As a startup, be thankful if an investor says ‘no’ to you

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We have come across many irritated startups who come out of a meeting with an investor or with a mentor where the person just said no to them. The typical reaction of the entrepreneurs post such meetings are:

“These investors don’t understand business at all.”

“Why do they call themselves a VC when they are never willing to take a risky bet!”

or the favourite:

“Indian investors are too conservative. In valley, we would have easily raised our round.”

…and some similar version of these for the mentors or advisors.

Well, we rather say you should be thankful to them. No, we are not teaching you Gandhigiri (or Munnagiri now?) here. I am not suggesting that you thank them so that they feel you are good people and they come back to invest.

I simply ask you to thank them for saving your time. In India, most of us are not used to saying ‘no’. Its always a ‘Yes’, or a ‘Maybe’ or (which is worst) ‘Lets meet after 10 days’. As a startup, we know you have limited resources and time is the most critical resource. The person who is saying no to you is a friend who is helping you not waste more time on him. Appreciate it. Thank him / her for that.

A couple of other tips:

1. Follow the same yourselves. Say no wherever you are not interested or where you do not intend to followup. It will not only help the other person save time but help you save time too.

2. When in a meeting, if you hear ‘maybe’, ‘can we meet in another 10 days’, ‘why dont you do this and let me know’, ‘why dont you talk to xyz first’ and other similar push-it-for-later phrases…see if you can get the person to be a bit more direct. Some simple templates are – ‘if we do this, do you think you will be able to….’, ‘…who would be the decision maker in this…’ or even more direct – ‘is this genuinely something of a key interest to you? I can can come back later if you think it is not currently of interest.’.

Hope this helps.[/x_text][/x_column][/x_row][/x_section]

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