Seth Godin once said the time to start selling your book is three years before writing it. Most writers and aspiring entrepreneurs come up with an idea, leap into the project, and try to figure out how to sell it after the fact. A far better approach is to build a platform of interest in advance, put out samples or snippets and get your fans, followers and enthusiasts salivating. Then, release the final product to large fanfare. Boom! Build it and they will come only works in Hollywood folks.
Henry Ford's biggest problem with his first attempt at the automobile was spending all of his time on the engineering and mechanics of his new idea, while ignoring the need for marketing. Sound familiar? Well, he failed because the general public was not ready for his approach. By the time he made his third attempt, which was also close to failing, the public was just about primed. A group of investors swooped in at the crucial moment to keep the Ford Motor Company afloat. The rest, as they say, is history.
Over 100 years later, entrepreneurs continue to make the same mistake. New entrepreneurs that is, for those who have been around the game for a while know better. Ask a new entrepreneur why the secrecy and they often respond, "But what if someone steals my idea?" Sigh.
No One Wants To Steal Your Idea
This may come as a shock to many of you but most of our ideas are crap, but buried in this heap is a gem or two. Because most of our ideas stink, who would ever want to steal them? If you have a genuinely good idea, rest assured you are not the only one thinking about it. While you come up with new ways to protect your gem, another innovator is across town talking up her own version and getting much needed feedback. How many times have you seen a new product and thought to yourself, I thought of that! Yep, while you were busy thinking, someone else was executing.
Identify Crap Early
One of the benefits of sharing your idea (only with those who matter by the way) is you can get outside of your own head where every idea is the next big thing and into the real world. You may discover you are attempting to solve a problem that does not exist.
Or, like my buddy @jamesoliverjr over at WeMontage, you may receive validation that you are indeed on to something. Far from keeping his baby all to himself, James is everywhere talking about WeMontage and his efforts are finally paying off. Had he opted to keep it all to himself, he would still be at his kitchen table struggling. Kudos to James for knowing better.
Those Who Matter
Spend your time getting feedback from potential investors, those in your market and other influencers. This is not the time to get the opinion of friends and relatives who can do little to help you in your efforts. This is the opposite extreme of keeping everything to yourself.
Godspeed and I look forward to seeing you in The Players Lounge.