As business owners, we are often given advice by many different people, from family and friends, to fellow business owners. Usually it is well-meaning advice, though often misplaced. Today, we wanted to share some good advice and bad advice that we have received over the years. The purpose of this post is not to simply relay the advice to you, but instead to help you be able to discern advice that is truly helpful, and advice that is not.
The Worst Advice: “You need to run your business this way, because that’s how every other business operates”. This is totally misguided and pretty much the worst advice we’ve gotten. It applies to several different aspects of our business, but the net is that we have to do what we feel is right for our business. We’ve been told we need to keep more standard “business hours”, or to not cater to our clients in a certain way, etc. The truth is, the reason we love our clients so much is because they appreciate our willingness to be there for them as a resource, and in turn they understand that we also have lives and are not running our business 24/7. We always let our clients know that we make them a high priority and that we will be there for them, and in return they acknowledge that there is a reasonable expectation that we will all stay within.
The Best Advice: “Do what feels right for your business.” By far our favorite and the best advice we have ever gotten, this is really a big part of how we make decisions in our business. When we are considering making a change, buying equipment, or anything in between, we often ask each other “Does this feel right? Does this feel like something we believe in? Is this something that will add value to our clients’ experience?
Every business is different, and there is not one piece of advice that will help you get your business on the right track. You must do what feels right for your business and evaluate how it will affect your clients’ experiences. Sometimes this will mean following more traditional business operating standards. Other times, it will mean being flexible and adapting to what your clients need.