When we started Ravit Insights, we followed advice from billionaires and industry experts by putting ourselves in front of potential clients and this is what it got us: radio silence. The truth is, billionaires and experts don’t have a full understanding of our company, and they don’t have a full view of yours either — despite what they would have you believe on LinkedIn and Instagram.
They got to their high level of success over a long period of time, and they’ve probably forgotten half of what they’ve done to get there.
The mistake we made was taking their words at face value rather than thinking for ourselves. Following their advice, we priced our solution too high, and we didn’t go anywhere. Instead, we needed to educate ourselves and find people who truly understood what we were trying to achieve and at what scale and pace.
We could have had a lot more clients if we had ignored the experts and trusted our gut straight away. This is the advice we wished we had been given two years ago.
1. Beware advice without context
Experts love to give their advice, and it can be valuable, but any business owner needs to understand it is often given without context or a full appreciation of the intricacies of your company. Listen to your gut. You have experience and skills that have brought you to where you are — that instinct is everything you’ve learnt in action.
2. Listen to your clients
Pricing is so important for a new business. We believed we needed to prove ourselves first to be competitive in the market, rather than price high straight away. Other businesses might have different needs and struggles. Looking back, we would recommend you do your research and know and understand your competition, but what ultimately worked for us was getting in front of people and listening to them — especially when they weren’t saying anything. You know what works or not, so by facing a client or a customer, you can get a gut feeling if it’s right or wrong.
3. Educate yourself
When people start a business, they often see an unmet need for which they have found a solution. Others are also driven by passion and an underlying mission. The finances flow on from that, but business owners often don’t have the level of financial literacy to understand fundamentals, such as how their business finances work or what the cash flow is like month-to-month. That’s why it’s important to get help. You don’t need to know how to make a financial model, but you can understand what happens to your finances when you grow and hire staff or if you need to raise funds.
This post was first featured on Smart Company.