Ask for Startup Success

If you want something, you have to ask for it.

We often get caught up in our own heads, convincing ourselves that we're not ready, that we don't deserve success, or that asking for help is a sign of weakness.

In reality, asking is a sign of strength. 

It demonstrates that you have the courage to put yourself out there, the clarity to know what you want, and the determination to go after it. 

The goal of most entrepreneurs is to build something bigger than themselves.

To get there, you will need a lot of help, and it will be easier if you start asking for it.

Whether you're seeking funding, partnerships, or advice, asking is the first step toward making your startup dreams a reality.

In today’s episode of the Startup Hustle Podcast, I interviewed Kenneth Berger, and we discussed the importance of asking for what you want. He even wrote a book on the subject!

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Facing Your Fears

One of the biggest barriers to asking for what you want is fear. 

Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of being judged.

These fears are natural but can also be paralyzing if left unchecked. The key to overcoming fear is to embrace vulnerability. 

When you're willing to be honest about your desires and challenges, you create opportunities for genuine connection and support. People are often more willing to help than you might think, but they can't assist if they don't know what you need.

In my experience, some of the biggest moments in my entrepreneurial journey have come from being vulnerable and asking for help. 

Whether seeking mentorship from experienced founders or asking for introductions to potential investors, putting myself out there has consistently opened doors and accelerated my growth.

Trusting Your Gut

As a founder, you must learn to trust your instincts when asking for what you want. 

Your gut is often your best guide in navigating the challenges of startup life.

As you ask others for help and get feedback, you must take it all under advisement. You aren’t going to agree with what everyone tells you.

Ultimately, you have to trust your gut instincts.

This is something I have always struggled with. My instincts would tell me something was a bad idea, I should fire someone, I shouldn’t work with this customer, etc. 

Almost every time I doubt myself, I look back and get mad that I didn’t trust my gut instincts. With experience, we all gain more confidence and follow our gut instincts more often.

Kenneth advises, “Instead of ignoring that inner voice, get curious about it. Ask yourself what fears or doubts are holding you back, and work to address them head-on.”

Let's talk about several things we need to ask for!

Asking for Help

Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of thinking they must do everything themselves. However, asking for help when needed is not a sign of weakness but of self-awareness and resourcefulness.

Whether delegating tasks to your team, seeking advice from mentors, or partnering with complementary businesses, asking for help can help you scale faster and smarter. By leveraging the expertise and resources of others, you can focus on what you do best and accelerate your growth.

Even when things are going bad at your business, how do you expect your employees to help figure it out if you don’t share the problems with them and ask for their help?

Asking for Referrals

As the saying goes, it's not just what you know but who you know. 

Asking for referrals and introductions to potential customers, partners, and investors can be a powerful way to expand your network and open up new opportunities.

By leveraging the social capital of others, you can tap into new markets, secure valuable partnerships, and get in front of the right people. Don't be afraid to ask your satisfied customers, trusted colleagues, and industry contacts for referrals – you never know where they might lead.

Referrals are the primary and most reliable way for most companies to grow! You better be asking!

Asking for Feedback

Entrepreneurs often operate in a vacuum, pouring their hearts and souls into their ventures without seeking external input. 

However, asking for feedback from mentors, peers, and potential customers can be invaluable in refining your ideas, identifying blind spots, and improving your offerings.

By actively seeking feedback, you can gain valuable insights into what's working, what's not, and what you need to do to take your startup to the next level. 

Remember, feedback is a gift – even if it's not always easy to hear. Ask for it.

Asking for the Sale

One of the most critical skills for any entrepreneur is the ability to ask for the sale!

Whether you're pitching to investors, selling to customers, or negotiating with partners, you need to be able to articulate your value proposition and ask for what you want.

This can be uncomfortable for many entrepreneurs, especially those who are more introverted or risk-averse. 

However, by developing a strong sales pitch, understanding your audience, and practicing your ask, you can overcome your fears and secure the deals you need to grow your business.

Follow-up is the key to sales and many forms of success.

You better keep asking over and over!

Asking for Forgiveness

As an entrepreneur, you will make mistakes. It's not a matter of if but when. 

Setbacks are inevitable in the startup journey, from hiring the wrong person to launching a marketing campaign that falls flat.

What sets successful entrepreneurs apart is their ability to own their mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and learn from their failures.

One of the most difficult things you may face is letting your investors down. 

When you take on investment, you're not just taking money – you're taking on a responsibility to deliver results. If you fall short of your promises, it can be tempting to hide or make excuses.

However, the best thing you can do is face your investors head-on, acknowledge your mistakes, and present a plan for how you'll course-correct. Most investors have been in your shoes before and will appreciate your transparency and proactivity. Again, they can’t help you if you don’t ask.

Another challenge is letting your customers down.

Whether it's a product defect, a delayed shipment, or a subpar service experience, failing to meet your customer's expectations can be a major blow to your reputation and bottom line.

However, it's also an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. By proactively reaching out to your customers, apologizing for your mistakes, and going above and beyond to make things right, you can actually turn your biggest critics into your most loyal fans.

Whatever your mistakes, you need to ask how to correct them and improve. Ask for forgiveness and learn from it!

Embracing the No

One of the most important things entrepreneurs need to learn is embracing the no. You'll inevitably face rejection and setbacks as you put yourself out there and ask for what you need.

However, every "no" is an opportunity to learn and grow. By approaching each rejection with curiosity and a growth mindset, you can extract valuable insights that will strengthen your next ask.

Moreover, embracing the no can help you develop resilience and persistence – two essential qualities for any successful entrepreneur.

By learning to dust yourself off and keep moving forward, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges and uncertainties of the startup world.

In conclusion, asking for what you need is a critical skill for any entrepreneur. By asking for help, referrals, feedback, sales, forgiveness, and embracing the no, you can unlock new opportunities, overcome obstacles, and accelerate your growth. 

So don't be afraid to put yourself out there and ask – your startup's success may depend on it.

Asking as a Mindset

Ultimately, asking for what you want is not just a tactic or a skill. 

It's a mindset that permeates every aspect of your entrepreneurial journey. 

It's about believing in yourself, your vision, and your ability to create the future you want to see. But also asking those around you for help.

I commonly make mistakes when I think I need to do everything. I don’t delegate enough or seek the help and advice I need to reach the next level.

I need to start asking.

What is holding you back because you aren’t asking?

Sometimes, all you need to do is ask.


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