Help Others Help You: Have an Ask Ready

I’ve been giving advice to John on his start-up (it’s a reboot, actually). We worked on articulating his new vision clearly and making specific asks for help. I caught up with him today, and he told me things are going well. He’s pursuing a few strong opportunities that recently presented themselves. I asked how they came about. The answer was that he started asking for intros to specific people at the companies he’s targeting.

People say early founders should always have their elevator pitch ready to go, and I agree. Quickly helping others understand what your company does, and why, is important. Founders should also have something else ready: a specific ask. People want to support people and things they believe in, but they don’t always know how. By laying it out clearly, you fill that gap and make it easier for them to help. Instead of hearing “Oh, that’s nice; I hope it works out for you,” you may get the intro or land the customer that changes your trajectory. All you had to do was ask!