“One word of advice for your new business…“
“Not sure if you want to head in that direction…“
“Hmmm not sure if this business idea will actually make you any money?”
If you are a new business owner and someone who has just started laying the foundation of your dream, you must have heard at least one of these phrases from well-wishers, or in some cases ill-givers. We all get advice, whether we want to hear it or not. And actually, in South Asian cultures, if someone isn’t giving you advice they may be regarded as ‘someone who is not close to you or not serving your best interest.’ Advice giving is a professional sport here, to say the least. Throughout our lives, we’ve probably heard continuous tidbits of advice from family members, relatives, friends, our neighbors, and completely random people. Don’t get me wrong, advice is not always bad. Listening to others is a great way to get a good feel for how your business is doing. Advice from clients and customers is key in making your product or service better.
But as a new business owner, you need to understand a few things when you receive this advice.
One, whoever is giving it to you should know the goals of your business. What is it that you are trying to achieve right now, and how you are going about doing that?
Two, if they take the time to listen to you and your ‘elevator pitch’ and then give you some feedback, that’s great.
Often we find people who are keen to advise new business owners but do not understand what the business is and what it wants to achieve. We all are looking to make changes to our business plan that will benefit our customers, our employees, and in the end, our brand and company. But, taking advice from people who do not keep all of these things in mind when offering words of wisdom can lead new owners to doubt themselves and their objectives.
And that brings me to the number one thing that can derail your entire new business dream: SELF-DOUBT. I cannot help but link to a recent reply Richard Branson gave on his weekly LinkedIn Ask Richard series where someone asked him, “How do you overcome doubt when chasing a dream.” His response: “What I’ve learnt throughout my life is that every success is built upon a thousand failures (or ‘opportunities to learn’, as I like to think of them). Whenever doubt creeps in, I remind myself that dreams aren’t linear.”
He goes on to explain an instance when the day after he launched Virgin Atlantic, the airline, a bank manager came to his office and threatened to close the whole place down. Imagine if Richard gave up then? There are thousands of other examples similar to this where if people had given up, wonderful inventions, companies, and ideas would never exist. As a business owner, you are playing the long game, remember this. If you can accept this and work every day to improve your product, your service, and your brand, you will leap over the small hurdles along the way and get closer to your overall goal.
To end, two of my favorite quotes:
Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date. Take a deep breath and try again.”K.T. Witten
“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”Charles F Kettering
CEO & Founder of squareONE