The Other Side of Asking for Help

Scott Francis
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There’s a lot of advice in startup circles advising entrepreneurs to not be shy – to ask for the help they want.  To avail themselves of many free resources that are available (and which they might assume they need to pay for).  On the whole this is good advice- trying to reduce the social barriers that people feel to reach out for help.

However, as Laura Beck points out in here post, The Art of Appreciation, there’s a flip side to this coin – people who hear, within that advice, the message of “take what you can” instead of “leverage what is being offered”.  And most of this is just about knowing how to express your appreciation for someone else’s help:

This one, so obviously, is so rarely done.  You meet with someone and they help you with your business.  Of course you know about their business, what they focus most of their day on.
Support it.
Buy something from them, engage with them, give them a positive review, send an email to your network recommending them.
Again, I reiterate:  when someone helps you with your business, the easiest and best way to show appreciation is to help them with theirs.

Of course, this isn’t equally easy with every business, but it is a great way to turn the conversation around after someone has offered to help you – how can I help in return?

So don’t be afraid to ask for help for your startup.  Or to leverage “free” resources.  But figure out how to pay it back – if not immediately, then soon. If not soon, then someday.  Nothing is truly free, so figure out how to balance the ledger down the road.