Advice seems to come from everywhere, whether it be in-person or shared through a social outlet like LinkedIn.
It’s often difficult to keep track of this advice and know which ones apply to you and your company. So instead, think about what questions you can ask yourself to create your own advice.
3 Questions to ask yourself before taking advice
1. What goal do I want to achieve for my business by the end of this year? What about in 5 years? 10 years?
Taking a moment to reflect on how far your business has come can help assess what you may want in the future. If you’re looking to scale up your business and are prioritizing sales, you wouldn’t necessarily focus on the advice that revolves around investing more into product improvements.
While it's important to set goals, we know these can be subject to change. Knowing the goals that are important to you will help you filter out the advice that doesn’t necessarily apply, and focus on the ones that are actionable and align most with your goals.
2. Was the outcome from the advisor something I want for me and my business moving forward?
Something we’ve all heard before is “here’s what I would do in this situation…” If the individual giving you advice had raised multiple rounds of funding with lots of runway, their advice and actions will probably be most aligned with their experiences, while those same actions might be extremely risky for your business if it’s in a more cash-strapped situation.
Always keep in mind that those you ask for advice might not always be looking for the same outcome as you are. So when receiving advice, try to keep in mind the perspective that’s behind the advice.
Some advice can be on if you want your business to grow slowly over time, or if you want to scale quickly and sell, or attract new investors or partners – either way, the best course of action from these scenarios are different.
3. Who should I be taking advice from?
If I’m looking to sell, maybe I’m asking founders who have sold their business. Or from potential buyers so that I can increase my business’s value, see which side of the barbell my business is on and how I could ensure I land on the high side of the barbell.
Similar to diagnosing an issue or getting a quote, it can be advantageous to get a second opinion as well.
Find your people and apply the advice you received
It’s difficult to receive feedback, and it can be overwhelming to receive advice from multiple sources, but it's one of the most important things you can do in business and in life. Avoid “analysis paralysis” and know that many decisions can be undone without too much damage. Make a decision and go with it, but assess the value of your decision along the way.
While most founders have their own unique journey to starting and growing their business, surrounding yourself with other founders and people who have taken a similar path and approach will be a key factor in helping your business’s growth (read more about Sarah Schaaf’s advice on this).