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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Are You Trusting Good Information?

I was visiting with a client recently and she shared some very useful information with me, based on her own experiences.  The issue that we discussed involved our children and it was such a blessing for me to have the opportunity to gather relevant information from someone who had been through similar situations, particularly since it was someone whom I trust and respect.

This conversation got me thinking about all of the resources that we have available to us today as business people.  With the advancement of technology and social media, there is litterally an endless supply of information that a person can access with very little effort.  For example, LinkedIn is a great tool to connect with other business professionals and also provides a wonderful forum for information sharing.  However, is there any kind of guarantee that the information we are receiving is good information?

Several months ago I happened to be on LinkedIn and saw that a prospective entrepreneur was searching for resources regarding starting a business and entity formation.  One of the first responses that I read was from someone who had been in that same position a few months prior.  This person went on to say that there were not a lot of good resources available so she had "figured it out on her own and found that the process was really rather simple".  She went on to lay out the steps that needed to be taken to complete the process.  However, not only was her list grossly inadequate, but it was completely inaccurate as well.

My guess is that the person asking the question probably liked the response initially, because it was "simple" and that is usually the path of least resistance.  You see, the person sharing the bad information had obviously received bad information and simply passed it on to others.  The problem is that she made herself sound like an expert and to someone possessing less knowledge than she did (and looking for an easy answer), it became pretty obvious to see the matter going in the wrong direction.

Fortunately I have expertise in that area and I responded by citing MN statutory requirements that directly contradicted the "expert steps" that the first responder had laid out.  Because everything I had stated was 100% verifiable, it didn't take long for the person asking the question to recognize that there is a lot of information out there and not all of it is good.  She realized the importance of sifting through the information and that establishing a proper vetting process was paramount to the success of her future business.

The point that I would like to make is that we have never had greater access to information than we do today, and that can be a wonderful thing.  However, it is just as easy to share bad information as it is to share good information so it is crucial for us to make sure that the informatinon we gather is the right information.

I hope this article will be useful to you as you continue to operate your business.  As always, please contact me with any questions that you might have.