Be careful taking advice on your startup


Founders generally fall in the category of knowing enough to see an opportunity, but not enough to see the obstacles. Which is normal, as otherwise they wouldn’t start in the first place, but this means that they need to rely on a community of people to get feedback, guidance and to learn from others experiences.

I’ve had a couple of instances of late where entrepreneurs with very viable businesses are told that their idea is not feasible, not scaleable or not worth their while. It normally comes from a VC (or incubator). The advice is not wrong – possibly misplaced – but the one thing you need to be very aware of is the motivations and perspectives of the person giving you advice.

“Opinions are like arseholes – everyone has one.”

You need to be aware of what standpoint the advice is coming from. Is it from a VC who expects to get a 10x return in 5 years? Is it from an incubator that is focussed more on pulling teams together and swinging for the fences than building smaller sustainable ideas? Is is from a burnt out entrepreneur who’s last idea crashed miserably and is pretty pessimistic about the world?

While entrepreneurship is all about ignoring the naysayers, it’s often more important when taking the advice to try and understand what the persons perspective is. Where is their advice is coming from and is it relevant for you? Will it move you in the direction that you’re wanting to go and are their requirements the same as yours? (I’ve covered funder requirements in my Funding Secrets Series)

One thought on “Be careful taking advice on your startup

  1. It’s really hard to find good advice. You get alot of negative feedback because a certain portion of the population uses it as a mechanism to try to develop control and dominance. (my family, attorneys(former attorney here)) . Another portion can’t say anything negative because they are paranoid of conflict. People who give balanced thoughfull advice are rare and very valuable.

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