5 Tips for Avoiding Bad Business Advice Online

5 Tips for Avoiding Bad Business Advice Online

I’ve been looking into articles and blogs recently which feature advice for SMB’s who want to stand out in the crowd. There’s no shortage of free advice on the web, and I’ve been indulging. 

On a particular blog I read (How Your Small Business can Easily Stand Out) the author posed to the readers what he considers the biggest challenge for small businesses.

“How do I distinguish myself from my competitors”?

This is a good question, as SMB’s are frequently looking for the most attractive selling point for their product. The author, Dov Gordon, says that the answer is simple, and that there is “no shortage of people toiling to make it complicated”.

Ironically, after analyzing his line of reasoning, I conclude that he himself is complicating the issue.

I am going to quickly spell out his argument and show you its inconsistencies.

    Premise 1: For your businesses to stand out, dedicate yourself to your customers.
    Premise 2: A business that dedicates itself to its customers cares more about helping them than about making money.
    Premise 3: A business that cares more will understand more.
    Premise 4: A business that understands the customer’s world will think up ideas that will impact their world.
    Premise 5: (missing)
    Conclusion: Your business stands out

This argument is fundamentally flawed for the following reason.

  • The argument is invalid

    because Gordon fails to provide Premise 5, which links the rest of the argument to the conclusion.  His argument is missing this vital link.

    Premise 5 should read: Thinking up ideas that impacts the customer’s world makes for your business to stand out.

At first you might think I’m being too harsh and nitpicky, but consider that perhaps the reason Gordon omitted Premise 5 is that it contradicts the first premise of his argument! Not only is this argument bad, but it’s confusing.

Like I said before, there’s no shortage of free advice on the web, but be careful, there is a lot of bad advice out there!

Here are some personal tips to help you make the most of the multitude of free business advice online.

TIP #1 – Good Advice for Someone Else Might be Bad for You

Every business has varied needs and capacities, and strategies that work great for one business won’t necessarily work great for yours.

TIP #2 – Always Consider the Source

This practice can save you from the snake oil salesmen’s wiles and save you time too. Always consider the website or company the author of an article is affiliated with. If the author links to a shady-looking site, they could be trying to scam you. Scammers will say anything they can to get you where they want!

TIP #3 – Don’t Believe Everything You Read

I’m sure many of us heard this adage as children, but it is good advice.  Never take anything you read (especially on the internet!) at face value. If an individual makes a claim without providing a source, be sure to do some research to make sure it isn’t unfounded information. Be wary, and be inquisitive.

TIP #4 – Good Advice is Free of Contradictions

If something labeled as “advice” is wrought with contradictions and you unknowingly accept it, you’re setting yourself up to be a confused individual. Good advice never contradicts itself. Keep an eye out.

TIP #5 – Good Advice Often Keeps Good Company

Once you’ve found a community, site, or blog that features good business advice, stick around. Intelligent people tend to draw close to like-minded individuals, so it’s likely there is more good advice to be found there, with less of the bad stuff.

Those are all the tips I’ve got for now, and I hope you can put them to good use. And remember, don’t believe everything you read!

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