At first glance, the title might make you conclude an entrepreneur can’t think for themselves if they have to let someone else order dinner for them. However, there is a whole other way to look at this idea and here’s why.
Imagine being in a new restaurant – maybe even one in a foreign country where you can’t read the menu or do not recognize anything. That’s akin to being an entrepreneur with an idea and then peering out into the big business world that is unknown territory. You don’t know what to choose.
While in that restaurant (a.k.a., business environment), you are surrounded by people who look like they actually know what they are doing and what they want. They are confident, smiling and placing their orders. You have the passion and desire to be that confident and you think you know what you want, but it doesn’t hurt to have someone at your table that can guide you to that place.
So, there you are, at a table with someone who has been there before, tried many of the dishes – some were good and some not so good – and maybe even knows a few of the people who run the place. In fact, because your dinner companion has some contacts at the restaurant, you might even get something no one else can try – a special dish not even on the menu!
Having said, it is really about who you know and why you should trust their judgment and expertise to order for you off that menu. It’s the recognition that someone else isn’t necessarily taking over your life and ability to decide; they are just making it easier for you.As an entrepreneur, frankly, you need all the breaks you can get.
Admit Your Weaknesses
Not only does this make it easier for your startup, but it also makes you a better entrepreneur because you realize early on where your strengths and weaknesses lay, and you are willing to let someone else take control of one aspect of your business because it could lead to greater success. At this stage – and even later on – you don’t know much (or anything at all really in the big scheme of things) and it’s a great learning experience to have that mentor at your table.
You can still have ideas that are appreciated and valued – after all, the original startup idea was yours – and, as an entrepreneur you can focus on those while your dining companion can add other things to the order that will pair well with what you are doing.
And, while you are at it, if someone else also wants to foot the bill for what they ordered on your behalf, consider that too. A good entrepreneur also recognizes when they could use the financial assistance to go with that expertise and knowledge that just went into making the order off the menu. Just be sure to pay attention to what they might expect in return (partial ownership, etc.).
Looking at the funding experience as a visit to a new restaurant means more than just accepting help. You also need to consider how much help you need. Do you just want help with the entrée or is this going to include an appetizer, dessert, and bottle of wine? It’s up to you to know as the company founder just how much help you need and how large the bill (and accompanying expectations) should get.