My Two Cents on Advice

Matt Uncategorized

You might not realize it, but you have been getting advice your entire life.  From the moment you were born, your parents were giving you advice on how to say “Mama” and “Dada”.  From there, it moved on to advice on how to eat, walk, and do all sort of things.  Eventually, probably shortly after learning to talk, you started giving advice.  People love to give advice….walk into a coffee shop now and approach a stranger with a problem you are looking for advice on and odds are you will easily strike up a conversation.

Research and studies have found that advice is given out in abundance for two reasons.  The first is an altruistic reason; when giving advice people are generally trying to help another.  Think back to your parent’s advice on how to walk, this would fall into this category.  The second and much more common reason people give advice is they feel powerful.  Dr. Art Markman conducted multiple studies and found that even if an advice giver is not actively out to take the reins over others, giving advice can make them feel like they have some sway, which helps them feel more powerful.

There are very few situations where people are more ripe for receiving advice then starting a business.  I can speak from experience, when family, friends, and heck, even strangers learned I was starting a business I got all sorts of advice.  Being that this was a new venture for me, I was ready to listen to anyone that wanted to give me their two cents. 

Here is the thing about all of this advice…there is a reason that there is a saying “let me give you my two cents”.  Its because most of that advice you are getting is worth less than that.  Most of it is crap.  It’s horrible.  It’s not relevant. 

Let me paint a scenario for you to illustrate this point.  Say you are a head chef at a restaurant, and you are looking to alter your menu.  As part of your new menu, you want to offer an authentic Mexican dish that you don’t have much experience with.  You mention this to others and all the sudden are inundated with advice.  Your mailman’s mom cooks a great Mexican dish and uses a special type of chili powder.  The lady who cuts your hair just read a great article in a cooking magazine.  Heck, even your son’s baseball coach whose day job is in sales tells you that his favorite Mexican joint uses more beef than others.  All of this free advice, isn’t that great?  NO, it’s not.  As a head chef, you are getting ready to make a big decision and you are getting input from three people who have zero culinary experience. 

This story is no different for the aspiring entrepreneur.  Tell someone, anyone, you are about to start a business and get ready for the advice.  Some will say don’t do it, its not worth it (these people are most likely too scared inside to what you’re doing, so they certainly don’t want to see you succeed at it).  Some will tell you about what their neighbor or sister-in-law did.  Some will tell you about their client or their boss.  The thing is, most of these people have never done what you are about to do.  Even people at the local Small Business Administration office who will speak about being an entrepreneur have almost no experience starting or running a business.  Why are you listening to these people?

While some of what you need to know about running a business will no doubt be written in a book or spoken about in a TED Talk, people can’t learn most of what they need to know about starting a business from these places.  Take it from me, the fear, ups, downs, struggles, successes, and everything else that I experience as a business owner could never have been taught to me.  The best advice I got before purchasing my business came from a former boss that had started her own accounting firm.  I remember being at lunch with her shortly after telling her that I was going to purchase a business and she let her guard down.  She told me about the struggles she had gone through at the beginning.  For the first time, I saw that she had doubt about some things with her business.  However, she also spoke about the freedom of being her own boss and how much satisfaction she got out of serving HER clients.  This emotion was real, I could see it on her face. There was no way I could feel the emotions that she was feeling or had felt, but it was one of the truest moments and tidbits of advice I got.  The key to this interaction was she had been through it before.  This wasn’t someone retelling a story or recounting something from a book.  This was someone talking from first-hand experience.

If your reading this, you’re most likely at least considering or dreaming about owning your own business.  If there is one piece of advice I can give you, its talk to someone who has done it before.  Odds are, you are smart enough and have the technical skills to run your business.  But you need to learn what it is like, the emotions, the struggles, the successes… can’t learn those from someone who hasn’t done it all before.    

Matt Krieger is the President and CEO of Monkey Bizness.  If you are interested in starting your own family entertainment center or indoor playground with Monkey Bizness, reach out to us and let’s talk to see if this is right for your family and can meet your goals.