You must kiss a lot of frogs!

One thing that life has taught me in my own life as well as working with entrepreneurs is that you must kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. By that I mean that finding a good advisor is amazingly difficult.

I was reminded of this recently when my wife and I were about to move into a new apartment. In our excitement we assumed that everyone would be pleased for us. Instead, the questions started. Have you….., yes, do you….., do you……, yes, yes, yes!

It had been the same on so many other aspects of my life. When I left teaching to join a multinational I was told ‘you will be back in two years’, I wasn’t. When we sold up and moved to Turkey we were asked whether that was wise. Being constantly questioned as to why we chose to use our money to maximise the things we could do, rather than investing in bricks and mortar.  The negativity went on and on.

In each case it took a while to find the people that understood our ambitions and were pleased to offer positive advice to enhance our adventure. But in every case, ignoring the ne’er do wells and continuing our search has resulted in eventually finding our princes or princesses of support.

I raise these issues, as this is a common complaint from young people wanting to start their own business. They constantly get told to go and get a job, it will not work, what do you know about running a business and so on.

I remember one such case where the young person was turned away by so many advisors saying his idea wouldn’t work, that he almost gave up. He was amazed when I said I would work with him. But even I was amazed when his second year’s turnover was two million Euros.

This is not an isolated incident. I have often been the advisor of last resort and I have never been the one to turn someone away. Whether to continue or to stop should always be the decision of the individual not the advisor.

Apart from anything else, I have not got a crystal ball and so I cannot tell whether something will or will not work. What I can tell is whether the person has the will to make it work.

We live in an age where much of what constitutes business we do not understand. Whether it is new methods of delivery, new creations or just a new twist on an existing idea. What we should understand is the person asking for help. That very request indicates their belief that you still have something to offer in this modern world.

You should take that as a compliment and cherish it. Becoming a frog with your negativity says more about you than the person asking for your help. If you want to move from frog to prince or princess you need to lose your fear of failure as an advisor and thank your lucky stars that there are young people out there still believing in kissing frogs.

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