On the Importance of “I Don’t Think It Will Work…”

On the Importance of “I Don’t Think It Will Work…”

I was speaking to a founder who had gotten a meeting with a prominent VC recently.  Let’s call her “Red Shoes.”

“Well, what did he say?” I asked.

“He said he didn’t think it would work,” she said, clearly disappointed.

“And?”

“And what?”

“And what else did he say?”

“Does it matter?”  she sighed.

YES, IT DOES.

I know it’s very disappointing not to get funded and in the moment, it can be hard to see past that, but please remember this.  Your ask for funding should not be the only ask you are prepared to make at your meeting.

Look, the reality is that even in a best case scenario, you may not get funded and some of it is not within your control.  Your startup may not fit into a particular investor’s portfolio at a given time, he or she may not be prepared to make the kind of deal that you are seeking, the investor may not be comfortable with your business… and yes…, he or she may be having a bad day.

If you are turned down for funding, you still have a chance to capitalize on your meeting.  Many investors revel in being able to give advice to young entrepreneurs, even when they end up not investing. It is a golden opportunity to get feedback on your idea, your business or your pitch, and also to ask for additional introductions.

Advice Letters on Arrange Small Wooden Pieces

For example, if you do get the comment “I don’t think it will work,” it is a prime opportunity to ask the investor why he or she doesn’t think it will work.  Maybe they’re skeptical about your user acquisition strategy, maybe they’re concerned about competitors you haven’t thought about, maybe they think there’s a problem with your business model… whatever the feedback is, listen to it, ask questions if you can, and thank them for the advice.

Even if you don’t think the advice is on point, it may be pointing to another very real problem, so take the time to think about the advice before you discard it.

You never know… that advice could be the key to your business’ success!

What’s the best advice you’ve gotten for your business?

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