Monday, 23 September 2013

Everyone is a business advice expert - or are they?

Everyone is a small business advice expert able to give advice on starting a business according to my twitter feed and I have to confess, I am finding this quite annoying.

Now don’t get me wrong I am all for people sharing advice, encouraging business start-ups and generally championing entrepreneurship. What gets me is that many of the people who are self proclaimed ‘business experts’ quite frankly are not.  Personally I want small business advice from a business entrepreneur who has a track record of success, not someone who self published a few books that are sitting in their bedroom, nor from someone who runs a business that hasn't made any money in real terms for years. Too many of this crew have really bad reputations too. If they were giving ‘how not to do it’ advice – I’d be right there listening to them.

Here's me at Sky for International Womens Day

 I run a business; it is successful in its market. I have been asked to do a few talks based on my experience of having a portfolio career and starting a business alongside having a day job but I am no business guru and I don’t claim to be one. I know I still have lots to learn, that's why I did the School For Creative Start Ups programme last year. It is also why I love Inspirational You – they bring together people starting out in their careers with experienced professionals to talk about the real issues is a really friendly and open format.

I want advice about business finance, business plans and building a better business website, I don't want to know about how great a 'business expert' thinks they are.

Of course I am all for valuing yourself and recognising what you are worth but in my opinion you have to earn the badge of being a business expert from others, it is not something that should be self appointed. Apart from making you quite delusional and rather aggravating it is also really unfair on the unsuspecting people who look to you for advice.

A great book is always good reading, even on holiday.
The people I follow on twitter for the best business advice and inspiration are all successful and experts in their field, not insolvent (as far as I know). And they and are well placed to give advice based on years and years of successful business experience.

 “Don’t believe the hype, business spokespeople are 
recommended to you – not recommended by them self.” 
Denise Rawls, 2013 

If you have a look through my list of good sites you will see that each of these organisations work as collectives, pooling advice, experience and expertise and that is what is so great about them. These organisations are all well established and known for their field of expertise and that is so important. Starting a business is a rocky road regardless of the size of the business and you need the best advice, guidance and support available. There is a very thin line between sharing your story to inspire and encourage and just wanting people to sign up to news feeds to boost your revenue.

StartUp Britian   @Startupbritain
Enterprise Nation - they very nicely put me in one of their books @e_nation
Oh My Hand Made @ohmyhandmade
School for Creative Start Ups  @CreativeS4S
Smarta @Smarta
The Design Trust @TheDesignTrust

'Make Money from Makes' by Emma Jones of Enterprise Nation and features me and Strange Fruit
Emma Jones has a great story to tell. She knows her stuff, people respect her, she has been a business adviser to government for years, people buy her books and she is a lovely warm person. She loves what she does and I think she sees her role as helping people build their business, if she makes money at the same time then win win. You will never get the impression from Emma that she is just in it for the money! That, for me is what makes her special and what makes her worthy of her business expert badge.

I am sure there are more fabulous organisations to add to my list who are equally as useful and informative as those I like to get advice and thoughts from, however, if you are one of those self appointed business advice ‘chancers’ mentors or advisers – I know who you are and so do you.

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