Take a moment and think back to when you needed advice for an important decision. Who did you turn to? Where did you find that advice? Did you eventually end up making your own decision?
You may have received well-meaning advice from a family member or close friend. Perhaps an outsider was able to give you advice that allowed you to look at things from a different perspective. You may have taken a number of different opinions and then drawn your own conclusion.
Advice for small business owners comes from many quarters. Business advisers, coaches and mentors. Lawyers, accountants and investors. Books written by previously successful small business owners. Reality TV programmes like Shark Tank and Dragons Den. The celebrity business person who has achieved greatness in business and has now condensed their business philosophy into pearls of small business wisdom.
Yet specific, actionable business advice for your particular set of circumstances in starting something from scratch or turning around a dud second-hand business that you’ve just bought is not readily available. Yes, general advice for small business can be helpful but when you are starting out on your own you are not creating from the past but are creating something in a new future space where others may not yet have travelled.
When you get right down to it there is no harm in seeking out opinions from every place and every person you can. These different perspectives and points of view help to shape and inform your eventual decision-making. You can get the so-called best advice possible but when things go wrong who are you going to blame? You are the ultimate decisionmaker in your small business and life and it’s up to you to make the best decision at any given time.
An entrepreneur recently said that his best advice was to focus on a few simple steps and work at the puzzle of starting one step at a time. You need to plan which involves identifying an opportunity in the marketplace, coming up with a product or service to satisfy the problem or need and then plan or scope the business or product before building it. The next major area would be executing your plan which is a steep learning curve involving more focus on hard work until you develop a minimum viable product. The last step is accessing the market where you need to break into a market and get your product in front of potential customers.
This advice may work for this entrepreneur but others with a different attitude may want to get a minimum viable product off the ground as soon as possible and test it as they go along. One set of advice may work for an entrepreneur with a certain temperament while not for another.
The best business advice it seems comes from your own experience in the marketplace, working out your own solutions to problems and challenges, changing direction when you know you have to. It doesn’t necessarily hurt to get as much advice upfront before you start but ultimately you are your own best business adviser.