Ok – thats a little harsh – I might find your idea interesting, amusing, even inspiring.
But… to turn that idea into a business takes time, effort and resource – and guess what, I’m using a lot of that developing the dozens of ideas I had on my own without adding yours to the mix.
It’s not your fault – after all the ‘ideas man’ has always been the bright one in the team, Brains from the Double Deckers (70’s childrens tv reference), Spock (ok he was really good at other stuff as well) – ideas are like currency, they’re the lifeblood of a business.
I used to think that ideas were where the money was but that was before I started a business and found out just how hard it is to turn any kind of idea into a product. Our first software product was a great example – it took me about 10 minutes to come up with the idea, a year to write the code and when I finished it I was quite proud of it, until I realised that I had built a better mousetrap but hadn’t told anybody. Marketing is at least as big a budget item as development and it took me a while to figure that out. And then of course there’s distribution and support – if you’re a one man band ( as I was when I started) you probably haven’t got much in the tank for this, but you will crash and burn if you don’t do it well.
I don’t think many people get paid to simply have ideas – execution is where the money is and if you want to push the point even further I would argue that you can have a mediocre idea executed reasonably well, market the heck out of it and make a very good living !
So if you want a really short meeting, come in to see me suggesting that you have a great idea and all you need me to do is build it for you and take all the risk, and even better we can split the money 50/50…
And if you want to be physically removed from the building, tell me that you have to ‘Speculate to accumulate’ .. strangely the people who have said this to me most are the ones who want me to do all the speculation so they can do a bit of accumulating.
What I want from a prospective partner is to see them taking some risk – it doesn’t have to be financial, but this is generally the most tangible way to demonstrate commitment. You could for example offer to part fund a project in return for a stake in future revenue, or you could offer to walk away from your day job to fully commit to supporting some of my engineers as they develop something that will take the market by storm, now we can talk.. because I know what it’s like to have to sell my car to make payroll or to have the bank hold my house in the palm of their hand as guarantee against a loan – those experiences ask a lot of questions and if you have answers maybe you can move to level 2.
If we’re both on the same page in regard to risk most of the other stuff will probably be easy to resolve. I’m not arguing against proper contracts and agreements – and for the record I really like ideas too .. but let’s not elevate them above the status they deserve alongside all the other stuff we have to deal with as business owners.