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Monday, September 15, 2008

Entrepreneurship In A Word: Part 3 – Advisers

No matter how experienced you are as an entrepreneur, you depend upon growing by having good advisers. The challenge is making sure that your advisers are supporting your goals and dreams and not just selling you their own.

Joan Magretta, strategy editor of the Harvard Business Review during the 1990s and author of the delightful book, What Management Is: How It Works and Why It's Everyone's Business, has an interesting insight. She calls it “advice without context”.

She observed that the number of books and major articles on management has grown to over two thousand per year. Most of these focus upon a single idea in isolation and often out of context. But the practical reader wants ideas they can quickly use, so most literature is full of lessons learned and concrete to-do lists – the ten things you can do today to be effective or savvy.

The problem is that 10 things from each of 2000 sources suddenly turns into an overwhelming twenty thousand suggestions to you each year. This doesn’t even include the advice from friends, relatives, business consultants, customers, other successful entrepreneurs, and in today’s age the Internet. This is the problem of advice without context. Every piece of advice must be placed in the context of your personal goals and your business plan. This is the reason that you design your business plan to be your tool for designing your business. You must know not only what to do but why the advice supports your goals. So, as an entrepreneur, make sure you understand the motives of your advisers.

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