How To Be Taken More Seriously As A Founder

be taken seriously

The world of startups is based on trust: investors, employees and customers want to associate with people they perceive as hard working and serious.

In world of networking,  here is a common mistake made by younger people: You are invited to a party, event or bar to meet an investor or other influencer. As drinks are had, you foolishly partake in all the “evening fun” assuming that winning attention and “accolades” with college or fraternity-type stories means you’re building a relationship.

I’ve seen many a night of ‘networking,’ turn into a glorified party where the person leaves the assuming they were funny, charming, etc.

You need to remember that often the person someone wants to party with is not the same person they want to do business with. Also people tend not to invest in friends.

If you want your idea or yourself to be taken more seriously, then pass on the drinks — order a soda water, and focus for at least the first meeting on winning them over with your ideas and friendly intensity.

 If you expect people to take you and your ideas seriously, you need need to project a seriousness worthy of your ambitions. This may mean checking your ego and acting “lame or dorky”. However, putting on a professional front is generally a good idea. First impressions matter.

The Little Things Matter

Little things matter more than you think. Punctuation and spelling. Eye Contact.

Put down the Blackberry and listen.

I will occasionally come across a LinkedIn profiles using self-congratulating phrases like, “cultural maven” “Ninja” or the equivalent of Zuckerberg’s famous “I’m CEO, bitch.” Most investor will laugh behind your back if you use hyperbole like this.

Yes, you might hear about the  eccentric, brash type A founder who dropped out of Stanford and acts eccentrically — that is an outlier — be serious, execute and stay humble.

If you feel you are not being taken seriously pause for some self reflection and consider if you might be throwing off the wrong vibes unknowingly.


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