The One, Crucial Question Entrepreneurs Need to Ask Their Mentors – The Experts – WSJ

Since entrepreneurs often have to make complicated decisions with little information and little time, access to trusted mentors is critical. In addition to keeping mentors on speed dial, entrepreneurs should ask them this simple, but vital, question: “What am I missing?” While you’re focused on immediate and urgent tasks, asking an adviser what else you need to consider can yield insights that can help make a big difference in your business. A founder I know says his adviser helped his team see the bigger picture when they got bogged down. His company offers a service that briefs users on people and companies they’re meeting with. Minutes before a user has a calendar appointment, the system would send an email that contained a link to information about the person the user was meeting. The team wanted to improve the link click rate, and for a while, it did. However, the rate eventually plateaued. The founder turned to his mentor, asking what else he could do to improve the click rate. The adviser helped him see that the team was focused on the wrong solution. The click rate had nothing to do with the goal of getting information to a client. The answer? Simply put the information in the body of an email. No link, no click-rate measurement necessary, and almost everyone was opening the emails. A colleague of mine helps to advise early-stage companies. A team she was working with was preparing a pitch deck for a high-stakes pitch about their product for a big-box store. The team was building the most compelling case it could and had all the right numbers: sales, margins and online research. They sent the deck to an adviser and asked: What are we missing?

Source: The One, Crucial Question Entrepreneurs Need to Ask Their Mentors – The Experts – WSJ

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About Stephen G. Barr, Group Publisher

Author, Syndicated Columnist, Editor In-Chief and Group Publisher at SGB Media Group, a social media marketing firm specializing in digital media content production, publishing, affiliate marketing, public relations and advertising. Over 25 years experience in retailing, advertising, website & online forum development, niche social networking, affiliate marketing, search optimization, branding and identity, site location, non-profit fund raising. Event planning, promotion, production and MC/Host at public events. Author, Editor & Publisher of 35 syndicated, digital publications utilizing multiple digital distribution channels in conjunction with launching and administrating national advertising campaigns for major Fortune 500 advertisers in partnership with Google, Ning, Facebook, Myspace, Yahoo, DoubleClick, LinkShare, PepperJam and other industry leading third party affiliate networks. Product development team member from conception to launch on many websites, tangible goods and organizational structure for start ups. Specialties: Public relations, retailing, advertising, website & online forum development, niche social networking, blogging, email campaigns, affiliate/performance marketing, search optimization, branding and identity, site location, event production & promotion, non-profit fund raising and tasteful, responsible adult content publishing. An internationally recognized and read social media columnist & pundit on The Examiner, Associate Content, Vator.tv, X-Biz.net and Technorati and his own affiliated sites.
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