Cutting Through Bad Entrepreneurial Advice


Those just starting out as an entrepreneur have a lot on their plate. They have to think of where their value lies, how they offer it to people, and just what means they take to raise their profile. Those are worthwhile considerations to make, because perhaps the most important fundamental principle of entrepreneurialism is learning how to stay competitive. This is a complex and sometimes thankless task, which means that anyone starting out on this road needs to be sharp between the ears.

So – if you find yourself in this position, where do you go?

Many turn to online advice, entrepreneurial guides or even courses that teach them about leadership – and a lot of this advice is stellar and sound. Unfortunately, a lot of it isn’t. Many people have made a living discussing these topics and providing ‘insight’ to would-be entrepreneurs, but only some of them are worth listening to.

How can you separate the wheat from the chaff in this regard, and avoid falling victim to platitudes or false motivational help?

The fact you’re asking this question shows you have potential. Let’s try to help you better yourself in the long run:

Check Their Credentials

Anyone can offer inspirational advice.

It’s as easy as suggesting that you are ‘the most powerful when you don’t apologize’ or something to that effect. However, real and worthwhile advise is rarely couched in these kinds of empowerment falsehoods, and if they are, they ring truer than something you may find in a fortune cookie.

Checking someone’s credentials can often help you understand if you should listen to that advice or not.

For instance, Paul Ognibene and his fantastic advice column is backed up by worldly advice that provides a responsible and worthwhile long-term approach to personal development. When you check professionals like this, you know you can lend them your ears.

Use Your Own Experience

Sometimes, it can be worthwhile to consider what has worked for you in business and what hasn’t, drawing on your own knowledge and experience to move forward to some kind of logical conclusion.

It might be that you realize dress codes only seek to restrict the creative potentials of your staff, or that you now know remote conferences are much more effective and timely than hosting in-person meetings.

Taking a few days (or weeks) to recollect and consider issues you wish you could solve while employed can help you become a better employer in the long run. Trust your judgment as far as this is concerned.

Read Into Case Studies

It’s important to not only listen to advice but to have some context for that advice to fit in.

For instance, even the Bible doesn’t showcase a range of moral platitudes, it does its best, despite being thousands of years old, to apply those lessons to certain situations, which is a good way of evidencing claims. The same can be said for business studies. Why did Blackberry fail to compete with Apple? Who are the most eccentric company leaders, and did their eccentrism help them?

How are other entrepreneurs fairing in public life abroad? Asking these questions, by extension, helps you learn and apply these lessons to your own journey.

With this advice, we hope you better find worthwhile entrepreneurial advice – the advice that actually does make a difference.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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