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Other Entrepreneurs Are Often the Best Source of Business Advice—Or Are They?

When you’re an entrepreneur, one of your best sources of advice can be other entrepreneurs. Sometimes, though, the advice they offer may not be very good, or at least not applicable to your company.

To know when (and when not) to follow the advice of fellow entrepreneurs, we asked members of YEC this question:

Q. What is the best way to determine whether a piece of business or career advice is good or bad, and worth following?
1. Consider the source

When determining if a piece of advice is worth following, consider the source. Is the person credible? Successful? Someone you respect? Someone whom others respect? If you know the person personally, are you 100% confident they have your best interests at heart and genuinely want to see you succeed? When all else fails, go with your gut. If a piece of advice feels questionable, it probably is. —Jackie Ducci, Ducci & Associates

2. Think it through for yourself

People give advice for lots of different reasons, and even the most successful person may give bad advice. Think it through for yourself. Does it make sense given what you already know? Don’t look for evidence that confirms the advice; look for evidence that proves it wrong. If the advice is good, it will be harder to find flaws. —Vik PatelFuture Hosting

 

3. Ask for an anecdote

If your source cannot provide an example of a time that this advice has benefited them, don’t buy it. People love talking as if they are the authority on things, but often they’re doing just that: talking. Make sure they can back up their claims with a real-life success story before implementing questionable advice in your own life. —Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

 

4. Research who wrote it

The best way to determine whether a piece of advice is worth following is by researching who wrote it. Is the person or group credible, what is their experience, what projects/clients/etc. have they worked on? Once you determine whether the person or group is credible, then it’s worth considering their advice. —Kristin Kimberly MarquetCreative Development Agency

 

5. Determine if you can bear the consequences

Before following any business or career advice that’s given to you, ask yourself if you can live with the advice being wrong. In other words, if the advice is wrong, can you live with the consequences of it? If the advice causes you to make a decision that could have severe consequences for your career, it’s best not to take it. Take advice when it won’t ruin what you already have. —Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

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6. Get evidence

Before taking advice you’re unsure of, get more evidence. Whether that means talking to more business owners, reading books, or lots of Googling, find out if others have put the advice to the test and can show their results. If you know it won’t negatively affect your company, test it yourself to get the evidence you need. —Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

 

7. Get a second and third opinion

Before taking career advice from someone, you need to compare it with advice from others. Getting a second and third opinion will help you determine if the advice is worth following or not. If everyone’s on the same page, the outcome looks good, but if your second and third opinions have differing thoughts, then you need to consider your options. —Blair Williams, MemberPress

 

8. Trust your instinct

Sometimes advice is golden, and sometimes it is not. You know your situation better than anyone else, so trust your instinct as to whether the advice will help you or not. At the end of the day it’s you who will have to answer for how you move forward with a situation, not the person who gave the advice. —Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy

 

9. Look for case studies

Free business advice on the internet is everywhere—even from those who preach, but don’t actually use these methods themselves. A great way to find guidance and know if it’s accurate or not, is to simply look for case studies. Case studies can provide actionable information and advice, while showing visuals and reports as well. More often than not, these write-ups are going to be legitimate. —Zac JohnsonBlogging.org

10. Look for patterns instead

When I’m wrestling with a major decision, I never rely on advice from a single source, no matter her or his background and successes. Openly discuss the choice with as diverse of a group as possible, and look for patterns. Ultimately, all hard decisions are yours to own, so you’re better served bringing in more data. —Aaron Schwartz, Passport

RELATED: 5 Fast-Growing Businesses Reveal Their Shared Secret to Success

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