True Lies: Building a Reputation (Comic)

#entrepreneurfail True Lies

New entrepreneurs are overflowing with enthusiasm. They are creating their reputation, often from scratch. 

Sometimes a new entrepreneur will “massage” the truth when pitching new clients or sharing their new business with contacts:

  1. “We have tons of experience” can be interpreted as “I’ve read about it and think I can figure it out.”
  2. “We have many employees” is actually “My sister helps me sometimes and I got an unpaid intern this summer.”
  3. “We have many customers” stems from the fact you are talking to many potential leads and one of them should materialize soon before you get found out.

What are some other extensions of truths from entrepreneurs?

  1. “I’ll have my admin reach out you…”, even though you don’t have an admin, it may make your company seem larger than it is.
  2. “We have offices in <big city>,” even though you only have one distant uncle who lives in that <big city>.
  3. “We don’t have availability until next week” makes it appear your company is busier than it is.

Beware though. Sometimes “fake it until you make it” doesn’t work in your favor. Don’t get caught being a Pinocchio.

Emphasize the truth and the reality of your experiences and your situation.

Have you exaggerated about your company? Tell us more in the comments.

Startup Flakes: Who can you trust? (Comic)

#entrepreneurfail Flaking Bad


I promise, I promise. I’ll refer you to my whole network, and bring you tons of business. 

If you haven’t already, you’re going to meet tons of “flakes” in your startup career. There are different breeds of flakes. Keep your eye out for all of the following species:

  1. The Well Wisher – This person always tells you about the contacts he/she will tell about your business, but never actually does it.
  2. The Guarantor – This person promises to be a fantastic partner or vendor, but unfortunately the “timing” is never right.
  3. The Genie – This person will take all your woes and wishes them away with a swift magic wand. Alas, he/she never comes through.
  4. The Yin to your Yang – This person seems like the perfect complement, a cofounder made in heaven. But of course, this never quite materializes.

You need to be careful when dealing with flakes while running your business. In fact, you may even find reliable contacts end up not living up to promises in the business world.  It is your responsibility in business to make sure that you don’t waste your time on unreliable people.

Also, if you are constantly being strung along, the message is loud and clear.  You need to craft the right value, the right motivation and the right incentive, to the person you are trying to reach. It’s the only way to get the attention and the leverage your need from that person. Focus your energy on identifying the right people that you can work with in every situation.

A sneaky trick that can often work, is to grant the “flaker” a favor, only if he/she stays true to what he/she promised you.

Let us know what flakes you have dealt with in the comments below.