Friday, May 13, 2011

Help me Help you - Part 2

[N: Ariel, you already told us this story! A: No, wait, this is a bit different! BTW: Glad you are paying attention :-)]

I am often approached by entrepreneurs asking for advice. Some make it easy to help them. Some very hard. How can you help someone help you? A few suggestions:

1) Be specific. It is much easier for me to provide feedback on a specific marketing initiative, for example, or on a specific potential investor, than to answer a broad question such as "how should we go about marketing" or "who should we raise money from".

2) Do your homework. Don't ask something that you can easily learn yourself on the Internet. For example, if you are looking for an adviser with experience in pricing, you might be able to identify such a person and simply ask me for an introduction - rather than putting me to work and ask me to recommend someone.

3) Add Value. I've learned things from some very young and inexperienced entrepreneurs. I remember a specific young entrepreneur (then a college drop-out, now a successful venture capitalist after taking his company public) who would research his industry in such depth that he would know every company, product and individual in it. So, when he contacted someone in the industry asking for advice or some other help, he would also help them by sharing with them his know-how, and sometimes even making personal introductions to some of the other people that he had contacted.