Founds Should Look For Savvy Advisors Who Say “It Depends” A Lot

Beware of universal business recommendations on LinkedIn. Very few business rules always work for every business at all times. For everything else, it depends.

The best advice for you today always depends on questions like these:

  • What kind of business do you have? At what stage?
  •  Who are you, and what are you really good at right now?
  •  What are you trying to accomplish with your business?
  •  Who is your specific target customer?
  •  What exactly do your customers want?
  •  How can your product be uniquely amazing to them?
  •  What is the competition or alternative for that customer?
  •  What is likely to change (and not change) in your business in the next year?
  •  What resources do you have to make things happen?

That’s not an infinite list. Answering just a few of those questions will increase your odds that a perspective or recommendation can be very useful to you.

Beware of advice that doesn’t start with asking these “it depends” questions. This advice can come from books, founder peers, experienced advisors, investors, or friends.

We sort these ideas based on the question, “Will this work very well for me right now?”

The more “it depends” questions someone asks or starts with, the better the advice is.

This is the reason that specialists (like me) who do just one thing for just one group always get more traction with their audiences. They have already narrowed down their focus on most of those “it depends” questions, so their advice fits better out of the gate. Can you see that?

The game of growing a company or doing almost anything is not completely random, with no structure.

There’s always a deeper structure to the game that is not obvious from the outside at first. It is a complicated puzzle with pieces that move in consistent ways most of the time.

This deeper structure under the day-to-day startup craziness is where founders can find the most leverage to drive their business.

Founders should be asking a question like this:

“What’s the best decision I can make that has the best odds of long-term success in this area?”

They should be looking for the best answer that’s relevant to their “it depends” questions.

“What’s the best decision for me, in my business, at this time, in this industry, with my customers, with my vision of success…”

Successful founders with growing businesses are often surprised that the game changes as their companies grow. What worked last year might not work next year. That’s another “it depends” that keeps changing.

  •  Should I raise funding from outside investors?
  •  What should I do to grow faster in one of my businesses?
  •  Should I raise prices?
  •  Should I post more on LinkedIn?
  •  Where should I invest next year?

I don’t know. It depends.

But there is a best answer for you, only if you do the work and engage the right resources to figure it out at a deeper “it depends” level.


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