Business Gut Feelings Don’t Exist

By Jamie McSloy / August 7, 2018
you have no business gut feeling featured image

Friend of the blog Kyle has a new venture, and I’m pretty interested in seeing where it goes.

He’s starting up an olive oil business with a friend, and they’re going to export from Croatia and import the oil into the US.

I’m interested in this because I feel like nobody talks enough about taking the skills you learn in online business and applying them to offline business.

So, good luck to Kyle and Martin on their new endeavour.

That’s not really what we’re going to talk about in today’s post though. Today, we’re going to talk about what the average person thinks about business and why you can’t trust them.

We’ll also talk about what you should do instead.

But first, let’s set the context.

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I Have Olive Oil Already… Why Would You Start An Olive Oil Business?

A comment on Kyle’s blog has prompted today’s topic. You can read it here, but I’ll paste it in for the sake of the less energetic among you:

“I can drive to my local supermarket and buy imported olive oil from Italy in a glass jar. For a fair price.

I see the benefits of owning a brand, but I just don’t see this as a good market. Best of luck though and I will be following along.”

Now, Kyle put this down to passive aggressiveness, but I’m using it as a learning tool.

This comment perfectly shows how your average never-owned-a-business person thinks about business, and how they come to economic decisions.

They do it stupidly, basically.

And I don’t mean to go particularly hard on this commenter, because like I say, a lot of people think like this.

But ask yourself: Based on the above comment (and “advice” if you can call it that):

Why does this guy have any opinion on this business venture?

“My Gut Feelings!”

When most people give you business advice, they’re doing it from a place of no experience.

This guy knows he can already get olive oil, so he thinks it’s a bad market.

In other words, “Someone else is already doing that… it’s a bad idea it’s already been done!”

This isn’t an argument against a business.

Case in point… my copywriting business.

Was I the first person to ever say, “You know… I’ll write an article for your website”?

No I wasn’t.

When I switched to direct response, was I the first to suggest creating sales pages?

No I wasn’t.

I found a skill that people were doing and I carved a space for myself in the niche because I did better than my competitors and got new customers.

Anyone who has done this knows the process in and out, because they’ve lived it.

It’s why once you’ve made money online, you realise most of the shiny gurus are fronters and fraudsters – because they don’t talk in a way that matches the reality you’ve experienced.

But back to average people.

They haven’t built this skill. They have no experience in business. And so they rely on intuition or gut feelings… which are useless.

They’re useless because intuition is your subconscious trying to pull from its database of experiences to give you the right answer – but you don’t have the right answer due to lack of experience.

I mean… the guy above is saying, “I don’t think this is a good business idea because I can already buy olive oil.”

He isn’t saying, “I ran a food import business and the regulations were tough and the margins weren’t high enough.”

He isn’t saying, “Italian olive oil is far superior to Croatian olive oil so you’re going to have a tough time selling it to wholesalers.”

You know… those are the sorts of comments that you’d say if you knew what you were talking about, and that’s why it’s clear he doesn’t.

And to be honest, I couldn’t leave a comment on Kyle’s blog warning him or advising him on the olive oil business because unsurprisingly I know nothing about the olive oil business. I could ask questions like the above and point to potential pitfalls based on my physical product businesses… but my gut feelings outside of that are irrelevant.

So are yours.

Don’t Trust Your Gut?

So you can’t trust your gut.

What should you do?

Well firstly, you must ignore any advice from people who don’t have any experience in business – and for more specific information – any experience in your business.

For instance, I write copy. There are people out there – people who work in advertising, no less – who think that copywriting doesn’t work anymore, or that direct response is for scammy info products.

Their advice is useless and when it comes to copywriting, I don’t really care what they think. Why would I?

So what do I care about?

I care about data. I care about market research.

When I’m writing for a new product, I’ll spend tens of hours drilling down into the realities of the marketplace, the needs of the customer and the state of the product I’m selling versus other competitor products.

Whatever business you go into, you have to do this. This is training your gut instinct to know what to look for.

This is what (hopefully) Kyle and Martin have done.

It’s what billion dollar companies do. It’s not like Nike just have an executive meeting one day, say, “Hey man, my niece has decided she likes pink unicorn chocolates… so why don’t we scrap the whole shoe thing and go with that?”

No… they carefully calculate what their next move is based on the market, their product lines and what their customers want and need.

And that’s what you have to do.

Final Thoughts

This article probably isn’t the answer people want to hear with business stuff. There’s a big market for the inspirational “trust your gut” nonsense, and less of a market for the not-so-entertaining “do your research and don’t think you’ll run before you walk” advice.

But really… you train your gut by doing the research, testing the market, and actually learning what you’re talking about.

So that’s what you do.

And whatever you do, don’t listen to people who haven’t done this.

If you’re wondering how to sort those who know from those who don’t, don’t worry: If you follow the process yourself you’ll be able to spot them from a million miles away.