If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.
It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
– All quotes from Henry David Thoreau, (1817-62)
A client once said “Now I have shared my thoughts with you, I have halved my problems.” Another said “I know what I know but not what I don’t – that’s why I use advisors.” A bit like the “unknown unknowns” problem spoken about by Donald Rumsfeld.
To achieve anything, one needs a plan and clear way to attain the goals such a plan envisages. This is especially the case in business. The role of the business advisor – whether as Business Consultant, Coach, Non Executive director or partner – is to help the entrepreneur on his journey adding his knowledge and experience to the debate and helping or training the entrepreneur in solving the issues facing him or her. Ideally it should embody most of the sentiments of the above quotes.
It is rarely the case that two heads are not better than one. Of course, it will be necessary to remunerate the advisor, but his contribution and experience should outweigh his cost. Can you really afford not to investigate the benefits of using an advisor?
Choosing an advisor is, of course, a key issue. You can go for someone “who knows” your field well and can thus reinforce your views – but would this be the best challenge of your views? Alternatively, you can find a more general advisor who has been exposed to a wide variety of situations and is more likely to have experienced the issues you now face and therefore be able to contribute more.
The key attributes of an advisor will include good listening skills and the experience to contribute. They can come from a variety of backgrounds – sales, engineering or finance. All will have the skill to assemble the key facts and communicate them back to the entrepreneur in a rational fashion. This is often the most important facet of the role – if the entrepreneur is forced to articulate his concerns and problems he faces, he is half way to drafting a viable plan. Also an ability to have actions delegated to him for execution efficiently. I would argue that the better advisors have either run their own companies or acted as Directors previously. A sense of humour is a great benefit too! Often, entrepreneurs will assume that their accountants are the Business Advisor. Whilst this can be true up to a point, it should be noted, that most accountants (not all!) are focused more on the compliance needs of your business – such as your accounts and tax position. If this is the case, you will not be fully benefitting from what an advisor can do for you; due to time constraints the time devoted to your business will be limited and focused on the questions you ask. The independent advisor will have the time to challenge you and immerse himself more in your business. Below are 4 typical situations where a Business Coach or advisor or Non-Executive director could be a benefit: –
Are you thinking of starting a business?
- Don’t know where to look for advice
- What do you have to register for?
- Worried about red tape?
- How to prepare a Business Plan?
- Need someone to bounce ideas off?
- Need funding – do you know the pitfalls of each type?
- Protections for your business?
Have you started a business which is now starting to grow and suffering growing pains?
- Need someone to confer with – owner manager is a lonely place?
- Help with Business Funding?
- Help with Business Planning?
- Business re-organisation or change management?
- Or perhaps, you now need a part time FD?
- Are you using technology to its best?
- Are you getting bogged down in running the business rather than doing what you are good at – eg selling the service / product etc?
Have you properly assessed your business? Has the business plateaued
- Do you have a business plan?
- What is the Business Vision? Without this you are likely to become distracted.
- Need someone to bounce ideas with and receive advice from
- What does success look like?
- Often two brains are better than one …. Sharing a journey is often more rewarding and provides a way of being accountable, even as the owner manager.
- With an external advisor, you are more likely to stretch your horizons ….
Special situations needing support
- Buying or selling business(es)
- Planning your exit
- Launching new products
- New laws affecting your business or market place
- Business reconstruction
- Improving corporate governance
Call Robert Hewitt for an informal chat to see how we can help you.
Call: 01932 336149