Recently I was talking to a tech investor about giving advice to portfolio companies. What’s mandatory for the entrepreneur to do vs only a suggestion or recommendation? This made me think: entrepreneurs need to ask a series of questions whenever hearing startup advice. Here are a few questions to start with:
- What’s the startup stage for this advice? Startups trying to find product/market fit have much different challenges than early stage and growth stage ones.
- Who’s giving me this advice? What was his or her background and experiences that shaped this advice?
- Why is this person giving me this advice? What’s their motivation?
- Who can I corroborate this advice with? What’s another person that would have an opinion on this advice?
- Is this advice I can act on now or should I file it away for a later time?
People love to give advice and I’m no different. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to ask questions in the context of the advice and figure out its potential applicability.
What else? What are some other questions to ask when hearing startup advice?
One thought on “Questions to Ask When Hearing Startup Advice”
From my perspective, entrepreneurs that are open to too much advice and not already set in their mind on their winnin path is usually a red flag. Great entrepreneurs might take 2-5% of the advice and be able to identify the good from the bad. I tell entrepreneurs that their job is to figure out which advice is the good advice. My job is just to offer advice but don’t expect them to implement or follow up on everything I advise. And, I like it when they don’t take the advice. Usually most advisor advice is well intentioned but not good advice based on my experience. Don’t let advisors get you off track!