business advice online
Business leaders seek business advice via blog, articles and other online resources

Wondering as to how your peers get their work guidance and keep their individual saws honed? It’s pretty simple, really: Just send over survey questions to your target audience.

I ran an unscientific survey on LinkedIn examining that inquiry. The results certainly painted the portrait of the self-educated expert, obtaining business counsel from write ups, websites, webinars and other self-motivated means.

The question was: How are you gaining perspective and counsel as a leader in small business? Below are the outcomes:

linkedin poll results
LinkedIn poll results

Noticeably in the age of recessions, seeking guidance on your own via the Internet is the quickest, and cheapest, manner of getting guidance and info, as shown in the 61% case on this survey. In second place with roughly 1/3 as many responses is Mastermind Groups, followed by Coaching/Mentoring at 11%. What I found very intriguing was that using your internal team of leaders got such a low response. However, the option was worded “Internal managers only” and the only part of that may have affected this data.

Poll Data Limitations

Using LinkedIn polls has 2 major drawbacks:

  1. Only LinkedIn Users can participate in the survey. This instantly means that users are restricted to white-collar experts. In my case, that is my target client base so this is not a downside on audience segment, just quantity of individuals that answer.
  2. LinkedIn forces selection without allowing for several choices. Respondents need to select the number one option that responds to the inquiry.

What LinkedIn does do that is good is won’t allow numerous answers from the same individual as some surveys do, basically permitting someone, typically the pollster, to tamper with the results. Not in LinkedIn.

There is also the limit of statistical significance on this poll. LinkedIn Polls operate for 30 days when posted, and because of other opportunities I didn’t push this survey, so the limited amount of participants boosts the margin for error due to statistical significance. I was trying to find fads, though, and the outcomes without a doubt present one.

Alternate SurveyMonkey Sampling

Alongside, I ran a poll on my website that had no restrictions. Respondents could pick the best answers they desired and could choose multiple answers.

surveymonkey sampling
Alternate SurveyMonkey sampling

Notice that the numbers do rise a bit for all low responses like the In house selection, but the leaders and fads are in the same positions as the LinkedIn poll. The additional little reply in the SurveyMonkey survey concerning not getting any new info on assistance shows that the participants are forward thinking enough to seek out better methods and humble enough to recognize that they do not know everything.

In What Ways Will This Affect You as an Entrepreneur?

Well, it’s a data point actually. Shocking? Maybe not. Clearly the best and most reliable way to enlighten yourself to new strategies and methods is going to the internet, where in a matter of moments you can tap a blog or internet course to teach you things. The difficulty that I see with this information, where professionals are acquiring counsel and perspective by and large from articles, blogs and webinars, is just one of objectivity and honesty. Much of the info obtained on-line, at least the free things, is created to encourage you to a presented solution to a problem. It’s a one-size-fits-all treatment and is usually not supplied with the best interest of the reader or viewer as first priority.

Naturally most info suppliers wish to see you prosper, but that can easily be secondary to purchasing their stuff. The apparent danger here is absence of investment in your outcomes, and even though this can work fantastic for things like marketing strategies, on larger judgments that business owners encounter (selling the business, legal problems, etc.), they must be persistent and measured when obeying the guru of whatever it is they are inquiring on.

Getting Trusted Advice

What I mean by trusted guidance is counsel from somebody who is invested in you personally, where friendships or work partnerships have been created, and that person is either at a peer-to-peer level or a higher level on the corporate ladder than you. Possibly that is the reason the numbers in these surveys show business leaders are conferring their employees as a first choice.

Typically trusted advice stems from family and friends, but you need to identify the business acumen of those individuals in your life. Many well-meaning relatives have completely and unwittingly wrecked the hopes and dreams of business owners.

Another way to get to astute counsel with trust is an advisor or Mastermind Group involvement. These numbers on the studies earlier presented a subset of individuals making use of these tools to evolve their companies and gain perspective. Obstacles to either of these ends are usually money or, in most entrepreneur and small business owner cases, time commitment. Professionals establishing their own Mastermind Groups, for example, can do so on a shoestring budget, but the finding of other similar thinking constituents who can contribute, the synchronization of resources, and the assistance of a group could be difficult.

Many current Mastermind organizations exist like my offering at virtual-mastermind.com, Vistage International, and plenty more, and the fees range. Your money goes to the facilitation of the group, getting into a good group of other business leaders, and the 2-way communication that personalizes results for the membership after that trust is created. Financial investment should never go to product purchases without these other elements.

Assistance for Professional Education and Leadership Today

The most important thing any business professional must take away is to keep getting more information, tools, advice and original ideas. Information is never stationary, and neither is what works in the world. Principles are ageless, while methods shift in time as does the success from using them. Know what kind of information you want, stay up to date, and stay persistent. You can only follow up on so much information, so edit wisely.

About the Author:
Karl WalinskasKarl Walinskas is the CEO of  Smart Company Growth, a business development firm that helps small to mid-size professional service firms builds competitive advantage in an online world of sameness.   He is author of numerous articles and  the Smart Blog  on leadership, business communication, sales & service, public speaking and virtual business, and Getting Connected Through Exceptional Leadership, available in theSmartShop.    Get your  FREE LinkedIn Profile Optimization eBook & Video Course, Video Marketing video and course, or Mastermind Groups e-course & video  now.