It’s a random Tuesday and you have a new business idea. It’s just that, an idea. It needs to be fleshed out, nurtured, developed, but it’s a place to start and you are getting excited about the possibilities. Where do you go next? To friends and family for advice? To your business mentor for a brainstorm? What if the next step is even easier, what if you need to look no further than your current employer?
Dave Fanger showcases his story of pitching his social investment company to his employer, a 150-year old insurance and mutual fund company, in this Fast Company article. And it got me thinking, what if more companies did this? How many ideas are left scribbled on a the back of a napkin, etched out on the corner of your client notebook, thought up and then quickly dismissed because you are not an expert in the area?
Of course there are the traditional ways to pitch business and product ideas, via incubators, investor community, venture capitalists, even Shark Tank, but I love the concept of pitching to your employer. It breeds a culture of excitement and endless opportunity within a company and offers a path forward for those that may not have the means, confidence, or understanding of how to move the start-up concept along.
It is a new era of transparency in business development, many investors and incubators are no longer signing NDAs, instead, they are seeking partner relationships with start-ups. They want to know if the business idea fits into existing product or delivery infrastures already in place. This requires an incredible amount of trust. Trust that may already exist between an employee and employer.
I am incredibly inspired by Dave Fanger's story, about a company simply believing in the power of a great idea. That makes sense to me. For now, let’s all double check our doodles, smooth out old napkins, and plant some internal seeds about new business opportunities — you never know what you might discover.