Friday, February 12, 2016

Ignoring advice

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     Okay. You have an idea. A great idea. You want to start a small business. Or, you want to take your existing business in another direction.

     In your excitement, you mention it to several people. You discuss your idea with several friends and acquaintances.

     Example: Elaine wanted to establish a big new website. Her idea was to have a platform to sell just about anything. It would work like an auction but it would not be an auction site. The platform would act as an intermediary between sellers and buyers. Buyers would peruse the items up for auction, and then they would place their bids against a pre-set deadline. As the deadline approached, bidding would intensify. Finally, there would be a winner. Elaine would take a percentage, and everybody was happy.

     Everyone said it would not work. There would be technical and legal problems. No one would be attracted to bid on stuff they had never seen in person. 

     Of course, eBay exploded into a formidable presence. But eBay might never have happened--had its founders thought too much about all the negative advice they must have received. 

     Example: Ella trained as a hair stylist. She worked in several salons to nail down lots of experience. Her idea was to have her own salon--one day. That day came unexpectedly when the owner of a local salon became ill and placed her salon up for sale. Ella scrambled to put together the funding. But all her friends said to wait for a better economy. They questioned her lack of experience in running a business. They advised her against the deal. Ella considered the advice, but she went ahead anyway. It was an opportunity that she felt might not come again. Today, Ella is confidently operating the salon and planning to expand. 

     When you are in business, or when you want to start a business, your friends will offer advice--whether or not you ask for it. They feel compelled to offer advice--mostly negative. But that's one of the main reasons they themselves are not in business. 

     Business is all about optimism, confidence in yourself, and seeing a path into the future. If the opportunity is real and your gut feeling tells you to proceed, then by all means, go ahead. You will never know if success is around the corner unless you take the risk. 

     Before you jump, always do a business plan--concentrating on the market. The numbers you generate in the business plan will be the best advice you can take advantage of. 

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