Due to MavenHut’s success, there are people that think I know stuff and they want to meet me to talk about their business. And, time permitting, since I travel a lot these days, I actually love to meet the entrepreneurs.
And why shouldn’t I? I love talking to smart people (who doesn’t?), I am interested in how they see what they do and it helps me broaden my horizons. And, of course, it sometimes helps me see solutions for my problems just because I am forced into looking at the issues from a different angle.
One thing I have a difficult time explaining, though, without sounding rude, is that before meeting with someone, that person needs to do something about their idea/project. I will never meet with someone just because they have an idea and want to pick my brain on it. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have time for MavenHut anymore from all the meetings with people “with ideas of an online project” (that usually will change the world). Investors might take these type of meetings sometimes, since they need to be in contact with entrepreneurs for the deal flow, but I am not an investor.
In order to trim the number of meetings and understand who exactly can use my help, I use 2 elements.
First one: I ask in an email for 2 paragraphs about the idea and the stage it’s in. If the person I am writing to is unable to express their idea in 2 paragraphs, I don’t really think they actually understand what they’re doing just yet. Their focus should be on understanding what they do before meeting me (if YOU don’t know what you want to do, how the hell should I know or be able to help you?)
The other thing I want to see is an MVP. If you don’t have any type of Minimum Viable Product (a site, an app, a distribution channel, some users/customers), any advice I would give would be so general that it would make no sense for a meeting.
If these two conditions come together then I am more than happy to meet people (of course, based on my schedule, as well). After all, a lot of people helped and still help us in building MavenHut. But I never went to them with “you know, I have an idea for a Solitaire game”. I went with something on the lines of “I am looking for an investment for my company that does a Solitaire multiplayer game. We already have 1000 users that spend about 35 minutes per day in the game, on Facebook, I don’t know, though, how to put these things in an investment pitch. I know you’ve gone through this process already, do you have one hour to meet and explain these to me?”
The line above explains what I’m doing, what I need and shows why I contacted this specific person.
So, how’s your MVP doing? :)
P.S.: I also don’t drink coffee, just so you know :D
Photo credit: Know Your Stuff