20 Pieces Of Overrated Business Advice That May Be Holding You Back

20 Pieces Of Overrated Business Advice That May Be Holding You Back

Advice in the business world flows abundantly, but not all advice is good. Some of the business advice being shared could be overrated, trite or just plain unhelpful. While those sharing the advice have good intentions, they might not realize they are leading young, aspiring entrepreneurs down a dangerous path.

So, what kind of advice can be considered overrated and counterproductive? Below, 20 Forbes Business Council members share some bad business counsel they have received and why these tips are actually unhelpful.

1. Always Work And Never Sleep

Sleep and rest is directly correlated to how well the human body can function and execute certain tasks. Prioritizing sleep is important. No one should ever feel that in order to be successful you have to “sacrifice” sleep or rest. Become so organized that you make time to sleep while getting everything done. – Ammar Dayani, Prince Distribution

2. Listen To Third-Party Sales Coaching

It would be bad advice to listen to sales coaching. While it may seem counterintuitive, sales advice from a third party can come across as deceptively simple-minded. Encouraging canned responses to a prospect’s objections, for example, can alienate experienced salespeople. It’s often said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Readiness means believing that the teachings, if well applied, will lead to selling success. – Eric Allais, PathGuide Technologies, Inc.


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3. The Customer Is Always Right

The customer being right is not always necessarily true. Transparency is key and your customers need a clear understanding of what to expect from your product or service. Empower employees to deliver on your customer experience strategy and fix what fails. The best metric to measure is when customers know precisely why they buy from you. – Adam Povlitz, Anago Cleaning Systems

4. Follow Your Passion

Passion alone doesn’t ensure success. It may not align with viable opportunities, limit options and overlook necessary skills. Consider market demand, feasibility and personal goals for a balanced approach to entrepreneurship. – Kellie Rastegar, Rastegar Property Company

5. You Need Experience

Many people assume you need to have experience before starting a business. I started my property management company without any experience or ever owning any real estate. I hired someone with 20 years of experience to shadow. I learned many lessons the hard way because of my lack of experience but this also gave me the ability to think outside the box. Don’t wait years to get started! – Jesse Sasomsup, Earnest Homes

6. Always Say Yes

While the intention behind “always say yes” might be encouraging to some entrepreneurs, it can lead to problems in the company. This can include overcommitting yourself, misalignment of the organization’s visions and becoming distracted by juggling too much. Learn the art of discernment and weigh the pros and cons before making decisions. – Matthew Davis, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.

7. Just Get A Website Up

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking a website guarantees success. It’s essential to focus on user experience, valuable content and effective marketing strategies that align with your business plan, overall vision and core values. Build a strong online presence, engage with your audience and provide real value to stand out in the digital world. – Elizabeth A. Douglas, Esq., Douglas Family Law Group

8. Failure Is Not An Option

Striving for success is important, but fear of failure can hinder innovation and growth. Failure is often a valuable learning experience that can lead to new insights and opportunities. Embracing it as a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey allows for experimentation, resilience and greater success. Learning from mistakes is where true progress is made. – Johan Hajji, UpperKey

9. Always Be Hustling

While a strong work ethic is important, constant hustling can lead to burnout. It’s crucial to maintain a balance and take care of your physical and mental health. Sustainable success comes from consistent, focused efforts, not from working yourself to exhaustion. Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. – Dustin Lemick, BriteCo

10. Hire Slow, Fire Fast

The advice of hiring slow and firing fast always sounds like a good idea in theory, but it has many limitations in practice. For instance, many times, when you need to hire, you might not have the luxury of time and need someone quickly. Additionally, many employment policies encourage giving time and effort to improving an employee’s performance prior to termination. – Melanie Ammerman, VaVa Virtual Assistants

11. Fail Fast, Fail Often

While this expression emphasizes learning from mistakes, it may also unwittingly foster a culture of reckless decision making. Prudent risk-taking and strategic planning should be prioritized equally. – Khurram Akhtar, Programmers Force

12. Fake It ‘Til You Make It

This advice oozes dishonesty and intuitive people see right through it. Rather than deception bridging a lack of competence, choose confidence instead. Practicing in the “dark” will help you perform in the “light.” Self-belief shines through. – Kary Oberbrunner, Igniting Souls

13. Maximize Total Available Market

I sometimes hear advice that you should maximize TAM (total available market) when setting up a new business, but I don’t think it’s particularly useful for startups in today’s market diversification. First of all, I think that it is most important to profile representative customers and determine accurate customer personas. – Karita Takahisa, UNIFY PLATFORM AG

14. Grow As Fast As Possible

When building a business, people often give the advice to grow as fast as possible. Though this is great advice in the long term, this can be harmful to some businesses at first. When creating a new product, service or technology, leaders must understand that it will not be perfect at first. Your first iterations are the most important because you can learn from them and reiterate to grow. – Christian Brown, Glewee

15. Have A Unique Selling Proposition

The myth of the elusive unique selling proposition or USP is overrated. New entrepreneurs often get lost in the wild goose chase of finding viable USPs, or worse, they build a business around fake USPs. And even if you find yourself in the unlikely position of having a unique product, they are, by definition, not sustainable over time. – Anna Stella, BBSA

16. Fully Complete One Task Before Moving On

While this sounds like a practical approach, in a bustling business environment, an inability to juggle your to-dos will lead to missed opportunities. Do absolutely be focused and thorough in your execution, but also be adaptable if you need to pivot. – Dr. David Lenihan, Tiber Health

17. Learn From Competitors’ Experiences

People advise new business owners to learn from competitors’ experiences so they can copy best practices and avoid the worst. While that’s good advice, it misses the more important point: What are they not doing to be more innovative and productive? As Henry Ford is believed to have noted, in transportation, people were focused on getting faster horses. The better answer was to invent a car. – Jerry Cahn, Age Brilliantly

18. Winning The Deal Is Preferable To Losing It

Sometimes you just have to let that deal go. Not all clients are a good fit for your company, and we need to realize that. Overloading your client base with people who will drive you and your team insane will have a negative impact, forcing you to take time away from things that are actually important. – Raquel Gomes, Stafi

19. Get Your Product To Do Everything

The most overrated business advice I have heard being dished out is, “Get your product to do everything if you really want to succeed.” Startup professionals lose focus with this advice and often end up creating a mess. Not everyone can become Amazon overnight. Remember that it took Jeff Bezos years before he got Amazon to where it is today. – Nikhil Maini, OKR International

20. Listen To Business Advice

I think all business advice is overrated. Every business is unique and different, so why do we accept blanket business advice as a universal truth? For advice to have value, you need to have the context. – James Clift, Durable