Starting and running a business is hard and often a very lonely experience.
You are going to make mistakes, lots of mistakes, especially at the beginning.
The most powerful words you will need to carry and say more often in this journey are:
“Please help with this…” or “How do I do this…” or “I need your assistance….” or “I need your advice…”
These are powerful words and yet the least said words by entrepreneurs.
They are powerful because they can save you from making lots of expensive mistakes.
They are least said by entrepreneurs because of ego. Because if I ask for help, I will look less smart, I will look weak, I will look like I don’t know what I’m doing.
And so they die in silence.
Another reason entrepreneurs don’t ask for advice is because they tell themselves that no one knows their businesses as well as they do, that no one has their vision for the business and that everyone is after a piece of their success.
The result is that good advice is not sought or is ignored.
To mitigate this, I always advice first-time entrepreneurs to find themselves a mentor, someone who has made a success of their business, or of several businesses, who can be at the end of the phone when things get tough.
There is nothing like having someone you trust pointing out shortcomings and blindspots.
Unfortunately, asking for help is the most difficult thing to do, probably explains why so many people would rather pick up a book or read a blog like this than pick up a phone and call someone who could help.
We feel we should be able to work things out on our own.
What you find out with experience is that asking for advice is actually very easy than acting on it.
Not only should you seek for advice, but also act on it.
Advice should be judged on result not on intention.
You will not like everything you hear, but one of the hardest lesson I have learned along the way was that the advice you do not want to hear is probably the advice you should listen to the most.
At Lora Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship we run a 5 months accredited entrepreneurship programme where we discuss these issues with our entrepreneurs. Registration for the next cohort of entrepreneurs is open.
You may apply online now. We start on Saturday, 13 June at 0900. The sessions are online.