“I think we have a problem. Today I made a presentation to senior management and they are not happy at all with the way we have progressed on this IT project. They feel that the objectives, the project was started with, have not been met”
“We should not add a pop up box here. It will be not userfriendly”
“I feel that that the system is not based on the process that we discussed”
“I cannot give permission to continue on account of environmental impact”
Many of us have been in these situations on either sides. In every project( entrepreneurial ventures too) we have stakeholders, who are the people or groups of people who can make all the difference. They influence our projects based on their satisfaction. Sometimes they have the power to totally stop our project ( think of road projects in India where people whose lands were taken agitated to get them stopped). Whether you are big or small entrepreneur does not matter. You need to engage the people and groups ( financiers, bankers, employees , customers etc.) in a well coordinated manner.
Why is it important? Imagine, you are in a venture that requires strong government oversight ( maybe it has tax implications, or it impacts environment). Can you go ahead without satisfying them? No. As an entrepreneur, we tend to believe that we are problem solvers but we not avoid problem from happening.
It is not possible to know all the concerns of a stakeholder. However, a little imagination helps. Put yourself in the shoes of various stakeholders and think of the probable questions. Do a brain storming session with your team. Think how would you deal with them?
For e.g. you approach a bank about a loan for your venture. Try to find what a bank officer might ask. Write it down. Call the stakeholders up. Email them. Ask them about their concerns. Check with your colleagues, your network, read books, find articles.
Do whatever you need to but do not forget to be prepared for your stakeholders.