Entrepreneurs, you are a different breed of person. You are creative, passionate, and headstrong. You had a vision to create either a product or service that motivated them to build this start-up. You have put their blood, sweat and tears into a business they are most likely not even getting a paycheck from. You are working for pride, to see something you have created or are building from the ground up become a viable successful business. It is hard work.
Along your journey you will typically have many mentors, colleagues and critics. They will all have opinions and suggestions. Many of these opinions will vary from the direction you saw your business heading. Below are six ways to handle, navigate and survive the advisements.
Have A Thick Skin
Advice doesn’t come cheap – or so they say. So if you are getting free advice it is a good idea to listen. It is even more important that you always listen to what the advisor has to say (and to always be polite) if that person is an expert in the field of business or that is involved in your company’s market. No one is out to attack you, your idea or your business. It is important to always take their words as advice or constructive criticism not as an all out attack. It is important to remember that when you get your business off the ground and it is flourishing you will be open to the unfriendly critics.
This is the time to allow those who are out to help you advise you on making your business better. And, yes, sometimes it is hard to hear people say less than complimentary things about our baby, but this is how we improve upon our product and business. Take all advice with an open ear and an open mind.
Don’t Be Afraid To Stand Up To Others
While you should be open to all advice, it doesn’t mean you need to take it. There will be times when someone on your team may be pushing to embark down a certain path, something that you know is wrong for your business.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you know is right for your company. If you get push back, even when it is from board members, don’t be afraid to use polite firmness and strength in your voice. Don’t be afraid to be called the “B” word. Remember, men get respected for their assertiveness –nothing wrong with woman being a little assertive.
Admit When You Are Wrong
Admitting when we are wrong is something that is typically hard for people to do. However, it is necessary and it is proof of a strong and smart leader. You should make sure those that you are working with know that you have acknowledged your mistake and are ready to correct and move forward.
When you are working in a start-up those you are working with are putting their faith in your business and in you.
Accept When Others Are Right
You have built your start-up team with people you trust (hopefully!) Therefore, when your team, mentors or other advisors offer advice that differs from yours that applies to your business, product or marketing strategy more efficiently or such than yours does –listen!
Remember, that it takes more than one person to run a company. Accept that two heads are better than one. And, always praise your team and team members for a job well done. It goes a long way.
Be Willing To Change
Have you been working for a year, headed down a path and haven’t seen any results? This can be so frustrating. Maybe you are targeting the wrong market. Perhaps you’re your business plan needs tinkering. You must be willing and open to the terrifying pivot.
But before you make this leap, have a meeting of the minds and think it through. When venturing down the trail of a start-up the only thing that is certain is uncertainty.
This is the best piece of advice I can offer you. It takes a lot of tenacity to be an entrepreneur and build a business. If you are going to survive the world of start-ups be ready to persevere. There is a big rumor that if your start-up doesn’t succeed in a year it will never succeed.
That is only if you flounder. Keep your head above water and continue to move forward along your path to success. Don’t give up, in the end it will be worth it.