Why Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Always Listen to Advice From ‘Experts’
By Ratmir Timashev,
June 16, 2019

Advice is born of experience, but no two experiences are the same. Knowing this, I’ve learned it’s best to take any counsel with a grain of salt and no single plan is going to work perfectly. Owning a business means frequently thinking in the moment and modifying plans as things change. All the advice in the world isn’t going to prepare you for every situation, but knowing what to listen to and what to disregard can help you navigate new situations.

“It’s better to use data than to rely on your intuition.”
About 10 years ago, when I was building my company, a business associate recommended that I hire product managers. He said these product management teams would gather customer feedback, and then use that information to make decisions and build a road map. His suggested strategy was allowing product managers to take the lead in scaling innovation, rather than me leading this process. Going to product teams with massive amounts of customer data and asking them to uncover the next innovation is a waste of time. While there are good product managers, no product manager knows better than the business owner how to come up with solutions for customer problems. And not getting direct customer feedback is a mistake. .... When it comes assessing customer wants and needs, I know I can trust my gut and my instincts because they have been instrumental in the ongoing success of my business. Don’t waste time looking to analytics and data for the answers your instincts have already provided. Relying on the opinions of others is what kills successful innovation.

“At the first sign of a financial crisis, it’s best to lower your head count.”
When we started our company, we knew we had found a hot market, and we were growing incredibly fast. However, only a few years into our business’s North American growth, the 2008 financial crisis hit. At the time, I was hiring hundreds of people, using money from the sale of a previous company. .... A friend, who also happens to be a business owner, shared that as growth in the region was slowing down, I needed to cut my head count by at least 20% and focus on building a stronger European presence. Even though I am not usually very risk-averse, I trusted this friend as an adviser, and we slowed our investment. To this day, it is a business decision I strongly regret.

Even during this economic downturn, our business remained healthy. Our products were actually more in demand in North America during the recession, as companies that were losing employees had to ensure they didn’t also lose their data. The lasting impact is still being felt today on our business, and we are working to rebuild our previous momentum and North American presence. I have no doubts that we’d have grown much faster and larger in the region had I not followed that bad advice 10 years ago.

Follow your gut
While advice can be helpful, it’s important to remember it’s just that: advice. Many times, entrepreneurs become so overwhelmed with advice, studies, data, and other outside sources of information, they get lost in the details and their intuition is muffled in the madness. No outside source holds as much value as an entrepreneur’s own knowledge about his or her business. Rather than make important, critical business decisions based on the advice of others, it’s usually best to tune it out and bet on your own intuition. Remember that even if advice is well-intentioned, you know your business best and can rely on your gut to tell you when you should take advice, and when you should say thank you and move on.

We somehow learn from trial and error. And it would really be a disappointment in our selves if we hadn't tried a solution we know would work but an expert else said won't bring any result. Then eventually seeing someone else bring your idea to life and seeing great results.

Julia Sta Romana

Top Contributor
Top Poster Of Month
I agree that this is one 'expert advice' that I don't necessarily agree with:

“At the first sign of a financial crisis, it’s best to lower your head count.”

Lowering your head count should always be a last resort. Not only because it's the right thing to do. Having disgruntled former employees could be bad for you in the long run.

If saving jobs for unselfish reasons aren't good enough. There are a lot of selfish reasons why keeping jobs is the best business decision in a crisis.

1. These disgruntled employees can work for your competition. Experienced employees with inside information on your business. Non-compete clauses have term limits and a good lawyer can easily work around limitations.
2. They can become your competition. A small business with experienced workers and a small overhead can take a significant chunk of your market.
3. They can ruin your reputation in the community to the point that it can affect your sales.
Experts are individuals that are already experienced a lot of trial and errors. Therefore, when we say experts those are people that learn from their failures, find solution to solved that problem to achieve a certain goal. So do we need to listen to them? Yes, of course their advice can us. But not all the time we need to follow and listen their advice, it is because we have our own set of problems that can only us can solve. Experts advice are just something we can hold on if we are need some positive conversation.
Top Bottom