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Step 2. Battle the Cynics and Gain Allies

  • "You must be crazy."

  • "What a bird-brained idea."

  • "John tried something like this, and look where it landed him."

  • "Are you unhappy with what you're doing now?"

  • "This is not the right way to do it."

How many times have you heard these comments about something you thought was great? How many times did you quit because of these comments made by cynics? Every good idea has cynics who will argue against it. When cynics blow holes in the idea, the entrepreneur has an opportunity to rebut the criticism or adapt the original idea to provide a defense to an identified vulnerability. Smart entrepreneurs learn to eliminate arguments of cynics (not the cynics themselves). Each argument eliminated will come in handy when the entrepreneur needs to defend his or her ideas in front of more formidable critics, such as investors.

As you discuss the idea and refine it, there will be individuals willing to support you in one way or another. It's a good idea to seek them out; any situation in life improves when you have strong partners or allies. Strong allies improve the chances of success. Successful ventures such as Yahoo! and Exodus indicate that a well-paired founding team—optimally two, and probably not exceeding four—provides a good base to refine the idea and take it forward.

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