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Don’t Be Spastic

When you are working on a startup, it is really easy to be myopic on your own venture.  Frankly, startups own much of your life in their early stages.  You tend to forget that not everyone may be moving at the same pace as you are.  I was reminded by this recently when I got a call from someone that wanted me to drop everything that I was doing and provide them some advice on fund-raising.
Some quick things to remember when you approach others for advice and help:

  1. Everyone is busy – don't badger other companies, individuals, advisers,etc when you don't get a call or email back within 24 hours or more.  
  2. Give more than get – if someone asks for your help, figure out a meaningful way to provide some feedback or insight.  Also remember that you have a day job, too. You can't spend hours upon hours at local Starbucks if its not related to your core business.  Structure your time so that you can do quick twitch types of help.  For example, agree to do email introductions or a quick 10 minute call.As long as you structure your time, you'll find that giving a little advice and help not only provides you with positive karma, but, that karma will eventually help you.  I remember getting this advice years ago from consummate networker, Keith Ferrazi.  In fact, he's now doing coaching around building relationships.
  3. Be clear and precise – get specific about what type of help that you would like.  Don't call up another entrepreneur and ask them to review your marketing plan,carve up hours in a strategic review, etc.  Be specific.  Make sure that you are asking for something that can be answered in 10 minutes or less. 

You'll lose a lot of credibility if you are running around with your proverbial head cut-off.  Structure your communication with the relationships that you are trying to build in a structured and mutually symbiotic way.  Good karma will follow.


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