When you’re starting up a business, there are a lot of people who want to be somewhat involved in the process and during this time pretty much anyone you speak to will be eager to dish out some advice. Even people you’ve only just met have an opinion on how you should do certain things, their own ideas about what you should do in the future and sometimes even how they can contribute.
Most of the time, this free advice-giving tool is warmly welcomed and highly useful, but sometimes it attracts the wrong people and the wrong advice. Nevertheless, if you have your head screwed on tight you’ll be able to turn really bad advice into good advice just by flipping it in reverse.
During our time as a start-up, which of course we still are, we did learn (and will probably never stop learning) a few valuable things from the bad advice that was dished out to us so willingly. To help you get a head start, we’ve put together a list of the worst advice we ever received so that you can learn from other people’s mistakes.
Leave Your Emotions Out Of It
Someone once told us that we should abandon our emotions when it comes to professional positions and although it is important to be strong willed and level-headed in business, we believe all emotions are vital. If we took away all of our emotions related to work, we would no longer be passionate about we do. It’s all about getting the balance right, but take away emotions completely and you are left with a dull, unexciting, unmotivated work environment that will ultimately destroy you and your workers through boredom.
Take Whatever Work You Can Get
As a start-up, we heard this statement a lot and we totally understand the concept, but we also wanted to organise ourselves in a way that positions us where we want to be within our industry sector. We want our stamp to be on work that is only the very best quality, so we don’t take on work from clients who are not willing to pay for our skills and expertise. Anyone can write content, but not everyone can write it well and we believe that we should be paid a fair price for the amount of time, effort and passion that goes into each article we write. Anyone charging you less will spend a lot less time on your copy, will have a limited amount of experience/skills and is likely to take shortcuts on things such as research, proofreading and layout. They may even be using duplicate materials, which is a big no-no, as many of you will know well.
You Have To Be Good At Numbers To Be Successful
Back at school you were probably told how important maths in is the real world – and we’re not saying that this statement is wrong; we are simply saying that you can still be just as successful as the biggest maths brainiac on the planet even if you’re no good at maths. We are all blessed to have different talents, and while some people may be best at numbers others may be much better at communicating. What you do need to have is self-belief, confidence and a good understanding of how your business model will work towards your strengths.
Hire People You Know
Now, we won’t name names here for obvious reasons, but this has undoubtedly got to be one of the worst pieces of advice anyone has given us. When you hire people you know you run the risk of making things awkward. Not only are they likely to take advantage of your friendship, you will also find it much harder to provide constructive criticism and alter their bad work habits (if they’ve got any). It can cause all different types of complications you don’t need when you’re trying to get a job done.
You Have To Be Cheaper Than Your Competitors
Just because you are new on the market doesn’t mean you need to undercut your competitors. If you are providing a service or a product that is of high quality, people will be happy to pay. You need to decide what type of business you want to be – an Asda or a Waitrose. Waitrose doesn’t compete with Asda because although they are both supermarkets, they have two completely different brand identities.
Social Media Is Free
Plenty of businesses make the mistake of thinking that social media is free and this can sometimes be confusing. Social media is free – you can set up your own accounts without spending a dime, but when it comes to managing it in a way that is actually successful most companies turn to the professionals. Those who don’t turn to the professionals will still admit that social media isn’t exactly free – it’s far from it in terms of the blood, sweat and tears it demands. You’ll have to learn how to analyse your stats, you’ll have to dish out money for promoted posts and you may even require a web designer to install the icons and widgets onto your website.
You Have To Spend Money To Make Money
This cliché is something that never applied to Little Miss Content. With the web, it is easier than ever to create a business without having a shop front, warehouse or office. Be savvy with your money, after all as a start-up you will need every penny you have. Make use of free website templates and software platforms, use online printing services rather than design agencies for your marketing materials and even consider crowdfunding to assist you in your search for success.
Our Advice To You
Over the years you will run into all different types of advice, some bad, some confusing and some good. The key is to remember that you are the one running the show – view these opinions as exactly what they are, opinions. View them through the context of your own experiences and value system and you will more often than not make the right decision for your business.