“Originality implies being bold enough to go beyond accepted norms.” – Anthony Storr, psychiatrist
In this current “Information Age” there is no shortage of advice. For entrepreneurs, it is everywhere from family members and co-workers to news articles and blog posts such as this one. My major problem is separating the bad advice from the good. To make things easier on my fellow entrepreneurs, here are two very cliché pieces of advice that have always resonated with me.
Are you familiar with the saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease?” The basic idea is that the loudest or most noticeable problems get solved first. The first time I heard this was from my parents at age 15. I was applying for jobs, and whenever I wouldn’t get a response, they would recommend I follow up with a phone call.
While it seemed pushy at the time, I now embrace this concept. What I used to consider brash, I now consider assertive. Whether it is applying for jobs or seeking capital, do not be timid of reminding others of who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. Remember, you are not their first priority.
I put this advice into action most recently when creating a promotional video for my business. I needed legal rights to a song, but after emailing and calling the artist’s management and even the record label, I received no response. The next week, the artist happened to be performing in a nearby city. My partners and I arrived at the concert venue an hour early and managed to give the artist our t-shirt and business card. The next day, we received an apologetic call from his manager, and eventually we received the rights.
My second piece of advice is that it does not hurt to ask. Being the son of a guy who eats, sleeps and breathes sales, this is one statement I will never be able to get away from. I was astonished once I truly learned the power of this statement, whether it be it asking for $10 off at the Polo store, asking publications to cover stories about my business or disputing my grade with my college professor.
Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, sums up this phenomenon as “The most money you will ever make (penny saved is a penny earned) is by asking for it.” He explains how, when shopping for mirrors, he asked if he could get a discount for purchasing eight of them. Upon hearing no, he requested and received free shipment. With only two questions, he saved $212 in 30 seconds!
There is obviously a fine line between being bold and being rude. A good rule of thumb is to listen to how your requests are received so you can effectively gauge what will be considered rude or pushy. The goal is to be respectful and honest with your needs, in hopes the other person will be willing to help.
Marketing and Communications Assistant