No small business owner can be expected to be knowledgeable in every aspect of business. That is why it is important to be surrounded with a knowledgeable, experienced and trustworthy team of professionals to act as your advisors as you create and run your business. Almost every new business will need expertise in the following fields:
- Business Development
- Information Technology
- Human Resources
When choosing an advisory team, it is important for you to understand what expertise each advisor brings to the business. You need to understand why you need each member. In addition, you need to know what questions to ask before choosing your advisor.
To help you to make an informed decision, there are a number of general questions to ask. You will probably want to include more questions relative to your own business before deciding on a team member. Some important factors to consider when choosing all advisors are:
- Do you trust this person? You will need to rely on them for advice. Make sure you feel that they will act responsibly and ethically in this role, while remaining objective.
- Are they interested in you and your business? Do they take the time to understand your questions and answer them thoroughly? Make sure that when you are with your advisor that he or she is focusing their attention on your needs. After all, you are paying for their time.
- Do they know your industry? Do they have experience with similar businesses? Are those businesses satisfied with their work? Ask for references and call on a couple of their clients. Ask if they have any clients that have left recently and why. Also, ask friends and colleagues for information about them.
- Do they try to help you understand what they are doing and why? The more you understand, the better you can be at getting your advisors the information they need to do their jobs quickly and effectively.
- Do you enjoy spending time with this person? Are you comfortable with them? In the beginning of your business, you can spend hours with the members of your advisory team. It is best if you enjoy the experience.
- A Rule of Caution: If for whatever reason you are not satisfied with an advisor, continue searching. Follow your intuition, and never settle for someone that makes you uneasy. Chemistry is important. Your advisory team will be guiding you through some of the greatest business risks that you will probably take in your life. There is a right person for the job that will help you to be a success, and thorough research will greatly improve your chances of finding that person.