Over the past year, I worked in excess of 60 hours a week, between my consulting, working full-time and the development of my prototype, and the education/organization aspects of establishing, maintaining and nurturing a startup.
I had the opportunity to learn some very valuable lessons as part of this process. One of these concerns qualifying your leads.
As soon as you have something of value to sell, whether it is a product, a service, a capability or information, you get into conversations with people in your network who want to benefit from what you are peddling. I have noticed that the ones who are the most enthusiastic about your startup’s offering are usually the ones that you want to avoid. They want to essentially spend your R&D budget on solutions that may be of use to them, without investing anything material into the process.
On the other hand, the people who are skeptical, and appear worried about whether they should work with you are the ones who have something at stake. They have a budget that they want to spend, and are weighing whether they should spend it with you, or with some other alternative.
The important thing here is that they have a budget, and that makes them the sort of customer that you want to spend your effort on.
Keep these customers, and the other guys who want to have endless meetings, and let you run with the development and expenses, and be there for the upside without shouldering any of the load, well, it may be time to discuss consultancy fees for advisory services