Beware, Bad Advice Can Kill a Business– Protect The Company From Pseudo Experts Whose Advice Can Ruin an Organization…

Bad business advice: People offer lots of advice about business, some good, some awful; some asked for, some completely unsolicited. But remember the meaning of ‘advice’: Advice is an opinion or suggestion about what someone should do, a recommendation regarding a decision or course of conduct…

As a business person you’ve got to understand your vision well enough to know when to take advice and run with it, and when to take advice and run it through the shredder…

According to Robert Cordray; beware of danger from thorny advice: There is a saying that is now cliché; ‘ask 10 people for advice and you’ll get 10 different answers’… Advice is just that; advice… choose the advice that fits your situation best and go for it… When you have a problem, it seems like everyone has a solution: If you’re on the receiving end of advice, ask the person about their success (or failure) and try to separate hard-earned experience from idle guess…

According to Eric Ravenscraft; ideally, you’ll get the best advice from those who have already achieved what you want in business… By diving into the stories behind some advice, you may be able to separate the wheat from the cliché analogies, platitudes… According to Samantha; the worst piece of business advice I ever got was to put my nose to the grindstone and work my way up because according to the advice– great work will get noticed and rewarded: It won’t…

That completely puts you at mercy of people who don’t have stake in your success. You must set your own goals and pursue them directly instead of relying on someone else to make it happen for you. According to Bob Warfield; the world is full of pseudo experts who will tell you the many reasons something can or can’t be done, and the why, what, how, how much… That’s what experts do

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In the article Bad Business Advice: Avoid It like Plague by Marc A. Price writes: Bad business advice is, quite possibly, the most damaging form of assistance anyone in business can give or receive… Yet, I would imagine that we have all been on both sides of the equation… Bad business advice can be overcome by simply not looking for it where it can’t be found, such as through unqualified sources. With that being said, if you make decisions for the business, it’s imperative you also seek out the proper channels to secure information and guidance you require for making sound business assessments...

Although seemingly quite harmless, the smallest amount of bad business advice can change the course of the business altogether. Unless the person delivering the advice has a track record of success in the area of concern; then, thankfully decline the advice… or, if that would make the situation awkward; just smile, nod, and quietly move on… You would never have a person who isn’t a fully qualified medical provider diagnose your illness and then prescribe surgery. The same thinking should be applied to business when you need professional advice…

Likewise, once you’ve made it in business, make sure to practice the same principles when delivering advice to others. Unless you’ve ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ and you are considered an authority in the field, do everyone a favor and bite your tongue. We were born with two ears and only one mouth for a reason, so do the right thing; avoid bad business advice– whether you’re giving it or receiving it, nobody wins when advice is just plain bad…

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In the article Worst Business Advice Ever by Chuck writes: The worst business advice ever is to ‘work harder’… I’m one of the hardest working guys you will ever meet, and I used to think that ‘working hard’ was the secret to success in life and in business. I thought that putting in more hours, taking massive action and working around the clock would help me reach my goals faster. I thought that in order to make more money I simply had to work harder: Boy was I wrong!  To make money in business, you have to work smart. You  must constantly question why you are doing what you are doing.

You must leverage yourself through others, develop systems and focus your valuable time on tasks that produce real  income for the business… You can work 100 hours a week, but if you spend your time on the wrong tasks, you are doomed for failure. On the other hand, you might be able to work 10-20 hours per week and make more than someone working 100 hours per week, if you focus on the right tasks…

Work ‘on’ the business rather than work ‘in’ the business… Set priorities, delegate and spend time wisely, and don’t work for work’s sake… Question everything you do, and always ask yourself– Is there a better way to do it? Is this the best use of my time right now? Do it every day; set goals, focus your time… and be careful with people’s advice…

In the article Rising Cost of Bad Advice by Adam Hanft writes: Given all the bad advice out there, business management must develop a healthy skepticism of experts, recognizing that doing so requires more than just an inquiring mind… Once outside experts have been hired, their wisdom (generally without accompanying wit) gets adopted– if not sanctified– pretty much at face value.

