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How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Adviser

Every now and then, an aspect of your business will pop up that you might not be the most qualified person for the job. In these cases, rather than hiring a full time employee to take care of these sporadic to minimally recurring instances, it’s more cost-effective and efficient to speak with a business adviser.

A business adviser is simply an expert in a specific industry that can lend a helping hand thanks to their expertise in the field. They will direct you in the right direction so that your business can prosper. Professional business advisers include financial planners, banks, consultants, insurance brokers, accountants, banking professionals and much, much more. You can work with a business adviser for any amount of time you desire, from a “one-off” piece of advice to an ongoing relationship between a mentor and student.

Get the Most Out of Your Business Advisers

As you can expect, a business adviser will be charging you by the time they spend working with you or on your business. Therefore, it’s vital that you get the most out of your business advisers for the time they are putting in. Here are a few hints on how to go about doing that:

  • Show up to meeting with fully fleshed-out ideas and goals for what your business needs to accomplish
  • Don’t show up with a blank slate and expect them to do all the work
  • Be prepared with a list of questions that you want to ask
  • Only go into meetings with your business adviser when you are ready to implement the advise you get
  • Bring your business plan to the meeting
  • Bring your business’s figures and relevant data to the meeting

Know What Your Business Adviser Expects from You

In addition to the above, you should also understand what your role is in the arrangement. A business adviser is only as good as the client they are advising, so if you are showing up late, unprepared and expecting a miracle, the only thing you’re going to get is a heaping helping of disappointment.

  • Keep all of your appointments and call ahead if you’re going to be late
  • Bring copies of relevant documents such as operational information, lists of clients and suppliers, who your creditors and debtors are, etc.
  • Be specific in your goals and needs, but be flexible and open minded when listening to suggestions for attaining them
  • Define your ideal customer

Creating an Open Back and Forth

Of course, no matter how much you prepare for your meetings with your business advisers, the one thing that you will quickly find out is that if you don’t get along with the person on a business and personal level, there will be little to no progress made. This will just result in wasted time and money on your end, creating resentment and bad blood on both sides of business.

To avoid this, make sure that you get along with your business adviser before going into a long-term mentoring arrangement or something similar. While your instinct might be to jump right in, you need to stay safe and do your homework on the business adviser.

  • Do they have the proper licensing for their profession?
  • Have they helped other businesses like yours in the past, and if so, did they succeed?
  • Do they have a strong recommendation?
  • How are their communication skills?
  • Do you understand the concepts they are talking about or is it going over your head?

Quick Recap—Getting the Most from Business Advisers

To sum it all up, here’s a recap of the things that you should be doing in order to get the most out of your business adviser:

  1. Show up on time for the meeting. This keeps their time from being wasted and your money from doing the same.
  2. Have your questions and goals laid out and written down in advance so you don’t forget to ask the most important questions.
  3. Bring the proper documents and files, including marketing information, current ads, the ads of your competitors, your budget, etc.
  4. Be open to new ideas and thoughts, but stick with your gut feeling if you think something won’t work. Then, research that option and if it is feasible, go for it.
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One Response to How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Adviser

  1. PlanWare September 5, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    The Institute of Management Consultants and Advisers in Ireland has two relevant pages on its site:

    Using Consultants at http://www.imca.ie/using-consultants/using-consultants/

    Appointing Consultants at http://www.imca.ie/using-consultants/appointing-consultants/

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