There’s this very nice startup ad on the radio – “Every Suggestion is not a Solution – come, find the solution here…..”
It is truly overwhelming to any first time entrepreneur to receive candid feedback on his maiden business pitch made to a bunch of unanimous collaborators. We see it in every session of House of Genius (HoG). Irrespective of their background, experience or business maturity, founders find it hard to convince, defend and win over the house, in the first go. After all, that’s what they come for. Free, unbiased sound boarding to help them validate, strengthen and build a great venture. But they all benefit more than one can imagine as they settle in.
What we notice in cases where people find they didn’t benefit much, is their preparedness to ask, seek and internalise the feedback. Either they try to take everything thrown at them or resist critical feedback reaching them. But, what they need is a balance pivoted on their goal. Open ended pursuits are not good for an entrepreneur. It’s like asking everyone you meet on the road for the direction to a place that you can not clearly name.
Quite often, there are more willing hands and minds than one can imagine. Following are some of the keys to unlock the potential a crowd of well-wishers to build your own venture.
- Clarify your intention of building the venture – why are you building this business? Many folks find it hard to answer this in pubic. But it is a very powerful filter to get attention of those who matter. Give it a full hearted shout.
- What are you really looking for? If there are only three things that matter to you in helping building the venture, define them in order of 1,2,3 – helps in reinforcing your clarity with the support required.
- Note down all suggestions, help offered and questions posed at you against the names of the people who spoke. Sit down quietly within an hour of receiving the feedback and reflect. Prioritise them in the order that matters to you. Let them enter your to-do list/ action tracker. Make sure you religiously knock them off within next 2 days. What remains in the list might require some help from those who provided. Reach out and get help. If they can’t help you with details or necessary support, drop them off the list. Focus on all items that take you to next step, set you in the direction of making it work for you.
- When you reach out to mentors/ advisors, look for those who are friendly but curt. You need their experience, their connection and their ability to see through your route. But you should find and win-over a few who really help. There may be a lot of people who are just available to talk but may not be very well experienced to help on their own. In such cases, ask them to help you with references of people who have done something similar before. It helps.
- No connection you make is useless. It might sound to be a bit less of use at times. Keep a list of all you meet and their suggestions. But if you have a problem to solve, go to someone who can help you fix it. Not suggest. Because, not all suggestions are solutions. You need the lens of experience and support of diligence to get through the problem.
Build your venture, one step at a time…. not just a body of knowledge (bok)!