Leadership, Let's Talk Business

He Thought He Knew All the Answers. Until…

By , March 18, 2019

Do you view asking for help as a strength or as a weakness? Your answer to this question can make or break your business.

He sat across from me in my office, crying.

He had invested $400,000 into his new venture, and it wasn’t working. By the time he came to me to ask for advice, the only thing left to do was stop the bleeding and get out. What made this situation so much more painful was the fact that if this person had sought advice from someone sooner, he may have been able to turn the situation around, or at least cut his losses.

Yet this fellow’s situation was not unlike so many others’. As business owners, we tend to hide; we’re too ashamed of our struggle to seek help and advice when we need it. But the truth is that almost every challenge we face, someone else we know is going through or has gone through. Reaching out for another perspective can save us not just money, but also so much time, aggravation, and stress.

Throughout my own journey, I’ve always been outspoken about seeking advice from others. Because none of us know it all. And pretending we do does much more harm than good. We owe it to ourselves to stop hiding behind our insecurities and seek guidance and help wherever we can find it.

Do you view asking for help as a strength or as a weakness? Your answer to this question can make or break your business. If you isolate yourself in challenging times and let your struggles quietly destroy your self-confidence, they can be the beginning of a downward spiral, G-d forbid. But if you use those moments as an opportunity to seek advice from others—others who have been down this road before—then those can be the moments that propel your business forward in ways you couldn’t have imagined.

Here are 3 Ptex Practical Pointers for seeking help from others.

1. Speak to people who have been there, done that. 

These people don’t need to be big names. They can be friends, family, peers, or mentors. It may take trial and error before you find someone who you feel comfortable sharing and asking for advice about your struggles. You may even have multiple people you go to for different areas of your business.

2. Connect with others in your industry.

Industry-specific events and gatherings are an incredible way to make new connections with people whose experiences you can learn from. You’ll likely pick up new ideas and solutions that you would have never thought of on your own and get access to resources that can speed up your growth.

3. Read, watch, and listen to the masters. 

While you may not be able to get personal advice from big names in your industry, you can get so much valuable advice from content they’ve created—books, articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc. You can learn from their experiences, and even from their mistakes (if they’re vulnerable enough to share them publicly). And you can do so on your own time, at your own pace.

I can’t stress this enough: If you’re facing a challenge, don’t be shy or ashamed to seek out those that have already “been there, done that.” Find out how they overcame similar challenges as you. Build a dynamic, well-rounded network of people with different experiences and viewpoints. Today’s business culture is such that people are open and willing to share their experiences and knowledge—use it to your advantage!

Remember, though, that the advice you get and the knowledge you gain will only go as far as your ability to act on it.

Have you sought advice from someone who has helped you overcome challenges you face in business (or life)? Comment on this post and let me know. I’d love to hear your story.

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman is the Chief Executive Officer of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

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