Have you, as an entrepreneur, received a piece of advice that changed your business?

Have you, as an entrepreneur, received a piece of advice that changed your business?

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

I started my executive professional life at the early age of 27. Since then, I’ve always been on the companies’ boards. Yet, I’ll never forget the advice I heard at my first marketing job, from the tough, loud sales manager:

“You can be the best marketer or general manager in the world, but if you can’t knock on a stranger’s office’s door, say hi, and sell them a system (we sold water purifying systems) - you will never succeed in business.”

He was right. I learned to sell and since then, most of the business doors I wanted, opened for me.

That was the best advice I received as a businessperson and an entrepreneur.

What was yours?

Since that tip, I’ve collected many more during my 32 professional years, which has helped me in some way or another. Yet, this was the piece of advice that helped shape my career.

 

Over the last ten years while working with hundreds of entrepreneurs, I noticed a surprisingly contrary behavior when it comes to receiving advice.

On one hand, most of the time entrepreneurs are sure they know everything and listen to no one.

On the other hand, the minute they get advice from an investor or a successful entrepreneur (meaning one that raised investment or had an exit) they tend to adopt the advice without thinking about it longer than two seconds.

I believe hearing (or reading), considering, and adopting advice is the best way to improve yourself.

Advice will help you succeed in small assignments or can change your life. It is definitely the best way to learn and rock to the sky with your career.

However, always consider who you are getting advice from – look for sources who really did or build something. Not the “talkers.”

I believe that DOING - in terms of taking action- is the only thing that counts in business.

As I said, most entrepreneurs mainly look for advice from investors or from successful entrepreneurs. They tend to adopt too easy the advice they hear from people they connect with money (aka investors or entrepreneurs that raised money or had ‘an exit’).

 

A few days ago I bumped into a retweet of Gary Vaynerchuk’s daily show DailyVee #61.

Gary stood in front of a young, charming woman and asked her, “Are you losing belief or just wishing it would happen faster?”

“I just wish it would happen faster,” she answered.

“Well then you need to back up and be more patient,” he says. “Being hungry and wanting to win is important. But all that ambition should be equally balanced with patience... and patience is hard...”

You can watch these 41 seconds of DailyVee 61 here

 

Everyone has good advice for people moving along a similar path. However, I love the “big rocks” (I’ll tell this story in a future post). It means taking the most important stuff out from the crowd. So, the question I ask the successful entrepreneur guests on my podcast is:

What would be your best advice to entrepreneurs regarding customer focused, marketing or sales?

That’s exactly what my last episode of the REACH OR MISS podcast was all about; collecting the most meaningful “best advice” from these successful people.

This time, I gathered six of the best pieces of advice. Each of them has changed an entrepreneur’s success rate, and could change yours too!

I’ve chosen to quote two of them here. You can look for the rest on the 84th episode of the REACH OR MISS podcast. The link is at the end of this post.

 

Mark W. Schaefer

Mark Schaefer Headshot

Mark W. Schaefer is a globally recognized author, speaker, podcaster, and business consultant who blogs at {grow} - one of the top five marketing blogs of the world.

He has been a keynote speaker at prestigious events all over the world, including SXSW, Marketing Summit Tokyo, and the Institute for International and European Affairs. He has appeared as a guest on media channels such as CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and CBS News.

Mark’s best advice about approaching customers

  • I asked a young marketer that wanted my advice whether he talked with the company’s customers, or joined their sales people. He was already six months into the position and had never talked with a single customer!
  • You should talk with your customers and ask them:
    • What do you love about your business?
    • What do you hate about your business?
    • What keeps you awake at night?
    • How can we serve you better?

 

James Arthur Ray

James Arthur Ray Headshot

James Arthur Ray is considered one of the world’s foremost leadership and performance advisers, coaches, and consultants.

James’ best advice about approaching customers

  • I have a two-pronged answer for that question.
  • The first prong: Forget about money. Easier said than done. I’m not saying money is not important; of course it is. One of my mentors taught me, ‘No margin; no mission.’ Put all of your focus on providing value, because most of us have been conditioned to believe that a business is in business to make money. That’s wrong. A business is in business to provide service and value. When we provide service and value, money comes as a byproduct.
  • The second prong: Know specifically who your customer is, presupposing that you know what your unique customer avatar is. Who is your market, who are you going after, who is your customer, and then how do they want to be served? Because, we often come to any kind of relationship, and your customer is a relationship, from our perspective and we attempt to serve them in the way we want to be served vs. joining their perspective and serving them in the way they want to be served.

I suggest you listen this podcast to hear more about the best advice

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