The most common question entrepreneurs get about their business is “how are things going?”
When I get this question I always pause for second while my life flashes before my eyes. Then for 9 out of 10 people I say “everything is going great!” and try to move on to talk about something else.
It doesn’t matter if things are going great or going awful, or somewhere in the middle, I’ll give that same response to most people. I give this response simply because in the case when things are not going so well, I’ve noticed that most people feel as if they need to give you unsolicited advice.
I understand why the urge to offer advice is the instinctive response. It’s an easy way to show empathy to a struggling entrepreneur. The truth is, however, getting back-seat driver advice as a side-bar to an unrelated conversation is useless and potentially offensive.
So unless you are a business coach, mentor, parent, or spouse, it’s best to avoid this line of questioning altogether unless your entrepreneur friend brings up their business to you first.