One of the best – and worst – aspects of being a startup founder is being inundated with a nearly constant stream of advice. Advice comes from everyone – friends, business partners, professors, customers, competitors, journalists, employees – but especially from investors. This makes sense as investors have a lot riding on the outcome of your venture.
Part of the art of entrepreneurship is knowing when to take the advice and when not to. I saw an article on this subject today and it resonated with me. Many startup investors have not started up companies themselves. It is important to be cautious with their advice as startups are not simply small versions of large companies. The techniques and decisions used to launch and rapidly scale a disruptive startup are different than those that would make sense in larger companies or businesses in more mature markets.
Even investors with startup experience may be biased by a different time, a different industry, or false attribution of success in previous ventures. But all these investors are [hopefully] smart, experienced, high-integrity people who are earnestly trying to help the founder be successful and they should all be heard. It falls on the entrepreneur to process all of their advice and make the ultimate decision.
At Smart Office Energy Solutions we have managed to bring on some very savvy investors with a lot of valuable advice to offer. Although we don’t always take 100% of the advice offered to us, these investors are a key asset and strategic advantage – and we’ll take every advantage we can get!