How to politely treat unsolicited business advice


When you start a business, suddenly everyone feels the need to offer unsolicited business advice. Whether you ask or not, there are many people who will take it upon themselves to teach you how to run your business.

So what’s the best way to handle this onslaught? To find out, we interviewed a panel of 10 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC):

“What’s your best tip for dealing with unsolicited business advice from family, friends, or anyone else?” “

Here’s what members of the YEC community had to say:

1. Take it in stride

“In my experience, most unsolicited business advice comes from people who genuinely care about their business. They want what’s best for you, and they think their warnings (even when you know the advice is wrong) can help you avoid missteps. If possible, simply say gracefully “thank you” and move on. It allows those who care to feel that they are part of your success and helping you on your journey. ~ Brittany Hodak, ZinePak

2. Be polite and don’t argue

“When you own your own business, you get a lot of advice from people who have no experience! It’s easy to get on the defensive and get into a long battle over why you are right and they are wrong. Instead, just politely direct the conversation to a new topic. There is no reason to waste your time arguing and potentially damaging the relationship with a friend. ~ Laura Roeder, LKR Social networks

3. Listen, digest and let it go

“It is important to be a friendly listener. Take what they have to say, because it could be valuable. Assess whether or not this aligns with your values ​​and goals. Otherwise, drop it. If so, take it and act. Don’t let all the advice persuade you, but listen and make that decision afterwards. ~ Darrah Brustein, Under 40 Network / Finance Whiz Kids

4. Remember that all tips are useful

“All tips are helpful. I especially appreciate the suggestions of those who think differently than me. Remember, you don’t have all the answers. Whether or not you choose to follow the advice given to you, my philosophy is that any thoughtful comment is worth considering. ~ David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

5. Listen to everything, take nothing

“Everyone (including ourselves) colors their advice with their own biases and experiences. Most people have good intentions. Listen to them. Appreciate their time. Don’t take their advice. ~ Patrick vlaskovits, The Lean Entrepreneur

6. Sift, extract and recenter

“Learn the art of sifting and extracting. Sift through the terrible advice, extract the pearls of wisdom lurking among the trash, then refocus on solving your client’s problems. You’re going to get a lot of advice along the way, some great, some bad. But learning to listen to and extract wisdom – even from enemies – is a powerful skill. “~ Seth Talbott, CEO and start-up advisor

7. Listen and thank them

“Remember that family and friends only give you advice because they care about you and want to help you. My tactic is to simply listen to the advice others have to offer and thank them for it. You don’t have to implement it and chances are your friends and family won’t expect you to, but they want to be heard and appreciated. ~ Vladimir Gendelman, Corporate Records, Inc

8. Channel it into an opportunity

“I like to receive unsolicited business advice from my family, friends or anyone else. I don’t always like what they say, but it usually means they can become a customer, or it gives me the chance to tell them to put money where they say it. I listen, I smile, I say thank you. This will open up opportunities for them later. “~ Alex chamberlain, EZFingerPrints

9. Identify the deepest problem

“I’ve found that when a stranger gives their feedback, it may or may not be something worth remembering. But if I’ve heard five people tell me the same thing, regardless of their level of experience or outside knowledge, it probably hints at a deeper opportunity or issue that is worth understanding. I have found that when a stranger offers a comment, it can be worth listening to. ~ Robert j moore, RJMetrics

10. Smile and nod your head

“I like that people feel they can share their opinions and advice with me. There are, of course, times when this is irrelevant. For those times, I adopted the approach of graciously smiling and nodding. Arguing over unsolicited business advice isn’t helpful and can seem disrespectful, so why not just smile and nod your head? “~ Benish shah, before the label

Dog Photo via Shutterstock


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