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Friday, August 2, 2013

The beast can kill your startup if you are not persistent

Get back up and try again!
Large organizations have rules and regulations that can be infuriating at times.  Trying to find someone to help you when you have a problem only makes things seem worse.  It does not matter whether you are interacting with the organization, working for it, or accidently are affected by it, the anger and frustration that arises can make you want to just give up.

As an example, over the last few weeks I have been helping a young entrepreneur develop a startup business in the fashion area.  Part of the planned activity is a web based blog showcasing women’s fashion; see MadisonLeft.  Accounts created on Facebook, Pinerest, Twitter, and Instagram were to promote the business and alert viewers of the blog.  The starting activities were simple,” Right?: not so fast! A little known problem occurred with promotion on Facebook.  The issue arose after posting several images along with links to the blog site.  Apparently, one of the security measures in Facebook identifies repeat postings of the same link and considers that they may be SPAM sites. 

This seems like a simple misunderstanding that brief phone call or email should resolve.  Try finding an email address, contact person, phone number or other means of communicating with a company handling close to a billion accounts.  The help section does have a few ways to send recommendations, suggestions, and report a problem but they openly say not to expect a response.  The large database of help questions does not provide any means of resolving this problem.  A Google search turns up many users having faced a similar issue.  This is where the frustration grew worse. 

Frustration sets in for young entrepreneurs and the mentors when seemingly faced with unsolvable problems.  It is easy for someone with less experience to consider giving up and even the most educated and experienced people find such issues complex and troublesome.  The advantage in this case was that the mentor had extensive experience having worked for the US Government and recognized the Catch-22 of large organizations.  Solutions often arise by being persistent and continuing with polite contact via many channels and multiple forms.  Yes, it took lots of time and countless reports thought nearly every identifiable channel but it did result in resolution of the problem.  At least it seems the effort lead to the fix!  It is hard to be certain since no return communication from Facebook ever indicated they addressed the problem.  It was an accidental click on the link a few days later that demonstrated the problem was resolved.

The issue is a great example of how large organizations can generate problems for your small business.  The problems can be intentional or unintentional.  They tend to be frustrating and confusing to handle.  Persistence is your best and sometimes only avenue to a successful resolution.  Rules and regulations in large organizations are rampant and the individual you interact with can use them for good or bad.  Often, finding a person with a helpful attitude can enhance your chances especially when you approach them in a polite and kind manner.   The key is not giving up; where have you heard that before?  How about in the article:  The One Word Entrepreneurs Do Not Say.”  So remember that when the beast knocks you down, you must get back up and find a way to connect and solve the problem; i.e., do not give up.

Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon