As entrepreneurs, it is impossible to have all the answers and sometimes we need a little assurance that we are moving in the right direction. You are often encouraged to seek outside help, support and guidance. Professional counsel, a colleague or close friend can be fantastic resource.
However, the caveat is that sometimes the advice you receive is not sage. Despite your need for guidance, sometimes you sense that what you are being told is flawed or just doesn’t sit right. When you seek the guidance of outside counsel, stay alert to your intuition, do your own due diligence and make sure they are providing you with an objective perspective and not “tainted glasses.”
Some savvy entrepreneurs shared some of their worst business advice with us and a lesson or two that can be learned along with it:
“If you build it, they will come.” Meaning just because your product or service is better, that does not determine the success of your business. How often have we seen or heard of great products, but the business failed to get off the ground? (J.Kaney, www.kaneyaerospace.com)
Lesson: The organization and development of your business is more important than the product or service you are selling.
“You need to have a downtown office.” Since I started my business four years ago, I’ve worked from home and I am glad I didn’t take this advice. Using extremely conservative numbers, I’ve saved at least $25,000 in this Internet-driven era. (D. Clark, www.dorieclark.com)
Lesson: It is unlikely your client will questioned your credibility because you choose not to spend money on an expensive “corporate headquarters.”
“Just do what you are passionate about and everything will fall into place.” While I do believe that being passionate about what I am doing is important and makes focusing on my business more enjoyable, without clearly defined goals, ways to reach them and giving all areas of business equal attention (even the areas I’m not passionate about), I know I wouldn’t have succeeded. (K. Gutierrez, www.assistantmatch.com)
Lesson: Passion is great, but you still need to a plan and the appropriate skills, systems, mindset and resources in place to ensure all areas of business are functioning properly.
“Don’t attend tradeshows” where I normally sold my handbag line and to book appointments in my NYC showroom instead. (S. Shaw, www.entreprenette.com)
Lesson: You always want to be where you have direct access to your target market and potential clients. Sometimes this can cost you and sometimes it can “cost” you.
“A DVD broker who told me that I should purchase 5000 copies of the program instead of printing on demand because the price was about two thirds less if I purchased the bundle.” (B. Michaelian, www.brittmichaelian.com)
Lesson: Before you buy 5000 of anything, you have to make sure that you know your ideal client, that your product will solve one of their biggest pains, that you have a clear marketing strategy to get the word out about your product and that there is a high level of demand for the product that you want to sell!
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