German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wrote: “To accept good advice is but to increase one’s own ability.”

Sometimes though it’s hard to take any, much less good advice, when you’re struggling. Last blog we talked about the benefit of seeking qualified, experienced advice if you’re facing insolvency rather than Googling a possibly diabolically wrong DIY ‘solution’.

And we’ve talked about the benefits of advisory boards and having the right people in your corner previously. But recently Kate Carnell, (Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman) reinforced those sentiments in the wake of 2020 and the COVID crisis.

Carnell put it best when she said “While the small-business owner is often flat-out with the day-to-day running of the business, advisory boards are able to realise the SME’s potential by working on the business, not in it.” And it’s that distinction that is vital. Every small business owner will inevitably have to wear many hats in their day-to-day lives, that’s just a reality of a small team. However, you’ll want to be careful you aren’t so busy keeping things running that you forget to check they’re running well.

The benefits of objective insight can be a game changer when it comes to keeping your business on course. Business, and particularly small to medium business, has always been a rapidly changing landscape and with COVID and everything else 2020 has thrown your way, that landscape just entered hyper-speed. Whilst you’re probably capable of many, many things, unless you’re a TV detective with easy clues and a team of crack helpers – absorbing massive amounts of changing and challenging information isn’t one of them.

In the same address, Carnell added she considered advisory boards to be “a secret weapon in the growing small business’ arsenal” and she couldn’t be more correct. Here’s how (and why) you should arm-up and make sure you’ve got the right people keeping you accountable.

How can advice be a secret weapon? Everyone gives advice!

Ah yes, you’re thinking, last week you made the mistake of mentioning your business woes to your uncle and now he’s sending you endless links to pyramid schemes or bit coin ads. Bad advice can be less useful/more distracting white noise at best, horrifying disaster at worst, depending on who you’ve asked.

That’s why it is vitally important that your board of advisors be chocked full of toes.…

Sorry, TOES – which stands for trusted, objective, expert, synergies.

Trusted

It sounds goofy but there is method in this madness. Let’s start with the easy one, trusted. If you don’t trust someone, you’re not going to listen to them, end of story. Worse you might not even let them be privy to the actual goings-on of your business, completely undermining their ability to provide you with any insight at all – even if they might be able to help.

Objective

This is a biggie; objectivity is vital in any good board member. There’s already someone making decisions for your business who cares about it a whole lot – that’s you. We all know that loving someone can make you blind to their faults and loving your business is no different. It’s fine to have a passion for your business baby, but what you really need is someone at arm’s length who’s maybe not quite so enamoured with it who can see both all its glory and all its foibles as well.

Expert

Now this one might seem straight forward, however sometimes it might be harder than you think to really know who has the knowledge and experience to back up what they’re saying. Someone with a lot of experience running a business? That’s a great advisor for how to cope with the day to day. Someone who knows your specific field or product inside and out? That’s an excellent person for technical advice. Someone who likes to talk about the stock market and got lucky on some risky investments? That’s a good friend who should let you borrow their Italian holiday house (when Covid is over).

When it comes to financial advice for your business, it should be no surprise that one of the best positioned and most reliable sources should be your financial advisor. Yes, you will need to pay them for their professional advice, however, it will be based on years, probably even decades of advice given to others either in the same industry/sector, same situation or with the same types of issues as you find yourself dealing with – maybe even all three. With a bit of extra luck, you might also find they also run their own small business, which will give them even greater insight into the mind of a business owner.

Synergies

Finally, when all of those things line up, there’s a level of synergy that starts to form. This one is about making sure your advisors are the right people for your business specifically. They understand who you are, what your goals are and what you’re really trying to achieve – not just about business generally. They believe in what you’re trying to do and they feel comfortable talking to you frankly and openly.

If you’d like to get some good advice either in terms of business recovery, or growth, we’d be delighted to be part of your secret weapon arsenal! You can call us on 02 6023 1700 or drop us a note via the form below

Got a question? Get in touch

If you've got financial or business questions, or you just want to run something by us, we'd be delighted to really talk to you – in person, over the phone - call us on 02 6023 1700 - or you can use the form below and we'll get back to you.

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About us:

Lloyd Accounting is a boutique accounting firm based in North Albury that operates with the sole purpose of making your tax and business affairs as easy as possible. For us, it's about really understanding what it is you're wanting to achieve and then using our experience and expertise to help facilitate that.

Please note - our new location:

Lloyd Accounting is now located at 932 Waugh Rd, North Albury, NSW.

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