Dr. Dan Nathanson
Anderson Graduate School of Business UCLA
How much should I tell people about my idea when preparing my business plan?
Many people think their idea is gold. Ideas are a dime a dozen. People think, "If I tell anyone about this idea, they're going to steal it from me. So I've got to keep it quiet, write the plan, and all of a sudden come out with the product or service of development.
I can tell you this, ninety nine percent of the cases nobody is going to steal your idea. Your idea is not worth all that much. What's worth it is the execution. Can you pull it off? Can you take that idea and make it happen. And that is what is important. And that is what investors look for.
So the whole idea… let's go back and say, "What is a business plan about?" Because, why are you writing a business plan in the first place? You're writing a business plan as a road map, and as a communication devise. If it's as a communication devise, you're communicating to investors, partners, employees, potential customers, a whole bunch of people and that is what a plan is about. If it is a communication devise, you have to communicate.
Now I'm not saying to go and you have a technology idea or for a medical devise or something and just spill the beans. You have to get the proper IP or patent protection at some points in time. But most entrepreneurs air on the other side of keeping it so quiet they are not getting feedback they need for their business venture.