This past year has been horrible. Between a global pandemic still raging on, an election that divided America, and countless businesses needing to shut their doors or conduct layoffs, it has been a tough year for the working American. However, through all of the craziness of the business news cycle, you may have missed a fact that made 2020 a unique year in the entrepreneurial world. More businesses are being started now than ever before. In 2021, “high propensity” business applications reached their highest quarterly level, on record. Ever. In fact, according to Oberlo, 4.41 million businesses were started in 2021.
With so many new everyday Americans becoming “covidpreneurs,” new founders may be asking themselves, “What if someone steals my idea?”
A quick search on Google will show legal services and articles about what to do if someone steals your idea, representing the sheer amount of people who have some concern.
However, it is important to overcome that concern, as sharing is critical in many aspects of the business including market research, decision making, and business development and leadership.
To help relieve the fear of sharing, there are steps below that uses U.S. statistics and reasoning. After reading through the steps, you can see why you should not only share your ideas but also how sharing itself can contribute to greater success.
For the steps, imagine you have a brilliant idea for an advertising company. Let’s take a look at the steps together to analyze the odds of someone taking your idea.
Step 1: Is the person you are sharing with even interested in starting a business now?
As we saw above, there were 4.41 million businesses started in the last year, however, there is a total population of 328.2 million people in the U.S. That puts the percentage chance of talking to someone who wants to start a business about your idea at 1.3%.
Step 2: Does the person relate to your idea?
In order for someone to successfully take your idea, they need to relate to it. Using our example, someone like a typical engineering professional doesn’t have the ability to relate to your idea, because they have very little knowledge and experience in advertising. However, if they were a business professional, they might be able to relate to your idea. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on jobs by industry and found that professional and business services accounted for 13% of total jobs in 2019.
After combining steps 1 and 2 there is a 0.169% chance that someone will take your idea.
Step 3: Does the person have the skill set to work with your idea?
This is where it gets more specific. If someone is an accountant, they may like your idea, be in the same industry, want to start a business, but will realize they don’t have the skillset to start an advertising company. StudentScholorships.org says there are 623,000 people who are employed as advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers. Comparing that to the total amount of professional and business jobs that is 29.2%.
After combining steps 1, 2, and 3 there is a .00493% chance.
Step 4: Does the person like your idea?
Finally, in order for someone to take your idea, they need to like it. According to a Harvard Business Review article, about 20% of ideas employees pitch, companies think are worth implementing. Let’s use that number here, as it is a good baseline of what percent of people like a new idea.
After combining steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 there is a 0.00987% chance that if you share your idea, it will be taken.
At this point, the chance of someone stealing your idea is almost the same percentage as the chance you will win an Oscar (1 in 11,500). (Which if you do, maybe you should consider acting!)
Is this method perfect? No. Is it still possible someone steals your idea? Yes. The point of this exercise is to talk about the risk. Business is all about calculated risk, and not sharing your idea puts your potential idea at a huge risk of not being successful.
The risk of not sharing your idea can be massive in comparison to its potential benefits including:
- Getting a unique perspective: No two people are the same, and every single person thinks differently. Sharing your idea with others, especially those in your market may give you a unique perspective or some new ideas you haven’t thought of.
- Having your idea built on: When sharing ideas, people want to give their opinion. As they highlight inefficiencies or aspects that could be improved, you’ll be encouraged to expand your thinking around the original idea.
- Forming a partnership: Sharing ideas can help you build partnerships. You may inspire the person you are talking with and they may want to form a partnership or even work for you!
- Making new connections and finding resources: Whether you share your idea with the entrepreneurial community who is always eager to help other entrepreneurs out, or friends and family, you may be referenced to others and be given the resources to help push your idea further along and get you closer to success.
Once you share your idea and fully develop it, you can share it even further to give yourself an even higher chance of success. Sharing is key.
With the current state of society today, we are sharing less and less with each other, but if you happen to be one of the brave people that is a covidpreneur, heed this message, if you want your idea to move as far as possible, it is critical to start sharing!
Samuel Sanders is an award-winning entrepreneur who has seen innovation, creativity, problem-solving, and ideation in many different levels. Currently, he runs Heard, LLC, a software application that helps governments and large companies get targeted and reviewed feedback from their citizens/employees to improve decision making. His award-winning and highly-praised new book is “Your Next Big Idea: Improve Your Creativity and Problem-Solving“.