Back to my original question, should you take advice from a failed business owner? Yes and no. Here are my top five tips to keep in mind when spending your hard earned money on a consultant or bringing on a partner.
2. Is the consultant/partner open about his/her prior business ventures? Often times when you hear, "It was not my fault", that is an excuse. Taking responsibility is key to growing. Whereas, if the individual speaks openly and frankly about his/her mistakes, listen. This is valuable information that can help you avoid costly pitfalls.
3. Education is important. Formal education is earned. Real world education is gathered. Is one superior to the other? It would of course depend on the context. There are many successful business people without formal degrees but there are no college graduates that did not spend the time to invest in his/her future. Align yourself with individuals that share your mindset.
4. Honesty. Anybody can be on top temporarily but it is integrity that holds that position. If your potential consultant/partner compromises his/her integrity in small situations with little consequence, then it becomes second nature to compromise in all situations. Surround yourself with people who will speak the truth instead of saying only what you want to hear.
5. Consistency (or lack of) establishes a reputation. A positive track record will never be established if gears are constantly switching. Again, ask the hard questions. Does your new consultant partner lack focus? Does he/she have the ability to provide predictable and reliable results?
As a business owner you recognize that the key to success is knowing your customers. As a business owner looking for guidance, the key to a successful partnership is transparency and trust.