This past weekend I was in Las Vegas, presenting at the 2013 New Media Expo. I was giving a live website critique workshop to a full house – it was a great time!

(Want to bring a workshop to your business community? Click here for details.)

The reason I’m here today is to share a specific piece of insight I had during the workshop.  It’s about a big problem with many pieces of advice.  Most advice has an expiration date.


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Why does advice expire?

One thing that I’ve talked about with clients before is this concept of “this advice may change,” especially when it comes to web-based stuff, but I’ve never thought about it in terms of having an expiration date.

Why does advice expire?  Because:

  • the marketplace changes. Just think about what it was like to fly an airline 10 years ago versus today.
  • your business changes.   Raise your hand if business changed in some way in the past 12 months (new products, closing down products, branding changes, focus changes)… suspecting everyone here has a hand raised!
  • your customers change.  Lots of people don’t think about this, but it’s a rather profound problem.  If you get in your customer’s shoes regularly, you’ll find that change happens more often than not.  Smartphones and tablets, economic concerns, etc. etc.  As Tara Gentile says, Knowing your customer goes beyond “now.”

Now, this doesn’t mean you should panic and stop listening to any advice.  I’d be hard pressed to find much advice from Zig Ziglar that was bad – and much of his advice was timeless.  The problem is that when someone gives you advice, it’s based on a picture of the present moment, so the most prudent form of action is to take the advice.

“Taking” advice means just that, take it.

Take just means take, it doesn’t mean yes.  You don’t have to do what the advice giver says.  For example, most of my clients “personalize” my website critique advice, adding on their own new ideas and insights.  They also say no to some things.    It’s all part of the process.

As I mentioned in The Problem with Paying for Advice, just because you paid for an insight doesn’t mean you have to do it.  My challenge for you today is to be a bit more conscious about the decision making process.

Next time you get some advice, don’t put it away in the back of a cabinet and let it expire.  Take it and do something with it: yes, no, left, right.

Also?  Say thank you.