Silence is golden

Entrepreneurs should listen more and talk less while being out and about for acquisitions and identifying new partners. Why that is and how to improve one’s signal vs. noise sensibilities.

Sascha Seifert
4 min readJun 12, 2024
Reflections. (Photo © 2024 Sascha Seifert)

Recently, I received some unfortunate news from entrepreneurs I had been advising on financing and company development. Despite our conversations, they had to abandon their ventures. This outcome, at least in part, could have been avoided if they had paid more attention and asked the right questions.

This does not mean I’m always right — no one ever is. Also, we never ended up doing business together for several reasons. Their respective companies being forced to stop operating might have reasons I do not know about based on issues we might never have touched on during our conversations.

However, all the entrepreneurs this is about (anonymously) shared a common trait, at least during our conversations: They loved to talk nonstop, pitch without pause, and hear themselves go on and on.

But they rarely ever asked. They seldom did listen.

Saying this, I’m not referring to that specific spreadsheet I asked for that never arrived, or that one intro I made they never followed up on, etc.

I am talking about the shared reasoning regarding company strategy (if there even was room for such), how to further structure their business, product design and position in the marketplace, customer relations, overhead costs, team building, market situations, innovation, and what could be a helpful way forward to survive and eventually succeed big time, etc., etc.

In one line, I’m talking about these spaces of in-depth conversation where more complex questions can no longer be addressed with super simple answers.

While it’s undoubtedly a desirable character trait for entrepreneurs to be strongly opinionated about their vision and mission, many entrepreneurs mix up a couple of things when discussing their ventures.

One of the most significant mistakes entrepreneurs make is presenting their willpower as an unstoppable force that must override everything else. This approach leaves no room for considering other viewpoints, especially those based on different industry experiences, which can be invaluable in shaping a successful business strategy.

Besides, the constant stream of strongly opinionated (social) media messages that dominate many of today’s entrepreneur’s thinking playbooks with “move fast and break things” style buzzwords do not help either.

Maybe this sort of interaction has been the case with failing entrepreneurs ever since, and I have not paid proper attention to this aspect myself so far.

But I’m onto something here. All of the companies I mentioned above (anonymously) failed because they would have needed to catch up on answers to at least some questions and issues we discussed along the way. In hindsight, in some cases, I’m unsure if they genuinely heard the questions.

Others, going through similar processes of follow-up thoughts and taking action based on joined conversations, addressed such issues (among many others). They are still around and having success. Because they developed more meaningful models, products, and answers, pushing their process forward.

The outlined phenomena aren’t just questions about age differences. And, yes, I’m aware that in some cases, nervousness might be at least one reason for pushing hard to fill any second of silence that might otherwise appear.

But this isn’t only about first-time pitches. These days, I’m talking to veterans and start-up entrepreneurs of almost any biological age, which is excellent. However, most entrepreneurs believe they do best when they speak a lot and listen sparsely.

What would be a good path towards change, to improve one’s manners and better serve one’s cause?

First and foremost, embrace the power of asking. Ask all kinds of questions, as much and as often as possible. This is not a sign of weakness, but a pathway to growth and learning. Probe into details. Challenge beliefs. Yours. And mine or those you are talking to. This is how you can truly understand and navigate better the complex world of your business.

After asking questions, it’s crucial to truly listen and reflect on the answers. This includes considering what hasn’t been addressed and identifying potential blind spots. Remember, silence can be golden in business interactions, allowing for deeper understanding and more thoughtful decision-making.

Ultimately, every conversation about financing and further company development is primarily an exchange of ideas and potential concepts rather than straightforward advice on specific milestones only.

Success always relies on multifaceted aspects. Which sometimes includes details that seem counterintuitive at first glance. “Silence is golden. But my eyes still see.”



Sascha Seifert Analyst. Strategist. Entrepreneur. Visualist. Director. Film. Tech. On Digital transformations. Now. The Future