Over the last 2 weeks I had the chance to do what I like best. Meet and learn from entrepreneurs at the earliest of early stages. Hear about their ideas, learn about their problems and find interesting new ways they are tackling problems of funding, building products, hiring and managing teams and getting users and customers.
Similar to the Mazlov’s hierarchy of needs I have formed a mental model of entrepreneurs and their categories or types based on what they think they “need” from me. Most of them have an ask – connections, funding, advice or referrals. Which is expected, after all I am asking the question with an intent to help.
The hierarchy of needs are fairly similar to most entrepreneurs but the most self assured ones behave differently and ask different questions. They seeks perspectives on the problems they are facing and guidance on their choices.
The rest seek funding.
If your answer to the question “How can I help?” is ” all I need is money”, then you have lost the plot. I think most investors wIll judge you right there and drop you down 2 or 3 notches on their scale. That’s tough to hear but that’s the truth.
If your answer to that question is “I need to get connected to x customer, or y potential employee or a person for a partnership”, you will be viewed as a tactician. Nothing wrong with that, but hey just like entrepreneurs judge investors, they do the same.
If your answer is “We are facing these challenges and would love your take on how you’d solve the problem, you will be viewed as a smart, talented and open-minded entrepreneur.
If you answer the question with “I want to start a company but I don’t have a good idea yet”, then you will be judged as a wannabe. Someone that always fantasizes about entrepreneurship but never does anything about it.