You will find many people only too willing to offer you their opinion. But what you really need is advice from people with relevant knowledge and experience. Opinions are important and can help you shape your view. Good advice is more valuable, steering you away from potential pitfalls.
Moving on, here are eleven different people who can advise you.
- Parents – they probably know you better than they know your business. And in general, they know a lot about life because they have seen more of it. Parents can help you be realistic and work within your personal and emotional capabilities.
- Teachers – not only do they know more than you but also it’s in their nature to help their students. A teacher’s success comes from the success of their students.
- Customers – always listen to your customers. Eventually, you are building the business to serve your customers. Their feedback can be invaluable as you strive to develop your business. Although you don’t need to act on every customer’s advice, when a group of customers gives you feedback on a product improvement or a new feature, these can be valuable insights into building a great product. Invite constructive criticism and act on it.
- Consultants – always judge a consultant by their track record. Experience and testimonials are more important than qualifications. Be wary of those who claim to be able to save you money – they will cost you money first!
- Suppliers – invite your most important suppliers to offer their advice. Not only can they help you get more value from their products or services, but they also understand your business sector. It is also in their interest to help you grow your business because as your business grows, so will their supply of goods to you.
- Friends – rather like parents, friends know you better than they know your business. Encourage them to use their networks to introduce you to new customers.
- Investors – If you have taken money from investors, then your investors will be open to helping you. Because the better your business does, the more money they could make. Investors not only have vast experience, they also have powerful networks they can introduce you to.
- Your accountant/financial advisor – Business requires managing money and if you are not very savvy with accounting and finance, your accountant can be of great help. They will see more risks than opportunities and keep your feet on the ground.
- Ex bosses/seniors – Managers you have previously worked with have probably got to a senior position as a result of garnering experience. They can be of immense help especially if you are building a business in a related field. And you never know. If your business does well, they can even join you.
- Business communities – You can join one or a few business communities online or offline. There you can learn from other entrepreneurs and share your own experiences as well. There are various communities on Facebook, Linkedin, and also sites like Meetup.
- Yourself – yes, you are probably your own best-qualified business adviser. Listen to your intuition and take time to reflect on what that inner voice tells you. You are going to fail a lot. But every failure will teach you useful lessons to help you move forward.
Not everyone on this list can help you with every aspect of the business as businesses are complicated systems and have many moving parts. So it is important to know what question do you need answered and reach out to the right set of people.
It is also advisable to get a mentor who can coach you and help you succeed both as a person and as a business owner. If you are looking for a mentor you might want to check our post on where to find mentors and also our post on how to work with mentors and business advisors.
If you enjoyed reading our post, please read our other business-related posts on our blog