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How to politely reject business suggestions from your investor

Deepika Jayasurya
10th Jun 2016
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Receiving the initial funding from investors marks the beginning of a (hopefully) long-lasting professional relationship. Everyone wants what is best for the company as they like to build brands that disrupt the universe. And, like any other professional relationship, there can always be differences in ideology, opinions and implementation. Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Honest disagreements are often a good sign of progress.” But, in the world of entrepreneurship, not everything ends smoothly. The example of Housing.com former CEO Rahul Yadav proves this beyond doubt.

Disagree-Politely

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Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Honest disagreements are often a good sign of progress.” But, in the world of entrepreneurship, not everything ends smoothly.

As an entrepreneur, instead of making the situation worse than it already is, put forward your thoughts and encourage a healthy discussion with investors. It is your duty to maintain the relationship for the benefit of your company and its employees.

Allow the benefit of doubt

Before you explain to investors why their idea won't work, question yourself first. Just because you aren’t convinced about the idea, doesn’t mean it is not good enough. Also, you must appreciate the fact that your investors have the experience of handling such situations prior to this. Always, stay humble in the whole process.

Be transparent and communicate effectively

This is a common problem faced by entrepreneurs. It is important that you speak a language which investors can understand. They understand the language of data and money. For example, instead of plainly stating 'I don't think it would work' or 'I'm not sure if we should invest money in this idea', you need to reason it out with them. You reasons need to be backed with data, and you cannot forget to acknowledge their good intentions as well. Do not expect the investor to get back to you immediately. Give him/her some time to weigh your side. Never surprise them with your decisions. This can be a recipe for disaster. Communicating openly can actually gain you respect and trust.

Never get emotional

Instead of letting out your frustration or throwing a tantrum, try to be composed and prepare well for a discussion. While the latter can project you as a mature person with professional ethics, the former makes you appear immature and not worthy of the money.

Tackle things professionally

Whether it is a teleconference or a meeting, always be punctual. Keep your status report or delivery paperwork in place to present it on request. When you are presenting something, get your facts checked twice and format the template in a pleasing manner. Ensure your grammar is on point while exchanging e-mails, which will clearly tell them that you are professional.

Be careful of your body language

Although you might be cautious of your verbal language, sometimes your body language doesn't sync with it. Your facial expressions and gestures can actually offend investors. Greg Hartley, a former US Army interrogator and body language expert, suggests, "Avoid putting up a barrier like a hand, your bag, or whatever else you have, between yourself and the person with whom you are speaking."

Always remember everyone is on the same journey and it is easier to navigate when all of them are on board want to head in the same direction.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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