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Thursday, January 5, 2012

It Is Not a Fit


What did that investor mean “it is not a fit?”  Why did he not see how wonderful our company is?  Just a few questions you might have after hearing the famous words.  They come from investors, potential partners, friends, family, and YOU.

Think about what this means in simple terms.  (By the way, all of these examples are real life ones)

1.      You give pajamas to a family member. You went to the trouble to buy the largest size made to make sure they fit.  The family member comes back and says they are too small and I do not like flannel.  OK the size and material were all wrong.  “Not a fit!”



2.      You have a jar of M&Ms with all colors.  Your friend eats all of the M&Ms but leaves the blue ones; what is up with that?  The friend says he does not like blue!  “Not a fit!”



3.      You are investing in stocks.  You want a diverse investment of 5 stocks one in each of 5 sectors.  You have one from the following groups so far: financial, discretionary, utility, & energy.  Someone shows you a second financial stock.  You need a technology stock to round out the portfolio.   The second financial is, “Not a fit!”



4.      You approach a VC.  The VC will invest in 6 companies this year.  They already have two companies they hold investments with technology related to yours from previous year’s investments. They determined which technologies they have interest in for this year last December.   You may have great technology, but your company is, “Not a fit!”



5.      You are talking to big pharma about partnering your drug.  They have 5 related drugs in their pipeline which you are not aware of.  Your drug is “Not a fit!”



6.      Your technology, business concept, and/or management are not something that is attractive to an investor.  No particular reason, they just do not get excited about it. You got it, “Not a fit!”

I could go on about this concept, but hope you are getting where the discussion is leading.  Every part of life has the potential to not be a fit with the here and now of what is taking place.  This includes things like eating M&Ms all the way finding the right business relationship with a partner. 

Your job is to evaluate as much as possible the landscape and help show the fit to the investor, partner or other entity.  This is all part of your planning which must take place before engaging in discussions or negotiations.  It is hard to sell a product to someone that already has 5 of them and is not happy with the product at all.  You are better off selling something they need.  You may have to show them they need it, but that is easier if they do not have it already.

Summary:  Selling and marketing is more than what you do at the retail level.  In startups, it is what you do to find funds and to get business partnerships. It is possible to make a square peg fit in a round hole if you try hard enough.  I took back the PJs and got a different brand, and I am the one that finishes the blue M&Ms that are left (I cannot tell the difference anyway).



You can follow Taffy Williams on Twitter by @twilli2861 and you can email him with questions at twilli2861@aol.com and his company website  or photo website. You can also find him in the group Startup Group on Linkedin. Other articles can be found in the Charlotte, NC- small business section of Examiner.com. This blog is now listed on StartUpRoar  and on Alltop®.

3 comments:

  1. "Not a fit" = misfit. ActSeed's purpose is to help the misfits, as they be a great fit for someone else.

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  2. Taffy,
    Great post. I've been on the receiving and sending in of "not a fit" and agree with your "stay focused on solutions". The nature of being a startup, heck the nature of life, is you will be knocked down.

    Being knocked down is not anything we all haven't experienced. Despite appearance no one gets the golden ticket for smooth rides all the time on everything.

    Perhaps we startup entrepreneurs are always in two businesses (at least). There is the widget we are in love with and want to sell and there is the picking ourselves up, dusting off and getting back on the bike. We must remember that we ride not because we must.

    We ride because it is who we are, what we are and how we want to live our lives. Remembering we are in the "getting up" business at least as much as the widget game helps smooth out "not a fit" some.

    Not saying being rejected is ever easy or fun, but this is the lie we've chosen and yes I am quoting GodFather III :).

    Sometime soon I would love to speak with you about my Story of Cancer Trust foundation and the projects we are working on. Your help would be beyond valuable.

    Thanks,

    Marty

    ---
    Martin Smith
    Founder Story of Cancer Trust
    @ScentTrail and @StoryofCancer

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Martin. I look forward to discussing the @StoryofCancer with you when you are ready. I currently work with a few cancer companies and am on the Board of a Not-for-profit dealing with health care. Have a few other contacts related to your interest as well. Just say when. AND, a special thanks for commenting and reading the blog!

      Delete