Throughout your career, you’ve probably accumulated a wealth of advice shared by mentors, friends and acquaintances — some of it helpful, lots of it, well, meh. But we’ve all gotten that one piece of advice or feedback that triggered a real lightbulb moment. We asked leading business leaders and entrepreneurs for the best piece of business advice they’ve ever received and got some insightful responses. (Responses adapted for length and clarity.)
One of the best pieces of advice given to me was to stop focusing on where your next sale will come from, and start focusing on who you will help next. I have created a much more loyal following as a result. Sales have naturally increased because my customers know that I will do all I can if they need help and spread the word about my business for me, which is better than any kind of traditional marketing.
Get potential business partners on the phone whenever possible. When dealing with business partners or even influencers who may promote your brand, most business execs will just write an email because it’s more convenient. But the ability to build a strong personal connection with someone translates to more conversions, and that opportunity is only available with a phone call.
Early on in my career, I was exposed to an idea called the “Wheel of Life” exercise, a circle with eight sections to represent how satisfied or successful you feel you are with different aspects like Friends and Family, Personal Growth, Health, Finances, etc. Essentially, it’s a self-check that allows you to visually map out what areas of your life you’re satisfied with, and which areas need work. I’ve found that updating my Wheel of Life exercise every couple of weeks helps me achieve balance, and that balance drives a ton of happiness and life satisfaction.
The best piece of business advice I’ve ever gotten was simply: work to live, don’t live to work. I eat breakfast with my wife and kids every morning. I am a dad and a husband and a friend first. My me time is sacred to me. I feel it makes me a better entrepreneur because the things I really care about most are taken care of first, so I can concentrate on the business end of things without distraction or guilt.
One of the best bosses I ever had gave me the best career advice I ever received: you always want to be in a position to pick your next boss. It has proven to be true again and again over the course of a 40-year career. When I had the opportunity to select my next boss, I always migrated to people that I respected for being able to challenge me in order to make me better.
So has your jaw dropped yet? Every career has ups and downs, but advice — at least, the good kind — can make a world of difference in finding a way forward. What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received? Let us know in the comments.