Monday, February 07, 2011
Posted by Darrin Redus
There is a very real, yet often unspoken, phenomenon that prevents many entrepreneurs from realizing their dreams – overcoming their fear of asking for the business.
I’m often fascinated by how easy it is for many entrepreneurs to sell their ideas and concepts when they are in the early stages of plan development, yet when it comes time to sit down with a potential client and move the business from concept to reality they are reluctant or unable to seize the opportunity. It’s almost as if the opportunity they have longed for is now at hand, but self-doubt and other insecurities overtake them, and the “Can I really do this?” question prevents them from moving forward.
If you’re going to have success raising capital from investors, teeing up potential client opportunities is essential. An investor is far more inclined to take a chance with an early-stage company if potential clients are expressing real interest and an “intent” to buy once the business is up and running. For those entrepreneurs that often struggle with getting potential clients on board and moving from concept to reality, I offer four basic questions for you to consider that could prove beneficial:
- So that we might plan more effectively to meet your anticipated demand, do you have a sense of the volume of business we could expect once we are fully up and running?
- Assuming we meet or exceed your expectations during a trial run, how soon might you be ready to do business on a larger scale, and do you have a sense of what volume of business we might expect?
- In addition to what we have discussed today, are there any other factors that need to be addressed before we can do business together?
- Assuming we’ve addressed all of your concerns, can we set a target date of X to possibly get started?
While these general statements are by no means all inclusive or guaranteed winners, this type of questioning can greatly assist your efforts in securing client relationships and potential order quantities which will greatly enhance your position with potential investors. Your business does not have to be ready to deliver immediately before you ask these types of questions. You’re simply gathering necessary information to make sure you’re prepared when the time comes. Self inspect this fear phenomenon in your own pursuits, and don’t let the fear of success keep you from realizing your dreams.
Darrin is Chief Economic Inclusion Officer of JumpStart and President of JumpStart Inclusion Advisors. He founded and ran his own strategic planning and management assistance firm and spent 16 years in the commercial banking and finance industry. Darrin has an MBA from Baldwin-Wallace College and an undergraduate degree from Mount Union College. He has led a series of workshops and seminars on matters of economic development and diversity.