Figure it Out.

Get your foot in the door and you’ve won half the battle.

Being able to “get to someone” is one of the most important skills to develop as an entrepreneur.

No matter how compelling an investment opportunity you think you present, you can’t even begin to present your case if you can’t get your idea in front of the right people.  And it’s harder than ever now, with most investors getting literally thousands of submissions that they must whittle down to the handful they will choose to pay attention to.

It’s become so bad that several VCs I know purposely don’t respond to cold emails or calls.  They believe that if someone was truly a hustler, they could easily figure out a way to get a warm intro.

But finding that warm intro shouldn’t be impossible. One of my Texan friends and I were joking a few days ago that It seems that there are only two degrees of separation between everyone in Silicon Valley and Austin.  I’ll bet that relationship holds true for every other entrepreneurial community in the country.  If you don’t live in a tech hub, well fine, that just makes it three degrees.  

Put simply, if you don’t know someone who knows me…I’ll bet you know someone who knows someone who knows me.

This is not solely fund-raising advice. It applies anytime you are trying to get someone’s attention. If you want advice. If you want support. If you want to sell them something. If you want a favor. No matter what you want, getting that foot in the door is more than half the battle.

A warm intro is nice, but even if you can’t figure out how to get one, there are other ways. The fluency to write a compelling note, leave an insightful comment, or ask an intelligent question, are all important skills that can grease the skids.

I promise you that we notice. We see who is in our comments on LinkedIn with interesting thoughts. We see the people who comment on our tweets or ask interesting questions. And when we see those names again in our email, it might just be enough to make you stand out from the hundreds of other emails we receive.

You don’t need to get it right every time. If that’s your objective, you’re not giving it enough tries. Because you never know which connection is going to be the one that makes the difference.

Mark Suster once wrote in his both sides blog, “while getting a first meeting isn’t easy, it also isn’t that hard.” I couldn’t agree more.

And I’ll just add, “and it makes all the difference.”

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