Where do I look to find resources?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  Resources are everywhere. If you start looking for them—on the web or otherwise—you will soon drown in them. The problem isn’t finding resources, it’s finding good resources that will do what you need at costs you can afford. That takes a lot more looking and networking, but that’s your job as the entrepreneur: getting resources done with resources you don’t control.

  1. It’s a good question. But it’s a second order question. (“You can’t get second things by putting them first. You can only get second things by putting first things first.”) The first question should be: “What resources do I need, how much of them, and when?”
  2. Right after that comes, what might I get without paying (or not paying in cash, or not paying now)?
  3. Only then comes the question of where to look.
  4. The Resources section is an answer for where to find things, but it’s also the problem. There are so many resources, and so many places to look. This is one reason the questions above should come first. Hopefully that exercise narrows the list. Even if you have framed good questions to narrow the search, there are still so many resources that it’s hard to know what to do. If ever there was a place where looking for the perfect can be the enemy of the good, this is it. Sometimes it’s smart to find a resource that seems good enough and just go with it.
  5. Honestly, when I need a resource I haven’t used before, once I have in hand a good working sketch of what I really want to accomplish I seldom go to websites and Google searches to find resources. I ask someone I respect who knows about that space, or who is experienced in the kinds of things I am doing. If I don’t know the right person, I call people until I network my way to someone one who does. Back to the value of the network.
  6. It would be nice if people would leave behind organized directories or lists of things they found helpful in specific areas. See the Resources section of this website.

Jason Freedman (Entrepreneur, blogger, and Co-Founder, FlightCaster):  What about all those investors that turn you down?  Can they be resources? The investors who turned us down all closed with a variant of this statement when I pitched Flightcaster to them: “If there’s ever anything I can ever do to help, please let me know.” At first, it sounded like a standard pleasantry, in the same vein of “I wish you the best of luck.”  But then, I started thinking about why it was that every investor was saying it. I realized that there are two forces at work here: The first is that many investors are genuinely nice guys that do root for entrepreneurs. Many made it as entrepreneurs and remember the pain and the hustle.  If (and this is an important if) an action is not at odds with their fiduciary duty to their limited partners, most investors will do what they can to support you.  The second force at work is pure incentives. Investors know that relationships matter. An investor that passed on a company may want back in at a later point if that company takes off. Or she may want to fund a future company of that entrepreneur. Doing favors without an investment is a cash-free way to prove to the entrepreneur that they have real value to provide in addition to their capital. So, I decided to take them up on their offer. All of them. I literally contacted every investor that turned us down and asked for a concrete favor. We had just launched the FlightCaster product and were working hard to meet people in the industry. My co-founder Evan Konwiser was not yet recognized as the thought leader of the travel industry that he is today. We had a big conference coming up where every leader of the travel industry would be in attendance. And we knew no one. With a few hours on LinkedIn, I was able to see which investors knew someone that knew someone we wanted to meet. I sent a personalized email to all those investors that offered to help. And you know what happened? A huge number of those investors responded within 48 hours, and most of them were able to help in some way.  And, it was the most impressive investors that responded the quickest. Here’s the response I received from Ron Conway the next day (using his classic all caps):

I KNOW THE CEO OF EXPEDIA…send us an email template to send to him.

So, yes, we got introduced to the CEO of Expedia because Ron Conway, who had previously passed on investing in us, was willing to help. Booyah!! Why did he do it? Because Ron is also one of those guys that is fundamentally rooting for the entrepreneur. The other reason he did it? Because we asked. You don’t get shit you don’t ask for. Give it a shot. The worst that can happen is that they say no. And even that’s not so bad—investors love knowing that you hustle. So hustle. This is an excerpt from humbled MBA and reprinted with permission from Jason Freedman.  Read the full post at http://www.humbledmba.com/.

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