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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crossing the Invisible Line

In two previous posts, I wrote about sticking with the startup and having a can do attitude:  Are You Over Your Capabilities?” and “The One Word Entrepreneurs Do Not Say.”  Being aggressive and going after what you want is an extremely important part of making the startup a success.  The same is true for selling product, raising capital and most everything imaginable.  There is the issue of the invisible line that you should be careful not to cross.

I suspect you get emails from time to time promoting products you do not want or advertising services you do not need.  You probably get phone calls from a wide range of people around dinnertime wanting you to donate funds to not-for-profits, many of which use more than 60% just to raise more money.  There is a chance you meet people wanting to network for the sole purpose of you helping them; they never intend to help you.  Maybe you are watching TV and at the most critical point a commercial time comes up or someone in the room wants to engage in a discussion.  Do any of these potential annoyances sound familiar?

In my article on being over ones capabilities, I described the friendly the Blue Bird!  After several months, he is still banging in to the windows trying to gain entrance to take over my home.  He will not make it, but he is starting to get a bit over the top.  His constant attempts cause him to hang outside my house on the porch on tables, chairs, ledges and other places he can rest while trying to break in the house.  Unfortunately, his droppings remain at all locations he uses to rest.  Now in addition to having the constant thumping on the windows, I have a huge mess to clean up.  When does a beautiful bird become a PEST?  He is getting close.

So what do the items above have to do with being an entrepreneur and developing a startup?  In your attempts to get funding, sell product, promote your services, you will be aggressive and continue to go after some of the same people repeatedly.  They have the potential to become annoyed if the approaches are too aggressive or too frequent.  You may select new people but forget they have viewed many other transactions or startups and are getting tired of the constant contacts in the area of your business.  The invisible line I mentioned is the point you become like the Blue Bird., i.e. you become more of a PEST and less of a potential business associate.

It is important that you consider the timing of your approaches, letters, emails, calls and other forms of contacts.  Too frequent and you cross the line.  Too far apart and you will be forgotten.  In your efforts to succeed, crossing that invisible line can get you labeled as a PEST by those very people you need.  They will talk to others: read “Yep, You and Your Startup Are Topics in the Rumor Mill.     

Summary:  I cannot tell you where the line is.  The line is different for each person.  You are warned to be careful about “Crossing the Invisible Line.”