When was the last time someone gave you a clear and firm “no”? If you find yourself in fundraising mode (and the reality for most startups is that they are in perpetual fundraising mode) you will have experienced that very few people, if any, ever say no. They will say things like:
- “It’s not the right stage for us but keep us in the loop”.
- “We like what you’re doing but need to do a bit more due diligence.”
- “We are currently not investing into your sector — but please keep us informed about your progress.”
The same is true for many other conversations such as business development, etc. Nobody likes to say no. And nobody wants to be that guy who said no to the next Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Sophia Amoruso.
What this means for you is that you need to become very good at reading people and understanding their answers in the context of what they are doing. All too often I have seen entrepreneurs who are chasing dead opportunities as they believe that the lack of a clear no means yes.