You are an entrepreneur. While that takes a certain level of guts, confidence and skill, that doesn’t mean you necessarily, know everything. In actuality, depending on your idea and background, you will likely be entering unchartered territory and will need to glean as much information off those who are more versed in certain areas and disciplines than you.
Most start-ups start with the founder and a few trusted employees who are deeply committed to your idea. So, you don’t have the added resources or budget of a huge company that can, quite frankly, spend millions of dollars exploring new ideas (through research and development, prototypes or via acquisitions of other companies).
What any small venture does have is the power of interest (understanding that other people and companies will try to make money off your idea) and the ability to leverage that interest in the form of meetings. Think of meetings as a free consult across a broad range of spectrums, i.e. Advertising, Marketing, Design, IT, Legal, Manufacturing, etc. You may only have a handful of employees but you can start to develop a collective network of reputable industry contacts to serve as a pseudo “staff”. Whether they’re a fit at the time of your meeting doesn’t matter. What you take away from each individual encounter does.
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to become closed minded or introverted with respect to your idea. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re always right or staying within the framework of your team for all the answers. You’ll end up going in circles and might miss out on the piece of information that could change everything.
Meet with others when applicable. Share your idea. They’ll offer opinions and industry-based knowledge for free, as they’re trying to win your long-term business and/or prove their credibility. They might just love what you’re trying to do and simply want to be part of it. What they have to say may not always be right nor will you always agree with them but it’s still of benefit to listen to their point-of-view.
Lastly, you never know whom you’re going to meet. Worst case, it’s not the right fit and both sides walk away. Best case, you gain a new connection that you can see yourself working with when the time is right and add them to your professional network of industry advisors. And for those that just love your idea and want to become involved in some way, there’s also the chance you’ve stumbled across a potential new hire or, depending on their available resources, a potential investor.