If you find yourself in business and genuinely want to make a go of it, you should absolutely seek professional advice. As much as some of us hate asking for help, any successful entrepreneur will tell you it’s best to swallow your pride and reach out … It’s part of the ‘play to your strengths; hire against your weaknesses‘ path to success.
Depending on your situation and training, this could mean a financial advisor, legal eagle, accountant, banker and/or insurance broker. Not to mention the new ‘personal development’ business coaches around now – some people swear by these. But let’s back up and ask the obvious question: how exactly will a business advisor help you and how do you find a good one?
As with any business investment, naturally you’ll want to see a return when you hire someone to advise you. Any business advisor worth their salt should be in a position to help you:
- identify and reach your business goals
- understand and comply with rules and regulations
- minimise risk in your business
Ideally, they will also be…
- a supportive sounding board to bounce ideas off
- an honest barometer who ‘keeps you on track’ (as opposed to a ‘yes’ man who doesn’t have your best interests at heart).
The selection process
Business advisors and coaches seem to be a dime a dozen these days, but not every advisor who pops up on Google will be right for you and your business.
Before you even plug in an online search or put the word out to your networks that you’re looking, you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of your business situation and your strengths and weaknesses. What areas do you really need help? Get clear and be honest with yourself. Once you have a good idea of where you stand, you can research potential advisers based on skills and experience.
The research doesn’t end when you find someone you think is a good fit. Do a bit of a background check on them. Assess their qualifications and find out whether they’ve ever run a business personally? If so, how did it go? What lessons did they learn? If they haven’t ever worked for themselves, how are they in a position to tell you how you should be running your business.
The relationship you build with your Advisor is sacred. You have to get along with them and the working relationship must feel ‘natural’. A great bond with your business advisor is largely built on mutual respect. Also crucial is whether you find them easy to talk to. Fluffy as it sounds (and just because I love any excuse to quote The Castle), if the ‘vibe of the thing’ isn’t right and you can’t speak to your advisor comfortably (by which I mean openly and honestly), that’s not a good sign.
Bring up money and contracts ASAP
Don’t dance around the obvious. We’re all adults here and at the end of the day, this is a paid professional arrangement. Ask right away about fee structure, agreements and retainers so you know exactly what you’re getting in to. Set out how often you’ll meet, where, how long for and maybe even devise some KPIs.
Due diligence done, there’s every chance this will be the start of a beautiful (profitable) relationship.
Meritous Business Advice
Here at Meritous Accounting and Advisory, we are seriously passionate about working with business owners to achieve success. So much so that it’s reflected in our company slogan: your success, our business.
We’d love to learn about your business. Call 1300 528 717 to find out how we can help get your business off the ground, grow it or problem-solve.