Most people will try to give you unsolicited business advice.
Much of the time, this advice is not only unsolicited but flat-out terrible.
Unfortunately, applying the advice won’t do your business any good. Even worse, it’ll probably take you and your business backwards!
To prevent you from falling into the same traps as I did, I’m sharing 6 pieces of business advice I wish I never received before.
Had I not taken these pieces of advice, I would have:
- Had a clearer mind;
- Had a better business strategy; and
- Achieved more success in the end.
If the business advice most CEOs received was effective, then there would be many more successful CEOs out there!
The Single Best Advice for Any Entrepreneur!
Before I jump into the bad advice, I’m sharing the advice that did help me achieve my business goals and become a more successful CEO.
More specifically, I’m sharing the single-best piece of advice I’ve ever been given.
This one piece of advice applies to every CEO on earth, regardless of where they’re at in their business journey.
Unless this piece of advice is applied, then business success goes into jeopardy.
Not only that, but if you apply this advice right away, your odds of success immediately increase.
This Is the Best Business Advice for Any and Every Business Owner
The best business advice you and I will ever receive is to take action NOW on the thing you know you need to take action on.
Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week to change your marketing strategy, start that new business, or hire a business coach! Instead, do it right now.
For example, if you know you need to shift your sales strategy to achieve your business growth goals, develop it and put it to work right away. If the strategy isn’t perfect, don’t worry because you can make changes as you go.
But Brian! I’m just not ready to get started right away!
Whenever somebody is told they need to start moving immediately, they suddenly have a lot of excuses.
For example, the most common excuses people give to not get started include:
- I’m not ready
- I need to wait for the right timing
- I don’t have enough X
Whenever somebody drops one of these excuses, they’re just showing off the fact that they’re afraid. They should know that making excuses won’t help them feel any less afraid.
You might not have a lot of time left to put your business ideas to practice. The hard truth is we don't know how much time we have left on earth at all.
Also, the longer you wait to get moving, the less likely you are to ever get moving.
Starting ASAP is not an option, but a must!
Who to Go to for Business Advice
Most business owners don’t have a go-to person for business advice. And, not just business advice, but personal advice as well.
If they do have a go-to advisor, rarely do they completely trust them. Oftentimes, they feel as if something isn’t quite right.
That said, I’m sharing who you should and shouldn’t go to for advice.
Who NOT to Go to for Business Advice
I’m going so far as to say that you shouldn’t take advice from almost anybody, because almost everybody will give you bad advice.
Because most people are totally incapable of even advising themselves.
The truth is that the people who try to give advice usually do it because they don't even know what to do with their own lives!
They know they don't know what to do with their own lives and this makes them uncomfortable. To make themselves feel more comfortable, they deflect to you by trying to advise you.
However, the advice they give is flat-out terrible.
I'm not saying that people should have their lives 100% figured out, rather people who are clearly out of control themselves usually don't have the stability to tell you what to do.
The next time somebody tries to give you advice, ask yourself if this person is even capable of advising themselves. If they're not, then steer clear.
How can somebody be capable of advising you but incapable of advising themselves?
Here’s Who to Talk to For Business Advice
The single-best person you can go to for business advice is a business or CEO coach.
Unlike a mentor, professor, or business partner, a CEO coach has the bandwidth to not just give you personal experience-based advice, but support you in your business journey.
Because they've proven themselves capable of running a successful business, they're more capable of advising you.
Also, unlike somebody who will just tell you what to do, a CEO coach helps you uncover the answers to your problems. You probably already have many of the answers, they just need to be uncovered!
If you want advice that’ll help you instead of adding more noise to your already noisy life, a CEO coach is your go-to.
6 Pieces of Business Advice No Business Owner Should Follow
Most CEOs regularly get bombarded with unsolicited advice. If the advice was so valuable, don’t you think there would be many more successful entrepreneurs out there?
Here are 6 pieces of advice that I was once given and ultimately took my business backwards.
To be a successful business owner, you’ve got to tune out the peanut gallery.
1. Take All the Time You Need
First off, NEVER listen to somebody who tells you to take all the time you need.
For example, if you tell somebody you have a new business idea, feel as if you’re not ready to act on it, and they tell you not to worry because you have all the time you need, don’t listen!
The only kind of people who will tell you to take all the time you need is the people who don’t live in reality. Instead, they live in a fantasy world where time means nothing.
The hard truth about life is that you can’t take all the time you need because you don’t know how much time you have.
Thanks to listening to this advice, I put off taking action until I felt I was ‘ready’. I eventually realized that I was just making excuses to not take action and that, the longer I made excuses, the less time I had to work on my ideas.
Entrepreneurship isn’t about getting it right the first time, the second time, or even the third time around.
Instead, it’s about starting where you are and making changes as you go. If you feel like you’re not ready to get moving right away, move anyways!
There isn’t a single large or small business owner who feels ‘ready’ when they first get started. Instead of waiting until they feel ready, they take action immediately because they know they don’t have all the time in the world.
2. Create an Extremely Detailed Business Plan
Having a business plan is important.
A business plan is the equivalent of a blueprint for a house- At first, you have a vision of what you want the business to be like, and the plan outlines how you’ll bring that vision to life.
That said, don’t listen to the advice that your business plan needs to be extremely detailed. Don't listen to someone if they tell you that there are too many small gaps.
