I am a technical person who has dabbled in business before, but recently I am trying to make a larger move into business, since I have a good opportunity to get access to certain equipment at no cost, which usually can cost a business a significant sum to start with.

For this to happen, my current employer knows about my side business I started and they said they would like me to help them find possible partnership prospects in a new market - this employer hired me for my technical skills, so clearly this is new territory so I told them I could do it in my company's time and we can create contracts to share income. At their request, I found them a very good partner who emailed us and are willing to start this project.

However from our end, my employer hasn't responded and it has been 3 weeks since we received the email. Given that all responsible parties are not ill or on holiday, is it fine to behave like this? I am worried their interest might go away if we take long - of course in my industry everything moves slow, but I usually prefer to do things as soon as I can to follow leads, I understand some people prefer taking their time - but isn't 3 weeks a lot?

  • 1
    They're probably still looking for your replacement.
    – Kilisi
    Feb 19 '19 at 9:53
  • Some companies have a rule that a reply has to be written within 24hours. I think that's a good rule. But the reply can obviously be something like: Give us some more time (maybe for this and that reason). You will hear from us within x days. The partner should know that you are working on it.
    – Edgar
    Feb 19 '19 at 11:13
  • @Kilisi lol, what makes you say that?
    – soundmind
    Feb 19 '19 at 13:42

Thanks for question.

Usually sales are told to send back answer, with some follow up questions - ASAP. Stats shows that it gives high advantage over competition. On the other hand - that is because salesman is interested in doing business. And here is part of the answer. Person with whom you correspond is not enough interested to answer, or to pass obstacles. It can be that initial agreement was nothing special, and now - it becomes true, so boss must be asked, or something like that. Other point is culture. For some countries that is typical to wait. Hard to tell how it is in this case. I'll assume that it is not the case.

Maybe that is not the case, but communication looks not quite OK here. Maybe that email was taken by them as a bit offensive? Think from his perspective. Someone asks if can do something on side - your answer? Mine would be - sure! We can talk and so on. But email with agreement is something else. I would like to know that, the person will do what was done before. That side work is - side work, so in case of necessity - you know. So I have choice agree and take that risk, or wait until the offer pass.

That kind of ideas should be solved during face to face meeting, with confirmation via email afterwords. Prepare to the meeting by talking to other your friends, maybe on the same positions what are potential fears, or issues. That way you can address them during conversation, and once again during confirmation. Make sure that your primary work is, and always will be - primary.

Now you can do same exercise, go and talk. Explain that you see that kind of potential issues, and maybe that is why the person is not responding. Explain what are your plans, making sure that there is no way that take your work under risk.

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