Everyone has advice for you. They are all eager to share their ideas on how you should run your business, marketing, and managing your employees. You can get a lot of noise coming at you from every angle and it can be hard to sort out the good from the bad advice. No one is out there giving you bad ideas on purpose, but you still don’t want to make mistakes that will hurt your growth. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when you’re hearing opinions and advice from others:
1. Does this person have successful experience in a similar business or role? You wouldn’t hire someone with no experience and let them make major decisions for your business, so think of it like that. If they do have a history of success in that area, I’d take notes and then consider how it applies to your own organization.
2. What education (formal or otherwise) have they gained on the subject they’re sharing with me? Do they have a real understanding of how things work with the marketing or financial advice they’re offering? If they’ve got a degree, taken a class, or worked alongside others in that role, they likely have some informed suggestions you may want to think through.
3. Are they just being polite and trying to make conversation or are they trying to help inform me? Sometimes people talk and offer thoughts just to be friendly and make conversation. If the person seems to just want to fill in the silence, you probably don’t want to waste your time digging further in later.
4. How would I feel if their advice did not work out in my favor? This is a tricky one. Before acting on any outside advice, do your own research and learn as much as possible to make a well-informed decision. At the end of the day, you make the final call on your business.
5. What do I think about this? You should always ask what you think of an idea. You know your business, you know your goals, and you know your brand better than anyone else. Your opinion at the end of the day is the one that matters so lead with it.
This isn’t all to say to just dismiss any ideas that come your way. Some amazing things happen when people collaborate and brainstorm together. It’s just to say, be careful. Some people will have the best intentions and the worst advice. Also, remember to be polite. It can get a little obnoxious hearing unsolicited advice. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine. I try to always remember the intention behind it. Most people are just trying to make a connection with you, person to person. In our world of screens constantly being between us, that’s not so bad, is it?