We’d sat across the table from one another talking generally about business and opportunities when my friend told me he had an idea for a new business. ‘Great,’ I said. ‘Why don’t you tell me more?’
‘I’d rather not,’ my friend said, ‘as I don’t think it’s really right to share it at the moment.’
‘Right?’ I asked. ‘You mean you’re not sure if it’s the right idea or that you’ve not got the idea right?’
‘Neither,’ they said, ‘I don’t think it’s right to tell you incase you take my idea and do it; or perhaps mention it to someone else and they do it first.’
‘Well,’ I remarked, ‘I think it’s unlikely that will happen. Actually, maybe us talking might give you another thought or idea about the project which could actually help?’
‘Yeah, maybe,’ they said indifferently, ‘but either way, I’d rather not take the chance.’
In 2010, a small group of wellness enthusiasts gathered around a kitchen table with a vision of a new kind of protein bar that would be junk-free and delicious and would revolutionise the way people enjoyed healthy snacks.
As a result of their meeting, they got to work on producing Quest Bars, which they made with rolling pins and hand-held knives in a small hourly rental kitchen. By the end of that year, following increasing demand, they’d leased new premises and had purchased their first machine to automate the process.
By the end of 2013, Quest Nutrition had hit $82.6 million dollars annual revenue with 630 employees and had grown 57,347.9% over three years. Founders Tom Bilyeu, Ron Penna and Mike Osborn attributed their growth to ‘effective online marketing and products customers actually enjoy.’ Importantly, their products were created on custom machines that were built to specification as a result of discussing their production requirements with the head of another firm’s manufacturing.
Now consider this.
Imagine at the start of 2010 you’d bumped into founders Tom Bilyeu, Ron Penna and Mike Osborn and, over a coffee, they’d told you about their plans to create ‘a new kind of protein bar which would be junk free and delicious and would revolutionaise the way people enjoyed healthy snacks’ and told you that within three years they be turning over more than $82 million dollars. Imagine them sharing their plans and their need to scale.
What would you have done?
Having an idea is said to represent between 1 and 5% of the necessary requirements to build a successful company. The remainder – the majority of the requirements – comes down to execution, to actually getting the job done.
So the chances are that, had the founders of Quest Nutrition mentioned to you or I their plans to build a successful sports nutrition company, and given the highly competitive market they planned to enter, that we would have engaged in a pleasant conversation and then continued on our way with what we were already doing, or what we were already enthusiastic about.
One of the critical factors which any successful person or business demonstrates is the ability to involve others, to create a team of people who can support the objective and build relationships that can lead to mutual reward.
After all, the more you talk about your idea, the better it becomes. The more you can crystallise the specifics and the clearer the messages become. You can build great relationships with people who can support its outcome and even help hold you accountable to its delivery.
The notion that involving others might lead to a reduction in the chances of a successful outcome are as antiquated as they are just plain foolish. It doesn’t take days or weeks to create something, but months and years – to develop the ideas, to build the network and the connections, and to establish the capabilities to create the opportunity for success. But then – even then – it comes down to relentless execution which is driven by the enthusiasm of a person or group of people who are committed to their cause and not those just out to make a quick return.
So if you have an idea for a business, project, initiative or goal, share it with others. You never know what the input you receive might do to support the development of your thinking and its evolution. Conversely it’s highly unlikely that the person you tell would either be willing to or in a position to try and emulate your plan.
And just in case someone does think they can steal the idea, copy it or emulate it; go for it. Knock yourself out. More mediocre competition does wonders for those committed to a superior product or service.