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11 Worst Business Advice Contest Winners

Early this week I asked readers to share the worst business advice they ever received for a chance to win a desktop shredder from Staples. My thought was shredding bad advice.

Several themes emerged as bad advice that is consistently handed out

  • Don’t start a business at all
  • Don’t start a business until you can replace your income
  • Don’t narrow your focus to a market niche
  • You’re a woman so you can’t . . .
  • Borrow money from family instead of a bank

All of the above were mentioned in one way or another several times, but our two winners are . . .

In an effort to differentiate PawPosse ignored advice and carved out a community in a niche no one else seemed to be targeting. This can be a very strong play in the global enabled online world we live in if you can enable people with shared ideas to come together.


Dan at Downtown Printwear was told that he couldn’t make any money using the Internet and that he had to meet people face to face. While I’m sure some of his face to face meeting led to his success, I’m glad he ignored this advice and integrated a total web presence.

Go back and read through the comments if you want some interesting and sometimes amusing reading.

85 The Worst Business Advice You Ever Received

Don’t worry, the title of this post doesn’t suggest something you’ll find here, it’s about something I want you to share.

Let me tell you what led to this idea.

The folks at Staples contacted me and asked if I would try out (free of charge) a new desktop sized shredder called the Minimate. I’ve never owned a shredder, but it got me thinking that I do throw away and recycle a fair amount of information that could be used by identity theft types and I probably could use a shredder from time to time.

I received the shredder, set it up in minutes and found I kind of enjoyed shredding stuff. There’s something sort of empowering about shredding stuff like junk credit card offers, printing proofs and bank statements.

So, that got me thinking, Staples also wanted me to give away two more of these little babies so if you want one, here’s what I’m asking you to do.

Share in the comments your story of . . .The worst business advice you ever received.

Then on Thursday, March 25th I’ll pick two winners from the best stories offered.

People offer lots of advice when you own a business, some good, some awful, some asked for and some completely unsolicited. As a business owner you’ve got to understand your vision well enough to know when to take that advice and run with it and when to take that advice and run it through the shredder.

Back when I was just starting to create the Duct Tape Marketing brand I met with someone I considered a mentor at the time. He had already created a measure of success in the online world and still does very well with his marketing business. While we were chatting he offered this piece of advice – “lose the name Duct Tape Marketing, it sends the wrong message completely.”

As it turns out the choice of the name Duct Tape Marketing was one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made and has grown to be an important element of the strength of the brand. I didn’t know that would be the case at the time, but I did know the kind of feedback I’d been receiving from the small businesses I encountered using that name, so I ignored this advice and consider it the worst business advice I’ve ever received to this day. (To be fair to this mentor, he’s jokingly reminded me that he is glad I ignored his advice.)

So there you have it, share your story of woeful advice and you too could become the owner of a Minimate Shredder just in case some bad advice ever comes your way again.