(Hey, thanks Google Images)
If you’ve been following the ongoing political campaign you’ll have noticed SMBs have come up a few times in both candidates’ policies. You may have eagerly read the findings of “experts” which suggested President/candidate X and Y’s policies would be the most beneficial to SMBs only to be confused by a contradictory poll that said the opposite.
Politics provides the perfect example that you should not believe everything you read because so many things have a bias. This translates to all aspects of life, but becomes especially important when you consider how a misleading or biased article, book, contract, or piece of advice could affect your hard-earned business.
Statistics are an especially dangerous area because they are usually unreliable. The reader often has no idea the target or control groups’ demographic or size, or how questions were phrased, received, or recorded. There are too many variables in any given poll or statistic to not take the information with a large dose of salt.
We suggest always considering your sources as you read something that impacts your bottom line. Unfortunately it’s not safe to assume the author is always telling the truth or presenting all of the facts and figures. Ask yourself a few questions to determine if what you’re reading can be trusted
1. What can the author gain from me following the suggestions of this article/book/other material?
2. What are the risks of taking this advice?
3. What am I not being told?
4. Why should I trust what the author is saying?
5. Where is the author’s information coming from?
6. Who is the author and/or organization being featured? What are their known biases (Google, Bing, Wikipedia, ect)?
As you try to decide who and what to believe, try to keep a skeptical mindset to sort through all of the information thrown at you on a daily basis. Many articles, when it comes to motive and displaying the facts, are no better than a commercial that states 9 out of 10 dentists recommend X brand of toothpaste. Remember, do your research!