certain services. For example, if you have a major product set to launch in 6 months, don’t jump the gun and start creating hype now. Wait until closer to launch, or wait until the actual launch date. That way everything will be finalized (no surprise changes) and it will put you in a much better PR position for your brand.
Fear of Rejection
Nobody wants to be rejected. We, as humans, naturally want to be accepted. Although you may encounter some negativity, I think you’ll be surprised to find that those reactions will be far and few between. You should share your business idea with every single person you come into contact with - your friends, family, acquaintances, that person you sat next to at the concert, and everyone you will meet at this month’s networking event (you are networking, right?).
Perhaps the most important reason you should share your business with anyone and everyone is to get their honest feedback. The feedback you receive –both positive and negative- will greatly help shape your business, identify your true target market and surface any flaws in your business model during the early stages, which can save you time and money down the road!
Another reason you should share your business is because practice makes perfect. You want to have your pitch down solid before you begin pitching your business to those who can help make your business a success, such as potential investors and partners.
Fear of Someone Stealing Your Big Idea
Launching a business takes a lot of time and money, so it’s natural to feel protective of it. The reality is, however, that if someone does decide to steal your idea, it won’t be anyone worth batting an eye at. Those that matter (entrepreneurs) are busy with their own big ideas and have the mutual respect not to steal your business idea from underneath you. Another reason why that’s an unlikely scenario is because your product or service isn’t 100% unique. In other words, a similar concept already exists so it’s not like entrepreneurs will be coming at you from all directions like buzzards around roadkill.
What sets you apart from the competition is going to be your execution. Successful companies succeed with the right mix of leadership, timing, marketing, and trial and error. If you’re still hesitant about sharing your big idea, just avoid certain groups of people, like entrepreneurs in the same industry with a very similar idea/concept.
You, as a business owner, have far more to gain than lose by sharing your business idea with others (honest feedback, free marketing, partnerships, etc). Choosing to start a business can be a very exciting time in your life, so embrace it, learn from it, and succeed at it!