No one can give you better advice than yourself.
We all have asked for advice at one point or another. Most times, those we ask for advice do their best to steer us in the right direction. Let’s face it – some advice isn’t helpful. Whether it comes off like empty platitudes or reminds you of how your professional career may have more in common with Sisyphus continually pushing that boulder up the hill – some advice should just be ignored.
Dreams and aspirations are good. However, business is more action-oriented. What some fail to remember when starting a business is that the process moves incrementally. A crawl, walk, run, kind of thing. It’s important to break those aspirations into achievable tasks. As those tasks are completed, your business will begin to gain momentum. Just remember, as you set your goals, also set viable ways to achieve them. It’s the journey, not the destination.
You shouldn’t quit your job.
Of course, sometimes this piece of advice is warranted under certain circumstances. Taking a risk and being a fool are two very different things.
There are different meanings of success. If you’re thinking of leaving your job, some may tell you that it’s too risky, irresponsible, etc. They may be right, but you also don’t want end up resenting your job or the people you work with. Don’t ignore an opportunity just because it means taking a risk – whether it’s switching industries or leaving a job that you’ve been at for less than a year.
Take John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy – we know them as the founders of Whole Foods. Before they created one of the most popular supermarkets, the two had a small, traditional grocery store. In 1980, most people did not know what locally grown and organic meant. That didn’t stop Mackey and Hardy – they took a risk and decided to open a supermarket that specialized in locally grown and organic products. The result: Whole Foods (now with over hundreds of location throughout the United States).
Don’t bring your work home with you.
Yes, it is important to take time for yourself, for family, friends, pets, etc. When starting a business you should consider bringing work home with you.
Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban worked wherever he could, whenever he could. From selling garbage bags to working as a stamp and coin salesman, he never settled for the typical eight-hour workday. He did whatever he could to gain success, in whatever job he performed. He took psychology classes to understand the minds of consumers and was comfortable with taking calculated risks. All of his efforts paid off big – today, he is worth over $3 billion.
The customer is always right.
This is one of those lines you hear… a lot. We aren’t encouraging you to be rude to your customers or target audience, simply recognize that customers may be unaware of their true needs or the best solution for those needs. It becomes your job to educate and persuade your target audience. Why is your product or service the best?
Fake it ‘til you make it.
Again, another line you hear a bunch. Here’s the thing: has anyone ever faked their way to success? (No.)
The internet provides countless resources so whether you’re starting a new business or applying to a job, your credibility can be verified. It’s more than okay to admit your weaknesses – that’s the only way you’ll begin to turn those into strengths. Plus, if people find out you are “faking” it in business, it could do damage to your reputation.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list. The key is when deciphering pieces of advice, determine how it fits (and might play out) given your situation.