Myth for Small Business Owners: You Should Guard Your Ideas So Someone Doesn’t Steal Them!
There is a certain unhealthy paranoia with many small business owners when it comes to sharing their ideas. Most won’t do it, at least not willingly.
Many have a fear that other people, either inside or outside their organization, will steal that idea and capitalize on it. Get over yourself! I know it may sometimes feel that as the owner you’re supposed to have all the answers. Guess what, you don’t! And that’s OK. You’re not supposed to.
Your job isn’t to have all the answers, but instead help your organization get all the answers it needs. That’s why it’s so important to have good people in your world and to get them involved in helping you transform those ideas into reality. But that won’t happen without you opening up to share your business ideas with others.
Reasons to Share Your Business Ideas
A couple of things happen when you openly share your ideas with others:
- You’ll get better and more ideas
- You build trust and loyalty with your team
- Other people step up to help execute those ideas and even take ownership of them
- Some ideas get discarded quickly (so you don’t waste time on them)
- You get a better sense of who your best people are
We encourage our business-coaching clients to hold quarterly meetings with their teams and spend at least half a day sharing and pouring over ideas people have to make the company better. You’d be amazed what you hear from your team when you get them involved and ask for their input. Some of their ideas may be very simple to execute and can be put into place the next day. Others will take a little more effort to become reality, but they will now see just how difficult it can be to take something from the idea stage to reality. Turning that idea into profits doesn’t happen easily or overnight.
We’ve all seen products on the market and thought to ourselves, “I wish I thought of that.” The key as a business owner isn’t necessarily thinking of all the ideas. Instead it is being able to ensure that all the best ideas get uncovered and moved forward by your organization. Those ideas won’t be forthcoming from your team unless you as the leader are leading by example and sharing your ideas. Your team will follow your lead. If you teach them to be paranoid about sharing their ideas then that’s what you’ll get.
Remember that your job description as the owner and CEO can be summed up in three words: plan, direct, control. Planning involves getting the best ideas to the surface and then laying out a roadmap to turn those ideas into profitable realities. If you choose to be open and share your ideas and get your team involved in the planning, you will find that it’s much easier to direct your team so they can help on the execution of those ideas.
I’ve been blessed to work with a lot of successful people and organizations in my career. One thing I know for sure is that none of those successful people have done it alone. In fact, the most successful ones have the best teams around them, typically full of people who are smarter than the leader. So why wouldn’t you want to share your ideas with those types of people?!
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