5 Pieces of Business Advice You’re Not Taking But Should

Learn from the mistakes of others.

When you own a business, you might think you’ve made it this far and you haven’t screwed things up yet, so why should you start listening to advice from others? Well, taking on and listening to mentors that have been there and done that is one of the smartest business decisions you can make. Learning mistakes the hard way is time consuming and expensive.

Here are some of the best pieces of entrepreneurial advice you should probably stop ignoring:

1. Slow Down

It’s easy to get bogged down with day-to-day tasks and fires, but that mentality often leaves important tasks on the back burner. Slowing down to take a moment to reflect on your business’s progress or write a new version of your business plan can help your business today and in the future.

Going through the motions and not reflecting on your “why” can be a big mistake. But slowing down is hard for entrepreneurs. One actionable way to accomplish this is to schedule time in your calendar to slow down. You can schedule a meeting with yourself to read an inspiring book, go on a walk or address some of those back burner tasks you’ve avoided. Going 100 miles per hour all the time will eventually lead to burnout so taking time to cool down regularly will help you be a better business owner in the long run.

2. Listen More, Talk Less

Bosses tend to do a lot of the talking, but you could gain more from listening. If you clients, customers or staff haven’t spoken up, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have nothing to say. Creating an open and honest environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing can yield to fantastic ideas and even better collaboration. But it behooves you to create that space and then listen — it’ll make you a better boss.

Your clients and staff will tell you more if your mouth can stay closed and while listening in an engaged way. They will feel like what they are saying matters to you and they will grow to trust you more. Sometimes people are telling you more than what they are saying on the surface. If you are self-absorbed with what you saying, you may not hear what it is they really need from you. This could cause clients to go elsewhere, staff to quit or just keep quiet when they actually have a lot to say. People like to feel heard — have you put an effort into listening?

Read: What Percentage of Businesses Actually Fail?

3. Making Lots of Money? Great — But Don’t Get Comfortable

When business is going well it can be easy to spend without a second thought. But it shouldn’t take a global pandemic or recession to make you a conscientious spender. If you become lazy and just assume your funds are where they need to be, you could be making a huge gamble.

If you have a small business loan, you should be on top of your terms and expectations to repay it. If you are wasting money on unnecessary overhead that can be cut, your funds won’t last you through your growth phase. Having the budgeting ability to foresee your ups and downs will push you through to the monthly (or even quarterly) droughts you may endure.

Related: How to Safeguard Your Business for the Next Recession

4. Work on Growth

Expanding your business should always be on the forefront of your mind. Even if expanding locations is not what you have planned, maybe it’s adding new products or services to your inventory. If you are continually cash poor and cannot catch up from your orders from previous months, you will never make it to the next phase. Growing your profits and giving your customers more of a reason to purchase from you is the main overall goal. You are competing in a market of hungry sharks and they will be coming after your customers if you are not giving the customer service and a reason to call.

See: 3 Steps to Take Your Company From Small Business to Big Business

5. Network

If you are not constantly engaged with making business connections, your business will face challenges. Relationships are critical for business. Partnerships are a great way to grow your business with the support of another. But partnerships are hard to come by if you aren’t making the right contacts.

Be it online, at a trade show or over a drink or two at an industry happy hour, networking creates new personal and business relationships you can leverage down the line. And don’t rule anyone out. You never know who could make a great partner. If you aren’t networking, you’ll have a harder time growing your business.

The Bottom Line

Taking the advice of others isn’t always easy. But that advice could be coming from personal experience, growth and mistakes that you may not want to make yourself. If someone is trying to tell you something — be it a client, friend or colleague — they’re saying it for a reason. Try to listen, reflect and apply their advice as best you can. You will build a better future for your business if you can do this with maturity. Or you could ignore the advice and have no future at all.

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