Seinfeld on Startups – Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist?

Seinfeld on Startups – Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist?

A sandy beach, waves crashing on the shore, a beached whale, and George Costanza with his girlfriend in a group of folks trying to get the big fish (mammal) back out to sea.  Someone cries out –“Is anyone here a marine biologist???” –  and our favorite short, stocky, bald guy steps up to the plate to save the day and impress the girl.

Was it a lie?  Of Course!!  But as George would say “It’s not a lie if you believe it”.

So where is the lesson here for business?  Lie your way to success?  I don’t want to go quite that far and get myself in trouble, but maybe ‘fake it till you make it’ isn’t always such a bad strategy.

I think too many times a startup will say “no” to a prospect because they don’t feel 100% comfortable taking on the work.  Of course there are instances where “no” is the right response when the work is clearly outside your abilities.  But I think there are many times where “yes” is the right way to go.  Figuring the task out as you go on the customer’s dime can be a great way to add new skills to your business and make a little money at the same time.  

Initially, you’ll probably be terrified, much like George was.  Keep your eye on the prize.  Stay calm, do some Googling, and my guess is you’ll be able to figure out the client’s needs are and impress both parties.  Maybe you’ll even find a Titleist or two while you are digging around.

Just make sure you have good insurance and always go with a fake name, you know, something like Art Vandelay.

Content contributed by Dan Beenken, Director of the UNI Small Business Development Center.

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