Dear Service Provider,

Thank you for your interest in my company.  I am well aware that getting in on the ground floor of a new, emerging startup is generally a good business idea for you.  A little effort up front goes a long way to hitting and increasing quotas or building your business later.  As a fellow businessperson, I appreciate this, and I appreciate that you've identified us as a potential sales opportunity for your business.  

However, as an early stage company, I need to save money wherever possible.  That means that we will do just about anything that a normal company would ordinarily outsource.  Only in a worst case scenario will we reach out to ask for help from a service provider.  When we do, we're most concerned about making the problem go away for as little $$$ as possible.  Keep in mind that in my early stage business, the best case scenario is that the founding team is drawing enough money to pay bills.  The typical scenario is that we are working our asses off every day just to survive.  To mitigate risks, we'll probably go with someone who is recommended by a peer who either is an early stage entrepreneur or who has been in his/her past.  Your persistence probably doesn't mean nearly as much as a personal referral from someone who we know and trust.

So if you want to do business with us, here are a few tips:
  1. Cut the hard sale.  It won't work.
  2. Focus on our success.  It's a lot more important to us than it is to companies who don't need to make everything work to survive.
  3. Understand that we're broke.  You won't necessarily get paid when you want.  Deal with it.  Odds are you were warned about the situation in advance.  
  4. Empathize.  Odds are you are making more money than we are.  So deal with it.  Learn to love it.  If you don't, we'll go elsewhere.
  5. Resolve differences fairly.  We are looking for partners willing to grow with us.  People who sacrifice when we sacrifice, and similarly prosper when we prosper.   

Entrepreneurs are good people.  We are the engine that drives tons of economic activity.  Partner with us and we'll partner with you.  Fail to do so, and you'll get the respect you give.