When considering using a business advisor to help with your business, it is important to get one who is not only qualified and experienced, but someone whom you are comfortable with. How do you choose the right one?
Is The Advisor Qualified?
Ask them where they got their training from. Have they clocked in enough hours to ensure their competence with the practical aspect? Be careful of those who have experience and know little of a lot of things. Can they really be a good personal business advisor?
There is a danger in choosing a generalist to come in and work on all aspects of your business. Surely it is wiser to engage a specialist with a core competence in the skill you need? Often a business will seek support from an accountant, or maybe the bank manager – whilst their advice may be pertinent in the field of finance, a business consists of sales, marketing, operations, staff, etc; all of whom contribute to the business and will more than likely be an important factor in whatever issue your business may be facing.
What Kind Of Business Experience Do They Have?
Discuss with them the kind of business experiences they have had. Find out the kind of organisation that they represent. Are they into coaching, consulting, training, mentoring or an “all-in-one” type? This is a very important aspect, even if the person in front of you can verify their qualifications, do they actually have hands on experience of working within a business that they can offer you practical advice that is going to make a difference to your company. There is no academic qualification that can surpass the effectiveness of a business advisor who has a proven track record in the competency that you are looking for and who can demonstrate success from a real situation.
Do They Have References?
While clients who have used the services of a business advisor may prefer to remain confidential, there may be some who may be willing to talk with you and confirm that they can do ‘what they say on the tin’! Talk with the company providing the reference and find out about the advisor’s abilities and if they were happy with the services provided. If possible contact more than one organisation so that you can get a cross section of views and the success of the services that have been delivered. In addition, if the advisor is unable to provide a reference, do they have case studies on actual clients that demonstrate what the issue was, what they did to resolve it and what the outcome was with specific, measurable results?
What Are The Terms And Conditions?
It is important to determine the type of relationship you are going to have. Are you going to be tied into a long term contract, what are the options if you are not happy with the service being provided? Some business advisors will not tie you down to a fixed term contract or will allow you to cancel at any time if you are not happy, without any penalty. It is also important to establish the frequency that you are going to meet, where that will take place, what are the deliverables that can be expected as a result of working with the advisor and what are the payment terms.
Is there a ‘try before you buy’ option?
It is quite typical to have an initial session so that you can experience first hand what value the advisor can bring to your business. You are not looking for a ‘glossy report’ that tells you what you already know about your business, but someone who can offer solutions and specific action based recommendations to move your business forward.
Do They Generate Confidence?
Does this person generate confidence and credibility as they work with you? What kind of questions were asked and are they relevant to the business and thought provoking such that you will take action on the advice given?
Do remember though that once you have chosen your business advisor, you need to be willing to take action to get the best out of it.