The number of key decisions that need to be made when starting up a business or launching a new product can often cause high levels of self doubt, stress and anxiety, leaving the founder / inventor feeling helpless and isolated.

Many founders of start ups often turn to someone to ‘bounce ideas off’ and seek general opinion and guidance. Family members and close friends are often chosen for this ‘role’ mainly because they can be trusted, but also because their advice is free of charge.

People who are close to the business founder are in fact probably the worst people to use for guidance and advice. The main problem is that these people are in fact ‘too close’ to the founder. They often have no experience of ‘business’ or of ‘launching new products’ and are often ‘too nice’ always telling the founder only what they want to hear.

Taking advice from too many people can lead to confusion and overall lack of direction. Start ups often use the free ‘advice’ they’ve received as an excuse for when things start to go wrong or when the business or product fails.

Seeking an experienced business mentor is a much better way to find an independent, impartial ‘sounding board’. There are numerous mentor programs currently running around the country. Many successful business people today were supported in the important early days by a mentor. A good mentor won’t necessarily tell a business founder what to do, but will talk through various situations and scenarios to help the founder to arrive at a sensible conclusion, for the right reasons, based on the information available at the time.

No outsider (not even an experienced mentor) can make decisions for a business founder. Start ups should seek to find a balance where they absorb the most appropriate information and advice before making (and standing by) their own decisions.