Last week I had the good fortune of attending the inaugural HEAT (High Growth Entrepreneurial Action Team) run by High Net World magazine in Edinburgh. The event was a great opportunity to talk to some other next stage entrepreneurs and focused on the challenges we all face. It also allowed me to remove a word from the startup dictionary.
This came about thanks to an insightful talk from Tom Walls, the CEO of Ciqual, and I think provides a great lesson to anyone running or dealing with a startup company.
“Yes or No is fine, but Maybes kills startups!”
With an early stage company, or even an idea for a company, being able to make fast and insightful decision is a must! In reality that’s all you’ve got that big corporates don’t. You can change your whole ethos and direction in a heartbeat whilst they’re stuck talking about arranging a meeting to discuss it or trying to figure out to book a meeting room.
It’s with this thought in mind that we banned the use of the word “Maybe” from MallzeeHQ this week!
We have no use for it anymore – we won’t be using it within the team, we won’t allow it from our partners and we won’t be accepting it from potential clients. I just wish we learnt his lessons months ago for our MVP whilst we were working with external teams of developers.
It’s not just within startup companies that this word is relevant, in fact I believe it’s even more important to banish this word if you’re a third party dealing with a startup.
Here your ‘maybes’ can kill a startup before it even gets a chance to succeed. It might be a case of you “maybe buying a service” or “maybe finishing that work by a certain date” but both can have disastrous consequences for a young company.
Your ‘maybe’ to a startup is a drain on resources – something many startups don’t have a lot of – that could be spent in other areas. I’ve heard it said that some companies say ‘maybe’ to startups as they think it’ll keep their spirits up, or allow them access to a deal in the future – in reality it’s just harming the chances of that startup becoming a success.
Even if you say no to a young company, you’re giving them the chance to get closer to a yes from someone else!
So, wether you’re involved in a young company or deal with young companies let’s abolish the word Maybe – Yes and No are just fine!