I was reminded again this week how important it is to have patience when building a new business. Too often people abandon an initiative if they don’t see results quickly enough — or more harmful to themselves, they snub there nose at someone or something that does not respond they way they want to and walk away from what otherwise might have been a promising avenue of business to pursue.
My case in point relates to a school initiative I am involved with – introducing the Everest Academy on-line learning program (www.everestelc.com) to one of the local top-level hockey leagues. We were fortunate enough last year to be able to meet with a group of the educators who work with the league’s teams. We talked about what we were building and committed to following up with them as we got closer to being ready for program delivery. That time period is now. We worked to reconnect with the co-ordinator for their program, but got no response. This went on for a few months. It became worrisome.
Human nature starts to drive a feeling of doubt that the prospective customer is a good avenue for this program. No response means no interest after all! Perhaps someone else got to them with an alternative program? Maybe they are working on their own program? It seemed odd, as their interest was high and we are pretty confident that no one else is approaching the league in the way we are.
Patience becomes an important part of how decisions are made. If we abandon the opportunity without confirming their intent, we might be walking away from an important partnership that can help us build long term credibility for our on-line learning program. How long do we wait? I’ve learned time and time again there is always a rational reason for why you don’t hear from someone – and it is rarely because they are avoiding you:
- sorry but I was on vacation for a few weeks and did not respond to emails
- i had an illness in the family and it took me away from work for a while
- the season is really busy for us so I had to finish some other projects before looking at this new initiative
- i lost your contact details so it is good you kept pursuing me
- thanks for continuing to chase me, i’m not a very organized person
There are always reasons why delays occur — if you have the patience to keep the doors open with key initiatives, good things generally happen. If you do finally make contact, and find out that you are not on the path to a new customer, at least you can find out why and use that information to improve your business. This may be just as impactful to your business as anything. Patience is the key.
We did hear back from the hockey league this week after several months of nothing. We seem back on track with nothing to worry about. Phew – glad I waited and did not write them off as was so easy to do.