Asking for Advice

At some point in the life of your business, you have to bow your head and admit that you need some help. In the digital age, many of us turn to the internet for research, but getting sound, tailored advice can be even easier – just talk to an expert. There are plenty of benefits from more specific guidance to more localised expertise, but where do you start?

Building relationships

Taking that first step and asking for help can be daunting, but it could be the key to fuelling business growth so drop your pride and dive in. Sending emails, making phone calls and even writing letters to influencers are great ways to get the attention of people who have already experienced what you’re going through. Use events and social occasions to your advantage and ask a few questions while you network.

At worst, you’ll get negative responses (or none at all) from the experts you’ve reached out to. At best, you’ll get exclusive insights and an opportunity to build relationships with key power brokers. Communication with a wide range of experts not only helps to highlight key themes in the advice you receive, but also broadens your exposure to qualified perspectives.

Stay in touch with those you trust

Trustworthy contacts provide an authentic source of valuable information. When you feel a bond beginning to form, make sure to nurture it and stay in contact with that person – they could take on an advisory role, either formal or informal, and their influence may reach further than you think. Keeping them close also means that they are more likely to speak well of you to their own contacts, which could well result in valuable leads going forward.

Competitors can help too

Even your closest competitors can offer you valuable words of wisdom. After all, there’s a reason you see them as your rivals! Of course, it’s prudent to be cautious about implementing the advice they offer you and to be guarded about your own trade secrets.

There may be an agenda behind what you are being told, which might not always be clear. Though not necessarily be malicious, competitors could send you down a path that serves to validate their own decisions or benefit their own business. This isn’t exclusive to your competitors – you should be aware of this with any advice – but if you can tell the genuine from the potentially dangerous, there’s valuable insight to be gained.

Trust your own instincts

It’s your business and you call the shots, so make sure you evaluate what is being said and that you agree with it before putting it into action. On the other hand, good advice can only help you if you actually use it. Use your intuition, trust your instincts and with the added perspective of your network you’ll be sure to find the right path.

With the experience of building your own startup, you also have something to offer that others may find useful. Share your knowledge when you can – you might be amazed at what you have to offer and the new opportunities that can result from your generosity.

Getting the right advice for your start-up can be tricky, but here at Oxygen Ventures we always try to lend a helping hand whenever we can. Check out our blog for tips or get in touch, we’re always happy to help.