One of the Hardest Things of Being a Founder

I’ve worked fairly extensively with four veteran fundraisers.  Last year, one was giving me advice that was entirely opposite the advice of another.  Both were veteran fundraisers and both had raised tons of money.

While I certainly wasn’t new to the game, it was a tough situation when two smart people tell you two very different things about the same situation.

Furthermore, of the three I was the only who new the nuances of the situation entirely.

The point I’m making is not about fundraising, but about building.  Free advice is abundant (so is expensive advice).  I’m regularly faced with contrasting advice from smart people that I trust.  It can be agonizing, frustrating, and paralyzing.

Here are some ways I approach this tough situation:

1) Look at what worked in the past for me

In the situation above, one side was suggesting a path that was different then the one that got me here.  What works for her, won’t necessarily work for me even though she had been very successful.

2) Get a third opinion

Though, this can also result in a third approach rather than a 2-1 majority (most scenarios that need advice from three people are probably not simple).

3) Read and research

Whether it’s a thought-leader whose writing clarifies your uncertainty or a case study, finding others in similar situations can be helpful.

You also have to consider, unfortunately, if the advice-givers have any agenda.  The worst thing I’ve done in these situations is to keep putting of the decision.  A couple years ago I changed the date of an event because I couldn’t figure something out and was getting mixed feedback.  That’s bad leadership.

Tough decisions are, well, tough.  Smart people giving you different advice makes it even harder.  Good luck!



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