Speaking at the first Virtual Readers Meetup of Future Startups, the Founder and CEO of BariKoi, Al-Amin Sarker Tayef said that it is important for founders to reach out and ask for help from the people around them . Building a company is hard. Without the support of the people around you, it is difficult to make progress, added Mr Tayef.
He said that people are usually helpful and that he received a huge amount of help from all kinds of people from different walks of life.
Barikoi started as a small location building and mapping solutions company for Bangladesh. The company has since evolved and built a growing business in a seemingly challenging vertical.
Asking for help is considered one of the founder’s most important skills. Founders and people who study entrepreneurs share the sentiment that what separates many great founders is their ability to reach out to people and ask for help.
However, asking for help is easier said than done. Many people genuinely struggle to ask for help. It is a psychological challenge to ask someone for something. It goes against our preconceived notion of normal behavior. It involves fear of rejection, a big challenge for many people.
We also overthink how people will perceive us if we ask for help from them. People will look down on us. People may perceive negative things about us. So there are all kinds of mental barriers when it comes to asking for help.
Now there are two groups of people. One group is naturally good at asking for help. For example, many people say that Steve Jobs was very good at asking for help. He would come to anyone and everyone if they needed anything from him. So do many renowned founders. So it is not a challenge for these people. They do very well in entrepreneurship and in general, in life.
Then there is the second group of people who overthink everything and find asking for help a mortal challenge. This is the group where most people fall. They go through hundreds of mental movies before finally gathering the courage to ask for help from someone.
There is no easy solution for this group of people. They will always struggle when it comes to reaching out for help. However, this mental challenge can be overcome through practice.
The first step is to reduce the psychological stake of the task. If possible break it up and see it as a single event instead of attaching it to some other narrative. For example, you need to ask for help from one of your advisors. You are aware that it already helps you enough. Now if you ask for more help, read that he may view it unfavorably and it may impact your long term relationship with him. Stop overthinking. See each task as an independent event.
The second step is not to confuse your self-esteem with the act of asking for help. Do you think that any rejection as permanent or rejection of you as an individual. Instead, see it as a rejection of that particular idea and that particular moment.
If someone says they can’t help you right now, instead of taking offense at their refusal, send them a nice thank you email, connect, and maintain your regular relationship.
Third, get used to rejection. People will say no all the time. Learn to take it normally.
One way to improve your rejection tolerance is by getting a lot of rejections. You can start with low stake denials. For example, ask for a discount at a fixed-price store. You will be rejected but it will make it more tolerable because you already know it.
Turn rejection into fun experiences and learn to take it lightly. This should eventually make it easier for you to handle rejections and ask for help more often leading to a greater chance of success for yourself.
Tayef also shared his journey of building a mapping company in Bangladesh while the perceived competitors in the space are all the big players including Google. He talked about why it is critical to persevere and the importance of staying in the game for a long time.
He shared the struggles and challenges Barikoi has gone through in the last four years and how they helped him learn critical lessons in risk building while making him more resilient.
He also talked about the importance of focus and why founders should spend more time building companies instead of seeking unnecessary attention and suggestions from people.
Future Startup Virtual Meetup was the first such reader meeting organized by the business and entrepreneurship knowledge platform. The invitation-only event was joined by a close-knit group of FS readers, mostly founders, operators, and professionals. The Future Startup plans to organize the Meetup every two months and turn it into a community of makers, builders, and makers in Bangladesh.
Ayrin Saleha Ria contributed to this article.