Posted: Thu 6th Feb 2014
I have noticed something. Entrepreneurs hunt down advice. They often work in a pack and surround their prey, cutting off all exits in order to extract a nugget of golden experience they hope will transform their elevator pitch from the basement to the penthouse.
Lizzie Slee (@Lizziepin) is Enterprise Nation's PR and media whiz
I've seen it happen. It can get messy. Start-ups are hungry. They devour everything that's put in front of them and the digital age has seen tips and advice shared mercilessly around the globe, regardless of its merit.
I love that frenzy, I enjoy that desire and I admire that ambition. But what surprises me is that they have not already taken the time to formalise their advice addiction - to feed the engine with regular strategic help.
This year, the buzz-word in the world of entrepreneurs is 'growth'. We've spent so long languishing in a world of austerity that we're bootstrapped up to our eyeballs and we need a break away from the relentless monotony.
In research leading up to Enterprise Nation's launch of its Marketplace and the Growth Vouchers programme, I have come to understand that some start-ups are incorporating advice into their growth model and see it as a valuable commodity, something that can cut out the guess work and lead to acceleration ad sustainability, whether you're looking for a long-term career choice or to sell-out.
Nick Russell, 35, co-founder of retail space platform We Are Pop Up said: "The right advice can de-risk the early stages and can help you add value to what you do as well as identify and cut out unnecessary actions. It's very useful to take an area that causes you pain and get advice around it. You'd be surprised how much time you can save by doing that.
"As entrepreneurs we don't know everything. Often we need to find out what we need to learn as it's not always obvious. Advice is just objective reflection - and it's the kind of objectivity you can't generate internally.
"Free advice can help - but you certainly receive better advice, and take more notice, if you're paying for it."
David Galbraith, 24, founder of accessory brand SWIG Flasks agreed. He told me he'd built advice into every stage of every decision. Even the decision to move his business to London from his native Northern Ireland was a deliberate move to 'surround himself' with entrepreneurs from whom to take advice.
That advice also prevented him from making costly mistakes.
He said: "Some good advice recently stopped me from making a decision that would likely have had a big effect on cash flow. I received a delivery that I felt was not up to scratch. I had decided I would discount them to get rid of them but my adviser told me to send them back and kick up a fuss.
"In retrospect, selling them would have been time-consuming and not terribly beneficial to my brand. It also would have sent a bad message to suppliers. I've come to recognise that if I'm going to grow SWIG, good advice is integral."
While the launch of the Growth Vouchers programme and the Marketplace advice platform won't solve everything a business has to face in the early stages, it could help to set them on a path to greater success over the long-term.
By taking that first step towards getting some solid, proper advice that it's going to listen to, is the moment things could change.
And that's something you won't get from mugging a celebrity entrepreneur.
Find out more about the Enterprise Nation Marketplace and the Growth Vouchers programme and find the advice you need to grow your business at www.enterprisenation.com/marketplace