Help in Kind

Ask most people for money to help your big idea on its way and they'll show you the door, never speak to you again, or phone the local hospital and warn them that you suffer from delusions. Most people only part with money in a known transaction, such as buying gas from the local filling station or food at the local supermarket. Investing, if someone has never done it before, seems a lemming-like leap of trust. However, ask them for some physical items that they don't want or aren't using and they can be more than obliging. When I started my firm, my previous employer was downsizing their U.K. operation. They let me use my old office for a couple of months while the firm was set up. My technical manager at another job got a load of first-rate Internet routers, servers, and racks from his previous employer when they overhauled their massive, internal infrastructure. This enabled him to set up a test network on which to evaluate his software without having to reconfigure his machines or compromise them if anything went awry.

If you don't ask you won't get. When providing it doesn't overtly cost the person anything and there is no conflict of interest, you'd be surprised how often they'll acquiesce to a fair and polite plea.

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