As anyone who’s started a business knows, doing so invites an avalanche of unsolicited advice. Obviously, we need advice from those who have experience and information that can help us, but we also need to ignore the detractors.

How can you sort the wheat from the chaff?

Rule #1: Consider the Source

The most important thing about receiving advice is to know your source and trust them. It’s surprisingly easy to be influenced by bad or even false advice.

Sometimes it happens because the advice-giver sounds authoritative and so we look no further. At other times, maybe out of laziness, we accept negative or discouraging words as an excuse for not giving something a try.

And sometimes we just don’t know if the advice is accurate. (This is a particularly new and thorny problem caused by the Internet where advice is posted but not edited or verified.)

The Persian poet Rumi advised,  “When setting out on a journey, do not seek advice from someone who has never left home.”

When setting out to build a business, do not seek advice from those who haven’t done so successfully.

Rule #2 : Get a Second Opinion

While too many opinions or too much advice can serve to confuse, if you’re exploring unknown territory,  serious research is in order before setting out.

Get advice from people who know what they’re talking about—and then get a back-up opinion or two.

Rule #3: Make the Most of It

When you ask advice of another person, your initial role is to be a quiet listener or to ask clarifying questions. (“Yes, but” does not belong in the conversation.) Whether or not you act upon the advice is a matter for a later time.

When you’re trying to make a decision or need information so you can proceed with a decision you’ve already made, seeking outside input is just part of the information-gathering process. Sifting comes after you’ve got all the information collected.

The world is full of teachers, experts and amateur advisors—all with varying qualifications. Finding the right ones to help you learn what you need to know so you can move forward in your own life is not to be taken lightly.

The experience of others can save us time, add deeper insights, prevent us from making costly mistakes. Pay attention to those who can help, not hinder, your success.

As C.S. Lewis so eloquently said, “Good things as well as bad are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm, you must stand by the fire; if you want to get wet, you must get into the water. If you want joy, peace, eternal life, you must get close to them. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you. If not, you will remain dry.”