EntrepreneurDo you have a startup idea but aren’t taking the leap because of fear of someone else stealing your idea? This is a common problem for many people who want to pursue their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. You might think the only way to disclose information about your “unique” startup idea is by having people sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or filing a patent request. This may have been true in the past, but these days entrepreneurs openly discuss their ideas with their peers and with their networks. This concept of open communication fosters innovation and results in thousands of new ideas churning every day.

In this post, we’re discussing why your hesitation might be getting in the way of pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams. We’d like to help you overcome your fear of sharing too much and want to help you understand that it’s highly unlikely someone is going to steal your ideas (patent or not).

First ask yourself, “Is my idea truly original?”

If you have been toying with an idea, do your research first. If you find you don’t have any direct competitors, keep searching. There is always someone out there who has a similar idea or trying to fulfill a similar need. When you research and understand your competition, you’ll understand why your product is different. You’ll also begin to understand why your product or service has the potential to be better fit for the market you are trying to reach.

Talk to your network. Your family, friends, and/or significant other might see something you haven’t seen, or can give you encouraging feedback to improve upon your idea. In most cases, people will tell you what your product or service reminds them of. They might see your product or service comparable to a competitor that you hadn’t thought of.

Not everyone wants the same thing as you.

Realistically, even if someone has a similar idea to you, they might not approach it in the same way. Everyone is searching after his own answer and pursuing his own dream. Any goal involves investing time, effort, and money, all of which might not be readily available to your competitors. On the other hand, all resources could be available to your competitor instead of you, in which case you might need to come up with a new plan of action. Another factor that goes into pursuing anything is passion. Your passion and drive are what make you unique. It would be very difficult for someone to replicate that and then produce the exact same results. In fact, competitors might realize a different answer to the same problem and something entirely different could be created.

How does your startup pitch sound?

Your friends and family might not be telling you what you need to hear when you practice your pitch to them. Talk to your external network and ask them to give you feedback. It’s important not to feel comfortable with the people you practice on. Your pitch might be too long or too short. People might lose interest in what you’re talking about, or not understand your goals and objectives. Ignore your fear and take a risk.  With practice, you’ll begin improving your pitch until you’re ready to nail it in front of investors.

Keep an open mind and be willing to change.

If your product or service isn’t getting the reaction you were expecting, try to understand why instead of getting defensive. Take notes on any criticism and feedback you discover along the way. These takeaways will ultimately help you tweak your idea to fit the market. Open discussions with your network will also help improve your idea because you might learn something that you couldn’t see beforehand.

Just remember that although someone might have a similar idea to you, they won’t be able to replicate your distinct idea. Use your resources, create open dialogue, and don’t be afraid to change the direction of your startup. If you stay passionate and hungry, we’re confident you’ll be able to achieve the goals you set out for yourself.

Do you have entrepreneurial experiences to share? We’d love to hear from you! If you liked this post, leave us a comment below or tweet us @domaindotcom.