You’ve probably heard this before...
“you should never tell anyone your business idea”
Well, I strongly disagree with this statement and here’s why. When you’re in the process of conceiving a solution, it’s helpful to understand if your idea has the potential to work. Gradually sharing your thoughts not only brings your idea to life but it allows for immediate feedback and exposes gaps in your vision.
Further, the rationale behind this myth has been miscommunicated for decades — we plan to compete not by keeping our ideas secret, but by building the best possible team and by creating the best possible solution— remaining silent seriously hinders both from happening.
I was warned from very early on to hug my idea tightly as people truly believed it could challenge the status quo of what already existed; but I simply refused. Fast forward three years and the by-product of being vulnerable has resulted in a powerful team and an eclectic mix of mentors, advisors and champions…however it’s been a very lonely journey up until nine months ago.
I was obsessed; I couldn’t stop thinking about what I wanted to create and bring into the world. I began to look at every interaction differently and I spent an abnormal time alone — often at 4 o’clock in the morning, cornered in the loft with a whiteboard and pen.
I struggled to concentrate in class, I’d leave early so I could rent a cubicle at the library, I packed lunch every morning so I could pocket my student loan, I sold revision notes and my own branded clothes throughout my degree to learn the basics of business, and continued tutoring on the weekends to feed my passion.
I’m a very insular and independent person so forgoing control and ownership has been one of the most frustrating learning experience to date; but by far the most exciting — I’ve discovered that passion permeates everything you do and people want to partner with people with passion — having a vision so vivid that others begin to imagine a world in which your idea exists is very special.
The second I bumped into my now co-founder, I felt a deep sense of connection and I knew we were onto something. We spent the first three months working together to understand if this partnership would be worth investigating further. During this period I discovered the power of storytelling to the point where I now strongly believe that the ability to tell stories is foundational to being successful.
I’ve experienced it first hand as well as observed my peers, high profile founders and long standing CEO’s utilise this medium to assemble communities…and so when I was kindly granted the opportunity to pitch at Foundervine’s event held at PwC I poured every ounce of energy into telling a compelling story.
Up until this moment the idea of pitching never crossed my mind as I have zero intentions of raising money. However, I knew that over 100 people were going to be present in the room and it would have been impractical to converse with even 10% of the crowd.
I thought, projecting my voice to each corner of the room will allow me to quickly introduce myself and my idea to everyone who’s attention I could steal — problem solved.
Even though I had rehearsed my delivery over a dozen times the energy from the crowd propelled me over the finish-line before I reached the last slide.
Lesson number one, cut your presentation in half after you think you’ve finished. I also learnt that the pace at which you take the listener through your story matters; much more than I ever imagined.
We only had three minutes to present so every second counted. I wanted to be relatable, I wanted to demonstrate my passion, and I wanted to convey my idea in a manner that inspired— even though I tried, I failed in many ways and that was beautiful as experiences compound only if you’re strong enough to trust the process.
Communities such as Foundervine are invaluable; they extrapolate the principles that family is built upon to a wider community of people who are in the process of becoming. They give a voice to the voiceless, they present a stage to those who have been overshadowed, and they support even from afar.
Attending the Summer Gathering event heightened my confidence and gave me a platform to share my idea; and for that, I’m forever grateful. Now, let’s imagine that I declined the space I was allocated out of fear that another member would steal my idea. I wouldn’t have developed my public speaking, I wouldn’t have met all the people that came and spoke to me after, I wouldn’t have had the chance to spread awareness on a subject matter that’s close to my heart, and I wouldn’t have been able to reshape my presentation…this list could go on forever.
Has anyone stole my idea? Maybe; but I haven’t lost sleep over that as competition fuels my ambition and all that matters at the end of the day is execution. Be bold, be brave and be comfortable with letting go.
Mercurius Saad is the CEO & Co-Founder of Tutorbloc - a trusted online community platform that facilities the interaction between tutors and students through the power of technology, mentorship and exposure.