This list of worst business advice ever comes from an article on fundera.inc and is presented by 20 different prominent business owners. Since there’s 20 of these let’s unpack them 2 at a time.
1. “Don’t Work Too Hard”
“I had a client who was also an entrepreneur, and he once told me that a great perk of owning your own business is that you don’t need to work that much. He advised me to delegate everything to other people and have them take care of it.
As most entrepreneurs will tell you, when you start any business, you’ll be the first one in each morning and the last one to leave—especially in the beginning. If I had taken the advice to sit back and relax, I wouldn’t be in business.”-
– Mark Tuchscherer, President of Geeks Chicago.
My take: I get the sentiment behind this. Well-meaning friends probably just don’t want you to miss out on family time or sleep because of your job. There’s a balance to be found here and I think it just has to do with setting a good schedule. Determine that you WILL work hard at your job but only between 8 AM to 6 PM – or whatever schedule you and your spouse can agree to. Even if you don’t have a spouse or kids, recharge time is necessary and will only help you be ready for the next work day.
2. “Don’t Make Friends”
“The worst advice I received was not to work with friends and to expect that I could not really be friends in business.
In reality, I have had some incredible experiences working with friends who happen to be in my industry and have made new ones in my network of colleagues (and brought them together as well). I think we have transitioned into a world that is about making real connections over an old school, cold quid-pro-quo exchange.
I think better advice would be, ‘It’s great to work with friends, but remember to pick and choose all of your partners wisely, be clear on expectations, and only refer people you have vetted thoroughly, not just as a friend, but as a professional.’”
– Brenda Della Casa, Owner of BDC Digital Media, LLC.
My take: As we just got done discussing a series on relationship marketing, hopefully I don’t need to remind you how VITAL making friends while marketing is. The same can be said for working WITH friends – my husband and I are a team and that normally works well…occasionally we have work fights, but that’s going to happen wether you started out friends or became friends by working together. As long as you set firm boundaries with written agreements, working with friends can be a lot of fun especially since there’s already a basis of trust there.
HOWEVER…I do understand the need to treat friends who are customers just as you would treat any other customer – maybe an extra “friends and family” discount, but the rest of your exchange should be business as usual. We ran into problems with this early on in our early business years – one that I remember distinctly. We created a photo montage music video for a church friend for her Aunt’s funeral. She said she didn’t have any money upfront but would pass around our order form as she was SURE that most of her relatives would want a copy and if we charged a certain agreed-upon fee, it would cover the cost of the disc and our time. She went to the funeral in CA, came back and said “Ohhhhhhh, yeahhhhhhh….I forgot to pass that around. Don’t worry – I’ll email it to everyone!” She never did and we never got paid for that job. Lesson learned: we treat jobs for friends just like jobs for strangers. They may get a discount if we feel generous, but otherwise they sign a contract and pay upfront just like everyone else. We’ve done that for other friends with great success. We have no problem doing jobs for friends now!
Next week holds a bit of a chauvinistic angle…I will have so much fun dismantling that!