Tell others that you want to go it alone and don’t be surprised when more people than you thought advise against such action. So how do you know when not to listen to business advice?
Regardless of the state of the economy, there is little doubt that the UK (and most, if not all other western societies) has become more risk averse over the past decade or three. Creeping health and safety regulations, genuine and irrational worries over litigation (arising from supposed ‘mistakes’) and the general blame culture are among the causes.
But feeding into this sad soup of reasoning is the fact we all have far greater access to instant information which affects our judgement and IQ levels. But such is the competition for our attention, many articles have become overly sensationalist. As a consequence, there are far more ‘experts’ in the world who possess a little knowledge on a wide range of headline subjects. One of them of being the setting up in business and the associated risks.
When not to listen to business advice
So when others proffer advice about the problems and pitfalls of going it alone, check their credentials and clarify the extent of their knowledge and the root of their wisdom. There’s no need to be rude or aggressive, but deduce their experience of self-employment or working with people like yourself and how they are able to gauge the journey ahead and risks involved. Watch out for flaky, anecdotal evidence, stories of bankrupt second cousins and Daily Mail claptrap.
It was the same with hitchhiking. There are not that many people with first-hand experience of thumbing lifts. However, the skewed advice I received on the subject combined with the sincere belief that the risks outweighed the rewards was remarkable. In the end, I learnt to switch off to the uninformed pessimist. Or occasionally try and convert them to my way of thinking.
Having said all that, when you do meet people who have first-hand experience of being their own boss, take all the advice you can get. If they are seeking to steer you on a path away from self employment it is worth listening. Question and clarify the points being made so you fully understand the guidance available. Even though you might not agree with what is being said, the advice is likely to be very valuable.
Ultimately, the decision about going it alone will probably be yours alone. It is the first of many decisions that will be made but if you can sort the wheat from the chaff early (in terms of the people whose judgement and advice you seek and trust) you are far more likely to be confident about the direction you are headed.
Key Learning Points: Whilst people might mean well, it is important to learn when not to listen to business advice. Judge carefully who you should listen to and always counsel people who have recent personal experience of setting up and running their own business.