Are you too proud to take advice? If so, I can guarantee you’re losing out on business opportunities and profits. In business, it’s good to be proud of your products and customer service. But it’s not good to believe you’ve got everything figured out. You don’t. No one does, which is why it literally pays to take great advice.
By advice, I don’t mean reading blogs (except this one, of course). You can glean outstanding business advice from blogs, magazines, television programs, books and other sources, absolutely. However, all of that advice is general. The authors and hosts don’t know you. They don’t know your business, and they don’t know your target audience. Even if they’re in the same industry as you, they don’t know your specific business.
They can’t give you personalized advice, which is what you need in order to maximize your business success. You want advisers who know you personally, who know and understand your ambitions, dreams and goals, and who can help you make the best decisions for your business.
Form an advisory board
I advocate every entrepreneur form an advisory board. You don’t need (or want) a lot of people for your board. Three to five people is all you need. Not sure who ask? You have to vet your advisory board just as you would employees (or even more so). The last thing you want to do is ask someone to serve on your board whose own business is on the brink of failure. Seek people who operate successful businesses and are well-known, respected and liked in their communities. Ask your best customers, too, because they’ll have invaluable insight for your products, service, and sales process.
You want people who are willing to learn your business and adopt an interest in helping you succeed, if only for their own personal pride. Meet at least once per month, and develop an agenda to stick to. Don’t waste your board members’ time. You don’t have to compensate them, but hosting the occasional meal is a good idea.
When you have an advisory board, you’ll be able to seek the kind of advice that will help you improve your products, customer service and business operations as a whole. You’ll become more efficient, you’ll make more sales, and you’ll have happier employees and customers. Your business will be profitable, and you will prosper.
Remember the end goal
Of course, if you’re too proud to ask for advice, you’ll have none of those things; or at least, none will reach their full potential. Keep in mind that asking for advice isn’t the same as taking advice. All you have to do is listen, after all.
Don’t be too proud to ask for advice. Remember the reasons you went into business in the first place – freedom, family, independence, and, yes, money, but as an enabler. Asking for advice will only help you achieve those goals.
Who do you ask for business advice?