Business Development

Is being vulnerable Ok?

Jinesh Parekh Looking for sales professionals in US

August 13th, 2017

We recently moved to Vancouver and trying to establish a business here. I wanted to start out by sharing the reality. Some say, you should not mention that your company is not doing great right now while others say, being vulnerable is good.

I mellowed down on the text on the page here.

Would like to get your opinion on the strategy.

Craig Lillard Serial Founder/Bootstrapper of Video Related Startups. Currently Growing

Last updated on August 14th, 2017

Ok, so honest response here. I read through all of the text on your site including the reason for downfall, etc.

By the way, based on your website and landing pages, the info. you posted is directed at your potential customers and NOT potential investors. If this questions is about investors, that is something different, but that is not what it appears to be.

I am all for transparency, but this seems like way overkill for me. Your previous company failed (or maybe it is that your current company struggled?).

Sounds like some legitimate less than idea decisions and some wasted spend, but not anything out of the norm. Many others have made the same mistakes and spent money where they shouldn't have, but that is behind you now. Definitely no need to go too granular on it with all of those details on what you spent on what.

To me, if I was reading your page, I think it has the potential of being a turn off. Right now, you are starting over and you need clients. Keeping things simple like, "We have had ups and downs in our business, made mistakes and learned from those mistakes. We are stronger and wiser because of them and all of our new clients will benefit from these growth experiences." That seems like all you really need to say about it.

When you are growing again and you have positive proof that your company is coming back, then, possible you can refer back in more detail to some of these issues, how you fixed them and how your company is now successful because you fixed them, but leading with them in this much detail from day one doesn't seem like a wise move.

Be transparent, but don't be overly negative. You have to convince people you are worth working with and if you are overly negative you are going to have a hard time doing that.

Think about a dating or courtship. No one spills all of their dirty laundry on the first date, but wise people know what information needs to be shared and when. If there are critical mistakes you feel you have to share with potential clients then share them when the time comes and share what you learned from them, but don't lead with it or you may never get to that point.

Focus on your strengths. Focus on what you did right. I don't mean lie or not be transparent. If you didn't do anything right, then don't say anything and start from scratch, but it appears you did some things right if you had a team of 50.

PROVE to yourself and everyone you have changed. Don't make the same mistakes. Be vigilant. THEN and only then can you point them back at what you were and say, "This is what we were and THIS is what we are now..." Then, I think it will benefit you even more.

Lucky you for moving to Vancouver... Man, I wish I was there with you! :)

Good luck!

Mallory Pickard Senior Content Strategist

August 15th, 2017

There's nothing wrong with using failure or setbacks as vehicles for storytelling and transparency, but the key is to articulate cause and solution, which aren't currently captured in your story (there is a link off the page to some bullet points that I would recommend including as part of your primary story so people don't have to visit multiple pages to put the story together themselves). When you lose half your staff, cannot pay people the salaries they've earned and wish to share that as part of your company's narrative, you need to provide some kind of insight as to why these things happened beyond wondering what went wrong. What did go wrong? What did you learn that has made you and your company smarter and better?

The answers you provide in the link for 'Why did this happen to us?' are a bit confusing. Seemingly you are blaming, at least in part, your own customers and your employees for the company's downfall. These are the lengthiest bullet points in the list. But your real business killers ("A few large projects did not renew" and "Sales tanked!") are presented without explanation. The post ends with "Greetings Vancouver. Hope you have the right things in store for us." This could easily turn off potential customers and affect your business in the long run. Vancouver is not the solution, you are the solution.

Same thing goes for your call to action in the main post: "So if you have a problem you want to solve, we should talk. Help us create our success story in Vancouver." You customers don't want to help you create your success story. They want you to help them.

Chris Taylor President, Managing Director/Partner

August 13th, 2017

You are on right track. We have all been there.

James Corbishley Inventor and sustainable energy startup

Last updated on August 13th, 2017

Don't mean to be cryptic here. But...

I think many investors, partners etc appreciate straightforwardness and honesty. Such an approach can be quite refreshing and means that issues can be resolved more easily. Also, experienced business people are often able to see through any bluffing.

However, actually advertising a vulnerability is not normally a good idea. Firstly, you are exposing a weakness and inviting someone to take advantage of you. Secondly, people might consider it showed bad business judgement. Even if they know or suspect a vulnerability to be there they would expect you to play it down. Thirdly, people like business associates to be positive and upbeat. Sometimes this means putting on a brave face.

I think the best advice would to be straightforward, but not to reveal any vulnerability unless there is a good reason, and in any event, to try and do so with a positive slant as much as possible.

Mouad Ezzaki zaki'sbar@redwidgets,social,philosophy,money,pleasure ,chance

August 16th, 2017

i think that your stategy to show us the story of your busness is a good idea to build trust with others and be partners inthe futur.

for me trust and being honnest is the most importing thing to build a good busness.

Curt Sahakian Attorney

August 13th, 2017

Hiding the obvious will make you look weak to a sophisticated investor.

The right balance is not to go over board in flaunting bogus strengths. Don't go out of your way to show any weaknesses, but attempting to hide the unhidable will earn you no points, and could subtract a few points.

Joseph Wang Chief Science Officer at Bitquant Research Laboratories

August 14th, 2017

Who are you trying to be vulnerable to?

If you go to a hamburger restaurant, and the person giving you hamburgers starts to tell you how horrible business is, that's probably not going to give you the best of experiences.

Yes, it's important for your mental sanity that you unburden your soul, but customers are rarely the right people to do that to.

Subu V Strategy, Innovative Thinking, Leadership, Team Building, Entrepreneurship, Startup

August 14th, 2017

Being transparent is one trait that will have long term benefits. If that involves revealing your vulnerability, there is nothing wrong. If your company is not doing great right now, for certain genuine reasons outside your control, and not because your product is not good, then you can be absolutely transparent about it. In any case, in today’s world driven by data and connectivity, the reality of how your company is doing can be found out anyway by anyone who bothers to look around.

Djoko Christian Determine and confident

Last updated on August 15th, 2017

Relancer votre entreprise sur la bonne base solide et sérieuse et dite une vérité approximativeement sur l'etat de l'entreprise



Lulu Adoa .

August 13th, 2017

It's really not an issue I think.......