Courtesy and Tact Can Go a Long Way for Startups

covermouth_sep10.jpgWith the angst from the angels and venture capitalists debate still hanging in the air, and the thickening plot of “Angelgate,” it’s easy to forget that courteous, polite and gracious behavior can save your startup from easy pitfalls. In an industry that functions largely on connections, burning bridges is never a smart move, intentional or not. Here are a pair of examples from seasoned venture capitalists on how playing nice can go a long way.

How To Cancel a Meeting

“You better not be the person who was asking for the meeting. You should grovel. You should call personally to state your sincerest apologies.”
Mark Suster

Back in May of this year, investor Mark Suster recalled an anecdote when the cancellation of a meeting frustrated him. He had scheduled a meeting with an entrepreneur and kept the commitment despite a strong desire to reschedule and attend a conference. When the entrepreneur cancelled last minute (by having his assistant call Suster’s, no less) Suster was upset, to say the least.

Long story short, the entrepreneur had a good reason for canceling the meeting, but Suster was left with a bad taste in his mouth due to the way it was handled. As he outlines in his post, depending on the proximity to the meeting, canceling an appointment has varying levels of requirements.

If it’s a few days before, or earlier, it’s okay to send a polite email in most cases. Within a day of the meeting, Suster says you need to be aware of who you are dealing with, and decide accordingly.

cancelled_sept10.jpg“There are some people who live locally to you and you know don’t have calendars full of meetings every day,” writes Suster. “If I KNOW it is somebody with whom I can more easily reschedule then we’ll reach out to them and see whether it’s OK.”

If you need to cancel within the hour of the appointment, as was the case with the entrepreneur who canceled on Suster, “the sky better be falling,” says Suster. “You better not be the person who was asking for the meeting. You should grovel. You should call personally to state your sincerest apologies.”

Biting Your Tongue

As the old saying goes, if you don’t have something nice to say, it’s probably best to say nothing at all. This is the sentiment behind a blog post Friday morning from New York-based investor Fred Wilson. In it, Wilson remembers an entrepreneur who had considered sending a not-so-friendly email to a troublesome VC firm after it had turned down his pitch for investment.

“It is hard to take a hit and not hit back. But you have to do it.”
– Fred Wilson

“When you get a no, you have to take it with class. You need to thank the investor for taking a look. You need to keep the relationship intact for the next time you want to raise money. It is hard to take a hit and not hit back. But you have to do it,” he says.

The best form of payback, he says, is when you do finally strike a huge deal and that VC firm is left out to its own dismay. “That makes it a lot easier to write that polite reply that you need to write,” says Wilson.

More often than not, taking the high road can be beneficial to the success of your startup. If the advice of these wise and experienced VCs says anything, it’s that letting the bridges you burn light the way is not the best option. Be polite, graceful and courteous, and you’ll be surprised where that will take you.

About these ads

Todos los días un parte de cada uno de nosotros pierde una parte de sí mismo pero con cierta travesura se postula al infinito digital. Every day. Bit of me®. I'm a Thinker and a Doer Coordinator #OPEN365. Mentoring, Online Advertising Advisor, RRHH, Speaker. Google Adwords Search Engine Optimization & Marketing (SEO - SEM) Linkedin Groups Admin. Strategy and Operations Consulting.

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Publicado en
10:00 AM to 05:00 PM | Mon-Fri
+5411 4954.0022 / +54 911 6259.7231
Scroll down on my timeline #gabrielcatalano

Gabriel Catalano

Procrastination Not AlloweD!


septiembre 2010
« ago   oct »
Social Technologies Strategist, …procrastination not Allowed!, I’m a Thinker and a Doer Coordinator

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Únete a otros 5.947 seguidores

Cruces, Sol y La Imaginación

Cuando la imaginación y la creatividad suman infinito


el mundo del marketing se activa para ti


fanzine bejarano de historietas hecho en los 80

A Stairway To Fashion


Vinod833's Blog

This site is the bee's knees

Apasionada de las Redes Sociales

Compartir conocimientos 2.0 y Marketing Online

Zona de Promesas

Blog de Tecnología en Español - Internet - Redes Sociales - Entrepreneurship - Innovación

Top Master | Blog


La realidad alterna

Diario de sueños, cuentos, poesías y una novela en proceso


Startup and Technology News

Unencumbered by Facts

Taking unsubstantiation to new levels

Carlos Cordero

Blog de tecnología

PsicoEmocions Blog

Un Pont entre la Psique i les Emocions



Comunicación & Marketing

De Lilian Lanzieri


Dirección estratégica para la vida

Silvia Altamirano

An editorial designer that writes

StellarHIRE Partners

Founding Partner, StellarHire Partners - Executive Search Consultants. Recent engagements include Eloqua, SFDC, Tibco and Veeam.

ivanbrunpr's Blog

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this site

Matt on Not-WordPress

Stuff and things.


Noticias de Tecnologia.

Talento en Expansión

Tendencias y Mejores Prácticas en la Gestión de Personas de la Empresa 2.0

Two Leaves Tea SPAIN

Great Organic Tea! ✫✫✫✫✫ Te Organico en Piramides

Escuela de Dinero

El mejor Sitio en Español sobre lo básico para entender el Dinero y sus matemáticas relacionadas.

Intentando dejar huella...

...en cada uno de los visitantes

Ideas Para la

Portafolio de experiencias en la clase de español para Middle School.


Travel & Lifestyle Blog

déborah rueda

Un sitio más pero diferente sobre marketing on line

No solo los 80's

La mejor música de la historia

Molly Balloon's Blog

Identity + Dressing + Colour

El OJO PUBLICO. / Глаз общественности

Ver para contar & contar para ver. / Чтобы рассказать

Think Creative Idea

Marketing, publicidad, web y negocios

Social Media y más

Social Media, Redes Sociales, Marketing, SEO

The Coaching Alliance

El camino hacia el éxito

Luces y sombras de las marcas

Social Media, Marketing y Comunicación


Ultimas Noticias de Estados Unidos, Latinoamérica y el Mundo, Opinión y Videos

Javier GM Photography - México y más.

“Un fotógrafo tiene que ser auténtico y en su obra, debe expresar emociones, provocar reacciones y despertar pasiones.” ~ Javier García-Moreno E.

Natalia Gómez del Pozuelo

Experta en comunicación y oratoria


Alimentación, ocio y negocios, ALOYN, es un Grupo dirigido a Directivos y Propietarios de empresas, interesados en el mundo de la industria de alimentación y bebidas. Tanto por la parte de la industria productora como por la parte de la industria consumidora y/o distribuidora (Distribución Comercial, Horeca, Vending, Venta Directa, etc). También nos interesan las actividades ligadas al agroturismo y el enoturismo como magníficas actividades de promoción y difusión de la cultura gastronómica.

Blog de Jack Moreno

Un blog de Joaquín Moreno sobre recursos, literatura y ciencia ficción


Ensalada de Manjares

Infographic List

For those who love Infographics -


Recibe cada nueva publicación en tu buzón de correo electrónico.

Únete a otros 5.947 seguidores

A %d blogueros les gusta esto: