I have an idea for a web product. It's a new type of e-commerce site.
I have the most fundamental questions.
The first is how to even go about getting any advice for it. One concern is that a one paragraph description could allow anyone who hears it to 'steal the idea'.
One option is 'make it'. Another is 'sell the idea'. Pretty different options.
The first is of course much more difficult.
In my opinion, it would would require a business strategist; a software designer/artist; one or more coders; partner sales reps; support and and marketing.
The second would just require the right buyer and protections - easy but iffy.
Who would I go to for advice on option 1 versus option 2, ensuring it's not stolen? On how to sell it, if that makes sense?
There are some existing companies that do something similar enough that they might be interested; on the other hand, they might be good partners to supply some of the content.
Little if any startup capital; I'm not sure if looking for any is a good way to go, or just 'starting on a shoestring'.
Thanks for your question. It's a good one.
Let's talk about the first thing you mention, being afraid to talk about it. If somebody can so easily steal it then the idea had a far too small barrier to entry, and you'd be dealing with a swarm of competition in no time. Better to share it to see if people think it won't work. The crazy ideas are the ones worth pursuing.
As far as selling goes, ideas aren't worth much. Ideas are just multipliers. You need execution to make an idea worth something. If you fully develop the business, then you can sell it.
So, my recommendation is to do the work. It sounds hard, ya, but if you love your idea, then you'll make it happen. Teach yourself the programming if you have to. I would bootstrap all the way.
An idea by itself is worthless (99.9% of the time). Its the implementation that has value. Your not going to "sell" your idea, and your not going to find anyone to build it for you for free, and on the chance that it finslly makes some money give you a chunk of it (or have wasted their time if it foesnt make money)
Sorry, but thats reality. Reminds me of an ex-coworker who had an idea for a game, and asked me to make it for him, then if it made money he would collect it and give me a percentage. Yea right!
Ryan made some good points regarding the value of an idea - pretty minimal unless you've put any significant amounts of work into it (in which case it's no longer just an idea).
Developing your idea into a product is likely the way to go, and if you don't have the skills yourself to do that, then you still have a few options.
In regard to raising capital, if this is your first time down this road (which it sounds like it is), then you should be trying to shoestring as much as possible. That's not to say you shouldn't spend any money no matter what, but you should be watching your budget carefully, especially if someone else is footing the bill. As an example, if you aren't a graphic designer, then don't try to make your logo yourself using Paint - pay someone a couple hundred dollars to do it for you (it's key to your ability to market yourself), but you also don't need to pay thousands of dollars for your logo.