I’m in a snag at the moment. A professional ‘link’ I have (I call her that because our primary connection is via LinkedIn) reached out to me to see if I would be interested in consulting her company on a go-to-market strategy. Now the primary reason you may think I have a snag is because I am presently employed and this may cause all types of non-compete trouble – not so. The company is consumer facing (B2C) and is in no way related to what I do in my ’9 to 5′ or the audience we target. My snag is because I don’t believe in the product they are developing.
Now this is interesting to me because I value my time at home in the evenings and on weekends and already have enough on my plate (look at my poor blog here so neglected) so one of the reasons I am hesitating is because I just don’t have the passion I feel is required to devote my precious personal time to her project and upcoming company.
Maybe she has something and I am completely off in my thoughts and opinions – that’s fine. My snag is not my decision, it’s what I am going to do with that decision. How am I going to communicate my thoughts in a way that preserves our relationship? I can’t exactly tell her that her idea has been thought of a million times before, that I saw a million and one flaws in a demo or that I don’t have the time (me? lie? no way!). So what do I do?
It’s Not Personal, It’s Business
Where the heck did this quote come from? Errr – too much time on that one. Moving on Think about it though; it’s not personal, it’s business. So true in so many ways and so relevant to my current snag. How do I say this and show this? Well I have a feeling I am not the only one that has been in this situation so I thought I would share some thoughts on how I’m going to approach this and let you help me – please!
1. Be brutally honest
So the conversation may go something like “thanks so much for the opportunity. I’ve taken careful consideration of your idea and the product and I just don’t feel it’s a good fit. While I am not one to back away from any challenge, I feel like you have a steep hill to climb. Your product does have some interesting innovations but I can name a few successful companies that have not only done what you are doing, they have claimed the space. You would need to develop something really different to get any market share. So at this time, I cannot accept. If you are going to move forward perhaps I can connect you with some great people.”
This would simply consist of me accepting the role on certain conditions. These conditions of course could not be met by the company. I could overprice the heck out of my consulting and simply take myself out of the running. Again, referring to someone great that maybe could help.
3. Suck it up and take the opportunity
Would you do this? I’m thinking this is the last choice I would make because as you read above, I pretty much made my decision. But still, this may be a pretty cool opportunity. I mean, what if the company does make it? What if I can help position ourselves competitively to be ‘different’? What if…what if…what if…
What do you think? What would you do?