Online dating and entrepreneurs: A match made in heaven?
Updated: May 9, 2019
When talking with my entrepreneur friends, somehow, we ended up talking about more personal matters which then took us to online dating.
If you have ever experienced online dating as an entrepreneur, you would have come across the eerie parallels that it has with starting a business. I’m sure you have experienced some if not all of these!
The “business” of meeting people
Below are some characteristics worth thinking about when you are looking for a potential love/business partner:
Values – Shared values are crucial in any type of long-lasting relationship.
Clarity - What are you looking for? What do you want, and what don’t you want out this partnership?
Strengths - What are you good at and what are the strengths of the other person? How could these “complement” each other when building a long-lasting relationship.
Sense of humour – We need to have as much fun working on the business as you do in a relationship… otherwise what is the point?
Shared Vision – Where are you going? Are you aiming towards the same direction? You should have those “difficult” conversations now, as this will save you time and many headaches - not to mention a broken heart.
Let’s start at the beginning....
You start with a ‘dream’, with an idea of what you want your partner or business to look like. You must prepare a pitch and encapsulate the essence with just a few words - enough to tell them about who you are, what you stand for and what are you looking for.
The same principles apply when people are looking for a product or service to when they are looking for a partner.
What is your USP? Why should people get in touch with you? What are you looking for? What are your features and benefits?
Who is your target market? What type of person are you looking for? Who would be your ideal partner or match?
Now, from the potential matches once you initiate contact, what makes you trust one person over another? How much information you can disclose? Once you initiate contact how do you build trust?
It's not personal
When someone doesn't reply, it's time to move to the next person. When you get knocked down, get back up again! It's about focusing on developing a few relationships that might lead you to exactly what you want. If you get discouraged and easily quit, you will never be able to find out what could've have happened. At least you could potentially end up with a good friend if you keep a positive approach.
Every date is an opportunity to define what you want and don’t want
Every interview, pitch is an opportunity to redefine your product service. Be open to feedback and implement what is valuable and what can be left behind.
While on dates focus on the things you must like about the person. How many of the qualities and non-negotiables do they have? What are your non-negotiables? In any situation, if you are not clear about what you are looking for you might not attract the right match! It’s the same in business.
"Get used to rejection"
One of the things you must learn when being an entrepreneur is to "get used to rejection."There is a phrase that says: "It’s not personal, it’s business" However, as Simon Sinek says: "There is nothing more personal than business."
Everyone, whether in our careers, business or personal relationships, has suffered rejection at some point in time.
It is very difficult to not allow a lack of response to affect us. It’s much better if people say to you: It’s not possible, it is not for me, not now or I do not have time to look at this now but will get back to you in x amount of time.
At the same time, in business I have learned that we should not give up. You must try a few more times until people respond or at least until you have a definitive answer. Many times, it’s simply that people genuinely could not answer, or the e-mail was sent to the spam mailbox. The priorities of others are different to your own – what is important for you isn’t necessarily important to them.
It’s not possible to know the reasons why people behave in a certain way. However, generally what we imagine is a hundred times worse than reality. We create our own story of the reasons why someone did not answer us when in reality, the reason why is usually much simpler.
The next time someone does not answer you, try again. As a good friend always tells me: "You already have the no". You can see it as an exercise in resilience, humility and strength and you may even have a pleasant surprise.
Don’t marry the first one
The same way you wouldn’t marry the first person you meet, you shouldn’t do it with a potential cofounder or investor either! Do your research, take it slow and get to know them and understand if your values are aligned. Have a clear understanding of what both parties want from this venture.
Approach both with an open mind, wanting to learn, an adventure and opportunity to learn not only about others but about yourself. Above all have fun!