Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely business. Getting outside input from respected colleagues or professional consultant can help keep you grounded.
That’s the finding of Jeremy Woods, a doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Business.
Woods’ ongoing research finds that, by themselves, small-business owners can get caught up in their own world and make decisions that are less than prudent.
“In other words, small-business owners continue to pursue failing ventures simply to prove that they were right,” Woods said. “We’ve all had the ‘I’m going to make this work’ feeling, but sometimes the best decision is to walk away – an action that doesn’t come easy for driven and determined entrepreneurs.”
Getting some outside advice, whether formally or informally, can help.
“Consultation with outside advisers can bring more information and fresh perspectives into the decision-making process and convince business owners to pursue alternative options,” said Woods, who based his research on the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics, a national questionnaire sponsored by business professors studying entrepreneurship. More than 1,200 owners of start-up businesses were surveyed for the study. Woods mined that data and discovered a significant correlation between consulting with outside advisers and achieving revenues sooner.
Woods plans this month to start using 400 participants for follow-up research with small-business owners.
“This is when the real fun begins,” said Woods, who looks forward to conducting in-depth interviews this summer with small-business owners. “Not only do we have the opportunity to give small-business consultants some concrete, empirical findings to justify the value of their suggestions, we also have the opportunity to work together with small-business owners to identify practical ways to choose between alternative courses of action.”