Generic Advice About Asking for Generic Advice

If you’re looking for advice on asking for social media feedback, this is not the article for you. However, if you’re interested in learning more about how to ask for feedback from people in your life, read on!

The how to ask for advice politely is a post about how to ask for advice in a way that is polite and respectful.

I’ve been receiving a lot of e-mail recently from well-intentioned individuals asking for “advice on new company” or “tips on beginning a business,” as if there were some storehouse of generic tip riches ready to be given.

Consider the following two examples:

I saw you on [the internet] and wanted to write you an e-mail to see if you could give any advise on, well, any aspect of this new path I’m pursuing. I read your website’s “About Me” section and you’ve seen it all! This is a totally new experience for me, and I want to outperform the majority straight away. Any assistance you may provide would be much appreciated!

For more than a decade, I’ve been working in my profession. I think I am capable of facing difficulties as well, but when it comes to beginning a new endeavor or company, I am numb. Basically, a lot of ideas are dispersed. I’ve always had the impression that a paper plan is only useful if it’s concise, actionable, and time-bound. What are your thoughts? I’m looking for some solid advise and pointers from a guy who has seen it all.

How do I respond to such inquiries? The obvious clich├ęs spring up in my head like a torrent of worthless, dull, obvious advice as soon as I start to think about it: Give something of worth. Be honest with yourself. Make a living doing something you like and that others will pay for. Purchase cheap and sell high. If you can get away with it, bootstrapping is preferable, but it may backfire if you wind up suffocating a company that would have thrived with additional money. Don’t go overboard with your spending.

Business, especially startup business, isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Every situation is unique. I like answering questions (a selection of which can be found at Entrepreneur.com and bplans.com), but I don’t have a ready-made response for a request for broad generic knowledge.

The how to ask for advice from a friend is a blog post about the benefits of asking friends for advice. It also provides some generic advice that could be used in any situation.

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