I'm posting this because I once again had a chat with someone who wanted to pitch me their idea, and once again noticed the same errors on their part that I have so many times before.
Anybody who has been pitched business ideas has probably encountered people who, at first, neglect to tell you about their idea (at least in detail), and even more often - people who believe wholeheartedly that their idea is worth millions of not billions, and that this is exactly how much they should get paid should you invest your money in their idea.
The reality? All (and not most, ALL) of those ideas are worth **** all. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Until they've been executed.
But back to the initial problem - people believing that their idea is so good that they neglect to give the potential investor any specifics in the fear of getting their idea "stolen". Before arranging a call with a potential investor, they need to realise that those specifics are exactly what they need to disclose, because they want the investor's money. I actually quite like money. And as such I'm not a very big fan of giving it out for no reason, financing ideas that I don't even know much about. In fact - it should be the investment seeker's goal to tell me *as much as humanly possible* about their idea, in hopes of gaining my interest and making me believe that it's indeed as great of an idea as they believe it to be.
As for me potentially stealing the idea - what most investment seekers don't realise is the mere quantity of "fantastic" ideas investors get pitched every single month, week and day. Personally, I'm not even a serial investor and yet I'm getting pitched ideas weekly. To be perfectly honest, in most cases the investment seeker would have to pay me a lot of money to even THINK about executing their idea. If I were to go through all the notepad and excel files where I've written down the ideas I've had myself I would probably come up with a list that would take me around 500 years if I were to execute every one of those ideas. And I'm 100% sure most investors are in the exact same situation.
In reality, it's all about execution. As I said above, an idea itself is worth nothing. It's the execution / team behind the idea, combined with the idea itself, that is worth money. And interestingly, those that lack the necessary traits and skills for proper execution, WILL get their idea stolen, no matter what. But in most cases it's not the potential investors who steal it, but rather someone else, and the stealing happens not in the idea stage but once the money has already been spent and the product/service already developed, simply because someone out there who is able to do it a little bit better sees it and decides to replicate! The only difference is that this kind of stealing isn't called "stealing", but "competition".
Another thing that most investment seekers don't realise is that while they are telling me about their idea, I'm mainly evaluating THEM, not the idea itself. All of the great ideas of our time - PayPal, Facebook, Google, any "success story" really, were something entirely different when they were in the idea stage. They're all a result of careful fine-tuning, and most importantly - a capable team behind them. Money is rarely made with the initial idea in its initial form.
In conclusion, and back to the original topic, I severely dislike people who come to me looking for an investment and try to tell me as little as possible about their idea. This is simply a major waste of my time, as even if I decide to not end the call early, they are guaranteed not to get one investment penny. That said, I'm not saying that you should tell the investor EVERYTHING about your idea. If you have a "secret recipe", that's great! And by all means - don't tell me the secret recipe! And if an investor ask you to tell them then something's fishy. But please understand that it's YOUR job to sell me the idea, and by not telling me what the idea is it's impossible to achieve this goal.
Personally, I will bookmark this post and send the link to every person who will ask me to finance an idea that they don't really want to tell me about. I hope others over here benefit from it as well, and hopefully we can get a discussion going too as I'm sure I'm not the only one here who's dealing with investment seekers like the ones I described above on regular basis.