One of our most frequently asked questions here at Chop Dawg is, “Should I keep my new company a secret?”
I’m not going to write a long blog post just to give you the answer at the end. Instead, let’s start with it.
Keeping your new company, your new product, your new startup a secret, is pointless, stupid, absurd and counter-intuitive to your goals.
Now that we have the harsh truth out of the way, let’s dive into the why.
Why is it stupid to keep your new startup a secret?
Well, for most of the people who ask this question, they immediately counter with that their idea is going to be stolen.
Here is the unfortunate truth, no, your idea will not be stolen. Why?
Let’s start off with the fact that this is an actual theft that you could sue for, and guess what, you would win. Why? Because this is theft.
And, anyone can have an idea, or a billion ideas, but what most people can’t do is take that idea and build something. That is just to hard for the thieves of this world. They are too lazy. But perhaps the true and most honest reason of all, though, is because no one is going to steal your idea.
Mark Zuckerberg’s tales with the Winklevoss twins is the exception to the rule, the story that makes for a great Hollywood story… which coincidentally, it became.
Another reality is that for those talented enough to build your idea — they are too busy, and they are focusing on things they already care about and want to work on.
Do they truly want to drop everything and dive into a brand new industry? Do they really want a brand new project to take and start working from ground zero? And, oh yeah, you’ll have a personal (and legal) vendetta against them?
The biggest concept people need to understand about keeping their idea a secret, is the fact of how many opportunities will be missed out on. You should be telling everyone who is willing to listen to you about your new startup.
Potential media personalities.
Yes, even potential designers and developers.
Why? I’ll tell you why. Not only is this called marketing, which is something you are going to need to get people working, hiring and using your new startup right at the get-go, but most importantly of all, you are going to receive real feedback.
The feedback that could be the difference between your company succeeding, failing, earning an additional million in revenue next year, or telling you not to waste your time and energy.
The real reason most people keep their startup a secret, in my perspective, isn’t because they are afraid of building hype too early or having their idea stolen. No, the true, honest, real reason why most people keep their idea a secret is because they’re afraid of rejection and failure.
By putting yourself out there and in the open, you’re in your most vulnerable state. The fact you want to be an entrepreneur means you have an ego, which is perfectly okay — but that does mean, odds are, your ego can be hurt, which no one wants.
But guess what? You need to learn to let that go, and the quicker you let the nay-sayers go as an entrepreneur, the more success that you will have. No doubt about that. As an entrepreneur you may as well face the fact that people are going to tell you every two seconds that you suck, your idea sucks, and that you will never make it.
Now let’s be real here for a minute.
It is okay to hold off telling the world about your new startup early in order to time hype and traction.
If you’re in the middle of a one-year development project to launch, and have ten months still to go, then yes, telling the world may be foolish.
However, don’t interpret timing to being a secret, to not telling a soul.
You should embrace real feedback, embrace learning early, embrace building a list of real users and customers for day one. When you do, you’re going to be much more successful, you’re going to hit the ground running that much faster, and funny enough, you probably won’t be contacting a lawyer about someone stealing your idea.