Small business in tatters because of bad advice

Creole seafood gumbo. French Market Restaurant...
Creole seafood gumbo. French Market Restaurant & Bar 1001 Decatur Street New Orleans, Louisiana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A restaurant owner running a Cajun style restaurant went from 200 patrons and night to a single table at best because he listened to a so-called celebrity TV business adviser.

The restaurant was running for about six years when the owner agreed to go on a restaurant makeover show. The TV celebrity business adviser overruled the menu and the decor which nearly wrecked his business. From authentic Creole dishes like seafood gumbo and jambalaya, the celebrity chef chopped the menu down to 20 bland items such as cheeseburgers, Hush Puppies and fried chicken. The colourful interior design was changed to muted beiges and greys and uncomfortable church pew benches were installed. A disgruntled customer said the new furnishings and menu had turned a fun restaurant into a funeral parlour.

The restaurant owner who was paid to be on the show and cover his expenses for the days that his restaurant was closed said he wished that he never agreed to be on the show. It seems as though the TV celebrity business gurus work wonders and magic with small businesses but you don’t get to hear about their failures. All you see on TV is the visual difference but never get the real story and the actual numbers of how the business may have improved or even declined.

These days there is so much business advice for small business owners on television, radio, print and Internet that you need to be discerning. Almost anyone who has some sort of business experience can set up a website and claim that they are small business consultants. It’s best to check their background and see whether they have run small businesses of their own, have other related small business experience, satisfied customers and even whether they have the necessary qualifications such as recognised business degrees. Choose carefully because the wrong business advice could lead to a disaster for your small business.

Often the small business advice comes free in small business magazines that make all sorts of promises and claims. They may exaggerate performance saying how successful small businesses were in following their advice. But as any entrepreneur will know, success comes from a number of factors such as the product, customer relations, location and marketing – to mention a few. This “free” business advice can come at a high cost.

It’s best to listen to your own intuition about what you think will work in your business. You know your location and customers. You can always experiment in small ways to get a feel for what works or doesn’t. The restaurant owner that went on to the celebrity TV business guru show eventually switched back to his old menu and business started picking up immediately.

One of the best pieces of business advice I’ve heard is that business advice can be risky and to minimise this risk you need to get more than one business adviser’s opinion before you decide a course of action. If someone advises you to do something, wait and find someone else you trust and get a second or third opinion.

If you are unsure of how to go about turning your promising business idea into a small business you may want to look at “Breakthrough Ideas”. It doesn’t offer advice from celebrity TV business advisers. It offers a hands-on no-nonsense approach to taking your business idea and developing something of your own. It encourages you to listen to your own voice not some TV celebrity business guru.

Want unbiased, rock-solid advice on starting your own business, then go here.

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