In a recent conversation with a friend of mine, CEO of a small Consulting firm, he explained me how he energized his small company using Lean Startup principles and tools.
Especially when it comes to answer calls for tender or a request for a proposal, Frederic (his name) has gotten pickier.
“My test, he said, is to ask when I can come and present my proposal. If the person asks to receive it by e-mail or tries to escape the presentation, chances are there is no genuine interest. I can save myself precious time for something doomed from the beginning. I won’t inflict pain to myself starting to answer. Fail fast, save time.”
Being still somewhat old school, educated in a system and at a time when failing was not fashionable, I realized that “failing fast” is not only about physical widgets or apps not working (even if called Minimum Viable Products) or services nobody care about except their creators, but also about the more mundane and lukewarm requests from prospects.
I recalled how many proposals I wrote myself, for which I got stupid excuses to turn them down, if any answer ever came. I could have failed fast and saved myself a lot of time!
Indeed, some prospects are asking for proposals to gather some intelligence on a subject, fuel their own creativity, get a free guideline to roll out the proposed program by themselves or just to please the purchasing department with more than their favorite proposal because the procedure requires at least three.
In a time of harsh competition it’s sometimes hard to discard an opportunity for business, but here one has to remember that every inquiry and call for tender is not a true opportunity.
And failing fast has real benefits, it saves time!Follow @HOHMANN_Chris