BUSINESS ADVISORS + HOW THEY WORK TOGETHER
Today, entrepreneurial resources such as peer networks, business advisors, and business planning tools are plentiful. A simple Google search can provide you with all the tools you’ll ever need to get your business off the ground.
HEY GOOGLE, WHAT’S IN A BUSINESS PLAN?
Online resources can be a good guide to kick start a conversation “what to do next” or get your gears turning for business inspiration. But, the internet should never be a one-stop shop solution for your business questions. Use online tools and resources as a “starter kit” to then bring to your mentor, advisors, peers for more customized guidance on your specific situation.
So, in the grand scheme of growing a business as painlessly as possible—who has the best advice? Trick question—it’s not who has the best advice, it’s how you utilize the advice from multiple parties to maximize your experience.
SIRI, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PAID AND UNPAID ADVICE?
Hiring a professional for business guidance takes guessing out of the equation. You hire advisory services for explicit advice, and you should expect just that. The advice from these outlets is made based on your personal situation, assuring the quality of the advice.
Learning a dedicated process (such as the Entrepreneurial Operating System, or EOS) tends to be an advice-driven, how-to manual. This type of platform is designed for a limited size company to implement; then take back to the office to implement on a go-forward basis as you grow.
Paid professionals can complement processes (such as EOS) by connecting the dots between the custom growth plan of the business and the outlined process of EOS; thus making the experience richer and filling in blanks where it’s needed.
PEER TO PEER
In formal peer groups, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) or Vistage, there are defined boundaries around full disclosure and a process for gaining clarity into your situation. That process combined with the access to a room full of like-minded people is a great space to share experiences! These outlets work because the bulk of feedback from entrepreneurs sharing wins and losses and problem solving with peers.
You may even find yourself taking the professional advice back to your peer to peer network to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t work.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Good, bad, or indifferent, friends and family naturally turn into an informal network of advice for entrepreneurs. Sadly, the advice from friends and family ends up being the most dangerous because there are no boundaries! No rules, no process; just pure, unsolicited advice.
Think of it this way: Your brother, for example, has your safety/well-being/happiness top of mind, so there comes a lot of baggage (good and bad) from your life before entrepreneurism in their advice. Their advice to invest in new equipment or a new team member may be too lax or too aggressive for your situation simply because they cannot relate to the risk you endure as an entrepreneur.
All in all, you have to be mindful of where you’re getting your advice. The bulk of your mentorship/feedback should be from other first generation entrepreneurs simply because they’ve been in your shoes! One of the mistakes entrepreneurs make is seeking advice from a business leader who maybe only ran a big company and has no experience in small business or high-growth businesses.
You need to think of advice as being grouped into silos. The kicker is these silos are providing advice based on a limited scope. Your spouse, for example, will often only hear the bad about an employee because all they hear is you coming home frustrated after a long day of work venting about how Tom messed up again. What your spouse doesn’t hear is the positive impact Tom has had on the business. Thus your spouse provides advice based on his/her limited scope of knowledge.
The goal is soliciting advice that doesn’t compete, but can blend together to help you reach your goals.