Startup Perils – The Unconvincible are Invincible (to your charms)

Entrepreneur = Optimist

That’s the simple truth. It is both the greatest power and the greatest weakness of any entrepreneur. Probably the best example is an entrepreneur’s temptation to try to convince the unconvinced.

Let me give you an example. I was talking to an investor. This was not someone I knew and not someone with experience in the space I was raising money for. I had sent an overview and he got a little lost in some of the jargon (my fault, obviously). I spent some time on the phone walking him through it. There was a fair amount of back and forth by email afterwards, but not in any particular direction. Every time I thought we were making progress, the investor would go quiet. I’d reach out, get a reply, but no action. When I finally thought I had answered all of his questions, I eventually went for the ask. It was a simple ask along the lines of “What are the next steps for you?”.

A few days later, I got a reply… “Not sure”.

This is a classic example of an Unconvincible.

Unconvincibles appear in every area of your business, from hiring to fund-raising to customers.

So how do you recognize an Unconvincible?

There are two primary traits

  1. They don’t easily say no. They like to talk. They ask questions. Sometimes a lot of questions. But when you look at their questions there is no particular pattern or focus. It’s just “more”.
  2. There are questions you expect that don’t get asked.

As a former mentor used to tell me about investors, “If they’re not writing checks, it’s all bullsh*t”. More broadly, if there’s no action, it’s bullsh*t.

Don’t mistake chatter for engagement. If there’s no progress, it’s not real.

So how do you convince an Unconvincible?

You don’t.

Seriously. This will frustrate every fiber of your entrepreneurial spirit, but there is nothing you can do. The only thing you can do with an Unconvincible is move on.

Consider yourself an unstoppable force and the Unconvincible an immovable object, and then watch this great video from One Minute Physics:



They are exactly right! And when it comes to Unconvincibles, the best thing you can do is develop good radar. Detect them early and move on fast.