Opinions are like noses – everybody has one and they’re all different. Even if you ask several experts for their opinion on a topic they specialize in, you will likely get a different answer from each of them. 

You need to be strategic about who you go to for input about your business or personal life. Not all opinions have equal value, and some are totally worthless. 

Next year, I will have been doing resumes for 30 years. That is a long, long time. I know my stuff, and have gotten compliments on my work from clients, executive recruiters, and hiring managers. 

And yet, clients will shop around my resumes to random friends, family members, or colleagues for their feedback, and then present their comments and suggestions to me like they are valuable. 

One example of this was a woman who had been out of the workforce for a while and wanted to get back in. I understood her situation and industry experience very well. I created an excellent document that made her look like a compelling candidate. 

She showed the draft to her husband, who suggested many changes and she wanted me to make them. I gave her a hard no and told her I would not do it and would issue a partial refund. She was stunned.

Why did I say this? Because her husband was a surgeon who had never had a corporate job. What the heck did he know about resumes? Are you kidding me? 

She backed down, we finished up the project, and I wished her good luck in her job search. I did not offer to coach her and referred her to two other career coaches.  

A similar thing just happened yesterday and I almost blew a gasket. I looked the person in the face and told them their feedback was irrelevant.

When you are putting together a business plan or creating a product or service, you will want to shop it around and get feedback at some point. You should absolutely do this, but think through who has relevant knowledge or experience and would provide valuable feedback. 

If you’ve been in business for a while, your current customers or clients could provide helpful insight.

If you are launching a new business, another small business owner, business coach, or mentor might be a good place to start. 

You also could consider doing focus groups to get some data around what you target customers might think.

However, I strongly advise against asking Uncle John or your BFF for feedback, unless they are similar to your target customer. The information you get will likely not be helpful, and may actually derail your progress, not spur you forward. 

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash