The most successful business owners operate proactively rather than reactively; and this is why they need not call in a trusted advisor when their companies hit tough times. They have one from the day they open their doors, and often even before.
Contrary to popular belief, a trusted advisor is not someone to be called in only when there’s a mess to clean up, but rather a person who arms business owners with the resources necessary to avoid making the mess (or minimizing it) in the first place. The right trusted advisor is someone who has been in the trenches and seen the good, bad and ugly of many businesses. The accumulation of experiences, knowledge, and lessons can be transferable and should provide opportunity for businesses to avoid common mistakes and obstacles.
Choosing the right trusted advisor is imperative for optimal success and ROI. Before hiring, always consider the following:
1. Knowledge– What does the trusted advisor know about your particular field of business? Having an understanding of how you operate, with an awareness of current business practices and pitfalls, is definitely an asset. This can save substantial time in creating and implementing effective solutions.
2. Experience– Some trusted advisors have spent the majority of their careers working towards degrees and designations, while others have spent the same time gaining experience in their field. While formal education and a strong network of professional peers is a plus, it is crucial that the person you choose has the applied, real-world experience to add significant value to your situation.
3. Service Offerings that Match Your Needs– Companies, like people, have their strengths and weaknesses. A good advisor is one whose strengths match your weaknesses. Identify key areas of your business that need the most assistance and locate somebody who has the right tool kit – and attitude – for your needs.
4. Trustworthiness – For an advisor’s work to truly make an impact, business owners must be able to share uncomfortable and private information. This is never easy and requires a high level of trust. Talking to a few references, and asking tough questions, can help garner a good sense of confidence as to whether a trusted advisor is worth engaging.