When you start a business, you’re going to need a lot of advice. You’ll have ideas floating around your head that you need to bounce off another person, or you might have questions about the best way to approach a contract negotiation. Most aspiring entrepreneurs deal with these issues by talking to the people they know and trust the most – their close family and friends. Unfortunately, asking your brother or college roommate about important business decisions is like going to a car mechanic about your toothache. They’re just can’t help you!
When I’m beginning a new venture, one of the first things I do is to seek out experts in the field. I want to learn from their personal experiences and get any advice they might be able to give me. It’s no surprise that the people who can help you most with any given issue are the ones who have been through it before. Of course, approaching an expert can be intimidating for a first-time entrepreneur. You may not want to bother a busy business owner or developer with your questions, and once you’ve secured a meeting, you might not want to ask what’s really on your mind. Just remember – they’ve been there before! Every entrepreneur has gone through the struggles of starting up, and they often are willing and eager to help others become successful. Don’t be afraid to reach out to local business owners or app idea developers online to ask questions about the industry or their personal experiences.
DesignSponge has a great article on how to approach a small business owner for advice. Regardless of the industry you’re in or the kind of app you’re developing, the most important thing to remember is common respect and appreciation for the person you’re seeking advice from. This means understanding how busy an entrepreneur is, trying not to take up too much of their time, asking only a few questions to keep the conversation simple, and most importantly, knowing everything you can about the entrepreneur you’re hoping to talk to. Think of it as a job interview: to get the best results, you want to show the interviewer that you’ve taken the time to learn about their company so that you can ask astute, meaningful questions. After the meeting, follow up with a thank you card and anything you can give the business in return. Think free publicity through your Twitter account or blog! The entrepreneur will appreciate your support and be open to helping you again in the future.
If there’s no one in your local community that you can meet with face-to-face, you might be able to reach out to entrepreneurs or experts online. A number of sites offer free advice – some more legitimate than others. For a variety of opinions from entrepreneurs just like you, visit forums or communities like http://www.businessadviceforum.com and EnMast. If you’d like to talk to someone qualified as an adviser, try the Ask the Experts page on one of your favorite small business magazines or websites. SmartCompany’s advice form page is a great example. Many of these sites also offer free advice in the form of articles or downloadable e-books. Just remember to take all your advice with a grain of salt! Even when talking to a great and successful business owner, try to remember that every word they say is not a golden rule for your particular situation. Use your best judgment and talk to many different advisers before determining a path for your business.
And, if you ever want iPhone app development advice, you already know an expert who is happy to talk to you – me! I truly enjoy helping aspiring entrepreneurs, and I have a wealth of personal experience in iPhone app development, contract drafting, partnership and contractor arrangements, and negotiations. I can’t think of anything that makes me personally happier than sharing that information with you. So, if you ever have a question or just want my advice, use the contact form on my page. It’s 100% free, no strings attached, and the responses always come directly from me. No entrepreneur should have to face starting up alone, and that’s why I’m offering my free and candid advice to anyone who wants it. I can’t wait to hear your stories!