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Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #109
It's obvious why so many entrepreneurs fail
Growing up, I remember anytime a friend would say something stupidly apparent, the standard response was to sarcastically reply with the phrase: “Thank you, master of the obvious.” The implication is that identifying and articulating obvious things is unnecessary.
While pointing out obvious things might be unnecessary in everyday life, I’ve found it’s a necessary strategy for teaching entrepreneurship. That’s because entrepreneurs tend to make things overly complex, and my job, more often than not, is to help people recognize the simple things they’re overlooking. You’ll see what I mean (and why!) in this issue’s featured article.
Also in this issue, Web Masters gets a little risqué with a story from an entrepreneur named Andrew Conru. Andrew created the first dating website. That experience eventually turned into launching FriendFinder Networks, which became one of the largest networks of dating websites in the world. It was headlined, most prominently, by Adult FriendFinder, the OG hookup website.
It’s a fascinating story, particularly because it’s rare for someone with Andrew’s background to open up about his work. I hope you enjoy listening to the episode as much as I enjoyed making it.
Are you the type of entrepreneur who get distracted by minutia that doesn’t really matter? If so, you’ll want to make sure you’re also staying focused on the important stuff.
Not every online dating website needs to be for everyone. At least, that's what Andrew Conru believed. He built FriendFinder Networks, a network of dating websites, each with their own theme designed to serve a specific niche of users including, most famously, Adult FriendFinder, the Internet's OG hookup website.
Andrew joined Web Masters this week for a rare interview where he shares his story. Listen now on:
…or search “Web Masters” wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.
FROM THE ARCHIVES…
Most humans are naturally good at sales. They just need to be shown how their normal, everyday interactions are also useful parts of the sales process.
Office Hours Q&A
I am wondering about something you wrote in a previous article about fundraising and getting a lead investor. [Aaron’s Note: referenced article is here.]
You seemed to indicate that investors who aren’t leading your round are not committed to it and are not just patiently waiting for you to find a leader. I can understand that, but I am wondering what you should do with any investors you’ve spoken with before finding a leader. Would you recommend continuing to update them and talk with them even as you try to find a lead investor? Or do you think any communication with them is just a waste of time?
What is the right amount of contact to have with an investor who hasn’t committed to your round but hasn’t rejected you yet, either?
As with any productive professional relationship, it’s never a good idea to just completely blow someone off, particularly if you have any hope of wanting to engage with them in the future. Plus, it’s rude.
At the same time, you don’t want to waste more resources on someone who isn’t immediately interested in investing than you have to.
The best strategy here is the strategy you’re hopefully already doing. If not, you certainly know it’s what you should be doing. That’s right… you should be sending a monthly (or quarterly) “update” email to every investor and advisor you’ve been engaging with. Add any “maybe” investors to your regular “update” email so that if/when you’re ready to re-engage them, it won’t be totally out of the blue.
Just remember that if you’re not going to execute your update emails well (either because you’ll be inconsistent with sending them or won’t be able to include anything particularly compelling), then don’t bother doing them at all.
In other words, it’s actually better to go completely silent on an investor and then reappear a few months (or years) later than it is to send inconsistent update emails. Going silent can mean any number of things. For example, maybe you were so busy handling your massive growth that there simply wasn’t time for anything else. But being inconsistent with your update emails to investors (or sending poor quality emails) just proves you aren’t good at executing basic marketing tasks, and that’s not a good look.
For what it’s worth, if you contact investors you haven’t spoken to in a while in order to tell them about a lead investor and a round that’s about to close, I promise those other investors will still be willing to talk with you. The fact you haven’t been in contact for a while won’t matter one bit.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!