You should definitely follow-up after your meeting
If you’ve had an Intro Meeting with a potential supporter, there are generally three ways it can go:
Great! We totally clicked and I absolutely want to work with this person!
Pretty good. I’m not sure if it’s a great longterm fit, but I think there’s potential and would like to meet a couple more times to see where it goes.
Not so good. I don’t think it’s the right fit for me right now.
If you fall into camp #1 or #2, keep reading the next section, DTR: Defining the Relationship. If you’re firmly planted in camp #3, you can skip ahead to the How to bow out gracefully section.
DTR: Defining the Relationship
Once you’ve had a great (or at least pretty good) Intro Meeting, it’s time to follow-up and see if they are open to more. You’ll want to email them back within 24 hours to thank them for their time and ask if they would be open to a few more meetings to work on a specific challenge.
If things went really well, you might send something like this:
Thank you so much for your time yesterday. It was wonderful getting to meet you and learn more about your business experience. I know I would benefit from your product engineering expertise, and I’d love to set up a few more meetings to work on my prototype. Would you be open to meeting once every other week for the next two months? If that schedule doesn’t work for you, please let me know if there’s one that would.
If you’re a little less sure or need less of a commitment, you could send a follow-up more like this:
Thank you so much for your time yesterday. It was wonderful getting to meet you and learn more about your experience. I’d love to ask you more based on your digital marketing expertise. Would you be open to two more meetings to brainstorm ideas for my marketing strategy?
Focusing on a specific challenge for a predetermined amount of time will allow you both an opportunity to work together without feeling locked in for an undetermined amount of time. If things don’t go well, you both have a natural point at which to exit the process so you can look for new supporters. And if they do go well, you can always repeat the process and set up more meetings.
Continuing to DTR…
One you have both agreed to continue to meet, you should designate the first fifteen minutes of your next meeting to co-creating a plan. Here are some agenda items you may want to discuss:
What resource(s) are we using to work together? Hopefully by now you both know that skysthelimit.org offers a wide variety of training resources that can be extremely helpful in keeping your mentoring and advising sessions focused and productive. Depending on where your at in your business journey, you may want to suggest that your volunteer help you with one of the following:
Launch4 Guide - This is recommended for entrepreneurs who have a business idea but haven’t launched it yet.
Skysthelimit Business Plan - This can be a great place to start for early-stage entrepreneurs.
How-to Guides - These are industry-specific guides
How to Start a Clothing Company
How to Start a Food Business
How to Start a Product Business
How to Sell Your Services Online
How you will work together? You should be clear about your first and last meeting date and how long your meetings will be. Will you keep them short (30 minutes) or do longer 1 - 2 hour (or more) working sessions? If you are able to, it may be helpful to identify a regular day and time that works for your meetings.
Where will you meet? You have many options for how you might meet to work on your business. The most popular options are via phone, video chat, or in-person. You might also consider using our Skysthelimit.org messaging, text-messages, or email. Just make sure you both know where you will meet ahead of time. Tip: Send a Google Calendar invite to make sure both parties are clear on when and where you will meet, and put any additional details in the notes.
Set a meeting cancellation policy: How much notice should be provided to reschedule? 24 hrs
Set expectations for any communication outside of meetings: Will you communicate outside of your meetings? If so, how (phone, email, text message, etc.) and how quickly will you expect responses? Within 48 hours? Within a week?
Privacy and confidentiality - What discussion topics, if any, will remain confidential?
How you will provide feedback? You can and should provide feedback through the skysthelimit.org platform and messaging system. However, this feedback will only be seen by our program team, so we also encourage you both to provide each other with feedback along the way!
Get clear on next steps - What will the entrepreneur do before the next meeting, if anything What will the advisor / mentor do before the next meeting, if anything? Use our Simple Meeting Agenda tool before and during each meeting to help keep track of action items and get the most out of your meeting time.
As you approach the end of your scheduled meetings, you should begin to think about whether or not this is a good fit and if you would like to keep meeting together. If so, you can start the process over, and you might try committing to a bigger challenger over a longer period of time.
If not, no worries! We’ll find you a new match! Just email email@example.com and let us know you want a new match - we’ll take you from there. But be sure to send a thank you email either way.
How to bow out gracefully
What do you do when things aren’t working out with a supporter? The keys to not burning bridges are to show gratitude and use face-saving communication.
It’s totally fine if you work with a volunteer and it ends up not being a great long term fit or maybe they just aren’t the right supporter for your right now. Either way, DO NOT GHOST THEM. Be sure to call or send an email that clearly expresses how thankful you are for the time and advice they’ve given you and explains that you’ll won’t need to meet with them for the time being. If there is anything specific you found helpful during your time working with them, be sure to mention it!
Ending any relationship can be awkward, but by choosing your words carefully, you can allow the other person to “Save face” or avoid embarrassment. Not only is this the kind thing to do, it can also make it easier to reach out to them down the road if it turns out that you would like to work with them again in the future.
“Thanks so much for helping me complete my Launch4. Now I have the clarity I need to take the next steps in growing my business. I’m looking forward to tackling my next few challenges on my own, but I’ll be in touch if I have any questions about anything we discussed.”