Handshakes & Skepticism

By Jeremy Au

· Failure,Blog

What was the greatest challenge you faced while building Conjunct Consulting?

When Kwok Jia-Chuan and I first set out to found Conjunct Consulting, the key obstacle we faced was scepticism. We were looking for teammates, partners, and allies. We were rejected via email. We were rejected on Facebook. We were rejected via phone. We were rejected in-person. We were rejected after handshake agreements.

People rightfully questioned us over and over again. How would the social enterprise work? Was there even demand for this? How would the business be managed? Would we ever reach critical mass? What was the financial plan? How could you model the growth?

Our answers weren't up to par. So people rightfully rejected us over and over again.

After all, we were new. A new startup hungry to change the social sector, a new model of volunteerism, a new team that no-one had heard of before. "New" is scary for everyone. "New" is terrifying. "New" is risky. Who’s to say that this team will be able to deliver on their promises?

People often wish to help, but it’s difficult to take the plunge if you’re faced with a new idea. It is imperative of the people within the venture to make their case as best as they can.

We eventually changed the way we approached this problem. We started finding the people who believed in the same cause we did, rather than focusing on the skepticism.

When you first seek your team, it’s not about quantity. It’s not about persuading 100% of the community to join you.

It’s about

1. Finding the 1% of your network that is willing to absolutely trust you

2. Sweating and bleeding over the building of the service

3. Over-delivering on every single promise

Now, go back to the people who were reluctant to step forward. The people who asked the good questions that you couldn't answer back then. The people who rejected you time after time.

Take a deep breath. Extend your hand. Speak.

“Hey, let’s try this again.”