Sometimes the Experts Are Right

I had something in mind with this topic – You see, I take notes as I think of ideas, and I write down a title. Then I progress through the list when I have the time, and write each article. Only sometimes I forget what it was that I had in mind at the time… Takes some thought. And sometimes it never goes back to what it was originally.

Ah, yes. Now I recall.

I had blogged previously about trusting your own intuition and knowledge, when you get advice from an “expert” that doesn’t sound right. But there is another side to that. Sometimes the experts are right!

As a small business owner, you can’t know everything. A specialist can sometimes offer valuable insight – and often they will require you to make a shift in thinking that you do not want to make. The question is, how can you know when to trust your gut, and when your preconceived ideas are holding you back?

The first thing, is to not hire an expert just because they say they are an expert. Make sure they have some experience with businesses the size of yours, and with issues relevant to what you need. It is a lot like hiring a child psychologist who has never had children, or a marriage counselor who is divorced or has never married – personally, I’d never trust either one! Find out what their background is.

The next thing to ask yourself, is, “do they know something I do not which causes them to recommend this, or do I know something they do not, which makes their advice unworkable?”. This is critical! A good professional will be willing to discuss such things with you to help you figure it out. The answer to this helps you know if it is an understanding of the inside of your business which limits your options, or whether it IS fear holding you back.

And lastly, did they listen? I mean did they REALLY listen to your ideas, your explanations, and your own expertise? No one is an expert in every business! No “expert” can POSSIBLY advise you unless they have listened, because every situation is different. Experience helps us recognize patterns, but solutions are always individual. If they advised before listening, or if they insisted that they were right without hearing your objections, then they did not listen, and you are free to walk away and find someone who will listen!

I’ve had clients who wanted to approach a problem from a different perspective than I did. In the end, the client is the boss – but each of those situations was also very unique. Sometimes they knew something I did not. I had a chance to learn from them to increase my expertise. Sometimes I knew something they did not, and either could, or could not, help them understand it. But there is also usually MORE than one “right” way to do something. So it isn’t like if it doesn’t go my way that all hope is lost. And if you choose not to heed the advice of an expert, there may be an equally successful way to do it.

Most really good consultants will offer you a range of suggestions, and be willing to discuss the pros and cons of each, to help you think through your options. There is tremendous value in that, and one hour with a skilled consultant can save you hours and hours of trial and error and research. Like tapping into someone else’s experience for a short time – it empowers you if they have the right experience.

But if you consult a logger about baking bread, chances are you aren’t going to get the answer you need!

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