Ideas are just the start
If you never tell people about your ideas, you will not get far. Not only do you need a great mentor or advisory board–as we discussed in part 5 of our Taking the Scary Out of Startup series–but you will need a team or at least some outside help at some point.
At Traklight, we firmly believe that products and services need to be developed with customers’ input. This means not only a beta test but continuous feedback and new product development should be done with customers as testers. Sounds great but some might think, “No way am I telling anyone about my idea and sharing a mockup, beta version, or prototype.” This may be a case to have your potential customers sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), and the perfect example for why contracts matter. Like other legal documents, you should not just grab one off the Internet, but instead seek professional help.
It is good to be prudent about NDAs but there is a time and place for that type of protection–check out our blog To NDA or Not to NDA for more explanation. We are not suggesting you post your ideas online without protection. Instead we are suggesting that you are cautious and take care but still find people you can trust to provide feedback.
If someone will not sign a NDA, you need to evaluate your risk and weigh that against moving your idea forward. There can sometimes be creative ways to evaluate partnerships, such as using 3rd parties or presenting some of your idea and leaving some secret bits out.
Not sure that you even have IP to risk? Take our risk quiz to find out.