Sure, the buyer may ask a few questions for show, but these outside ‘solution-providers (consultants)’ rarely get the same grilling as internal staff… The usual  outcome: CEO pays big bucks for the same information that he or she has already ignored (or scoffed at) when offered internally… And, it isn’t just management consultants causing all the trouble… IT consulting– which is hogging an increasing percentage of corporate spending– is well-littered with wreckage of projects run amuck…

Advertising agencies also are catching more flak… As for bad legal advice, all those with sob stories line up here… So what are my final deliverables, i.e., as consultants are fond of saying? They are: Develop a healthy skepticism of experts, managers need a broad enough understanding to ask astute questions– that can be difficult in today’s hyper-specialized business cosmos… When experts laud you with buzzwords in a well-practiced ritual of intimidation: Remember that it’s your business not theirs and most important cultivate the internal staff…

Don’t let consultants leverage their influence with senior management to browbeat and silence middle-management truth-tellers. Don’t be swept-up by grandeur of a slick PowerPoint presentation… In short, whether you’re having an appendix or a subsidiary removed, check the medicine in the bottle…

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In the article Run, Don’t Walk Away From All-Too-Common Words of Advice by Barry Moltz writes: Business managers get unsolicited advice everyday. Some of it can be very helpful, some of it is better off ignored. If you hear any of the ‘words of wisdom’ listed below, our advice to you is to smile, say thank you, and move on:

  • Good things come to those who wait: If you follow this advice, you may be waiting a      very long time for success…
  • Failure is not an option: Unfortunately, it’s the most likely outcome in any business venture. Better advice: Accept failure, learn from it, let go of it, and look for another opportunity to succeed…
  • Do what you love and the money will follow: In the ideal world, this would always be true. Better advice: The money will follow if you find something you are passionate about…
  • The customer is always right: If the customer was always right then it would be too expensive for any company to stay in business. Better advice: Listen to the customer’s concerns and show empathy in proposing solutions to their problems.
  • Think outside the box: Sometimes ideas so far outside the box will make a business fail because customers won’t pay for it. Better advice: Look inside the box for constant problems customers still pay to solve.
  • Never give up: This hard fast rule can lead to bankruptcy. Don’t go down with the ship! Better advice: Follow Kenny Rogers’ advice; know when to hold ‘em’ and when to fold ‘em’…
  • Separate out business and personal life: In the world of the Internet-enabled smart phone, it’s nearly impossible to separate the two worlds. Better advice: Merge business and personal aspects into one happy life. But establish business free zones (like the gym, dinner table…) so you are able to recharge.
  • Never leave money on the table: This strategy is greedy, shows short-term thinking. Better advice: Emphasize long-term relationships so annuities with vendors and customers can be built to maximize their lifetime value.
  • Always be innovating: While it’s important to evolve and change with the market, innovation should not be done for its own sake. Better advice: Consistently ask customers and survey competitors on new ways to solve problems.
  • Business is about taking big risks: This is a sure-fire way to go out of business and never have the financial resources to recover. Better advice: Take small risks and analyze the results. Business is ultimately a series of small decisions, incremental steps.
  • Everything is fair in business: You will be surprised what people have audacity to do in business and no– not everything is ‘fair’: What may be considered ‘fair’ is not always right. Better advice: Think about code of conduct on how you want to conduct business then train the staff to stick to it.
  • You can’t change the world: Often you are advised that you can’t make a difference.  Better advice: You actually can change the world; focus on doing it one customer at a time.
  • Quit while you are ahead: This is a fearful and fatalistic approach to business. Better advice: Find out how you can build on success already achieved and minimize some risk going forward…

There’s no shortage of people eager to hand out advice. It seems that everyone, even someone you’ve just met, has an opinion on how you should– develop product, run sales, handle finances… According to Nellie Akalp; people will always give advice — some good, some bad… People’s opinions should always be viewed through the context of your own– experiences, convictions, value system… Final decisions are always up to you, so there’s no blaming someone else for bad advice…

According to Wendy Kenney; it’s as important for management to understand what not to do, as it is to know what they need to do.  It’s also important to remember that not every tactic or strategy is right for every business… The lesson is don’t take advice from people who don’t know your business, customers, market… What works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for others: Companies are not built-in a lab and there are way too many variables and too much randomness for anyone to claim that if you add ingredient X or do A then B then C it will work…

Reading about success for advice doesn’t make success, but it does tend to make you want to be successful: That’s important. We can benefit from positive advice, good guidance… that  shows us what’s possible, make us want to think bigger, work smarter, keep trying… especially when going gets tough…