When to Ignore Expert Advice

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to seek the advice of experts in areas in which the founder has little or no personal experience.  It is impossible for one person to know everything about each issue or activity that is crucial to the success of a business during the start-up stage or later when the company is growing and looking to expand capacity and/or move into new markets or product/service areas.  However, the dilemma that often arises for the entrepreneur is determining when he or she should override the opinions of experts when making a particular decision.  The answer depends on several factors including the level of experience and training that the entrepreneur has with the subject matter of the expert advice and how much experience the entrepreneur has in a general management capacity.  For example, an entrepreneur that has participated in product development projects in the past may have seen and heard enough to critically evaluate the opinions of marketing experts about the design and promotion of the start-up company’s new product.  General management experience is a much more difficult hurdle for many entrepreneurs to overcome since they often have spent most of their careers in a single functional area and may struggle when they are suddenly called upon to oversee the whole range of value-creation activities.  In the entrepreneur has little or no general management background he should consult trusted advisors with appropriate experience to gather input on the consequences of accepting or rejecting tendered expert advice.

The content in this post has been adapted from material that will appear in Business Transactions Solutions (2008) and is presented with permission of Thomson/West.  Copyright 2008 Thomson/West.  For more information or to order call 1-800-762-5272.

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