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What’s the worst piece of business advice they ever received?

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There is so much advice out there for new entrepreneurs, from “follow your passion” to “fail fast,” but much of it is written by people who have no real experience launching a start-up themselves. So we asked these entrepreneurs about the worst piece of advice they ever received.
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Nicole Kersch

For Nicole from 4Cabling, playing it safe was something she valued early on, despite the importance of trusting her own instincts, she mentions that there is more to effective business that that alone. Risk is often part of the equation for new business owners but it should be calculated.

“I was once told to “act now, think later” when it comes to making business decisions. Whilst I understand the value of following your instinct and that entrepreneurship carries a degree of risk, I think that is particularly bad advice to give to a young, inexperienced entrepreneur.”

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Bruce Jeffreys

"There's so much rubbish out there in terms of all these business theories. To me, the basis of starting a business is a bunch of really small decisions that are taken on a daily basis that build up and result in an actual working business.

The same is true in disruption. In those early years of starting a business, you sort of go into a bit of a bunker and have to work on things in isolation because that's how you disrupt industries. You just need to get busy day by day. You know, by actually doing it."

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Naomi Simson

“I think there’s a misconception that if you want to start your own business you have to sacrifice your full-time job.

I was lucky in that I had a husband who could help support me while I started RedBalloon and savings that I’d managed to pull together while working in the corporate world for a number of years, but does that mean I couldn’t have done it while working full time? I don’t think so. Anything is possible – it’s all about priorities and what choices you’re willing to make.”

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Nick Palumbo

Nick says that not having a “plan B” was one of the main things that kept him motivated to succeed. He says, “I was once told that I needed a “fall back position” in case my business didn’t pan out, but almost everyone I know that has had a fall back position has come to need it, while those that didn’t have one somehow managed to make their business work.

You need to be single minded in business and you need to make sure that you have no choice BUT to make your business succeed.”

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Hamish Petrie

Hamish says that it’s imperative for new entrepreneurs to take all the advice they get from well-wishers with a grain of salt. When he began Ingogo he had done lots of research and that held him in good stead. He says, “I’ve been given heaps of bad advice by people who haven't spent anywhere near the time considering the complexity of an issue.

Trusting your instincts is important. That said, the right advisors will see things where you are blind, and can add a lot of value. Your challenge is separating the two by trusting your instincts.”

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Alec Lynch

Alec from DesignCrowd thinks that many new business people are keeping their cards too close to their chest and are not effectively “sharing the love” with others. The entrepreneur says, “I find a lot of Australians are fixated on the idea of retaining a 50% shareholding ("make sure you keep 51%" they say) but this is a bit rigid and not necessarily the best path.

I think raising capital is critical to innovation and success and in my opinion it is better to have a small (but nice) slice of something big than a big slice of nothing.”

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