Advice, there’s lots of it out there. Sometimes we’re looking for it and other times it’s thrust upon us whether we like it or not.

Everyone seems to have an opinion, it is part of the human condition. Some gently make a suggestion while others will be quite vocal about their point of view, even if it doesn’t suit your needs at all. Opinion can be stated with such authority at times that it is given credence that it doesn’t warrant. It can make it difficult to know what to do.

Ultimately, we don’t have to take advice, that’s our choice. We need to work out just how valuable the advice is, which can be difficult at times. How do you decide what’s a golden nugget and what’s just white noise?

Here are seven tips for you to consider before you make the decision.

1. Consider the source. 

For me, this is the number one criteria. Where is the advice coming from and just how relevant is their opinion to you, your business and the issue at hand? Are they close to you? Do you know them well? Do they really know you and your future goals and plans? When you are closely aligned to someone and there is mutual respect their opinion will definitely carry extra weight.

2. Choose carefully. 

Don’t give too many people the opportunity to have a say when it comes to your business decisions. Select a few people who you respect and who respect you. They should understand your business vision, situation and goals. When it comes to your business it is not about ‘liking’ the people you seek advice from. Friends and family love and care about you but they may not be business savvy and that’s what you need.

3. What is their agenda? 

Unfortunately not everyone has your best interests at heart. You need to question if the advisor has ulterior motives. Will they benefit from a particular outcome? If they do stand to gain from the result it doesn’t mean that their opinion should be discounted, just that you need to be aware and make your decision with this in mind.

4. Have they earned the right?

It is so easy for people to voice an opinion, but you need to look deeper at what that opinion is based on. If it is solid hard work and experience then I would be listening closely. How successful are they? It’s interesting how often people will volunteer advice on your business having never been in business themselves. When that’s the case it’s a theoretical opinion, that’s not solid advice. Look for those who have walked this path before you and can share their knowledge with you.

5. How relevant is the advice to your big picture?

Advice given may only offer a short term solution. As the leader of your own business you need to make decisions with the long term, bigger picture in mind.

6. How relevant is the advice? Full stop. 

There are times when you voice a concern you have and it’s met with advice that sounds good but once you scratch below the surface it barely makes sense. Platitudes can roll off the tongue easily at times but the speaker is not actually engaged with you. Listen closely to just how perceptive and relevant their advice is.

7. What is your own opinion? 

Ultimately it is your business, your choice. You are the one that has to live with the consequences. By all means get advice but also do your research, trust your instincts and make a decision that is best for you and your business in the long term.

Don’t be intimidated by their qualifications or experience. You are in the driver’s seat; keep your own vision and purpose in mind when it comes to making a decision. Where exactly do you want to go? How does this decision help you to get there?

We all know that there is no magic formula for making the right choices; the risk of failure will always exist. However, you can considerably reduce the chance of things going wrong by being more selective with the advice you take.