By Graham McFarland, VAULT COO
No is the most common word an entrepreneur will hear when they start their first venture.
You will hear the word used in many ways such as: “No, I really don’t get what problem you’re trying to solve”. Or “I just don’t understand your market”. Or “No, we are not interested in investing in such a young management team”.
The meaning of no comes in many different flavors and is usually used in more polite terms that infer no, but is disguised behind other words and phrases. But no can be the best word that you can hear as an entrepreneur. It makes you think and reason and overcome objections. No is the basic building block of early entrepreneurial conversations.
The word NO acts as the wet stone to sharpen the blade of your idea.
Without this less than favorable response, we would not force ourselves to be pushed to think outside the box and to make the necessary adjustments to make the objections go away.
Customers say no, investors say no and sometimes even friends and family say no – especially if you are trying to borrow more money. No is a frustrating but necessary term that no one in their right mind really wants to hear. It is that dreaded rejection that makes you feel two feet tall when it happens. Your first natural reaction is to question yourself and the idea.
“What is wrong with me or the idea or how I presented my case?”
Assume the worst and make the necessary adjustments without changing your core principles. Every presentation, discussion or demonstration can be improved and made better with practice, thought and review. The first person you have to convince is yourself. If you are not fully sold on your idea, then that hesitation will show right through to anyone you speak to. You must drink your own Kool-Aide before asking others to join you.
The word no has valuable meaning to an entrepreneur. It will be the word you hear most, however it will also be the most meaningful and honest feedback for which you can ask. Take no as an action item to continue to improve and hone your ideas. In case you were wondering, the word no doesn’t ever go away regardless of success or size. In fact, with success comes false praise which is really a no disguised as a yes. Keep the blade on your venture sharpened and you will succeed. Let it become dull and you will lose your edge.