A business advisor is an individual who is committed to supporting you as a business owner, manager or leader. Sometimes referred to as a business coach, they work with their clients to help them achieve the life that they desire through their business. A good advisor is one who has ‘been there and done it’, one who has the experience, made the mistakes and has the scars to prove it. They can help their clients find a way out of the dark when a client has struggled alone for years, often, having not asked for help or support for fear of looking like a failure.
I have to say at this point, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for support, motivation or help in business at any level, it’s a sign of strength to reach out. In fact, with a fresh pair of eyes and with an outside view, an advisor can frequently foresee problems or solutions before they become an issue, and once the client understands and accepts this benefit, it can make for sea-change in their thinking.
Most business advisors have specific areas of expertise they specialise in, for some it may be systems and processes; others, financial; business strategy; planning or leadership skills… The list is endless but when you are seeking out some support, think about the areas of business you feel that you may need support in and find an advisor who has the skills and experiences in that area. Ask for their résumé.
Here are my six top tips on choosing a business advisor suitable for you and your business.
Speak to others you trust in business, maybe you are in a networking group or business group, ask those whom you trust. WARNING: You may find well-meaning colleagues, acquaintances or friends who will insist that: ‘you have been in business for years, what can anyone tell you about the business’, or if you are a start-up business, ‘go and speak to the bank, they can lend you some money and away you go, you don’t need an advisor, I can help you’.
Have a look on Social Media; check out local Business Advisors websites, are they up to date? Have a look at testimonials and do not be afraid to contact them and ask for recent case study examples of clients they have worked with and what they have done. (Advisors, however, will rarely give out clients names unless the clients have specifically said they are happy to be known).
Look for an advisor that is already where you want to be:
What are your business targets? What is important to you? How do you envision your ideal life and business? Choose an advisor that has reached and surpassed the same (or very similar) targets you are looking to accomplish.
For example, if you want to build a seven-figure business and the advisor you are looking into has not accomplished that themselves, how are they going to guide you to do it? Forget the old saying, ‘those who can do, those who can’t teach’. Those who can will teach you how to do it too.
Reflect on, and question, your needs:
Before speaking with potential advisor consider what do you truly need to help you put your best self forward? Do you need additional support in between sessions? How much support do you need? Do you prefer communicating by email, phone or face to face? How many sessions do you feel you need each and how often?
Whatever you feel you need, look for an advisor that can provide it. If an advisor does not provide it or tells you that you don’t need that, look elsewhere.
Ensure your values are aligned:
Let’s face it. Life is not just business. At some point, there is spillover from your personal life. What happens in your personal life affects your business life and vice versa. You need to feel comfortable enough with your advisor to bring up personal issues.
You will be spending a lot of time with this person. Go with your gut. Make sure you feel that their values are aligned with yours. Make sure the chemistry is good.
When you first meet your Advisor, take along a notebook, write a list of subjects and areas you would like to cover and be ready, willing and able to listen to their advice, follow the action plan, stay accountable and trust them. If it feels right and you build a good rapport with your advisor, you will have success and find it’s probably one of the best investments you have made in your business, your life and your time!
Remember, it is down to the advisor to, not only, help their clients reach their full potential, but also hold their clients accountable and challenge them.
A good advisor ensures that you are continuously going outside your comfort zone and will push you to accomplish more than you would on your own. They also provide you with tips, strategies and advice based on their own knowledge and experience to help you get where you want to be.
Bottom line: why try to save money by going it alone, when a business advisor can help you get there faster? With the right advisor, you end up saving time, making more money and getting even closer to your best self. Investing in the right business advisor will pay for itself many times over.