I'm reminded this morning about these two simple "rules" and how important they can be to entrepreneurs.
Rule 1: No Ask, No Get.
We are all too reticent in this world of email and texting, to actually ask someone - for advice, time, help. The worst is "no" (well, the real worst is "I'll get back to you") and sometimes the upside is enormous.
I continue to be humbled by how many people are willing to help when asked. Sometimes, the people we are asking are people we know and have a relationship with. Even in those cases, the quantity and quality of help we get is usually great.
But the bigger surprise is that people we don't know are also often willing to help. This seems especially to be true if we are making a serious commitment to taking action on the help we solicit and they offer.
One big example of this is boards of advisers, a real important concept for almost every entrepreneurial business. I am constantly impressed by the high quality of members of advisory boards on opportunities I get to see. The best advisers bring expertise that the entrepreneur can't get any other way.
I've been privileged to ask a lot of people to come to campus and talk to students, and it's a rare case when I get a "no."
In some ways this is analogous to bootstrapping, where the first principle really is "go ask the potential customer if they like what you want to do." People will tell you.
Rule 2: If Not Now, When?
I am disappointed at how often I talk about doing something - and then promptly spend 3 minutes writing it on a list - instead of doing it now. There are a lot of things that take longer than I have "now" but there are a lot that I can do pretty quickly.
This year, I am revisiting this idea every time I write something down. It keeps a lot of things moving and creates fewer bottlenecks and delays.
Think about doing the same.