“Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places with.” -Darren Hardy

There are two things I know to be true: Your mother is usually right and not all advice is good advice. The best advice I have ever received in reference to business is to not take anyone else’s advice. Sounds simple but like most things in this world, extremely hard to apply. Or so I have found. As a new business owner you need advice, guidance, and direction sometimes. Whether it be regarding something small such as tax questions or large like market strategy; the reality is that no one knows everything all of the time. The people that think they know everything are usually speaking from a place of ignorance. 

One of the most important lessons you will learn, especially new business owners, is how to choose the people you take advice from (aside from your mother of course.) Like anything, this takes practice and sometimes a few hard life lessons. Here are a few things that you should ask yourself before opening your ears.

Is this person speaking for experience?

I can’t tell you how often people offer up their “advice” without actually experiencing it for themselves. This is the most frustrating to me. If this person has not personally experienced whatever it is you are inquiring about, move on. Whatever is coming out of their mouth is just hot air. Offer them a breath mint and keep walking.

Does this person have something to gain from my success?

THIS. This will hit you like a ton of bricks. Always ask yourself this question before you listen to ANYONE. If the answer is no, open your ears. If you think this person has an ulterior motive, they probably do. Trust your gut. Money talks, so if this person is gaining financially from your success the odds are that they will only guide you in ways that will benefit them the most. My biggest lesson? Never do business with an advisor. It is a total conflict of interest and anyone that tells you otherwise is lying. 

Is their advice results driven?

We have a phrase in sales, “numbers don’t lie.” Numbers are black and white. The people I take guidance from always have the numbers and results to back up their words. Without results, it’s just the blind leading the blind. Nick at our pricing desk has closed over 30,000 deals. Do you think I take his sales advice? You bet I do.

“Most of the people you know have no idea how to achieve the goals you have.” -Anthony Moore

Above all, always keep your goals in mind then take a look around at the people that have achieved them. Those people are the ones that you need to surround yourself with. Those are the people that don’t just offer advice; those are the people that have answers. Choose your inner circle wisely because mediocre advice produces mediocre results and those results belong to you.

Written by Kristin DeBias