As a startup, you need all the help you can get. But requesting the right help can be the biggest challenge. You may not know the right person to ask, or how to ask. Here are a few tips I have accumulated over the years on how to ask for help with your startup:
- Know your audience – when you make the ask, don’t ask everyone you know the same thing. Instead, craft your request specifically the the person you are asking
- Be specific – ask for a specific skill, person, connection, or request. The worst thing you can do is making your ask too broad and creating the assumption that this isn’t a personal ask or that you don’t have respect for their time
- Make the “Big Ask” – if you get a no, then compromise with a smaller ask. If you get a yes, you will get a big response
- Keep it short – whether you are writing it or asking face-to-face, 3-5 sentences is enough to make it relevant and make your ask
- Keep it personal – explain how their help will improve your startup in some critical way
Challenge yourself to get better at requesting the right help at the right time from the right people. If your immediate network can’t help, ask for a referral to at least one person that may be able to help your startup in some way or make a further introduction.
Finally, read David G. Cohen’s post on the perfect email to gain more insight into crafting a request email, as it contains a great deconstruction of how to make a request.