#StartupLife : Seeking advice
Being twenty something and trying to start a company comes with, well let's say 'challenges.' One is you lack experience and in certain areas knowledge.
A quick and effective fix is to seek advice from those that can mentor you. They either have achieved what you want to achieve or have extensive knowledge and insight into a specialised area e.g. Web development, customer acquisition or revenue models. But, it is important to notice that when you seek advice, you are not obliged to take it. Do not see advice as an actionable goal to act upon or implement. It is just an option.
1. The veteran advisor
Do not just seek advice from those who you deem ‘established’ or successful. Some of the worst advice has come from those who boast 40 years experience, some of the best advice has come from other twenty something's attempting to make a company too, and of course vice versa. Also do not undervalue your own insight and knowledge. Chances are you have researched the area you are starting out in 10x more than the person giving you advice. Don't be afraid to disagree and go with what you think is the right decision.
2. Actions speak louder than words
Another thing to remember is that most times when you seek advice, especially if they are not in your team operationally or otherwise, it is very easy to give advice. It's easy for someone externally to claim you aren't being ambitious enough, because they don't have to go out and raise the investment to allow you to be more ambitious. They are not the ones in your three woman team trying to make the existing plans happen. It's also easy for an external person to say you are too ambitious. They aren't the ones with the passion and drive you have to make this work. They are just options, not actionable items for you to read adjust your outlook or what you are doing.
3. Don’t get complacent
The person that gave you the best advice yesterday, may not be the best person to go to in 3 months time. Everyone has limited knowledge and experiences. Recognise when you are in a different phase of what you are doing and in turn require different expertise.
4. Everyone has an opinion
Think about the background of the person you are seeking advice from. Ultimately the advice an individual gives is a product of their own knowledge and experience. Ask a developer, marketer and fashion designer the same question regarding your start up, you will probably get a different answer each time. What is a fact to one of them may well and truly be utter rubbish to another. An example is, when I showed my website to a business advisor, she started listing the other features she would like to see. When showing it to a developer, they are looking for what you can cut down in order to improve functionality and click rate. Again, they are just opinions which are a product of unique experiences
5. Cross-industry collaboration
Just because your idea is in the fashion or education industry it doesn’t mean that everyone that is related to that specific industry can help you. Last week I went to basestone’s #ConstructDisrupt event and though I have no clue about the construction industry, I was able to gain valuable insights. When you get advice from someone outside your industry you will get a more objective opinion on what you are doing. The individual also has no prior biases in their advice. Again, some of the best advice has come from people like this.