What if someone comes to you with an AWESOME idea? I have seen what some people do, and let me say it is not pretty. But to me there are 3 Rules If Someone Tells You a Great Idea, and we will get to those soon. But first I have a little story I would like to use to illustrate my point.
Today I had a great talk with one of my good friends over some Jeep stuff. He had some great ideas about some new products. A bracket kit for axle support, a long arm kit, and an axle rebuild kit. Now if you dont know Jeep products than these might not seem exciting, but trust me they are. Now some people believe that fair is fair and you should be able to use any idea you come across, even if it is not your own.
But really there are 3 rules that you should follow when someone comes to you with a great idea.
Rule # 1 – Thou Shall Not Steal
no matter how much you want to, do not steal their idea and work on it yourself. Call it a golden rule, karma, respect, or just plain good business ethics. They came up with the great idea, let them use it or decide themselves if they want you to have it.
Rule # 2 – You can give a man a fish and he will be fed for a meal but teach him to fish and he will be fed for life
a lot of people want to jump right in and help someone with their idea and quite frankly take over everything. Resist this and let the person who came up with the idea to develop it and bring it forward. If they want help let them ask for it. Give advice if you feel like it will help. But resist doing the job for someone or taking over. Remember encourage, advise, and mentor but like the over exuberant parent dont do the science project for the child.
Rule # 3 – At first if they dont succeed ask if you can try again for them.
so lets say that after several months or longer they dont act on their great idea. Well my advice is to go to them and ask if you can work on their idea for them. Most people wont mind, and if you can work out an agreement that both parties mutually benefit then all the better. But be gentle and courteous and try to point out the positive things that you can do to help them realize their dream. Make sure your agreement is fair and you are being well compensated for your work and get it in writing.
of course like all things on this site, this is just my advice. You can of course steal someones idea outright and plenty of people have done this, without any remorse and made money. But think about how you would want to be treated. I would like to think I come up with a lot of good ideas and quite frankly there is just not enough time in the day for me to act on all of the. But a good idea should be allowed to flourish and grow to benefit the world, its like a talent, it should be allowed to shine not be hidden in a dark place.