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“Ask for help”, says BariKoi CEO Al-Amin Sarker Tayef at the first Future Startup Meetup

Speaking at the first Future Startups Virtual Readers Meetup BariKoi Founder and CEO Al-Amin Sarker Tayef said it is important for founders to reach out and ask for help from people around them. Building a company is hard. Without the support of people around you, it is hard to make progress, Mr. Tayef added. 

He said people are usually helpful and he has received a tremendous amount of help from all kinds of people from different walks of life. 

Barikoi started as a small company building location and mapping solutions for Bangladesh. The company has since evolved and built a growing business in an apparently challenging vertical. 


Asking for help is considered to be one of the most important founder skills. Founders and people who study entrepreneurs share the sentiment that what separates many great founders is their ability to reach out to people and ask for help

However, asking for help is easier said than done. Many people genuinely struggle to ask for help. It is psychologically challenging to ask someone for something. It goes against our preconceived notion of normal behavior. It involves fear of rejection, a huge challenge for most people. 

We also overthink how people would perceive us if we ask for help from them. People will look down upon us. People may perceive negative things about us. So there are all kinds of mental barriers when it comes to asking for help. 

Now there are two groups of people. One group is naturally good at asking for help. For instance, many people say Steve Jobs was extremely good at asking for help. He would reach out to anyone and everyone if he needed something from them. So do many renowned founders. So it is not a challenge for these people. They do very well in entrepreneurship and in general, in life. 

Then there is a second group of people who overthink everything and find asking for help mortally challenging. This is the group where most people fall. They go through hundreds of mental movies before finally mustering the courage to ask for help from someone. 

There is no easy solution for this group of people. They will always struggle when it comes to reaching out for help. However, this mental challenge can be overcome through practice. 

The first step is bringing down the psychological stake of the task. If possible break it down and see it as a single event instead of attaching it with some other narrative. For instance, you want to ask for help from one of your mentors. You are aware he already helps you enough. Now if you ask for more help, you read that he may view it unfavorably and it may impact your long term relationship with him. Stop overthinking. See every task as an independent event. 

The second step is don’t entangle your self-esteem with the act of asking for help. Don’t think of any rejection as permanent or a rejection of you as an individual. Instead, see it as a rejection of that particular idea and that particular moment. 

If someone says he is unable to help you at the moment, instead of taking offense at their rejection, send them a good thank you email, get over it, and maintain your regular relationship. 

Third, get used to rejection. People will say no all the time. Learn to take it normally. 

One way to improve your tolerance for rejection is by getting a lot of rejections. You can start with low-stake rejections. For example, ask for discounts in a fixed-price shop. You will get rejected but it will make it more tolerable because you already know it. 

Turn getting rejected into fun experiences and learn to take them lightly. This should eventually make it easier for you to handle rejections and ask for help more often leading to an increased chance of success for yourself. 


Tayef also shared his journey of building a mapping company in Bangladesh while perceived competitors in the space are all the big players including Google. He talked about why it is critical to persevere and the importance of staying in the game for a long time. 

He shared the struggles and challenges Barikoi has gone through over the last four years and how it has helped him learn critical lessons in venture building while making him more resilient. 

He also talked about the importance of focus and why founders should spend more time building companies instead of seeking attention and unnecessary suggestions from people. 

Future Startup Virtual Meetup was the first such readers' meetup organized by the business and entrepreneurship knowledge platform. The invite-only event was joined by a close group of FS readers, mostly founders, operators, and professionals. Future Startup plans to organize the Meetup bi-monthly and turn it into a community of makers, builders, and doers in Bangladesh. 

Ayrin Saleha Ria contributed to this article.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at [email protected]

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