Just go with your gut
And with every piece of advice there is on offer, there are 3 (at least) conflicting ones, telling me the exact opposite is the right way to do things. It can get you to the point where you questions every decision you make, and doubt yourself. Not a good place to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for sharing best practice, and learning from others experiences. I have learnt some great and extremely valuable lessons from people I have met, especially through networking. And those people have taken time to listen to me about what I want before giving me their insights into what I can do better.
But be careful what you listen to, and what you allow to influence you. There are always a lot of ‘well meaning’ people out there who want to advise all new young businesses because they have been through it all. But have they? Is their business EXACTLY the same as yours (or even slightly similar?). Do they have the same passions, experience and values as you do? Do they know your goals, and do they share them? You very often at this point have a feeling in your stomach that it doesnt feel right for you, but should you go with their experiences? After all, they have been there and you haven’t! As Mr Stephen Covey rightly teaches, ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood’. How many people really understand you and your business before handing out all of this advice?
I have taken advice from people who really did want to help me, but who just didn’t ‘get’ me and my business, and therefore had no idea how my business should be run, no matter what they had experienced themselves. And looking back I knew at the time that it wasn’t right for me, but I did’t have enough self belief that I knew what the right decisions were.
So the next time someone gives you some ‘great’ insights into how your business should be run or how you should do your marketing, smile nicely, thank them, and then go with your gut.