The type of entrepreneur who is destined for failure is the know-it-all. We’ve seen them, we’ve listened to them, and maybe at one point or another, we’ve even been them. It’s the entrepreneur who thinks they know best, is not open to criticism, even if it is constructive. This know-it-all entrepreneur does not listen to anyone’s viewpoint that may disagree with theirs - no matter the source - an experienced entrepreneur, a mentor, potential customer, and most importantly, an investor.
The interest an investor has in an entrepreneur’s business pales in comparison to the interest the investor has in the entrepreneur. Business models change, entrepreneurs hit rough patches, and things don’t always work out as planned. Investors know and understand this – they’ve usually been around the block a few times.
Part of an investor knowing that you’re the right entrepreneur to start this business and receive investment capital is that you listen. Investors are investors because they’ve either been in your shoes, work with people who have been in your shoes, or have made money in some other career and want to GIVE BACK. One of the ways they give back is offering companies and entrepreneurs their INSIGHT.
The problem is, sometimes the hardest working entrepreneurs are not the ones who are looking for the intellectual resources that investors possess. This is a mistake many entrepreneurs make. Besides hurting an investor’s ego, disregarding coaching from an investor is telling them that you think you’re better off on your own. It tells them you are only interested in money, not necessarily on success. Making it on your own is doing things the hard way. Investors want you to be the best version of yourself. Coaching is just one of the ways they can help you overcome any emotional blocks or conflicts that arise in your company, or within you. You have to remember that your interests and the interests of your investors are ALIGNED. What they desire for you is what you should desire for yourself. This makes “being coachable” a lot easier.
If you’re one of those people out there that doesn’t currently seek coaching, then ask yourself why? Is it because you rather do it the hard way? Do you have stubborn tendencies? Do you not like having someone tell you that you might be wrong, or that there is an easier, better way to go? Most venture capitalists would say that their most successful portfolio companies are the one who have leaders who directly ask for feedback. They show up to quarterly meetings prepared. They seek insight – criticism – resources – and guidance – because these type of entrepreneurs know that together they are SO MUCH MORE POWERFUL than the sum of their parts.
Being coachable takes humility, it takes honesty, and a sense of authenticity – but, it also takes a certain level of discernment. Seeking advice from those we respect is always WISE. But, when it comes to implementation, we must listen to our inner voice.
Not all advice is good advice - but the ability to listen to it, understand it, and then put value on it is what will determine if people want to help you throughout your life, or if people will just think of it as a waste of time. Taking advice from seasoned pros is the way to go to break the know-it-all cycle.
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