27 February 2017

Where do you find your business advice?

Speaking at one of our events, InspireMCR

Whilst it is fantastic that we’re so well connected and there are so many avenues for advice nowadays, I believe that there are too many “experts” professing to have experience and the know how to help the raft of small businesses in the UK.

Twitter, Facebook and the internet in general is littered with thousands upon thousands of people with words such as “coach, life coach, mentor, speaker, non-exec” etc. in their biography or profile, all with the so-called skills and credentials to help eager young businesspeople to their next stage.

Equally there are numerous government initiatives promoting these “experts” too, which makes it doubly hard to work out the genuine ones.

It is easy to give yourself this title without having any real business credentials or experience.

Entrepreneurs need to vet anyone offering advice very carefully. Businesses are tough to get off the ground and the wrong advice may invariably damage your business beyond repair.

Young entrepreneurs and seasoned ones alike get duped all the time. It is natural for small business owners and startups, or leaders of businesses growing to the next level to look to others for advice. It’s an uncertain and often lonely place running a business. However, this naivety can leave you vulnerable.

I have always been incredibly selective about the mentors I chose and the advice I take; look for the pedigree and the track record.

People like Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and Chet Holmes are some of my go-to places for advice. Their books and experience are proven and, in some cases, unrivalled.

When choosing someone as a mentor or for guidance, read their CV very carefully and don’t be afraid to challenge them. Ask for references; all of the same things you do when recruiting a normal team mate.

That being said, you never know what is around the corner for your own business so should always look at the advice and see how it could apply to you, not to the overarching message.

There are no short cuts. If you are at the helm of a business I’d advise you to be continuously learning, reading books and listening to seasoned entrepreneurs at events.

Always keep learning, but be mindful of who you’re learning from.

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