Having an extremely detailed business plan leads to two potentially major problems:
- Losing joy in the business process
- Leaving no room for potential pivots
First off, having an extremely detailed plan leaves no room for joy throughout the process of implementing the plans. Instead of feeling joy, you feel like you’re just checking boxes to get to the next step.
Without joy, what are you even doing? At that point, you might as well ditch the stress of being a business owner and go back to a traditional job.
Second, having an extremely detailed plan leaves little room for you to make changes. Or, at least, it makes it more difficult to make changes.
Instead of outlining every single detail, sit big milestone pieces with smaller sub-milestones that act as a guideline without leaving room to pivot.
Bottom line: Develop a business plan so that you have a clear roadmap to manifest your business vision, but don’t plan so much that there’s no room for joy or potential pivots.
3. Hard Work Is all That it Takes
How many times has somebody tried to tell you that hard work is all it takes to be successful?
While the messaging is good and people who say this often have good intentions, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Hard work is one of the great dividers between the most successful entrepreneurs and the rest of the field. However, most CEOs don’t work hard on the RIGHT things.
Think of it like this- Let’s say that you and a friend are racing from your house to the nearest grocery store. You both take off in different directions, but your friend, despite running faster than you, runs in the wrong direction. What good is it if they’re running faster and working themselves harder if they’re on the wrong path?
Similarly, most CEOs work extremely hard but they don’t work on the things that are most likely to help them reach success.
More specifically, instead of working on the big-ticket business items, particularly sales, they’re stuck taking out the trash and folding the business laundry.
Hard work isn’t valuable unless you’re working hard on the right things!
For about 90% of businesses, optimizing the sales process is the most important factor to work on.
Every successful entrepreneur works hard, but not every entrepreneur who works hard is successful!
4. Don’t Be so Loud and Assertive
There are a lot of characters in the business world who have a lot to say, so standing out is challenging to say the least.
On top of that, customers are more distracted than ever. At all hours of the day, they're being bombarded with emails, social media messages, and phone calls, so trying to get their attention and keep it is not easy.
Despite this, many people will tell you that you shouldn’t be so loud and assertive.
For example, they’ll tell you that you shouldn't make frequent follow-up cold calls or send video messages to your target audience unless you want to annoy them.
However, people who give you this kind of advice don’t consider the fact that unless you are loud and assertive, you will get completely drowned out.
More specifically, you will be drowned out by your competitors.
Therefore, you have to assert yourself! Specifically, you have to:
- Follow-up with potential customers until you get a response
- Follow-up every 12 hours
- Use video and photo messages to get your prospect’s attention.
The truth is that most times when we think we're being assertive, we actually aren't. Instead, we’re just getting out of our comfort zone.
Unless you get assertive and put yourself out there, then you're headed for struggles worse than just struggling to run a profitable business.
5. Always Be Rational
There are many different types of intelligence, but if there’s one that tends to get put on the highest pedestal, it’s rational intelligence.
Rationality is often seen as the highest form of intelligence and it’s regularly attributed to many successful people, including entrepreneurs.
If you’re running your own business, it’s important to have rational intelligence; without rationality, you can’t make sound decisions.
Unfortunately, many people will try to tell you that you should always be rational. They believe that rationality is important above all else, so they put that onto you.
However, always being rational means closing yourself off from emotional intelligence.
Often seen as a weakness, having emotional intelligence is very misunderstood.
People tend to attribute instability and grandiosity to emotional intelligence. While that might be true to some extent, emotional intelligence is also attributed to:
- Having high-energy
When people lean into their emotional intelligence, they give themselves room to be curious.
When they are curious, they explore and try new out-of-the-box ideas.
Because they try new ideas that they’re genuinely interested in, they have high energy that gets put back into hard work.
If people were rational all the time, then people wouldn’t have been curious enough to explore and accidentally make discoveries like penicillin!
Instead of always being rational, strike a balance between rationality and emotionality.
As a result, you’ll make the sound decisions of a true business leader while having childlike curiosity.
6. Do the Dirty Work
CEOs need to be the hardest working people in their businesses.
How can a CEO expect their team members to work hard if they're not working hard themselves?
Unfortunately, many CEOs are told that doing the hard work means doing the dirty work. By dirty work, I’m talking about taking care of all of the small pieces of the business puzzle.
However, this is terrible advice.
While CEOs need to be involved with the smaller pieces, they shouldn’t be managing them on a day-to-day basis.
Instead, they need to step up as a business leader and focus on the single-most-important factor of business success: sales.
Unless you get sales down to a science, the entire business goes into jeopardy.
Making more sales in less time increases cash flow. With more cash, you sustain and grow the entire business. If there’s no cash, then there aren’t enough resources to pay for people to manage the small pieces of the puzzle!
Therefore, your job as a business leader is to be a sales leader. If sales are out of control, the entire business goes out of control.
Stay in tune with the smaller pieces of your business, but give yourself enough distance from them so that you can focus on sales and sales growth every day.
Final Thoughts on 6 Pieces of Business Advice I Wish I Never Received
Instead of facing the repercussions of applying this advice like I once did, take it from me that this advice won’t do your business any good!
Again, business owners are constantly being bombarded with advice from the peanut gallery; if the advice was so good, then why are there still so many struggling CEOs?
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