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Asking for Help Sooner Could’ve Saved a Month of Startup Paralysis

I met a couple entrepreneurs recently through a mutual friend who are building an iOS app. They’ve outsourced development, and have very little knowledge of coding despite being a technology company. (“Uh oh,” comes to mind.)

They were very enthusiastic about meeting, and before entering, I thought we’d talk about their project and what I’m doing… general first-date talk. But instead, it quickly became a “please help fix this bug!” session.

After ~30 minutes of studying the code, I was able to solve their issue. They were so excited because they had been stuck for over a month!

A few details about this that made me shocked…
  • They have an office at Atlanta Tech Village. In a startup co-working space with the tagline “Engineered Serendipity”, entrepreneurs are surrounded by lots of technical talent. Finding help shouldn’t be hard.
  • Of course, you need to ask for help. As entrepreneurs, we have egos; so doing things ourselves can be the preferred route. However, we’re obviously not good at EVERYTHING, and it’s well worth our time (speed is key in startups!) to ask help from the experts.
  • If you’re starting a technology company, know technology; or at the minimum, have a technical team member. Substituting your team with outside, paid resources in lieu of long-term technical talent is a big risk – especially should he/ she leave, like the situation here.
  • Help comes from everywhere, not just the startup world. I met our mutual friend from Starbucks, and she, aside from us, does not have connections to the tech startup community here. Yet, she knew her friends needed help, so introduced us.
Entrepreneurs and others alike would do well to ask for help more often and build up a diverse support network to augment their “shortcomings”.

Where have you received help from someone you didn’t expect? What did you do to get connected with others to either give help or receive help?

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