“No” hurts. “Maybe” can kill.

When I was raising money for my fitness gaming company, I dreaded rejection. I focused my efforts on getting to “yes” and spoke to a lot of VC’s and got a lot of maybes. It was not great, but at least it wasn’t a “no.”

I was tireless in my efforts to answer questions and come back with the data that would support an investment. Even after months of meetings and calls with multiple people inside multiple firms I thought (or wanted to believe) the door was still open. I was inexperienced, but the investors were not.

In the end, I ran out of time (or didn’t generate the interest!) and was forced to take an investment from an undesirable source (with results summarized in this post). I spent valuable time cultivating existing leads rather than working on connecting with alternative sources of funding or focusing on building a business that the investors I did have access to would actually have been interested in funding.

I have heard Josh say there are three types of responses an investor can give to an entrepreneur: A quick yes; a quick no; a long drawn out maybe. Because it is Tuesday, I have put this into a 2×2:

Quickness is a sign of respect

As an entrepreneur, the best answer is a quick yes. The second best answer is a quick no. Slow answers are inconsiderate at best and manipulative at worst.

If we have the chance to meet in the context of a pitch and you feel I am headed toward either of the bottom two boxes, please call me on it.