Getting expert advice to improve your own business situation is a good idea, but how do you gain access to it, especially if you're just starting out on your enterprise and you haven't established networks yet? Let's look at some ways to go through this avenue:
- Plan. This refers to knowing exactly what advice to obtain. Break down your queries into clear and concise terms. This will also be helpful for you to look more closely at your situation, and for you to assess how much you already know about your business, and how much you don't.
- Do some preliminary research. The Internet is so rich with useful information that you can obtain data about virtually any business topict. Usually, the main challenge that you face when surfing the web for information is not the scarcity of it, but its abundance. If you follow tip #1, which is to plan what you want to know, then you'd be able to organize your searches more efficiently. In searching the web, it is vital that you use your common sense in order to differentiate data that is meaningful to you, and those that are not. Also, remember to cross check the data reliability with the others that you obtain from other websites; in short, if data is consistent, then most likely it is correct. Another thing you need to be conscious about when doing your preliminary research is the business terms and language you need to acquire. Know the basic vocabulary pertinent to the business, and you will be able to communicate more effectively with the people in the same field, and ask more intelligent, "in-the-know" questions.
- Consult experts online. Once again, we can count on the Internet for this. Take advantage of online forums that discuss the subject you want to know about. Usually the response time is fast, plus you'd be able to build up a network of contacts for your business. Remember, as long as you use sound judgment to determine how relevant and reliable online advice is, then go ahead and participate in these forums. You may also choose to visit business professionals' websites or blogs, and feel free to leave messages, comments and questions there. Hopefully they'd be able to get back to you soon.
- Ask around the neighborhood and investigate the business. If, for example, you're planning to set up a travel agency, then it might be good for you to go to different agencies around your locale to get an idea how it is run. Look into their price lists and their travel packages. Politely inquire about their contacts. Perhaps you could even ask some start-up advice directly! It wouldn't hurt to try, and you might even gain a valuable contact in the process.
- Acquire a list of professionals' contact numbers. Perhaps you've had your eye on a specific business expert already. Get the contact numbers of these professionals, as they usually love to share their expertise - some with a professional fee, of course. If you don't have a particular person in mind, then obtain a list of experts in the field you're looking into. It depends on your community where you can get one. One possibility is from the local chamber of commerce, or perhaps you could go to private institutions that would house a team of experts in the field. Afterwards, you may check them out. See which of these experts most closely works with what you need to know, and look into their work and portfolio. At this point you are "shopping around" for the ones who can help you the best.
As with any other important endeavor, getting advice from business experts takes a lot of perseverance and resourcefulness. Just remember to make even the process of finding good advice a learning experience.