Entrepreneurship is booming! More companies are being started these days than at any other time that I can remember since I started this journey in 2003. As a result, there are a large number of “advisors” and “consultants” popping up all over the place. Suddenly, everyone is an expert in how to start a company, get sales, or raise funding. I was pitched today by an individual who wanted to assist me in operational function in my new startup Identifii. He did not seem to think that it mattered that he had never worked at a company with less than a 1000 people and had no working experience with smaller companies. Somehow he thought that the same principles would apply to a company with less than 5 people. This is becoming a common trend, I am seeing a lot more of it these days and thought I would address it.
Advice in Context
Advice given in context to a person’s personal experience or expertise is something I take very seriously. I know the few things that I am good at, but, there are a whole lot of other things where I admit I need assistance. In these cases, I turn to people with the relevant expertise to guide me and help me avoid costly mistakes. Having such people by your side acts as a catalyst and lets you leapfrog your competition and grow at a much faster trajectory.
There will however be many a time when you will be given advice by people who are not well equipped to give it. This is more often than not from individuals who have no hands-on experience about what you are going through, in some cases, they do not even possess the relevant basic expertise to be giving this advice. If someone is telling you how to run a business without having ever run one on their own, be careful. Getting different point of views is great, it gives you a holistic picture. Just don’t let it be the only advice you act upon.
Filters & Context
Most entrepreneurs have strong reality distortion shields on. These are necessary to keep us on even keel, because most of the time we do things that others classify as crazy and irrational. Incoming advice has the ability to start putting dents in our shields. This is both good and bad. What is important is that we control the source of all incoming advice. When the advice is from a person with hands on experience and ground experience in the area, pay attention. If it puts major dents into your shield, re-evaluate your stance. However, when the advice is from weak sources, make sure your shield does a good job of deflecting most of it.
Maintaining your balance and controlling the noise levels around you is critical for the entrepreneur. Too much unwanted noise however, has the ability and power to knock you down.