After struggling for a while with the process of getting my business up and running, I talked to my financial advisor and asked for his advice. As a part of the services he offered, he had listed “small business advisor,” so I figured that he would be my best option. I also thought he would be a committed advisor for me.
After some time working with him, however, it became clear that, although he was a nice guy and very successful as a manager of some large investment portfolios, he was not the committed advisor for me and my business. Unfortunately, it was a costly decision to work with him, but the insights that I gained from the experience were invaluable.
One of the most critical insights that I gained was this: no one cares more about your business than you do. I was convinced that my advisor cared about my business, especially because I was paying a considerable amount of money to help me. I figured that he had all the experience and commitment to me that I needed. If he wasn’t concerned about something, I thought I didn’t need to be concerned, either.
However, what I found out was that he didn’t have any experience with the type of business I was starting. He also didn’t have any extensive time available to give me to advise me on what I needed to do. His area of expertise was providing investment advice for his clients, not starting a business like mine.
Certainly an advisor needs to be focused on helping you and your business as best and efficient as possible. Attention to the client’s needs is critical. A good business advisor proves his commitment for your success. An advisor also needs to explain his or her role as your advisor. I would suggest some key questions you need to ask in regards to the roles and expectations of your advisor:
- What are your specialties and areas of expertise?
- Where did you gain your experience?
- How do you see your role in relation to my business?
- What are the areas you see as opportunities for your mentorship?
- How would you educate me on the essential skills I will need to be successful?
- How do you maintain relationships with your clients?
There are many different kinds of business advisors and they have all kinds of business experiences and areas of expertise. Make sure you find the right fit for you and what you need to be successful.