Day in the Life

Small Business Advice: Who's Advice is Best?

small business adviceGreat! You’ve decided to start a business, and many people are behind you in your endeavor. However, you are new to this, and would love any and all advice on how to proceed and how to be successful. Who do you listen to? Who’s advice is best? This can be hard to figure out, especially if you are new to business. Here are a few tips to help cut through the advice overload and determine whose advice to follow:
First, pay extra close attention to the advice of investors of venture capitalists, especially ones who have already invested in your business. They’ve put money into your idea and want to see your idea succeed, if only for the reason that they want to see a return on their investment. They certainly wouldn’t give you poor advice if it means that they’d lose their initial investment. This doesn’t mean that you may necessarily agree with every piece of advice your investor provides, but you shouldn’t ignore it either.
Second, do not listen to people who are demoralizing you, or are only trying to keep you down or to keep you from succeeding. Morale is important with running a new business, so listening to these people and letting them get to you will only ruin your morale and fulfill their prophecies. Whether these people are friends, family, industry experts, or a stranger at a bar, do not take their advice if their advice is only destructive instead of constructive. This type of advice simply does not take your best interests into consideration.
Third, be weary of the advice coming from your friends and family. These people care about you, and probably don’t want to see your fail or lose all your money. So, their advice tends to ere on the side of caution. Although caution can have its place, you shouldn’t be spending all your time being cautious. Unless you have friends and family members who have started their own successful business, take their advice as testimony to their love and support of you.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you are running a technology startup, there’s a high probability that no one has done what you are trying to do. Most technology startups are introducing an idea or method that hasn’t been done before, so there wouldn’t be footsteps for you to follow in. Sure, there are others that have started their own tech startups and have been successful, and they may help, but make sure to tailor that sort of advice to your own business and to your own goals.
Sorting through advice can be difficult if it’s coming from many different directions. You can’t follow everyone’s advice, and you shouldn’t ignore it all either. When evaluating someone’s advice, think about whom it’s coming from, how the advice makes you feel about yourself and your business, and how constructive the advice is. You’re the one who knows the most about your startup, about your goals, and about yourself. Good advice should help you with any or all of those three things.