When should we ask others for advice? – When we don’t know the right answer, or the right direction to go in, that’s when. But we don’t just ask anyone for their advice, we need someone who has experience and who ‘knows the territory’. When we ask for directions in a new city we’re visiting, obviously there’s little point in asking another tourist. We need to check in with a local person, who really knows their town. Then they’ll point us in the right direction, and we’ll be secure in knowing that we’re heading the right way.
There’s a reason why elite athletes also need help in being pointed in the right direction, even though they are already in the absolute top few percent of performers in their chosen field. They know that without the objective checking that comes from having a top coach viewing them ‘from outside’, they may only ever be a contender, rather than a champion. In fact football teams have about as many coaches as there are players. There’s a head coach, offense and defense coaches, strategic and tactical coaches, fitness coaches and kicking coaches. Top teams aren’t employing all these people for fun, they are involved because they can make fractions of a percent of difference. They can point the way to success.
In the area of startups, entrepreneurs also need to have their game improved, by the inclusion of coaches on their team. This is where it can sometimes get tricky for a newly formed enterprise. Firstly, the team itself may not yet be ready for the objective view that a business coach will bring. They’ve got this far with the great idea for their company, on their own initiative, so why do they need the services of an outsider? The second major objection is - of course - cash. Consultants, Coaches and Advisers always cost, so the startup needs to do their sums and decide whether they can afford outside help. Naturally the coaches argue that the business can’t afford not to have their help!
And so, as often as not, a startup will avoid the question of bringing in that objective pair of eyes, and the finger which may point the business in the right direction. “Hey, it can’t be that hard,” they say. But it is. Ask any golfer if they truly know what their swing looks like from the outside, or a runner if they know exactly how to land their feet and push off for the next step. They may have a pretty good idea, but a precise view of how they perform? No. You only ever get that from having someone with experience and knowledge, who can analyze your weaknesses, and build on your strengths. That’s how champions are made.
Advisers are essential for a business. They might be financially experienced, marketing whizzes, or tech geniuses, along with many other talents. Whatever their skillset, you need to find the exact Advisers who have the missing pieces of the jigsaw that you don’t have. They will spot the few percent that you’ve missed seeing, and if you are Serious About Success, you cannot ever risk failing to see how to perfect your offering.
The other huge advantage of having Advisers attached to a startup is that it gives a very strong signal to potential investors. Depending on the nature of your startup, and the type of investor you are working to attract, appropriate Advisers provide a sense of re-assurance to investors. If your Advisers have a good track record, and their own network of quality connections, then the cost of their fees can be quickly recovered.
So if you’re a startup that thinks you don’t need advice, please think again! Find the right Advisers who can look at your business ‘from the outside’, and give you the solid gold guidance of what you may be doing wrong, and how to do things right. There are already enough difficulties to face in bringing your product or service to market, so turbo boost your success by getting the right associates and Advisers onboard.
And that’s my advice!
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