Friday, January 1, 2010

At What Point Do You Give Up?

In business we all should prospect as if our life depends upon it, because often it does!

Having had many business relationships that seemed so promising and likely to be win-win we all know the feeling of dread when a good business prospect or worse partner won’t return calls.

I remember one time about 2 years ago when I was told by the CEO of a large NYSE listed financial services company that we had an agreement. I remember even better the personal disappointment and that of the team when it didn’t happen*.

It is at these moments we all ask ourselves “At what point do I simply give up?”

Winston Churchill in typical fashion answered this question better than most when he said "Never, never, never give up!"

That is my approach. Just because someone doesn’t “buy” or something doesn’t happen within the expected time does not mean that the opportunity is over. Sometimes you are not talking to the right person or underestimating the time required to achieve something of value.

I got my first job as a graduate after applying to the same investment bank 5 times within a month and not taking “no” for an answer. As an aside, I met my future wife on the first day I finally got a job there. Similarly, one of the best relationships Intrade has achieved is with a large media organization that happened after 2 years and over a dozen different approaches to different gatekeepers.

Thomas Edison when asked about the 700 hundred failures to create a long lasting light bulb is reported to have said “"I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."

Emulating an attitude like Edison or Churchill above will help you succeed. It most certainly has for us.

* Little did we know then that "no deal" was the ideal outcome for our future.

2 comments:

Intrade said...

eric said :

    hang in there!!!

Intrade said...

funnominal said :

    I don't mean to tell others what they 'should' do, enough people doing that online already. But with respect to the question, I have started quite a number of small businesses in the many decades that I've been around.
What works for me is to start very very small with my ideas. Use my own capital, let the business return it's own capital, reinvest capital, sacrifice personal spending, do not take money out of the biz, nor borrow $ to follow an ideal. If the biz is to work you'll know it quickly enough as the reinvested earnings starts compounding onto itself. Using external capital, whether it's credit or equity tends to confuse the real earning ability of an enterprise. Sweat equity is the safest way and won't impede the ultimate growth, in its own way.